Monday, August 29, 2011

I was not really a fan of Japanese television drama, but I found myself eagerly watching through all the ten episodes of Suzuki Sensei in the past two weeks. Each episode gave me some refreshing ideas on education in the junior high school, challenges facing school teachers, classroom dynamics between students and teachers, and even the rarely seen school politics among teachers.

The TV series is an adaptation of the seinen manga (or youth comics) with the same name by artist Kenzi Taketomi, who received an Excellence Prize in 2007 Japan Media Arts Festival for the same title.

Answering a question about what has led him to create a work, the artist explained that he developed his style of drawing since his earlier twenties, during which, he was feeling increasingly opposed to the idea that [manga artists] should let readers consume so-called “social problems” as manga stories, especially when they regarded those problems as non-realistic or part of another reality, completely separate from their own. That's why he started to create stories that could bring up an issue for discussion with readers in a way that made them feel as though the topic was close and inseparable from their own daily life.

Even though I have not read the manga series, what the TV series portrayed is indeed something that is almost too real for us to admit as reality. One of the main themes that persisted through the ten episodes is the debate on whether the school should teach students how to use condoms as part of their sex education. Teacher Suzuki, the protagonist, is a believer of natural sex without using condoms and he believes that emphasis on using condoms may give students wrong impressions. On the contrary, Mr. Suzuki would rather emphasize the sacredness and mysteriousness of sexual intercourse. That is sex in its most sublime and most absolute form. This seemingly idealistic approach may appear to be unattainable, but it may also be the true approach that actually fix the root cause. Any other "technical" approaches are merely treating the symptoms.
Post a Comment