Prominent “J-YouTuber” tells of her bitter experiences working with Japanese TV.
Many foreigners living in Japan would love to become famous on Japanese TV. But according to one popular foreign YouTuber in Japan the reality of appearing on television is far from glamorous. Micaela has told her 271,000 followers in a frank YouTube video that she was exploited by TV producers and has subsequently “quit Japanese TV”.
The Canadian born YouTuber has been living in Kyushu for around 10 years uploading hundreds of videos about Japan before she joined a “talent agency” for Japanese TV appearances. But as Micaela explains in the video she was very disappointed with the way she was treated.
You can see Micaela’s breakdown of her experiences of Japanese TV here:
Micaela says the TV producers she worked with were always keen to usurp her followers that she had garnered over many years on YouTube but they offered almost nothing in return except for the chance of more exposure. She says she had “tons of TV offers” but “not one of them paid” – even though they were always pressing her to share her appearance on TV to her followers on Twitter and YouTube. In fact, she ended up losing money by appearing on TV because she had to reduce her English teaching classes to find the time in her schedule. Micaela tells us that she believes YouTubers appearing on TV “deserve to be compensated for [their] work”.
Not only was she not getting paid but the one thing they did offer wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Micaela says, “being on TV has never brought me more traffic than being linked on another blog”. She advises other YouTubers that it is best to collaborate with someone or organize someone to write about your website, which will “definitely get you a lot more traffic than appearing on TV”.
Micaela is also critical of the way TV producers tried to portray her on screen. They were constantly trying to tell her to be more excitable. For one television shoot Micaela gave a report of a local convenience store. “The whole time we were doing this shoot he was just like can you just be more excited… smile more, be more energetic,” says Micaela. The final edited product of the shoot included a narration describing Micaela’s thoughts – a lot of which the producers made up without asking for Micaela’s permission. Micaela says the producers would often “give me a personality that is not mine”.
Micaela says she was constantly being told that she was less valuable than the other people working for her talent agency and that she needed to be aware that she was at the bottom of the food chain behind the “trainees”, “models”, “talents”, “personalities” and “celebrities”.
Here are some reactions to Micaela’s video:
“This is a kind of slave labour.”
“As an illustrator I can relate to so many of these points!”
“I love you for this video. I always knew that you were an intelligent person. You are one of my favourite YouTubers.”
Micaela does however qualify her opinions of her experiences with Japanese TV by saying ultimately the TV industry wasn’t for her and that others may be different from her and may be willing to put up with the negatives if they really want a career in the Japanese media.
You can check out more of Micaela’s videos on her YouTube channel Micaela ミカエラ.
What are your thoughts on Japanese TV? Do you think they exploit foreigners?