Narrative Reflections: Narratives in Music Videos

Note: This was originally posted in Narrative Reflections as a blog post for an undergraduate honours module, Narrative Structures.

I’m going to examine the narratives in music videos, with a closer look at two music videos by Tohoshinki.

The mv featured two different scenes interspersed with each other: one set in what looks like a church, featuring members of Tohoshinki singing the song; another set in what looks like a dance practice studio. I am only going to focus on the latter, since it seemed that only the latter has a narrative.

The narrative in the dance practice segment begins with a man, likely a ballet dance instructor watching on as ballet dancers practises their moves.The next scene then shows a young girl sitting at a bench in the corner, holding on to a mop as she watches the dancers practise. The instructor is then shown applauding the dancers.We then see the dancers filing out of the studio happily as the young girl watches on and picks up the mop and pail next to her, as if preparing the clean the place. The next scene shows her beginning to mop the place, all alone. We then see her looking up as she is mopping to find a pair of ballet shoes on a stool. She went to where the stool is, picks the shoes up. While we do not see her putting on the shoes, we can see them on her feet as she twirled around in the room. She continues twirling around until we see her turning to where the dance instructor is shown watching her dance. She then turns around and saw the instructor.He is then shown handing what looks like a costume over to her. The next scene then showed her dancing in the costume, happily.

The problem comes when there is a certain disjunct between the two scenes. The song is sung by Koreans in Japanese but they are Asian, nonetheless. The characters featured in the dance studio segment, however, are all caucasians. It is odd that they choose caucasians to feature in a Japanese music video.

Another disjunct comes when there is no direct link between the dance studio segment and the lyrics of the song since the lyrics are not narrating what is going on.

Compare this with the video below:

Doushite Kimi Wo Suki Ni Natte Shimattan Darou? or Why did I fall in love with you? is another song sand by the same boyband. Like the previous video, there is also a two different segments interspersed with one another – again one with the members sing and another with the narrative.

However, as can seen in this video, there is not much of a disjunct between the lyrics of the song and the narrative segment of the mv. Despite the insterspersion of different frames of the narrative in the video (when the two main characters first met, the days they spent together when they were younger, sometime before the wedding, and during the actual wedding), we can see that the lyrics are the thoughts of the main male character in the narrative segment of the video. Although some scenes are seemingly viewed through the eyes of the main male character, and in other scenes we can see his face clearly, I argue that the lyrics reflects his inner thoughts, as though he is a first person narrator narrating his story through the lyrics of the song. This is because there is a match between the scenes an the lyrics.

While there seemed to be less of a disjunct in this mv compared to the previous one, there is still a disjunct since there are five voices singing the inner thoughts of one person! Nevertheless, the disjunct here and the disjunct in the first video can be reconciled since the general message of the lyrics in the first mv corresponds to the general air and storyline of the narrative in the mv, and the lyrics in the second mv directly corresponds to what is shown in the mv.


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