Father’s Day is coming so I thought we would celebrate it by starting off a little early with an overview post of some dramas dealing with Fathers.
So here’s a brief look on some dramas and movies which deal with fathers and their children. The post has two parts. In the first I discuss some dramas with fathers in them. in the second, I present some actors (I limit myself to Korean dramas here) who are likely to be typcasted as various kinds of father figures .I intend to post Japanese “father” actors as well as more Asian movie “fathers” separately at a later date.
So, here’s to you, dear worked-up Dads. Keep loving us and thank you for YOUR hard work too! Happy (upcoming) Father’s Day.
Older Actors often get typcasted as some sort of fathers. There are predominatly two types: those who scheme a lot and those who, on the contrary, sacrifice a lot for their children in the hopes of securing their future. The evil/hysterical father warrant a look in that the repetition of this theme may suggest that there is some sense of oppressive patriarchy that puts so much stress on the young that they feel forced to break free, though at the same time most of the dramas stress filial piety and family duty as a virtue. Not that I am inclined to overgenerealise. Practically every makjang korean drama contains an overbearing dad (or mom) who wants to decide the future of their children, favour their children (at cost of others, even the lives of others). But the dramas do not forget that dads have a lot of stress placed on them too and go through a lot to secure their children best interests.
Father and Son Japanese movie 2013
This poignant movie questions the importance of blood. Masaharu Fukuyama plays this no-nonsense father who has ambitious plans for his son and is really irritated that his sone does not live up to the expectations. A simple answer presents itself: He is not my son after all. The rest of the movie is spent on the character pondering the dilemma, adopting some extreme measures in confrontation with another family, a far more relaxed one but also, significantly, hailing from a different social background. The children end up confused in the process but ultimately the film leads to a heart-warming conclusion. The film is intimate and personal. I”m not very familar with the director’s other works but he seems to be hinting at a problem he finds very relevant and this is not so much about blood relation (although that is important since the story deals with a son and pressures on firstobrn sons always seem even greater) but, even more so, the pressures parenting is unnecessarily placing on kids, coupled with the desire for the kids to place well in school, produce good results. They should spend more time with the kids rather than merely outlining expectations and goals to be met.
Tonbi. Japanese Drama 2013
The caring dad struggles to be the ocean for his son and bring him up without a mother. Luckily he also has supportive friends to help him. The drama shows his struggles and his affection towards the son. It’s ultimately an extremely endearing celebration of parenting but also of the gratitude the grown up child has for the parent. It’s really beautiful and warm. The production values are really high, too. Who is the kite and who is the hawk? But does it matter in the end as long as they are loving and supportive of each other? Uchino Masaaki is realy great with emotions and delivering emotions and so he performs great here. It’s a really worthwhile watch. It is worthwhile to see how they bond and also how the son grows to understand what being a parent means.
I am still much in love with General Hae Mo Su. His time with his son may be brief but the emotion and wish to impart all he can to his son are very palpable. There is a scene during the period he spends with his sone that is full of heartbreaking tenderness and love, really beautifully rendered by the actor. He really gave off a lot of warmth.
The other dad, the King, trie to love Jumong out of perhaps his love for Jumog’s mother I was very much in a love-hate relationship with the King. He was both selfish and possesive towards YeoHwa and, by parallel, to Jumong. Maybe he fears him a little too, aside from the fact he has a guilty conscience. He loves him in his own way too, though, and shows that at some crucial points. But this is not an easy relationship.
The Chaser, Korean Drama 2012
This noble dad is out to seek justice on behalf of his murdered daughter. He remains loving and noble all throughout, even towards friends who are put in a difficult position. Ultimately, he does gain a sense of peace.
Reply 1994, Korean Drama, 2013
I think the dad here is fairly relatable. He is grumpy and inscrutable, not always easy to understand but very loving too. I particularly enjoyed his interactions with Thrash because this was were his attitude was most telling. He worries about Thrash’s future with NaJeong as the stakes are quite high and he would hate to lose them both. And he sure loves his soccer. He was very adorable.
Love Rain, Korean Drama, 2012
Provides an example of parents, both a mother and a father, who agree to sacrifice their own happiness, forgoing the past that bound them, for the sake of their children. Mom and dad met in their youth but, much like in the movie Classic, could not be together due to forces of circumstance. When they are reunited in the present, theur children have already begun dating. The dad is an artistic soul, which his son takes after him albeit in a different way, in a different medium. The two don’t have a very good relationship but come to terms as the drama goes on. I loved to see them come to an understanding and friendship of sorts. I really liked this father.
