Rich Man, Poor Woman Episode 1 Recap

Oguri Shun, Oguri Shun. Thanks to the live action versions of two of my all-time favorite mangas, HanDan and Hana Kimi, I fell in love with his acting. He’s played some pretty interesting characters. From a reticent rich boy to a gifted vet with a bad attitude and now a CEO of a top technology company who can’t remember names or faces. I enjoyed this first episode very much and since one of my loyal readers requested that I try to find time to recap this, I decided I would.

We open with Hyuga Toru [Oguri Shun] in a temple searching for someone named Sawaki Chihiro. There are no hits on that name whatsoever. He roles over in disappointment when his stock alert goes off. He grabs his phone and sits up looking happy as a stock he’s been watching for some time hits a certain level. Meanwhile, in an IT convention in Las Vegas, Hyuga’s staff are looking all over for him. Just where has their CEO gone off to? When they track him down to his room, it’s empty and all the email/text responses they have been getting were from an automated system. Clever trick.

So we then get a 3-way call between Hyuga’s right-hand man and best friend Asahina Kosuke [Iura Arata], Hyuga, and advisor Yamagami Toshiyuki [Sano Shiro]. The stock of Power Trunk in India has gone down and Hyuga wishes to purchase it. Should he do it? Yamagami is immediately against purchasing such a stock as even lowered, it is still astronomical. Asahina on the other hand thinks it’s a great deal. So do they buy the Indian stock or not? Hyuga ignores Yamagami’s warning and purchases it.

He then gets on his motorbike and rushes to the office where his assistant Yasuoka Michiya [Asari Yosuke]  rushes out to greet him and apprise him of what’s going on. Only Hyuga has no idea just who Yasuoka is. His assistant reintroduces himself as Hyuga’s assistant. He knows his boss doesn’t remember people who don’t interest him, but still. Hyuga smiles and says that he knows who Yasuoka is. The two get out of the elevator and are immediately surrounded by reporters who are all wondering about the new deal. We then get a breakdown of the company.

It’s an IT business that runs in a more relaxed atmosphere than most companies of the same values. People aren’t necessarily dressed in suits and they aren’t confined to claustrophobic cubicles. There’s places to eat, to exercise, there’s even sleep pods (or oxygen pods)…this kind of reminds me of Google’s main HQ, Googleplex. I mean, their they even have dentists and doctors so that you don’t have to leave work for such things. Amazing, isn’t it? Next Innovation is a company that Hyuga and Asahina started at a time when most people Hyuga’s age would be preparing for college entrance exams [it’s so funny to see the pictures of the unconfident geeky Hyuga when the company was just starting out in a basement]. Since all of their products are virtual [avatar clothing, etc.], they don’t have to worry if a product fails as they aren’t left with warehouses of stock. Hyuga does his best to promote competition amongst the different teams and he can literally make millions of yens in seconds with deciding on a new project. Wow.

So while Hyuga is the epitome of the self-made man, our heroine [Ishihara Satomi] is the complete opposite. Job hunting season rolled around (8 months earlier) and she must work at a part-time job, study for her final exams for college, and search for a full-time job for after school. However, interview after interview passes and there is not a single offer. Her friends have just as little success. This destroys what confidence she had at the beginning and she cannot figure out what differentiates her from those lucky enough to finally score the jobs she applies for. After 8 months of failure, she gets to the point where she cries and breaks down at interviews as she fails again and again. Poor girl. She sits outside the building which houses Hyuga’s office and watches people come and go. How are they so different from her? Why can’t she get a job? She also notices that her shoes have been completely wore down from all her interviewing.

Later Hyuga, Asahina, and Yamagami come together to talk about the future now that they have bought out this company in India which is known for its information database. Hyuga’s grand plan is to develop personal files for each citizen in Japan backed by incredible security so that the great pension record debacle does not happen again which meant that many people receiving pensions haven’t received their money as they should have (some, I don’t know if all, the records were erased). Hyuga’s new system would change that and help prevent such future occurrences. And, even not knowing right now who Hyuga’s searching for, you know that it’s not just because he wishes to help people that he wants to net this government contract and create these files. I’m not saying he has anything diabolical planned, just that there’s an obvious hidden agenda [to me at least]. Afterward Yamagami and Asahina talk about Hyuga’s spending and the trouble it can cause if the project falls through. Everyone would be out of a job. Asahina understand the risk, but he’s excited and trusts Hyuga’s vision. He also says he kept his promise to Yamagami when he scouted him—the job would never be dull. LOL. Well, there’s dull and then there’s utterly terrifying.

