Opinionated Comparisons

… compare and contrast

Japan’s F4 versus Taiwan’s F4

Posted by MAaP on December 5, 2007

Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers)

Hana Yori DangoThe Japanese manga series Hana Yori Dango, created by Yoko Kamio, is a popular story of a poor girl who comes across the path of her school’s ruling elite group of four boys that goes by the name of F4. This is a shoujo romance manga series that has been acknowledged as the best-selling shoujo manga in Japan of all time!

The story starts with Tsukushi Makino, a working-class girl, going to school in a rich and elite school wherein the rich and famous attend. In this school, there is a group called F4, which is comprised of the four richest and most powerful guys in their area. The F4, however, can be abusive of their power over the school. Even the school principal and the staff cannot object to their wishes. The families of the F4, after all, are among the owners of the school.

Tsukasa Domyouji is the leader of F4. His childhood lonely and extraordinary, he grew up angry and dominating. One small word or action that pisses him off will make the person responsible and sorry. If someone stands up to them, the consequence is constant bullying and never-ending suffering. Everyone was afraid to be the subject of contempt of the F4, most of all that of Tsukasa Domyouji.

Until Tsukushi Makino, the leading lady of the story, stood up to them.

From there, the story begins to revolve around their love story, which has undeniably captured the hearts and attention of many audiences across Asia.

But the point of this post is not the story! The point of this post is to compare which of the two F4’s is better: Japan’s or Taiwan’s. After its hearty response among the readers of the manga series, Hana Yori Dango was made into a live action series.

Taiwan’s Meteor Garden

Taiwan's F4Taiwan went first in making the TV series. They made some changes over the story: The setting was made in a university instead of that in high school, and the Japanese names and title was changed to Taiwanese. Hana Yori Dango was changed into Meteor Garden.

Jerry Yan plays the equivalent of Domyouji Tsukasa, who was renamed Dao Ming Si in the Taiwanese version. I have to say, he did a great job looking like the towering bully that the character is.

Vic Zhou plays Tsukasa’s best friend and his rival in love, Hanazawa Rui, renamed as Hua Ze Lei. Singer and dancer Vanness Wu (who did the rap in Beyonce’s Asian version of Crazy In Love) plays the guy who likes to play around with older women, Mimasaka Akira, renamed as Mei Zuo. Lastly, Nishikado Soujirou, renamed as Ximen, is played by Ken Chu. Barbie Hsu plays the leading lady, Tsukushi Makino, renamed as Xian Cai.

Japan's F4

Japan’s Hana Yori Dango

Japan only made their live version of the manga series after Meteor Garden received enormous popularity across Asia. They stuck to the original title and names (it’s originally in Japanese, after all). They also used the same high school setting as in the manga series.

Jun Matsumoto (middle, right) plays Tsukasa Domyouji. Shun Oguri (top left) plays the silent Hanazawa Rui. Tsuyoshi Abe plays the womanizing Mimasaka Akira (top right) and Matsuda Shota plays Nishikado Soujirou (bottom). Tsukushi Makino is played by Mao Inoue.

My Verdict: Well, each one has their strengths and weaknesses. But overall I choose Japan’s F4. While their look as a group isn’t as overpowering and bully-like as that of the Taiwanese F4 (Jun Matsumoto is the shortest among the four and he’s the leader?!), their acting skills make up for it. Jun Matsumoto is a well-established actor, and so is Shun Oguri, whereas the Taiwanese F4 are only at the beginning of their acting careers when they made the series. The female lead also added some spice (of course!). Barbie Xu, however okay her performance was, could not add up to Mao Inoue’s display of willpower and determination as is required of the character.


39 Responses to “Japan’s F4 versus Taiwan’s F4”

  1. LadyXS said

    I agree. I thought Japan’s Hana Yori Dango was much better ^^

  2. aj_aaronc said

    Though most comments I’ve read online praised Hana Yori Dango. I still like Meteor Garden better. They have amazing settings and their F4 is far more charming. And although, Japan’s plot was more fast-pace and straight to the point, I still won’t choose it over Meteor Garden’s ” cute” and “adorable” scenes =) [love jerry yan!! <3] Go JVKV!!

  3. anthirwen said

    soon, this will be…

    Japan’s HYD vs Taiwan vs… Korea.

    hmm, i still prefer Japan’s HYD.

  4. Aki_Am said

    After watching both series, I would have to say that I preferred Hana Yori Dango to Meteor Garden. I think that the Japanese F4 made a stronger group. They looked the part and played the part better than the Taiwanese F4. The slower paced Taiwanese version slowly made me lose interest in the drama, whereas, in Hana Yori Dango, it did not get sluggish. Furthermore, mao Inoue really brought the character of Makino to life. Barbie Xu played the part well but did not come off as a strong Makino.

  5. tinyaaa said

    hm… I dont really like taiwanese so i’d say japanese and I liked the Japanese version! daisuki 😛
    is there a korean version??

