The Journalist (Shinbun Kisha/新聞記者) is a Japanese drama-thriller TV series directed by Michihito Fujii and stars Ryoko Yonekura, Go Ayano, and Ryusei Yokohama, alongside other cast members. The series has 6 episodes, each around 50 minutes to one hour long.
Netflix describes the series as:
A dedicated journalist doggedly pursues the truth about a government corruption scandal even as powerful enemies seek to neutralize her reporting.
– The Journalist review does not contain spoilers –
The Journalist, as the series very deftly describes with its title, is a political-press thriller that talks about the problems, corruption and issues in the Japanese government and political system. For those of you who don’t like serious political dramas, this one is going to fall a bit flat. Ok, it’s a very interesting show but isn’t a crazily stupid thriller where anything happens and anyone dies. It’s more nuanced and the series is grounded in reality.
The festering political system in every country is something that we are very familiar with, one that comes on media time and time again. However, there’s something that is extremely immediate and real about The Journalist series that sticks with you long after you’re done with it. As freedom of the press deteriorates in Japan, you are left to wonder what will happen now that shit has hit the fan.
From the first minute of the series, you wonder what the heck is going on because you are bombarded with allegations of fraud and illegal happenings in the political and bureaucratic system. If you think you can sit back and the information will be slowly fed to you, you’re wrong. Even before the title sequence makes it to screen, you know exactly what the series wants to show you and you can’t help but want to know more.
It’s interesting to note that the series bases a whole lot of itself on the Prime Minister and his misdeeds but never really focuses on the man in question. This isn’t a story of the Prime Minister per se, this is a story of everyone who works under and for him, those who make corruption possible, whether knowingly or unknowingly. It’s about those hundreds of people who help those who are corrupt in the system and destroy everything around them for their own selfish needs.
The Journalist 2022, in a bid to portray the roles of these people, comes up with a rather interesting and engaging storyline which is made extremely humane due to the introduction and portrayal of the other side of these people. These people, their motivations, their feelings and their thoughts are the juiciest part of the series, one that keeps the viewers glued to the screen. It’s stunning to see how one particular corrupt incident can result in such mass destruction.
The Journalist is also about Matsuda, the journalist in question, who will stop at nothing to bring forth said corruption in the system. Her backstory is rather tragic, yet interesting and one that adds fuel to her fire. The way she fearlessly goes ahead with opening up the doors of corruption is inspiring and a great watch.
One of the biggest positives of this series, as I mentioned earlier, is how no one in the show really faces any flack or takes responsibility for their misdeeds. It’s so darn annoying and infuriating watching these big players take absolutely no accountability for doing the worst of things one after the another in the name of power and greed. It’s also hardcore reality, the reason why it hits so hard.
The Journalist’s score is haunting and absolutely on-par with the tension on-screen. The cinematography and acting, too, are excellent. Hidetaka Yoshioka’s Kazuya is absolutely amazing for the short time he’s on-screen. Apart from him, Ryoko Yonekura, Go Ayano and Ryusei Yokohama are great too and bring these grey characters to light with conviction and grace.
Summing up: The Journalist
The Journalist creates an intriguing story that is hard to stop watching. It brings the truth about power, greed and corruption to the front and the portrayal is so heartbreakingly real that it becomes difficult to watch, while also being extremely watchable. It’s a confusing feeling, one that will leave you a bit hopeless. But it’s a good watch nonetheless.
The Journalist is streaming on Netflix.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.