That night Hyuga goes to rest in one of the pods and does his customary search for Sawaki Chihiro. This time he finds a person with that name! Meanwhile, our girl is tired and depressed. Her friend Kuga [Furukawa Yuki] shows her an article on Hyuga’s success. He’s a self-made billionaire at only 29. This does not lift our girl’s spirits. Her other friend Ono (Nomura Masumi) shocks Kuga and Sawaki [I don’t think we know her real name yet] by saying that Hyuga never even graduated from high school. So his empire is built with only a middle school education. Impressive. Sawaki looks at Hyuga in a new light and the expression on her face…is hard to describe. It’s almost like she knows him, but then again, I don’t think she really does. Then there’s this look of wonderment and admiration for him. Some people would scorn him for the sole fact he doesn’t have an education or pedigree. As it happens, Next Innovation is hiring! Should Sawaki try her luck one more time?

Sawaki goes home and researches the company and Hyuga when she gets a phone call from her brother scolding her for not calling after she received the package that their mother sent. Poor Sawaki has kept all of her problems from her family so they don’t know just how dispirited she is thanks to her failed job hunt. Her little brother encourages her saying that she is soon to pass one of her interviews as she is very smart. Sometimes, brains aren’t everything believe it or not. Sawaki then goes to the package and opens it. There’s food and a small amount of money. She uses the money to buy new interview pumps. The worker who helps her says that she wore out several pairs before finally landing a job and wishes Sawaki luck. How…uninspiring…actually.

Hyuga emails the Sawaki Chihiro he found and apologizes if he’s being rude or forward. He introduces himself and then asks if it is possible that she is his mother. We then cut to a scene where little Hyuga [Manabe Sena] cries and calls after his mother who is leaving. Yep, I definitely think this is the real motive behind the personal files for everyone in Japan. He’s hoping that would help him find his mother. Hyuga then goes back to the temple where he gets hit for nodding off by a monk. Hyuga confesses to the monk that is why he goes to the temple, so someone can beat him as he’s about to fall asleep. He then says that he is searching for his mother and might have found her. There is no certainty that it is his mother, but he has some hope. Is his search for his past being selfish?  Fueki Tadamasa [Nakahara Takeo], the monk, assures him that it is not as everyone wishes to know where they come from (though some regret ever finding out).

Sawakwi heads to Next Innovation in hopes of being able to work for Hyuga. She takes a seat in the front and soon Hyuga pops up in all his eccentricity. He is looking for people who thrive on challenges and can be creative. He starts questioning the job hopefuls and translates all of what they are saying negatively. I mean, he does have a point if you pick on semantics and what a turn of phrase can mean, but still. He then picks on Sawaki and boy does he peg her to a “T,” well, except for the fact that she actually graduated from Tokyo University and not some obscure third-rate college. Asahina watches this all from the wings as his sister Yoko [Aibu Saki] comes and complains that it should be him on the stage and not Hyuga. Asahina wouldn’t have it any other way as Hyuga as eccentric charisma which Asahina does not possess. it’s at moments like these that Hyuga can really shine [like a total sarcastic arse].

Hyuga then dismisses every candidate who has not yet received and rejected two job offers. Ouch. This immediately disqualifies Sawaki. Angry and offended, the girl fights back without much success. Though she does impress Asahina with her memorization ability as she rattles off all of Next Innovations details. Hyuga praises her good memory, but still doesn’t think she’s right for the job. Sawaki then says that she learned all the information as she really wished to work with him at the company. As a parting shot, when he calls her by Ms. Tokyo University, she says that isn’t her name it’s Sawaki Chihiro. Asahina watches as this name obviously hits Hyuga hard. So she is Sawaki Chihiro. What of it? Hyuga walks away after saying that he’s memorized her name although he’ll probably forget her face (it’s a disability, not just forgetfulness, he has the inability to recognize faces).