  6. shiftee said

    I hope there’ll be a Korean version, too. But I doubt they’ll make it. It’s rare for a manga to have three TV serial versions. 😀

  7. shancai said

    hanayori boys is too ugly

    the f4 boys is the most popular

    and they are original

    hanayori boys copy cut

    • angelica cester said

      why did u saia the hanayori boys is too ugly
      the trying there best to make the hana yori dango is the best pro nilalait mi lng ganun-ganun lng

      ikaw ang copy cut

      sorry to say this.

    • Sen said

      copy cut? you mean “copyCAT”. that’s a domyouji moment right there lmao. anyway shancai, MG was NOT the original; HYD was since the manga is japanese and was made in 1992-93 by yoko kamio. MG had its basis on the manga. there were alterations however like the names, the school setting, and even the ending (although it’s understandable since the manga wasn’t finished yet when MG was about to end).

  8. shancai said

    i luv f4 meteour garden

  9. Selena21 said

    F4 meteor graden ain’t the original. It has already been adapted into movies even before the Taiwan version, so learn some facts before you end up looking stupid in the internet. In addition, if you are going to base talent on people’s looks, then I must say you are very vain. F4 Meteor Garden is not exactly the looker either besides they are not well-groomed to be actors. Well, that’s my opinion anyway.

  10. Luna_Shin said

    well guess what…there’s already a korean version!
    casting begins already…

    but no definite artistes chosen yet, except for rui’s character.

    am a big fan of HYD–got the books and both the series (Japanese and taiwanese version)

  11. shiftee said

    Really? there’ll be a Korean version? ooohh… that I gotta see..

  12. katie said

    Maybe it’s just me, but Damn Japanese guys are just not cute.(scratch head) Yes, I must be shallow, but that’s what you get when you become an actor or actress, you get judged based on your looks. Also who f-ing cares who if people end up looking stupid on the internet, it’s the f-ing internet, it’s not like we all on here will ever meet.

    Though meteor garden is old, it’s still a favorite of mine. I tried watching the japanese version and couldn’t get through it.

    • Sen said

      um, that’s why it’s called ACTOR because you “act”. looks may help you alot but if that’s the only thing that matters, you should just become a model then. and yes, you are definitely shallow.

  13. dbsk luver said

    yeh~~cant wait for korean version
    rumours SS501 LEADER KIM HYUN JOONG will be casted as hanazawa rui
    i hope DONG BANG SHIN GHI oppa oso act

  14. KKana said

    honestly, the best version of hyd is the tw’s MG
    i feel the casting was better …
    it’s prolly best due to it being first to portray the story ..
    and did an ok job despite of the low budget …
    and the main ppl in it are not professional actors or actress to begin with, i think they did a very good job…
    it’s most memorable for me, i only saw some parts of the jp’s version, it has a bigger budget, in that sense, it could portray the story better, but somehow it lacked something..
    so i didn’t want to see it ..
    now watching korean’s version, again, bigger budget … makes everything pretty ..lol.. and they found a jerry look-alike as well, it’s like i am seeing jerry in korean version..lol
    very similar portraying of the character, his expressions are very similar’s to tw’s … it’s like a copy cat..
    but jerry is better looking, the korean star’s face, somehow, it’s not right, something is odd, but he is still not bad looking, whereas jerry’s features, are better put together and make him very handsome.
    The cutest female lead is korea’s, but i still like tw’s version best, I also like barbie.
    The tw’s casts have better chemistry …
    The F4 is as a group, whereas in korean’s, the other two are like in the background alot …. was it so in jp’s ?!?

  15. KKana said

    the best Hanazawa Rui is Vic Zhou (tw’s) … there are no comparing really!= !??! PLS …lol
    In terms of looks, and the way he acted in the drama, it’s like a copy out of the manga …
    i admit the jp’s, i don’t mind the casting in terms of looks, they are ok, and they acted better?! As some of you said, and why not, since, they are supposedly to be professionals??! lol
    Where as the tw’s, they are not acting professionals to begin with, despite of that, i think they did a awesome job to portray the characters.
    I agreed barbie (tw) doesn’t look like Tsukushi Makino fr the manga, the look wise, is prolly the jp’s actress fits best.

  16. pauly said

    the japanese version has very strong points but i prefer the taiwanese version better. i can watch that series may times over. the japanese characters are not appealing at all. the series itself was very funny though. but only after a while of watching it can you ignore the cast’s appearance. as for mg, one has to watch once and he/she will become hooked to the series. acting-wise, the jap were much better but that’s only because those guys ARE actors to begin with. i think, the taiwanese were good enough. if only the taiwanese verion could’ve been edited and directed better, no doubt there wont even be an issue like this.

