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Racy Japanese Netflix drama Fishbowl Wives pushes the boundaries of female infidelity

A J-Drama released earlier this year has shocked viewers with its racy scenes, which include some dubious turn-ons – including one woman who can’t get enough of her husband’s colleague when he tucks into her homemade food. 

Based on a Manga book of the same name, Fishbowl Wives depicts six women living in the same Tokyo high-rise who are all in unhappy marriages, and the show follows their plight, with each wife getting their own episode. 

The protagonists are faced with objections from society due to their actions and must decide whether to continue their marriages or follow their lust to stay with their soulmates. 

Viewers tuning in have called the show ‘steamy’ and ‘spicy’ – saying: ‘Everybody and their momma is cheating’, while another wrote: ‘No warning, just steam and b*** cheeks’.

While others have taken fire at the controversial ending, saying it portrays abuse against women. 

  

Fishbowl Wives is a J-Drama that came to screens this year on Netflix – but the eight-parter has caused ripples with its lengthy, and graphic, sex scenes 

Plot twists and strange escapades have kept viewers hooked on the eight part series, that has an atypical sad J-Drama ending. 

The usually conservative Japanese culture doesn’t often show sex scenes, but this series pushes the boundaries – with some graphic scenes lasting several minutes. 

Viewers tuning into the 2022 series said they hadn't expected such an explicit portrayal of life in a Tokyo high rise

Viewers tuning into the 2022 series said they hadn’t expected such an explicit portrayal of life in a Tokyo high rise

Racy: The usually conservative reputation of Japanese film is challenged in this show

Racy: The usually conservative reputation of Japanese film is challenged in this show

Fishbowl Wives pushes the boundaries - with some graphic scenes lasting several minutes

Fishbowl Wives pushes the boundaries – with some graphic scenes lasting several minutes

Fans love the 'steamy' Japanese Netflix show which aired this year, and took to Twitter to praise the plot, but not everyone is happy with the controversial ending

Fans love the ‘steamy’ Japanese Netflix show which aired this year, and took to Twitter to praise the plot, but not everyone is happy with the controversial ending

It also explores concepts such as open marriage, cuckolding and narcissistic abuse – which is a lot to unpack in a limited series – leaving fans wondering if there’ll be a second instalment in 2023. 

Netflix has not made any official announcement about renewing the show yet.  

The Outsourcing Wife

Yaka gets a call from a bad boy ex-boyfriend Koichi(Yasuyuki Maekawa), who despite treating her badly, she still holds some attraction for (pictured)

Yaka gets a call from a bad boy ex-boyfriend Koichi(Yasuyuki Maekawa), who despite treating her badly, she still holds some attraction for (pictured)

Yaka (Shizuka Nakamura) is tired of her husband rejecting her sexually, and the pair, although comfortable with each other spend a lot of time playing video games together on the couch. 

Every time Yaka attempts to get intimate her husband says he is ‘too tired’ and Yaka is left lying awake wondering if she is still attractive. He also seems ambivalent about having a baby with her – something she desperately wants. 

One night she gets a call from a bad boy ex-boyfriend Koichi (Yasuyuki Maekawa), who despite treating her badly, she still holds some attraction for. After a chance meeting with the same psychic(Mei) who told them to meet their ‘twin flame’, Yaka realises that her ex is the other half of her soul, and despite his lack of stability finds herself thinking about him again, deciding he should be the father of her baby.

When they meet at a nearby restaurant he accosts her violently and she tries to flee, only to be pinned back against a wall. Soon enough she relents and kisses him back but soon disengages. 

Koichi keeps calling her, and eventually the pair end up in bed together, Yaka says during intercourse ‘this is the last time I will see you’ and makes it clear she wants to get pregnant. Her husband is unaware of his wife’s ‘outsourcing’ and they continue their contented but happy marriage. 

In the final scene of the show, Yaka tells a friend she is pregnant but ‘doesn’t know who the father is’, she then pats her abdomen triumphantly, and takes a sip of her tea.  

