October 21, 2007

Three Versions Of The Great White Tower

Lately with all the news about the numerous nominations (8 in total!) for the popular Taiwanese TV drama The Hospital at the upcoming Golden Bell Awards in Taiwan - the television equivalent of the Golden Horse Awards, you may be wandering if this is actually a Taiwanese adaptation of the 2003 hit Japanese drama serial The Great White Tower (Shiroi Kyotou) as the two have the same Chinese or Kanji name - 白い巨塔/白色巨塔. But actually, although the two dramas have the same name, they are based on two different stories.

Shiroi Kyotou is based on a novel by Yamasaki Toyoko and depicts the conflicts and power struggles in a large hospital through the eyes of two equally brilliant but radically different doctors - the ruthlessly ambitious surgeon (Zaizen) and the upright and dedicated doctor (Satomi). The novel was a huge bestseller in Japan and was made into a movie in 1966, and drama serials in 1967, 1978, 1990 and in 2003. The 2003 version which starred Karasawa Toshiaki and Eguchi Yosuke was a ratings hit and won the Best Drama, Best Screenwriter and Best Director at the 40th Japanese Television Drama Academy Awards.

The Hospital is adapted from a novel by Taiwanese doctor cum author Hou Wen Yong. The main characters here are Su Yi Hua (played by Jerry Yan of F4 fame) - a somewhat naive and idealistic surgeon unwittingly caught between two rival factions vying for power and Chiu Qing Cheng (played by Leon Dai Li Ren) , a hard-headed and ambitious surgeon who is vying for power himself. It does sound a bit like Shiroi Kyotou doesn't it? But the characters and storyline in The Hospital are unique and totally different. Ng Man Tat, a regular in Stephen Chow's movies, Saya (who by the way shaved her head for her role as a cancer patient) and Fei Xiang also play important supporting roles.

And besides the Japanese and Taiwanese Great White Towers, there is also a South Korean version as well: Behind The White Tower. This Korean drama is adapted from Shiroi Kyoto and stars Kim Myeong-Min as Dr. Jang Jun-Hyuk (the Korean version of Dr. Zaizen) and Lee Seon-gyoon as Dr. Choi Do-Yeong (Dr. Satomi's alter-ego). As this is an adaptation of Shiroi Kyoto, the plot is essentially the same as the Japanese one.

Actually although I still like the Japanese version the most, I think that all three versions of The Great White Tower are very well made drama serials and worth watching. Check them out and good luck to The Hospital at the Golden Bell Awards!

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1 comment:

Janna said...

Wow. It's Jerry Yan movie. I'm one of his fan so I think I would love to watch his movie The Hospital.