  17. shiftee said

    Let me just take this opportunity to say thank you to all those who posted comments! 😀

    And you guys might want to go onto my new post, still on HYD but I’ve also included the Korean version:

    HYD Cast: Taiwan versus Japan versus Korea


    • andieken said

      After viewing the F4 series from the three great countries…i finally conclude that South Korean’s version is best…why?…its because the plot…of the story…the series of events…the characters portrayed by the cast … is well defined…it does not focus only about the main led but as well as the other characters…the director job is a thumps up!!! because even the smallest detail which is the fashion sense of the cast is well appropriate to the story…not to mention the looks…yeah!!! much better good looking than that Thai & Japan actors…though its a romantic novel but it comprises all in one package of a well made film…love,tragedy,etc…and a happy ending…which every viewer long for a great satisfaction at the end…at least much better closure!!! So congratulation to the South Koreans!!!!BRAVO!!!GOOD JOB!!! I’m really entertained by your movies…in fact, I’m looking forward for more great stories to tell…

      its meh!!!
      Andieken of the Philippines

  18. chloe said

    I saw Taiwan’s Meteor Garden 3 years ago, and curiously watch Japan’s Hana Yori Dango in order to be able to make a comparison..

    Surprisingly i enjoyed HYD, and yes i can say HYD is better than MG..

    For the fans of Vic Zhou in MG, definitely you will enjoy watching his face on screen.. But with regards to acting, the flow of story, delivery of dialouge i appreciate more that of Japanese Version..

  19. Pz said

    hey !!korean version is de best.japanese’s ugly.y japanese f4 a scary?i’d a nightmare whenever i watch japanese..believe me!korean is de top

  20. Michiee said

    Heyy isn’t that Boys over Flowers? o-o Those are the names from Boys over Flowers xP

  21. mk said

    I got to say meteor gardan is better than boys before flowers. While boys before flowers is better than hana yori dango. To me, The guys in Boys before flowers is cute while the boys in meteor garden is hot but the boys in hana yori dango is juz okay for me. The lead actress I’ll choice San Chai coz I think her acting is better than Jan di cuz i think she’s cute than the Japanese girl not really sure of her name in the show. Love all of them thought………

  22. […] once made a post comparing Meteor Garden’s and Hana Yori Dango’s cast. South Korea has brought out their HYD cast counterparts, though, and there has been a lot of talk […]

  23. HanBangTrang said

    i really like taiwanese version! Love F4 of Taiwan forever !!!

  24. duckie said

    I prefer the Japanese version of Hana Yori Dango. The Taiwanese version dragged on too long and got me bored halfway through. The Korean version had nice clothes, but the cast didn’t do so well. Overall, it was still the JP version that dominated.

  25. raimi said

    I’ve seen only parts of the Taiwanese and six episodes of Boys Before Flowers. .. whereas I’ve seen Hana Yori Dango three times already. I think it’s easy to tell which version is my favourite.

    In my opinion, HYD was fast-paced enough when the other versions dragged things wayyy for way too long and had more terrible actors. For example, Hanazawa Rui as played by Oguri Shun.. there is no match for the guy. I loved him in that role. HYD didn’t get boring like the korean version and so on.

    and I didn’t even like the manga, so I don’t really care if those dramas follow it or not.

  26. fina said

    i prefer japan n korea…

  27. A-M said

    for me japaness f4 are more batter than f4 korea and f4 taiwan. I taking about they acting wei!!!! for look 3 of group are good. but jepaniss are totally looks Dangerous.

  28. elizabeth said

    Hana Yori Dango Japan wins for me. They’re F4 looked the part and acted their roles excellently. I do not think the manga creator expected the F4 looks to be so perfectly good looking, a guy too pretty ain’t that appealing. They have to be strong and manly and not so perfect but still appealing.

    I like the MG soundtrack. I don’t like the korean version, it’s too fancy, I mean I’ve had enough of the story besides I don’t like lee min ho and the girl.

    I still can’t get passed my admiration on how HYD jap turned out. Its the best for me.

    • Michiko said

      I prefer the korea version cause it makes the whole people who watched this screamed! I like the f4 especially Lee n kim hyun jung….

      Lee min ho is sooo handsome and i think he is perfect 4 the character domyoji tsukasa! but I quite dun like jan di 2, idk why

  29. april mueda said

    hanah yori was sucses for this drama

  30. JEFF said

    hey guys i dont know if you guys still talk about hana yori dango. i just saw the Japanese version recently, and i would say its WAY BETTER than the Taiwanese version. The acting was wonderful, the settings are more fascinating, and the characters gave justice to their roles. Its good they stick with the manga, although i must admit that jun matsumoto’s height bothered me in a little, but hes acting was superb!!!

  31. ericca said

    i want wu chun and jerry yan will be together again in one movie…

  32. WC said

    I’ve watched both and I’m not asian. I like both but Meteor garden is my favorite. I watched it initally without English subtitles but still got hooked even though I wasnt for sure exactly what they were saying. It reminds me of a cool summer vacation and always will.

    • Sen said

      so watch with the english subtitles then to understand the story completely. i suggest you watch the japanese version. its the best in terms of acting and chemistry between the two leads.

  33. Kyi Tha Win Myint said

    I like Japanese F4 and I watch it once a week.:)

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