Queer Eye: We’re in Japan! (Season 1, 2019)
Hosts: Tan France, Antoni Porowski, Karamo Brown, Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk, Kiko Mizuhara
Guest: Naomi Watanabe
In this short and sweet 4 episodes Queer Eye season, something of a spin-off, the Fab 5 head out to Japan to makeover four heroes as we’ve come to call the people nominated. Heading to Japan is a big deal as they tackle cultural differences but also share the niche slices of Japan from lesbian and gay bars to manga-themed restaurants and the general cultural family dynamic and the whole closed communication structure in relationships both families and romantic ones plus the general perception of how the community values become one’s own identity and how to break from it. Heading to Japan is a huge deal because it shows the reach that Fab 5 can give to those who need it and truly emphasize on how differences in gender, ethnicity are not so much hurdles as we all just need to find our self-confidence and learn to love ourselves and communicate.
Each episode in this season shows a very different story. The first is one about a woman who gave up her own personal space and life for the community as well as a hospice so others get the best care in their final days. Being in the older demographic and having the “hero” element with her selflessness, its a hurdle about the importance for loving herself and the perfect step to understand the Japanese values. The second story dives into the LGBTQ views in Japan and self-identity in a place that limits someone from being themselves completely. The third story also turns it around and looks at the family dynamic, parent and child communication, the tough love element in a household and especially the ideal woman of how a girl sees herself. The final story goes into the whole communication in marriage and it takes a rather emotional turn as they look at the “sexless” marriage which goes unspoken as well as opening communication to better relationships and facing the issues rather than ignoring them.
Looking at each of these stories, Queer Eye We’re in Japan emphasizes something they talked about in the first episode of the first season (at least I think it was there). While each story touches on a different element of Japanese values, views and culture which may be different to the Fab 5, they also tread carefully around it, each of these stories and how a person’s view changes and all these other elements to a certain extent are similar to everyone else. In reality, Queer Eye and the Fab 5 is about embracing our similarities rather than our differences because our stories are more similar than different when you take away the prejudices and stereotypes of gender or ethnicity, etc.
Its 4 episodes and I’ve gone on for far too long talking about not a lot in the review department. These 4 episodes are touching and well-executed. It has a lot of fun moments as well as expected with the Fab 5. Its nicely balanced and well worth a watch. Plus, they have some hosts that are big in Japan like their tour guide Kiko Mizuhara as well as a guest host from Naomi Watanabe, who are both unique icons. Just make sure to keep a Kleenex box nearby (just in case). I’m definitely hoping that they continue to do more episodes in Japan (or other places with different cultures).