Hyuga lacks energy that evening and Asahina wonders what is wrong. Of course, Hyuga won’t tell him what’s up. Yamagami is there as well and the three discuss the issues with their new idea. There are tons of other companies that want government contracts and them pursuing this can bring them more competition and enemies. They need to work on getting one woman on their side that is big on homework and the bottom line. Hyuga and she do not get along well at all. What to do? Take a woman with him to meet vice director Fujikawa Masako [Daichi Mao], but she wouldn’t like any of the females they have on staff. Hyuga then recalls there was a girl he met who was quite like Fujikawa. He goes through the resumes and pulls out Sawaki’s. This girl. He might have use for her after all.

Sawaki goes to Next Innovation the next day and tries to cheer herself up. She is the match of the people working there. She can do it and get a job. Of course when she sees the model-like female employees, she definitely knows she’s not their match. Hyuga pops up and asks her, by name, to come to his office. This causes work to come to a screeching hault. Hyuga remembered someone’s face and name! Yasuoka rushes up and says it’s amazing. He’s been working with Hyuga for 2 months and his boss still has no idea who he is. Sawaki then remembers that Yasuoka is the main who gets strange after two drinks (from her previous job of working in a restaurant).

She goes into Hyuga’s office and he asks how much she wants as he needs her for 48 hours. Sawaki is shocked and immediately backs away and covers her chest. LOL. Hyuga assures her that is NOT the case. He breaks down what the job entails. He needs her to impress the vice director that he doesn’t get along with. Since the the are a lot alike, he’s sure they will hit it off and that will bring him one step closer to landing the contract. He then gives her a huge binder for her homework. She has 24 hours to memorize it and then attend the banquet with him the next afternoon. Sawaki is disappointed that her work will be so short term. Hyuga laughs. She can’t honestly believe he would call her for an interview? Sawaki says she didn’t think he was and leaves. At home she complains, as maybe she and Hyuga could get along and work together if he only gave her a chance. She then spends all night memorizing the contents of the huge binder.

After all these years, Hyuga is finally getting another piece for his house. It took him forever to find a coach he liked and now he’s finally added a refrigerator. It’s so funny as he and Asahina work hard to position the fridge in the middle of an empty room. What’s the point of having a huge, empty house? Anywho, Asahina wonders why Hyuga didn’t have professionals bring the fridge and Hyuga says they don’t get him. Asahina understands this as he is probably the only one who gets Hyuga’s quirks and eccentricities. He then says that gives him a heavy responsibility and he also says that Hyuga exploits him. LOL. He expresses some concern over their new project and Hyuga can’t believe that his friend is worried, too. Asahina says that isn’t so, if it’s Hyuga, he believes its possible. They then talk of their past when they just started the company. Hyuga wrote that they would be in control of their own futures and Asahina wrote that nothing was impossible for them in which he meant solely Hyuga. At this time, Yoko rings the bell.

Hyuga answers the door and she introduces herself. She goes to say something more, but changes her mind. She apparently has met Hyuga before, but he doesn’t seem to recall her at all. She comes in and Asahina formally introduces them. Yoko is a cook and will start working in the company’s restaurant soon. Hyuga smells some of the food she brings and doesn’t seem too happy with it. She watches him with a smile while her brother opens a bottle of wine. He’s a picky eater, isn’t he? This surprises Hyuga. Yoko then laughs and slaps his shoulder saying that you can tell by all the vitamin supplements he has in his fridge. Yoko goes over to her brother and he says that he will see her often, but she won’t be able to meet Hyuga often. Why? He doesn’t remember names or faces. Hyuga’s head pops around the fridge door and he smiles saying he’ll remember. But can he?

Sawaki goes to Next Innovation and slams the binder on his desk. Her standard is 75. She has completely memorized the materials so Hyuga shouldn’t underestimate her. Hyuga says whether or not the project is a success, they will have to wait and see. Hyuga then complains that their target is a cool and sophisticated woman and Sawaki just looks like a failed job hunter. He takes her clothes shopping and to a salon for a complete makeover. She cleans up nicely. I think Asahina, who they meet later, is kind of crushing on the transformed Sawaki. Anywho, he’s much nicer to her than Hyuga is.


