Go Ayano, Shun Oguri: The Surprising Background of “Salt-Faced Boys” in Autumn Drama | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Go Ayano, Shun Oguri: The Surprising Background of “Salt-Faced Boys” in Autumn Drama

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Tsuyoshi Ayano chatting with Satomi Ishihara on the location of this year’s drama “Love is Deep” (NTV), photographed in April 2009.

For a long time, Johnny’s Agency has had the glittering prince face as its strength. However, the male casting for this season’s fall dramas is a lineup that foreshadows the end of that trend.

From romance to medical to social science fiction based on Sakyo Komatsu’s long hit novel, the fall dramas are said to be full of good works. However, what caught my attention even more was the overwhelmingly salty faces of the main male actors.

Starting with Kentaro Sakaguchi in “Kekkon Todoke ni Han o Shitashite Desu Desu” (TBS), the original salt-face guy who started the salt-face boom, there is also Tsuyoshi Ayano in “Avalanche” (Canterlot and Fuji TV), “Koi Desu! (NTV), Harusuke Sugino in “Sinking Japan: A Man of Hope” (TBS), Shun Oguri in “Sinking Japan: A Man of Hope” (TBS), etc. Kohei Matsushita and Arata Iura, who both appear in “Saiai” (TBS), are so similar in their saltiness that it’s baffling. They are so similar that it’s baffling.

Kubota Masataka in the monthly 9 drama “Radiation House II” (Fuji Television Network) is also popular as a reptilian-faced man, a derivative of the salty face, although he cannot be called salty-faced. The only other completely non-salty-faced male in a commercial primetime drama is Yuya Yagira in “February Winner: The Classroom of Absolute Success” (NTV).

The meaning of “salt” in “salt face

As the name of the seasoning “salt” suggests, the term “salt face” refers to a face with a simple, light flavor. To put it simply, it’s a face with a single set of eyes and small, unobtrusive features. In the past, they were considered rather dull and rarely appeared in the leading roles.

On the other hand, the male actors who have played leading roles in dramas and movies up until now have been overwhelmingly dark-skinned. Kimutaku, Yutaka Takenouchi, Yuji Oda, Takashi Sorimachi, Satoshi Tsumabuki, etc., all have large double eyes and clearly defined facial features. The first of these was the Japanese face. At one time, he was so popular as an actor that you could almost see a drama starring a Johnny idol every day.

This fall, however, there is not a single drama starring Johnny’s idols on commercial TV. The salt-and-pepper actors, who had been slowly expanding their influence, have now completely taken over the drama market.

The reason for this is, of course, the change in women’s preference for men’s faces. So why has the salty face become so popular? Has the glittering prince face taken a backseat? I talked to a number of people familiar with the entertainment industry, and the three most common responses were as follows

1) The Western complex is gone.

“In the past, people’s fascination with Western culture led to the idea that a sweet face with two puffy lips was good-looking. However, people naturally prefer faces that are close to their own. Now that we don’t let our complexes get in the way, we can honestly recognize the faces we really like. I think this is symbolized by the boom in Hallyu boys, who can be said to have the ultimate salt face.

2. Women are getting stronger

“A dark face is also a masculine face. “A dark face is also a masculine face, and in the past, I think it was also an image of strength. However, I think that women today are not looking for a man to protect them as much as they used to. Rather, they are looking for someone who can heal them, or someone they can spend time with as an equal, like a friend. If that’s the case, it’s inevitable that a medieval salt face will be more popular than a dark face with a ‘follow me’ image.

3. Stylishness over face

“Japan is a fashionable country. “Japan is a fashionable country, and girls nowadays place so much importance on stylishness that they choose their boyfriends based on their fashion sense. In this case, a clean, salty face looks better than a thick, princely face. That’s why most of the men in recent dramas not only have a salty face, but also have a slim figure and beautiful skin. You could say that we live in an age where you don’t have to be handsome to compete with hard work (laughs).

I would like to introduce some of the other interesting comments I heard.

I would like to introduce some other interesting comments that I heard: “Today, we live in an age where a large amount of information comes in daily from the Internet. Nowadays, we’re constantly bombarded with information from the Internet, so wouldn’t it be better if the men we love had simple faces? Nowadays, a strong prince face is a bit too much information and tiring.

“There are many rivals, so there’s a lot of competition. There are a lot of rivals out there, so when I shifted my preference to a lighter, salty face to avoid competition, a surprisingly large number of girls seemed to think the same thing (laughs).

Either way, the salty face is sure to gain even more momentum in the future.

  • Reporting and writing Nanako

    Born in Ehime Prefecture. After working at a broadcasting station, became a freelance writer. Specializes in interviews with celebrities and analysis of popular events, and is always on the lookout for serial dramas and hot Japanese movies. She is a famous beautiful writer in the magazine industry.

  • Photographed by Yusuke Kondo

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