“Take double the payback.” This tagline has become so famous it even caused a red bean jam bun to sell out every morning. But enough of food, and enough of high school bullying as plots in TV dramas. Tokyo Broadcasting System, or simply TBS, introduced Hanzawa Naoki as one of its summer dramas this year. The hit TV series has become the talk of the town, and among some online. One of its fans even warned and discouraged watching Hanzawa Naoki, yet, because “It’s so good that you’ll just end up wanting more but you have to wait for a week and it’s so hard to wait.”
Hanzawa Naoki is named after its main character who works in the fictional Tokyo Central Bank as the head of the Loans Division at their Osaka Nishi branch. Naoki, played by Masato Sakai (Kuhio Taisa, Shinsengumi), was forced by the branch manager Tadasu Asano, played by Kanji Ishimaru, to loan 500 million yen (approx. $5 million) to Nishi Osaka Steel, which eventually went bankrupt. As the loan is impossible to recover, “the ambitious and power-hungry Asano makes Hanzawa the scapegoat for the 500 million yen loss,” said TBS. This “work-related bullying, rather than high school bullying,” is described by another fan as the reason for liking the show.
“Some characters in the drama remind me of people at my bank,” said a real banker, who watches the 9:00 PM slotted Hanzawa Naoki every Sunday. “In that sense, [the program] is so real. Although if you act like Hanzawa, you would certainly get fired.” He also said that he talks about the drama with his colleagues in a major Japanese bank. Albeit being a victim of bullying, Hanzawa is not taking a weak victim’s role, but rather a character who fights back. One commenter at JDramaConfessions, a Tumblr account that collects confessions from Japanese drama watchers, said, “Naoki’s dark side makes me so giddy when watching… I can’t wait to see if he’ll crush the bank!” Another said, “Naoki is such a fierce character who always looks so full of rage and intelligence.”
Besides his wit, the character Hanzawa is also known for his tagline: If your enemies hurt you, take double the payback.” The expression’s influence is not limited to TBS shops’ baigaeshi manju, its best-selling red bean bun. Former head of Japan Defense Agency also used Hanzawa’s line. “If Japan delays the planned hike in the sales tax, we’ll see double the payback in turmoil,” he said in support of the upcoming increase in sales tax.
TBS’ hit summer drama is an original work from Jun Ikeido, who used to work at Mitsubishi Bank in the 1980s until the 1990s. Naoki’s wife Hana, played by Aya Ueto (Azumi, Attention Please, Nagareboshi), is also known for being unconventional, as she gets involved in the work-related affairs of her husband. Hanzawa Naoki has been enjoying high ratings since it began airing on July 7.
[via Wall Street Journal]