Kim Soo Ro, Korean Drama, 2010
Another seguk, this one tells the tale of a legendary founder of a confederacy during Three Kingdoms period. Kim So Ro’s turbulent young days made him gain and lose several fathers. Ultimately he was left under the care of a warrior, who trained him in swordfighting. The bond ran much deeper though. Which was ironic because this warrior killed Kim Soo ro;s biological father. There is a very weepy scene toward the later part of the drama when these fatherly feelings are expressed. I kind of liked it, particularly taking into account the story.
Operation Proposal, Korean Drama, 2012
I shouldn’t spoil the plot of the drama, but the theme is there and it rather touching. The dad here sacrifices a lot for the sake of the son just to make sure the son is happy. It is also implied he keeps an eye on his son as the son grows up, even though he can’t be near him all the time.
Jejoongwon, Korean Drama, 2010.
For what it’s worth (and it’s worth a lot, this story), Seok Ran, the strong female character has a vey good father who supports her practising medicine, being the progressively-minded person that he is. At the time I watched it for the first time I was surprised to see that model, particularly in a transition period piece that Jejoongwon is.
Beautiful Rain, Japanese Drama, 2012
Explores a special father-daughther bond. The father is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and begins to become forgetful. It’s such a beautiful bond as they struggle to overcome reality and we accompany them on their journey. They are lucky to have each other in this difficult process andthe drama sends the positive message to take life as it comes, piece by piece, day by day. It is a drama and a bond that creeps into the heart for sure. For another Father-Daughter drama, one migh check
In Good Life~Arigatou Papa, it is the child who is diagnosed with an illness. The bond between the Father and Son deepends due to this experience. The Dad is a troubled and somewhat distanced figure since his past and the relationship with his own dad were rather difficult too. He’s harried in his work. This is made worse by the fact that the mother leaves the two of them and goes “to find herself”.
Can You Hear My Heart, Korean Drama, 2011
The dad there was a little special too, because he was mentally handicapped but thoroughly loving and a good person. Although I still think he was merely used as plot contrivance I don’t like seeing that done. But the performance of the actor was good.
But the award for the most misused Dad who never really got a closure goes to the Dad in Secret, A Taiwanese movie (2007). After all his love and care and efforts, the ending of the movie left him most likely very worried. All because the boy, main hero, was just selfish. I really did not like that. The Dad was likeable, very likeable. But all he got was pain and the ending is somewhat left open and undetermined for him. Anxiety and worry are sure to overtake him.
Father of the Bride, Japan, SP, 2012
A warm special drama about a father who lives protecting his deaf daughter and is very careful in determining whether certain young gentleman should court her. The plot has nothing to do with the American movie with Steve Martin. This one is a more subdued piece.
20-nen go no Kimi e, Japanese SP, 2012
In this drama a father learns he only has a short time left to live. On top of that he cannot seem to reconcile with the plans his children and wife seem to have. During the special we will see him doing what else he can for them, to make their dreams come true. This one is also to remind us to appreciate the Fathers that we have, while we have them, appreciate what they do for us and keep them in warm memories after they are no longer with us.
My Daughter Seoyoung , Korean Drama 2012
A very troubled father-daughter relationship, no doubt. The drama tells the story of a prideful’s daughter’s revenge on her father for the mistakes he commited in the past. So we have a father who made mistakes in the past and a daughter who finds it difficult to forgive him. Soyoung’s pride gets very hateful and tiresome very soon, and it is the main source of conflict for the drama. So the drama ends up getting tiresome. It could have been shorter. The father is judgmental towards others but he does work hard to gain the forgiveness of Soyoung. He also gains a lovable daughter-in-law whom he grows to appreciate. Ultimately, he ends up being likeable and it is hard not to appreciate his regret and willingness to go to great lengths to try and mend things. Ultimately, he wants Soyoung to be happy (but really what she did was…difficult to accept and made the narrative irksome, especially since Lee Bo Young’s mannerisms *can* get on the viewer’s nerves in addition to everything else).
