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According to BS Fuji’s top dog, there’s a reason why making romance dramas in Japan is an uphill battle.

Sometimes, as The Beatles once sang, all you need is love. Stories about romance can lift us up, make our hearts pound, bring us joy or reduce us to emotional sobs. There is a hearty trove of powerful love stories out there in the world, and even for stories thoroughly bereft of romantic sub-plots, we can always rely on fanworks.

It sounds as though some of the people who think up these epic romances are finding it increasingly hard, however. Chihiro Kameyama, one-time president of the Fuji Television Network and current president of the BS Fuji broadcasting service, shared his thoughts about the current climate—and why it’s so much harder to peddle romance dramas to audiences than it used to be.

▼ Kameyama is responsible for a number of hit TV dramas, such as 1997’s Beach Boys.

Only 3 more episodes of #ビーチボーイズ left to watch. ?#ドラマ #dorama #BeachBoys #反町隆史 #竹野内豊 pic.twitter.com/Z8p5R0726R

— ベアちゃん (@kojikohai) January 19, 2019

“I think romance dramas are challenging in this current era,” Kameyama said when questioned about the lack of recent Japanese-produced romantic dramas. “Romance has become considered something that happens to other people.”

He continued to explain his theories for what is essential when making a romantic drama, namely the idea of “barriers.” Barriers like class, economic stability, status, and long-distance relationships have all been mined rather thoroughly leading to audiences feeling bored with the genre. These barriers also vary from era to era, which leads to another problem: the world and its issues loom large in the current Japanese audience’s consciousness, especially in the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, Kameyama …continue reading