So I said yesterday that I was getting close to having covered all the new dramas that are coming out next season in April of this year but everyday lately a new one gets announced so I think that maybe there’ll still be a lot more work for me to do over the next few weeks. Today when I checked out the entertainment section of MSN Japan an article about a new drama called Black President was the first thing that I saw. It’s going to start from the 8th of April on Fuji TV which means that it’ll be getting a 10pm Tuesday night time-slot. Ikki Sawamura will be playing the lead role and the drama will also be featuring Meisa Kuroki, Ryoko Kuninaka, Masaru Nagai, Yumi Shirakawa, Sayaka Aoki, Mugi Kadowaki, Tasuku Nagase, Sho Takada and Yu Sawabe. Read on for more details about the storyline.
Black President is going to be about the CEO of an apparel company named Yukio Mitamura who is 45 years old. Mitamura believes strongly in hard work, often saying that without real, hard-work you can’t expect good results. This way of thinking obviously influences the workers of his company, to the point where some of them are actually being overworked by Mitamura. As time passes and Mitamura is able to trust his employees with more and more of his own work and quite a lot of time starts to free up in his schedule. He decides that he should re-learn company management from the ground up and returns to university where he meets a lecturer named Anko Akiyama(played by Meisa Kuroki), who he develops a crush on. He has a lot of clashes with her because their opinions and way of doing things is completely different. Mitamura also has a lot of issues with his classmates to start with because they are largely separated by age and are from two distinctly different generations. Despite all of this he slowly but surely gets used to the new university environment he’s in, which causes him to make realisations about the way he was living up until that point.
The biggest realisation Mitamura makes is that the company he is the CEO of is actually a “Black Corporation” or “Black Kigyou”. This is quite a big thing in Japan at the moment, and has been for the last 5 years or so. A Black Corporation doesn’t properly abide by the labor laws that have been set down by the government. A lot of the companies that come under the category of Black Corporation, for example, ask for a lot of overtime from their workers but refuse to pay for it. If you watched the drama Dandarin from last season you’ll know all about Black Corporations in Japan. While Mitamura is finally coming to his senses about his own poor management policies there is already a plan progressing to have him thrown out of his own company, from within it.
I really, really like the concept of this drama. Dandarin was a really good drama showing every day labor law violations through the eyes of a public servant. Black President is similar but is showing the same struggle through the eyes of a person in a high-level management position in a company. It’s often said that there are two sides to a coin, and I think labor laws are a very good example of that. When watching Dandarin you were constantly made to feel sorry for the employees that showed up after being mistreated by their employers. Here you are given the perspective of someone that wants to make sure their enterprise succeeds and will do whatever it takes to make that happen, but has a vision that is obviously misinterpreted by the other people that they work with who are unable to keep up with the same pace and unmatchable enthusiasm. I’m excited to see what this one is like, lucky there’s only a little more than a month to go until all these new dramas start their broadcasts.