The Parities of Steve Jobs and Hyuuga Tooru in “Rich Man, Poor Woman”

Those of you who know me personally know that in addition to being an Apple freak, I am also more Japanese than most other Singaporeans. This drama season (summer, running roughly from July to September), I am addicted to “Rich Man, Poor Woman” a “Getsuku”(Fuji TV’s most famous timeslot for Japanese dramas, Monday 9pm, also the time slot that usually garners the highest TV ratings, and dramas in this timeslot usually receive the biggest budget from Fuji TV every season) drama about a love story between Hyuuga Tooru (Oguri Shun), a young and famous entrepreneur, and Natsui Matoko (Ishihara Satomi) a college student from Tokyu University who is unable to find work as graduation approaches. It’s my favourite drama of the year so far.

Being an Apple freak and “Chief Steve Jobs Worshipper”, I can’t help but keep noticing the blatantly obvious parities between the lead character, Hyuga Tooru, and Steve Jobs.

It’s highly probably that the scriptwriter, Adachi Naoko, wrote this script as a tribute to Steve Jobs.

*SPOILER ALERT* Those who are interested to watch the drama please be warned that there are a lot of spoilers below.

The Parities of Steve Jobs and Hyuuga Tooru

1. Steve Jobs behaved like a tyrant in his original stint at Apple, which he co-founded. So did Hyuuga.

2. Steve Jobs’ second company is called NeXT, Hyuuga’s company is Next Innovation.

3. Steve Jobs fell in love with a college student from a top college, Stanford. Hyuuga fell in love with Natsui, from Tokyo University, the most prestigious school in Japan.

4. Steve Jobs was forced out of his original company by a man whom he then trusted to be his partner, John Sculley, and Hyuuga was forced out of Next Innovation by Asahina Kousuke, his co-founder and partner.

5. Apple went downhill after Steve left, and so did Next Innovation.

6. Steve Jobs is all about Simplicity in all his products and UI(User Interface), and Hyuuga’s Personal File data system’s strongest point is the super simple User Interface that can be understood and used by everyone from young to old.

7. Steve Jobs’ crazy attention to product details and admiration for well built products (including the story about him spending a lot of time studying the construction, design and details of mercedes cars in the carpark) is matched by Hyuuga’s crazy attention to details about his furniture, and how he spent two years looking and thinking about the table that he wanted to buy.

8. Steve Jobs, in his younger days, stayed in a big house with very little furniture. So did Hyuuga.

9. Steve Jobs looked like a hippie in his early days before he founded Apple. After he cleaned up, he was a very charming and handsome guy who looked great in a suit. Hyuuga looked like crap before he started Next Innovation as well, and he too look great in a suit.

10. Steve Jobs loved Japan, especially Kyoto and its old temples (even though he did proclaimed that he will never visit Japan again after airport officials at Kansai International Airport ill-treated him). Hyuuga’s “place of peace” is in a Zen temple.

11. Steve Jobs was given up for adoption when he was young. So was Hyuuga. Steve eventually searched for his real parents but kept a distance, and so did Hyuuga, having found his real mother in episode 10 but not telling her that he is her son.

12. Steve Jobs founded Pixar during his exile, which became very successful, and Hyuuga founded Wonder Wall, which became quite successful during episode 10. Why do I call Wonder Wall the equivalent of Pixar in the drama? There is one very obvious fact;

John Lasseter, who is an important member of the Pixar team, looks like this with his usual dressing style:

and here is Hosoki, an important member of the Wonder Wall team, with his usual dress style:

The parity is so obvious that any REAL Apple historian can’t help but notice.

13. After his stint at NeXT and Pixar, Steve Jobs became an even better leader than before, and do did Hyuga after starting Wonder Wall.

14. Steve Jobs returned to Apple to save it from bankruptcy and turned it into the greatest company ever in tech history, and Hyuga is seemingly going to do the same to Next Innovation from the preview of episode 11, the last episode, at the end of episode 10.

These are just some parities that I can remember from the top of my head, and I’m sure there are even more. Will update as I remember.

While obviously the main story here is the crazily cute puppy love between the two leads and almost everything is fictionalised, I can’t help but feel consoled that Apple supporters are all doing their own tribute to Steve Jobs in their own ways.

Those who have yet to catch Rich Man, Poor Woman, please do! It’s my favourite Japanese drama of the year. The theme song by Miwa is crazily nice too. Though it sucks that Samsung paid their way into the product advertising for this show. It does serve as a reminder that this is all a parody of the real world.


MacRyu is the Mac Blog by Singaporeans and for Singaporeans. It was started in April 2007 as a side project of the then President of the Official Mac User Group of NUS, Ryu, and grew to become possibly one of the most popular Apple-related sites based in Singapore. MacRyu hopes to provide you with more Mac-related info, thoughts and stuff, from the Singaporean perspective.

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