Yoko is a 57-year-old nurse who runs a hospice facility from her household. Her ambition sparked when she lost her sister, who passed away from an illness in the ICU while eight tubes were inside her. She was drastically affected by seeing her sister pass this way and began taking care of hospice patients from her home to provide each of them a peaceful departure surrounded by family and friends.
This took over a huge part of her life. Her house filled with so many patients that she began making less time for herself. She even resorted to sleeping in a sleeping bag under her table so more patients could occupy her room. Yoko does everything for everyone else and is in desperate need of finding self-love.
In this four-episode season of “Queer Eye,” the Fab 5 — Karamo Brown, Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk and Antoni Porowsk —help Yoko and three other “heroes.” The group calls each person it plans on helping a “hero” because they’re the real heroes of each story. Each hero finds it within themselves to be the best representation of themselves as they can be.
In the previous four seasons, “Queer Eye” has taken on rural towns in various states such as Georgia and Kansas. This is the first time the gang has traveled outside the U.S. for their heroes.
This season is particularly special compared to past seasons of Netflix’s rendition of the “Queer Eye” series because it’s set in Japan, and the audience becomes submerged in the culture. Not only can viewers take away life lessons from watching these people overcome their personal challenges and accomplish their goals, but, for someone unfamiliar with Japanese culture, this mini-series reveals the importance of culture and how it varies in day-to-day life nationwide.
For example, when the “Queer Eye” cast enters Yoko’s home, they take their shoes off at the front door. This is an important Japanese custom to prevent their houses from getting dirty, especially because they spend many of their meals sitting on matts on the floor instead of on chairs at a table.
“Queer Eye” does an excellent job portraying the Fab 5’s experience in Japan authentically. The group immerses itself into these new surroundings, always asking questions and keeping a considerate mindset when helping their heroes. This makes kindness seem effortless and genuine because its members are consciously aware of where they are.
The group’s genuine nature is something it’s been prominently known for since the beginning, especially when the members refer to the people they’re helping as “heroes.” It prioritizes their needs and makes them the central focus point with everything else going on around them. It puts these people in a whole different perspective because the cast is helping others become the people they really want to be, and it shows how highly each member thinks of the person. They take the time to focus in on each individual and mold them into a more confident version of themselves. For the audience, it can be beautiful to witness the transformation of each hero, watching them evolve from the hardships they face to feel happier with their lives.
Yoko became the person she says she wants to be: a better dressed and well-kept single woman in Japanese society, who’s still passionate about everything she does but who makes more time for herself and feels more fulfilled.
Contact Joanna Sommer at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.