Scandal: A shocking and Wrongful Incident, 2013
The premise for the story is weak. The story involves two dads. One of dads loses his son in a construction accident (or so he believes) so in revenge he kidnaps the son of the other dad and brings him as his own. This leads to a lot of weepy twists. The dad who kidnapped is ultimately also very caring and continues to support the son even as the son struggles to accept the facts. He never really stops caring for the “abductor” dad, though, ultimately proving that bonds formed during life are more important. The theme is not brought out enough, but then again it was just an excuse for a makjang.
The other dad is not quite perfect, either since for the most he also wants revenge and has other agendas of his own. Park Sang Min was a poor choice for the role of the other dad, though. He is still too young for his “old age” to be belieaveable and his acting overall fell flat,. He seemed to be in despair over facts but it really didn’t come through. Jo Jae Hyon had an overly histerical script to work with so he acted accordingly with the hysterics, much as he is otherwise good actor. The story is terrible, on the whole. May Queen fared much better in my opinion. But still, I liked the focus on the relationship with the father but it was weepy in the typically Korean fashion rather than sincere. The ending episodes were bittersweet. I would like to see more dramas using this idea but without all the makjang.
Virgin Road, Japanese Drama, 1997
This old drama has a rather touching focus on father and daughter. The dad is very understanding and supportive of her decisions. Again the drama indicates that the bonds of blood are not of highest priority and that one makes a family rather than merely IS a family. He supports his daughter unconditionally in her decisions.
Busu no Hitomi ni Koishiteru, Japanese Drama, 2006.
Again, here we have a dad who supports his daughter in her decisions and wants to make sure he is happt.. His speech to her in one of the final episodes made me cry buckets when I watched it. A very loving dad for sure. The drama deals with inner beauty and how to accept someone for who they are with the daughter being rather plump and not classically beautiful. But she has a sense of humour and a positive attitude to life which eventually wins her the affections of the rather unlikeable scriptwriter portrayed by Inagaki Goro.
At Home Dad, Japanese Drama, 2004
In this comedy, Hiroshi Abe, the breadwinner of the family until this point is forced to take a backseat as he replaces his wife as the homemaker. Even though he grumbles at first, he soon grows to appreciate that committing to homemaking is not as easy as it may look on the outside. He is helped in this difficult and challenging task by a neighbour, another homemaker dad and the two develop friendship. in the process. Ultimately, the Dad here has to decide what his priorities are. Will he keep enjoying life as a hommaker dad? I really liked this drama, it was entertaining and good-natured.
Oh Dad, Japanese Drama, 2000
This old series features a dad and his several daughters and one son. The dad is rather commanding, strict and overbearing but he does have the best interest of his family at heart. He goes through a lot of problems and pains in the drama as he tries to deal with the decisions his children make. He encourages them and supports them and s ultimately rewarded when the most troublesome daughter, makes a heartfelt and very serious decision about her future. I like that the Dad is rewarded in the end and the ending to the drama is one that is very happy for him.
The most typical example of a father who is evil and overbearing in a makjang sort of way comes in May Queen. Greed destroys him but not without wreaking havoc on his family members, including his daughter. The other dad in the drama is ultimately one that is scared for his son so, in order to try and secure his future, does everything he is told. Oh but I forget about my favourite dad in May Queen- this one was a foster father to the female lead and he wanted to make sure she was protected and didn;t fear anything, not even his wife who felt he was paying too much attention to the girl.
Beyond the Clouds (2014) also features a very scheming dad who plans and plans and tries to keep his daughter out of the loop. His plans lead to tragedy for the male hero who then promises revenge on the female character and her family. The dad of the male protagonist is no better, though he acts more non-chalantly. Ultomately, both the male and female leads in this drama are victoms of deception of their parents, in a sense. In City Hall, we have this cold-hearted politician who kept his son a secret, but there is a way for understanding in the end, hopefully. It is suggested that the male lead wants to try at least.
Daily dramas will also likely have some sort of an overprtective, conservative-minded parent who would wish to protect their chilldren making sure they won’t make mistakes in life. Makjangs are mostly dominated by the hysterical/greed/vengeful/scheming types who are bound to do whatever they can to destroy everyone and everything in the way of their preferred child or anything in the way of their family in general, as in The Princess Man or The Incarnation of Money (if I remember correctly). There are also fathers who hide the existence of their children for one reason or another, as in Lovers, having abandoned them before. There are also dads who don’t know about their children, as in A Gentleman’s Dignity and as a result have a bit of getting used to to do (this should have been better done in that drama) after some prior nervous guessing game.
Dads are kept rather busy in dramaland, for sure. And keep their children busy, too.
