Saturday, March 01, 2008

heroes in japanese

at last, the popular american tv-show heroes is coming to japanese tv (it's already on DVD though); and of course the audio is going to be dubbed to japanese. the first thing that comes into my mind is this: are the japanese going to smart up and also re-dub the japanese dialogue in the original version? the japanese dialogue in the original heroes is so dumb and bad, it must be!

and i'm right! they dubbed all the original japanese dialogues, into PROPER JAPANESE! thank you! but i was surprised because i didn't expect them to also re-dubbed hiro's dialogues, which i think is not very necessary because his japanese is good enough. well, he (masi oka) is a japanese-american, the only japanese in the show.

well, maybe they did it so that when hiro is speaking english, there would be no complication to try to find a voice actor that sounds exactly like masi oka.

anyways, i think heroes is the prime example of the stereotypes that asians is facing in the west: all asians are the same, have the same culture and language. this is because, other than masi oka, all the other 'japanese' characters in the show is chinese, and you don't have to be an ignorant westerner to notice that by the their facial appearance and the god-awful pronunciation.

but i guess it can't be help. maybe there is not so many japanese is the US, compared to the chinese population. that must be it. i hope the reason is that instead of pure ignorance from the casting part. this might been quite off topic, but the worst actor that has the worst japanese accent is the guy playing adam monroe/takezo kensei (david anders) in season 3. damn, his acting is the worst in all the characters in the show, and he has the worst japanese pronunciation ever! i can't really understand what the hell he is saying when he's talking japanese. the original japanese dialogue was pretty dumb anyways, so i guess it does not matter. but what i don't understand is this: why is this guy, who has no acting talent or the ability to properly PRONOUNCE japanese language's simple aiueos, got the main role throughout the end of season 3?

back to stereotyping in hollywood. i know it's not important to a lot of people, and it's really not that bad to BE that ignorant. you can't force other people to acknowledge the cultural differences between us. the rapid growth of globalization, with the great help of the boom of the internet, does help people of different backgrounds to learn about each other; and i think we should appreciate the 'rehabilitate and re-educate' process was even happening, although in a worm-crawling speed, little by little. but i do hope these people would take off their horse eye covers and see the world in a bigger, multi-cultural way.

what was my post about in the first place?


  1. Jason Daniels7:52 PM

    Hi, I just read this post trying to find out information about Masi Oka. Actually, I am an American who has been living in Japan for over 6 years, and to be honest, I assumed Masi Oka was Chinese because of his facial features and his very poor Japanese pronunciation. I just read his bio and found out he is actually Japanese and now want to know why his Japanese is so bad. If you know anything, let me know.

  2. masi oka's japanese is very good, just like any other japanese-american. you can see this in the interviews he did with japanese tv shows.

    about his pronunciation... well i guess that is an accent he picked up when growing up in the US. to me, his pronunciation is fine, he just talks with an accent. and probably because of that, he doesn't sound 100% native.

    the writers of HEROES, on the other hand, is extremely bad in the language. that is why the japanese dialogues in the show are just plain dumb and took you away from being 'in' the show if you know japanese.

    p/s: did you know, the popular masi oka phrase, "yatta!" was not the original word in the first script. the writers wrote it: "bonsai!".

    the writers' intention was to write "banzai!", but masi oka talked to the writers and said, instead of "banzai", "yatta" would be more appropriate.

    masi oka was basically an unknown actor at that time, so trying to correct the writers is something quite nerve wrecking for the actor.

    he also said that the word "banzai" brings back the memory of ww2, which i think is an exaggeration because it doesn't. (this is from the sukkiri interview).

    so "yatta!" is masi oka's own idea, and he deserved the popularity of the word.


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