Japanese Television

A young woman leaning against a retro Japanese television in neon lighting with sunglasses laying around.

Japanese Television
Young Adult Editorial

Written by DJ Hadoken

From the circus of Ayumi Hamasaki specials and Morning Musume specials to hosts seeking random people and convincing them that there are UFOs awaiting them in a field, there is rarely a dull moment within a network of channels that create an impact on the society.

This network of channels hails the name of Japanese television.

Just as Bugs Bunny is known to America, one will not find a Japanese person who does not know the earless, cat-robot Doraemon.

An American girl may love Britney Spears, while a Japanese girl will talk all about Utada Hikaru.

Americans may all have learned something of Metallica, while in Japan the nation knows the tragic story of the pink-haired guitarist, Hide, of X-Japan.

And no matter what they originally gained fame for, one will find Japanese pop culture icons appearing in a plethora of entertaining, if not exotic shows.

A famous director known for creating violent and shocking Yakuza films, such as Takeshi Kitano, may appear on a political talk show and then later be found as a host on a show about paranormal phenomena.

A well known music group such as SMAP may appear on a game show competing for a trip to Hawaii, and then be found later hosting their own cooking show having the Japanese Yokozuna rating their food.

While the United States may be having its yearly Dick Clark special, Japan pits famous musicians against each other in a contest of males versus females.

During intermission, everyone will gather to dance to the music of the classic animation series, Cutey Honey and from the even better known, live-action super hero series, Kamen Rider.

A family may submit their child to a television show where it is forced to live on its own and provide for itself while a cameraman records every harsh and happy moment.

A man who does nothing but stand in his underwear and face the sun every day will appear on television to debate against ten people why his method of tanning is the healthiest while a host clips a microphone to his bare chest- maintaining the ultimate goal of convincing a rarely convinced audience of one hundred judges to agree with his views.

A nationwide broadcasting of the wedding of two well known Japanese celebrities may become the target of a lesser known comedy show, months later airing an hour long special on television depicting their own characters trying to sneak into the wedding while a group of cameramen try to avoid being spotted by invited guests.

Japanese adaptations of Western television appear in the forms of Survivor and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

However, Japanese television shows take it to their own level. Such as when a group of men dress up as Santa Claus and visit random homes to present their occupants with a $1000 question in the style of Regis Philbin, asking, “Is that your final Santa?”

After returning home from a trip to Japan, one may tell their friends and family about subtle cultural details such as how Japanese people touch their noses rather than point at their chests to refer to themselves and how they make mochi every New Years holiday.

But when it comes to talking about Japanese television, it remains a wonder which never ceases to amaze and appall.

It leaves tradition behind, creating a new and eccentric addition to modern culture.


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