ACTORS LIKELY TO BE TYPECASTED AS FATHERS/ HEADS OF FAMILY (only Korean)
Lee Duk Hwa. A prime example of an actor who is likely to get typcasted into playing bastard dads. Example: May Queen. He is the type of dad who may go for a lot of hysterics. I liked the actor in Comrades as the General and Giant and in general I do like his screen presence but when he plays these bastard dads, as in May Queen…there is likely hysterics involved so I’m also a little wary.
Kim Young Chul – Tends to play the evil controlling , cold bastard father a lot. Examples: Beyond the Clouds, The Princess Man. He just made an appeareance in the currently airing Wonderful Days (2014) where he seems to play a kind of a Don Juan/playboy type father. At least his manners appear to make him so. I don’t know much about him yet. He is genuinely good as the cold, scheming, bastard dad. If I recall, he was also such a dad in The Man From the Equator (2012).
Choil Il Hwa – I’ve seen him do a dad role a number of times/ For instance, in City Hall, he played this really controlling politician dad. Now, in a New Leaf he is also father to Kim Myung Min’s character, although from what I’ve seen he’s not as scheming. He still is a little cold and distant and preaching. He does not have a good relationship with his son, in any case. I think he also departed from the cold type in A Bride of the Century. He was cast as a dad in Dae Mul too and in Coffee Prince...and quite likely a number of other roles. He does the cold type well but can come across as a shy, withdrawn type of father character too. He rarely plays characters which smile very widely, at least I haven’t seen him do that often. ut there is something likeable about him. He also played a dad in Lovers.
Kang Shin Il This actor is often cast in supporting roles which include the father/kind types. He played a father role in Kimchi Family and in Personal Taste as well as in Golden Bride. He really does strike me as very likeable and he is very active, popping up in every other drama.
Kim Kap Su He tries to take on different roles, but most of them still seem to have a “commanding” element to them as far as I have seen, be it a director, some important official or dignitary or some such. For me, he does make for a good father actor because he can bring in both severity and warmth. I loved his father character in Jejoongwon where he played this progressively minded person.
Lee Soon Jae- He plays grandfathers/ seniors very often but his roles include father roles as well. For instance, most recently in King2Hearts as the father to Jo Jung Suk’s character.
Jang Yong I think I’ve seen him do a strict father role in Pasta and some other dramas. He can certainly be the kind of ” you have to listen to me” commanding type of dad. In Cain and Abel he did not have much to do as a father character as he was mostly confined to the hospital bed. His other father roles include: Attic Cat, Oh! Pil Seung, Oh Lovers, You Are My Destiny and probably a lot more.
Im Hyun Sik – He does tend to appear in these dad roles, though they tend to be brief guest roles. I think he played a dad in Dae Mul
Kang Nam Gil- his dad roles include one in Bad Family, Baketball, Wonderful Mama, Innocent you, Who Are You (2008) and others.
Kim Chang Wan – appeared as a dad in the school-musical drama What’s Up and also had a cameo dad appeareance in The Vineyard Man. If I remember correctly, he was also a dad in the disaster that was Take Care of Us Captain. But he does have the vibe to play the likeable dads, ne?
Kin Gyu Chul – he is the type I would associate with “cowardly” figures. He played the cowardly, but loving, dad in May Queen, he was also a dad in several other dramas but I think he tends to get typcasted more as the kind of snake-like, sneaky and viscious albeit cowardly foils to main characters.
Jeong Jin Yeong– his dad roles include Love Rain and most recently Angel Eyes.
Choi SuJong – he would make a lovely dad. He did have a father role, in fact, in a short drama For the Sake of the Son, but that one was a bit of a disaster in terms of story. In Comrades, he offered a character who was like a father to his squadron and ticked all the fatherly boxes: committment, duty, need to protect. Totally loved him there. Perhaps his role in President may also be counted as one. But he does make a very attractive father, doesn’t he? Given his propensity for jokes and having fun, he’d be also quite adorable. He’s an excellent performer to boot so for a father role, he’d me my personal number one because his emotions seem natural and are not overdone.
Finally, Jun Kwang Ryul also tended to play father types. His most notable drama father roles are in Jumong and Baker Kim Tak Gu, I’m sure there may be others. As I wrote earlier, in Jumong he was a very ambivalent figure, especially as a father. In Baker Kim Tak Gu, as far as I remember he was a father filled with regrets.