Sunday, January 31, 2021

Where is Ming De University in 'Meteor Garden' 2018?


"Hana Yori Dango" is a tale that has been retold several times all over Asia but it never seems to go out of style. Various generations of viewers from Japan to Indonesia have clearly taken a liking to the 1990s shōjo manga, which has been adapted several times for TV. Taiwan turned it into a live-action series first with 2001's "Meteor Garden", which catapulted its leads to superstar status across Asia, before the Japanese version hit screens in 2005. It was followed by the highly successful Korean version in 2009, remembered as one of the greatest spreaders of hallyu (Korean wave) in history.



But it would not be until 2018 when mainland China finally released its own take on the Flower Four. The series basically reboots the Taiwanese version, with the same producer and title (simply "Meteor Garden").



The 2018 "Meteor Garden" takes the story overseas from Taiwan to Shanghai, where you can find the real-life counterparts of Ming De University.



While there is a Mingde College in real life (part of Guizhou University), the fictional Ming De University takes the form of several existing institutions in and around Shanghai. The university you see in the title sequence is actually Shanghai Jianqiao University in Pudong Lingang. 




Now this is one huge university: its campus covers 65 hectares while its real estate holdings reportedly amount to 800 acres. 



When Shan Cai's (Shen Yue) mom walks her to the university on the first day of school, you are looking at the entrance of the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum. The futuristic structure, which cost $180 million to build, has been used as a movie set several times and hosted heads of state. A fitting backdrop for someone as loaded as Dao Ming Si (Dylan Wang), you might say.



Credit: Greg Peterson


Interior shots were done at the Xi'an JiaoTong Liverpool University, which is not in Shanghai but in the city of Suzhou less than half an hour away by high-speed railway. 




The university, founded in 2006, is a joint venture between the University of Liverpool and Xi'an Jiaotong University. Incidentally, the overseas scenes were filmed on location in Britain.



It bears remembering that China's "Meteor Garden" was not only filmed in school. It also took place in several cool-looking locations around Shanghai such as the Now Factory Creative Office Park in Jiading. 



The "Hana Yori Dango" adaptations show no signs of stopping anytime soon. Next stop? Thailand.  



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