Jianliang, Lee (aka Henry Wong)
** Note: In the original Japanese version of "Digimon Tamers", "Henry Wong"s name is Jianliang Lee (Lee · Jianliang, to put it in the proper Chinese style). He is 10 years old at the beginning of the show,not 13.
Henry is not in the same class class as Takato. Accordingly, when Takato first meets him, he calls him by his last name, "Lee-kun".
("kun" is a suffix for male names that shows respect, but also indicates that the users are not yet closer friends).
As a result of all this, when the actual show began, Henry was given the nickname "Lee-kun" in many of the published materials introducing the show (in Japan).
I decided what Takato would later come to call him in the second episode,when Terriermon used the nickname "Jian".
Producer Seki had decided on having an immigrant, or Japanese child who had grown up in a foreign country, but I made Henry half-Chinese and half-Japanese. This was based on the statistical fact that the number of foreign students is increasing in many elementary schools across Japan.
Originally, what I had hoped to accomplish with Henry was to demonstrate "a difference in values". His role was to be someone who would toss in a different perspective -- something to oppose or conflict with Takato's childlike beliefs and values.
This can be shown in the original stances taken by the Tamers.
However, children overcome such differences with ease.
Henry's own themes slowly expand to that of family: the focus of the dramatic tension shifts from Terriermon, to his sister, to his mother, and finally his father.
Digimon Tamers was set up like a serial drama or continous series, where each problem is not resolved within the span of an episode.
This style of drama, in which multiple characters and various storylines progress simultaneously, is exemplified by the multiple Emmy-award-winning drama "L.A. LAW" or "Hillstreet Blues".
Of course, to accomplish something like this in an animated series, all of the writers must stay in close contact with each other.
I actually had a block of time in which I was not writing my own scripts, and during this time I focussed on organizing and adjusting the various plots.
I now realize that, of all these various threads of continuity, the one that became thickest and strongest was the drama between Henry/Jianliang and his father, Jiang-yu.
In the (Japanese version of the) last episode, Jiang-yu comes to his son,expecting a tirade against him for his "betrayal".
However, Henry (Jianliang) forces a smile through his tears, and shakes his head "no" to tell his father that there's no need to apologize; he has already forgiven him.
I thought that in this scene, Henry's face was beatific and full of radiance.
It was decided fairly quickly that Henry would be played by Mayumi Yamaguchi, who played Gabumon (a regular cast member in Digimon Adventures/Digimon Season One).
I remember that the difficult role of a young man in the early stages of puberty was very naturally and skillfully performed.
In addition, Mayumi Yamaguchi brought a wealth of experience as a "senpai" or "elder" in the Digimon Series, and was able to help both myself and Director Kaizawa in such areas as the pronounciation of unique Digimon terminology such as "Digivice".