The Lunchbox Wife

Food for thought: In the first scene of the 'Lunchbox Wife' we she Noriko's husband trying to persuade her to sleep with one of his colleagues, her reservations are inconsequential as her husband pleads with her

Food for thought: In the first scene of the ‘Lunchbox Wife’ we she Noriko’s husband trying to persuade her to sleep with one of his colleagues, her reservations are inconsequential as her husband pleads with her

Noriko (Olivia Castanho) lives to cook for her husband, who is a middle manager in the city, she is unassuming – a stark contrast to her loud, demanding husband, who appears to take her immaculately prepared meals for granted. 

In the first scene of the ‘Lunchbox Wife’ we she Noriko’s husband trying to persuade her to sleep with one of his colleagues,  her reservations are inconsequential as her husband pleads with her – and she goes along with the idea. 

Soon, her husband has found a willing accomplice in the form of one of his subordinates – who sits awkwardly in front of a mountain of food prepared by a nervous Noriko. 

Her husband demands the pair hold hands and kiss and they sample her dishes, getting more excited as the two gingerly embrace each other. 

Eventually, Noriko ends up taking a lunchbox straight to her new lover's house when she learns he is unwell.

Eventually, Noriko ends up taking a lunchbox straight to her new lover’s house when she learns he is unwell.

The graphic scenes in the Lunchbox Wife left some viewers cringing, as Noriko explores her husband's desires - but it doesn't all go to plan

The graphic scenes in the Lunchbox Wife left some viewers cringing, as Noriko explores her husband’s desires – but it doesn’t all go to plan

‘It’s happening!’ he tells his wife excitedly, and promptly kicks his colleague out, the pair loudly have sex while the colleague listens in the hall. 

The next encounter sees Noriko and the younger man get intimate with each other, followed once again by the cuckolded husband dragging his wife to the bedroom to have passionate sex with her, while his accomplice stands in an empty room listening. 

Eventually, Noriko ends up taking a lunchbox straight to her new lover’s house when she learns he is unwell. He reveals he hates going along with his boss because it’s hurtful to Noriko but is surprised when she says the sight of him eating her food turns her on. 

Soon enough the pair are having sex in his apartment, and Noriko imagines him eating her food messily during the act. 

Eventually, Noriko finds her independence and ends up leaving her husband for his workmate – who appreciates her lunches.  

The Headache Wife

The Headache Wife shows a woman who despises cheating, that ends up cheating with a dirty looking stranger that turns out to be her own husband

The Headache Wife shows a woman who despises cheating, that ends up cheating with a dirty looking stranger that turns out to be her own husband 

Hisako(Wakana Hatsumoto), can’t stand the idea of cheating and is often the butt of the joke among her friends for her ‘prudish’ nature. She lives in the high rise with her husband and son and often takes her poodle for long walks by the river. 

Every time people talk about cheating, Hisako gets an uncontrollable migraine. 

One day, whilst walking her dog, Hisako comes across an unkempt man(Hidekazu Mashima) sitting eating his lunch, he says he has ‘seen her around’ and she tells him her husband is away on business. The dog seems charmed by the man, despite his dirty appearance. 

 Soon they are talking, and she begins to get a headache, eventually fainting on the grass, the man who calls himself ‘Baba’ takes her back to his dusty, small flat. As she lies sleeping he kisses her and much to her surprise she kisses him back. 

Despite finding him attractive she runs from the flat, ashamed of herself. But the next day, unable to control her urges she finds herself at his flat once again, and the two have sex. 

Fans loved the unexpected plot twist in The Headache Wife, calling it 'wild' with some saying it was their favorite episode

Fans loved the unexpected plot twist in The Headache Wife, calling it ‘wild’ with some saying it was their favorite episode 

Baba admits he was kicked out of his home for cheating, losing his job and his wife and child for ‘one moment of pleasure that wasn’t worth it’ – and introduces her to his pet goldfish, saying it is the only reminder he has left of his own family. 