They get to the party and Sawaki is feeling a little overwhelmed, but she bucks up and does her best. Her knowledge is quite impressive. She really did memorize everything in a night. She easily impresses Fujikawa. When the vide director calls over another minister (whom Hyuga has met previously, but obviously can’t remember), Asahina goes to rush to his aid, but Sawaki is there telling Hyuga who the person is, what he does, and what they talked about before. Asahina watches all of this and even though he knows Hyuga is set to toss her aside, it looks like she could actually be someone who could help Hyuga along greatly.

While things are going well, Sawaki slips up as she says farewell to Fujikawa when she states that with the latest developments at Next Innovation and the contract, they can ensure something like the pension scandal will never happen again. Fujikawa claims partial responsibility for that big guffaw and leaves. Hyuga immediately bawls poor Sawaki out and rushes out. Asahina quickly comes to the rescue to comfort her and tell her what a good job she had done that day. Hyuga calms down and realizes that he has Sawaki’s shoes in the car still. He turns around after deciding she did do a good job and should get some praise. When he sees her with Asahina though, he comes to a screeching halt and then drives off again, seemingly upset. Why would seeing Asahina and Sawaki together upset him?

We then end with Asahina confronting Sawaki. He has had her investigated and knows that Sawaki Chihiro is NOT her name. Duh-dun-duh! Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Sawaki doesn’t care as that is what got her noticed, so what does it matter what her real name is. Asahina then asks just who is Sawaki Chihiro and why would that name stand out to Hyuga? Hmm. Why doesn’t Hyuga’s best friend know?


  • Hi, there Neenee…i really appreciate you for recapping PMPW…i’ve been your follower since Bachelor Vegetable Shop and Ikimen Desu Ne (hope you remember)

    I fell in love with this drama since its 1st episode…i guess that’s the effect if you have good drama plot…(on modern cinderella style) plus the great actors with it…not to stand the perfect chemistry between Shoguri and the heroine.

    Keep it up, Neenee…i’m actually posting your site in my FB account to attract more fans of yours.

    • Hi MariePhils,
      Yes, I do remember. Thank you for sticking around with me ^_^

      I really did fall for this drama at the first episode. While the plot did not sound wholly original, I was impressed by the plot and the twist on this trend of rich men and poor woman. It does make it feel fresher and Oguri’s acting is just awesome, not to mention our female lead’s.

      And thank you for the promotion! I’m going to try to get episode 3 up tonight if life and some new problems with my car don’t get in my way 😛

  • There are 2 points that captivated me in episode 1 of RMPW.

    1. on the part of Hyuga who has a trouble of remembering a face or name, but he was able to recognize Sawaki. Is it just because she has the same name as his mother. I mean, he knows the name, but not her face, right. So what the heck that Hyuga remembers Sawaki? Do they have interesting past which will be revealed later towards the episodes run?

    2. then, why of all many names out there…Sawaki chose to use the name of Hyuga’s mom? Did she know Hyuga’s mom?

    Early in this episode i could see a rivalry of LOVE between Hyuga and Asahina over Sawaki. And i could see that a Sawaki Chihiro name will be forever use by our heroine – for a great purpose in which Asahina and Sawaki will be secretly kept.

    Rich Man, Poor Woman already had me on its 1st episode. Can’t wait for Episode 2.

  • Hi guys,
    I just finished the subtitles of
    “Rich Man, Poor Woman ep03”
    with Shun Oguri:
    you can follow the progress of my subtitles
    on Twitter:
    Eric Paroissien

  • hey neenee,

    thanx for recaping this drama as wel. My first JDorama and what a show it is. Grt acting, unexpectd twists, ultimate background and ost, and male lead just an eye candy. Lovd the pace the show is moving, i cnt even blink my eyes thinking i’l miss some action.

    And ur recap is just cherry on top. Thanx dear.

    • You’re welcome! I originally didn’t plan on recapping this drama, but a few loyal readers made the request, so I broke down and did it.
      You chose a great drama for your first (my first was Hana Yori Dango and I’ve been a dramanut ever since). The acting was great and there were some twists that were unexpected. I also really loved the OST & miwa’s background sounds, they were so apropro for the entire series.

      I am glad that you’re enjoying the recaps with the series 🙂

  • Did you notice who was one of the producers of this drama? Matsumoto Jun. Hm… Where have we heard that name before…?

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