The pair continue their tryst for some time, before ,calls it off over the phone – feeling guilty about her husband. This is when Baba reveals he actually IS her husband, and the trauma she had from his cheating meant that she suffered from selective amnesia. He apologises for pretending to be a stranger, but explains it was the only way he could be close to her again – their young son is also in on it, encouraging his father along the way. 

The Chaperone Wife

Saya and her husband lose sight of each other during their marriage and former track star Saya has a near miss with a wealthy neighbor

Saya and her husband lose sight of each other during their marriage and former track star Saya has a near miss with a wealthy neighbor

 Former track star Saya(Anna Ishii) is depressed, and spends her time sitting on the sofa drinking beer. Her well-meaning husband(Atsuhiro Hinakai), who sells drinks to big firms- including Sakura and Takuya’s hairdressing empire Hiraga- tries to get her to go running again to no avail. 

Saya is rude and dismissive of her husband, who tries to force her to come on a running retreat. He implores her to do something – saying he’s worked hard to get them a nice apartment and life.

However Saya continues to be glum, and lets him go to the retreat alone. While he’s away she leaves the house and lies down on a wall outside the apartment, saying she wants to be ‘anywhere but in there’. Takuya finds her, and takes her in. 

The pair enjoy some sexual tension and Saya finds herself dressing up for the first time in a long time and heading to the top floor – as she lies down on the bed about to have sex with Takuya, her husband calls – saying he is running back from the retreat. 

He realises that he’s been moving too fast for his wife, and he hasn’t been seeing things from her point of view – apoloigising he says he will ‘slow down to her pace’. She decides to dust off her running shoes and meet him – abandoning Takuya. 

Saya and are one of the married couples who end up being each other’s twin flame – showing that infidelity doesn’t always lead to a better place.  

The Renovation Wife

Troubled Yuriha acts confident in public but privately battles an overbearing mother-in-law and a weak willed husband, she soon finds freedom when she finds a man with exactly the same birthmark as her, who is her 'twin flame'

Troubled Yuriha acts confident in public but privately battles an overbearing mother-in-law and a weak willed husband, she soon finds freedom when she finds a man with exactly the same birthmark as her, who is her ‘twin flame’

 The first glimpse we get of Yuriha(Anzu Lawson), the ‘Renovation Wife’ is in the first scene of the series – where she is having sex with Takuya in his penthouse flat. 

She uses Sakura’s exclusive French perfume and looks in the mirror, clearly self-satisfied, before heading to Sakura’s birthday party. 

Crafted as the obvious femme fatale of the series she speaks openly about affairs in front of the other women and makes it clear to her love rival that she is sleeping with her husband. 

Despite her initial unlikability, viewers see a different side to Yuriha in her episode, where it’s clear her husband and mother-in-law undermine her at every turn. During their house renovations Yuriha’s husband promises to build her an en-suite, so she can do her make-up alone. 

Tat's intimate: Yuriha covers up her lover's back tattoo with the same cosmetic spray kit she uses to hide her birthmark, her new man teaches her to take her make-up off and 'show her true face'

Tat’s intimate: Yuriha covers up her lover’s back tattoo with the same cosmetic spray kit she uses to hide her birthmark, her new man teaches her to take her make-up off and ‘show her true face’

Fans thought Yuriha's husband was a 'mummy's boy' after he failed to stand up for her when his mother decided to oversee their house renovations

Fans thought Yuriha’s husband was a ‘mummy’s boy’ after he failed to stand up for her when his mother decided to oversee their house renovations 

The reasoning behind this is an large bruised looking birth mark across the wife’s forehead – which she knows her mother-in-law will find unsightly. However, when the builders get to work her controlling in law scraps plans for a private bathroom. 

With her affair with Takuya fizzling out after he cruelly tells her he’s not ‘feeling it’ anymore, one of the builders catches Yuriha’s eye as he bears exactly the same birthmark as her. 

The pair soon get close when he asks her to cover up a large back tattoo, as he has trouble getting insurance due to his ink, – but teaches her to love her birthmark instead of covering it up under cosmetics. The two start an affair with each other, but she remains in her marriage. 

The Fishbowl Wife 

Sakura and Haruto start a very open affair after Sakura flees her narcissistic husband - and end up running Haruto's goldfish shop together, however fans aren't happy with their fate - which sees them separate from each other

Sakura and Haruto start a very open affair after Sakura flees her narcissistic husband – and end up running Haruto’s goldfish shop together, however fans aren’t happy with their fate – which sees them separate from each other 

The main story arc follows Sakura ,played by Ryōko Shinohara, who is married to cruel and abusive Takuya(Masanobu Ando) – who openly has affairs and physically abuses her. The pair run a hairdressing empire together and their marriage is based on the perfect ‘power couple’ image they portray to the world. Sakura is unhappy, but doesn’t show it – and she makes sure that she does everything her husband says, including refraining from drinking tea at home as she is only ‘allowed’ coffee. 

The show starts with Takuya having sex with one of his mistresses, and then fawning over his wife at her birthday party, which is just a marketing ploy for their new salon opening. At the party, six wives sit down with a mysterious psychic Mei (Ren Hunami), who tells them they have to find their ‘twin flame’, otherwise known as the ‘other half of their soul’. She also tells them to ‘get a goldfish’ as it paves the way for a happy marriage. 

Sakura heads to the goldfish shop, clicking with the young shop owner – but insists she needs to ask her husband before purchasing one. 

Despite a passionate affair, the 'twin flames' weren't meant to be in the long run - and after an emotional goodbye Sakura remains single but is finally happy

Despite a passionate affair, the ‘twin flames’ weren’t meant to be in the long run – and after an emotional goodbye Sakura remains single but is finally happy

Some people felt so strongly about the ending that they ended up giving the series a bad rating as the 'message of the series is that abused women really like the abuse'

Some people felt so strongly about the ending that they ended up giving the series a bad rating as the ‘message of the series is that abused women really like the abuse’

When she arrives home, Takuya agrees absentmindedly to the aquatic pet and Sakura is overjoyed to bring her new pet home, especially as it bears the same name as her. 

However Takuya smashes the fishbowl in a rage and goes to squish the flopping fish with his foot, before Sakura saves it. After a struggle, Sakura flees the luxury property with the fish and instinctively finds herself back at the fish store where the owner, Haruto (Takanori Iwata) is waiting for her in the rain. 

The lovestruck pair, who are clearly ‘twin flames’ begin a sexual relationship and Sakura remains in hiding at the fish store with her new lover, news soon hits social media and Tokyo’s elite are soon gossiping about the celebrity couple’s marriage woes. 

Meanwhile an angry Takuya can no longer find solace in his affairs and sends people to locate his wife, who has found new confidence in her role as an aquatic expert, finally realising she can now drink what she wants, wear what she wants and enjoy a sense of freedom after years of abuse. 

Instinctively drawn to each other the lovers end up rebuilding each other's lives in multiple ways, and Haruto goes out of his way to keep Sakura safe from her abusive husband

Instinctively drawn to each other the lovers end up rebuilding each other’s lives in multiple ways, and Haruto goes out of his way to keep Sakura safe from her abusive husband

Haruto shows her a happy side to life, and teaches her all about fish, and despite misgivings from Haruto’s wealthy family, the two have a passionate love affair.  

As Sakura starts running the shop alongside Haruto, the Hiraga hair empire is crumbling and Takuya follows his wife around Japan – trying to drag her back home. 

Eventually through some clever filming, Sakura catches her husband assaulting her on camera and files for divorce – meaning that her and Haruto can finally be together. 

In a contraversial plot twist, Sakura leaves Haruto after the divorce is finalised and after a night of passion, she heads to help her abusive ex-husband rebuild the Hiraga hair empire saying ‘it’s my business too’, the pair don’t get back together and the implication is she never sees Haruto again. 

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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