SMAP, one of Japan’s most famous pop boy band groups, have announced they will disband at the end of this year.
NHK’s reign of terror on the Japanese public continues in an unprecedented court victory over a man who engineered his television to refuse their service.
Are people in Japan becoming more wary in their own homes?
From Castle Day to Haircut Day, there’s an old-school, black-and-white video for any occasion!
The mascot character for Japan’s national broadcaster would like to show his “domo” by making you pay for his food.
Disney is getting its hands on all it can this year—you’ll even be able to catch a special performance by Star Wars characters and Arashi at annual singing contest Kohaku Uta Gassen this year.
Why have a boring old round Christmas pudding when you could have a delicious fruit-cake version of Japan’s national broadcaster’s mascot on your table?
I often enjoy watching the educational programming of NHK’s E-Tele in the mornings with my family while we get ready for the day. It’s full of fun and educational shows that teach everything from English to geography, and Pitagora Switch (Japanese pronunciation of “Pythagora Switch”) is a big crowd favorite. It showcases cute little machines similar to Rube Goldberg devices where a ball travels along an array of painstakingly arranged cups, springs, ramps, pulleys and whatever else they can cram in to get to the other end.
My two-year-old daughter always gets a kick out of its blend of physics and fun, and now apparently so does much of the Western world after a segment of the show posted onto YouTube has received rave reviews on Reddit for its unique combination of story-telling and Rube Goldberg machinations.
Mitsuaki Iwago is a notable wildlife photographer, and is the only Japanese photographer to have his work grace the cover of National Geographic more than once.
So far he has journeyed to over nine different countries to photograph cats, and he doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Iwago believes that by studying cats we can better understand people, and has mentioned his affinity for shooting felines during multiple interviews.
Apparently the cats feel the same way about Mr. Iwago – just check out this footage taken from one of his past adventures!
Apparently, the Okinawan branch of oft-despised broadcaster NHK (Nihon Hoso Kyokai or Japan Broadcasting Corporation) had been receiving complaints, starting around 2008, from concerned parents about a morning host who was boasting some exceptionally large assets and making men and teenage boys feel all funny and conflicted while tucking in to their morning cereal.
Former announcer Tomoka Takenaka says viewers would regularly call in to complain about her (Japan size) G-cup breasts, with such gems as, “I can’t concentrate on the news [with those things in my face]!” and “It’s not good for kids to see [huge breasts] first thing in the morning”.
After additional on-set bullying from co-workers, Takenaka decided she’d had enough and called it quits to ironically pursue a career where her endowment would be more appreciated: modeling.
On March 18, three terrorists attacked and took hostage patrons at the Bardo National Museum in Tunisia, killing 21 people and injuring about 50 others. Among those injured was Noriko Yuki, a Japanese tourist visiting Tunisia with her mother.
Ms. Yuki sustained a gunshot wound in the attack and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. There, shortly after her surgery, she was immediately bombarded by Japanese media looking to interview her, with some members of the press apparently going so far as to tell the Japanese ambassador watching over her that he did “not have the authority to stop us from interviewing her.”
Naoki Hyakuta is the writer of hit books such as Monsuta (Monster) and Eien No Zero (Forever Zero) both of which were adapted into films, the latter of which grossed 8.76 billion yen (US$72.5M) at the box office. In 2013 he was appointed to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK’s management committee.
However, after a slightly tumultuous engagement with the high-profile company, Hyakuta stepped down in February this year. Since then he appears to be enjoying his freedom to speak more freely again on Twitter, and as a result he has already irked an impressive number of people in only a few weeks.
In Japan, it’s mandatory to pay for a TV licence if you own a television set or device that can receive a broadcast signal. The money goes to NHK, Japan’s national broadcasting service. It’s much the same deal as in the UK, where your television licence funds the BBC.
But what if you don’t even watch any BBC or NHK channels? Should you still have to pay? Actor, director and outspoken comedian Beat Takeshi doesn’t think so – in fact, he’s calling for the option to “opt-out” of accessing Japan’s NHK’s programming for people who don’t want to pay the licence fee.
This week’s large earthquake that struck Nagano, Japan was unfortunately quite damaging. The magnitude 6.7 quake brought down over 140 houses in the area, injuring at least 40 people. When an event like this occurs, everyone switches on their TVs to see how bad things were and where it struck. In Japan, people will often turn to NHK, their nationally funded broadcasting service. Normally a trusted news source, NHK decided to expose the conditions of an otaku’s room where his unique collection was scattered across the floor.
How did they get such an in-depth look at the damage done to a local resident? Was there a connection with someone within the TV station? Did they rush to his home to capture the footage first hand? Nope, they simply pulled the photos “From Twitter” without asking for permission. Can NHK actually do that?
Last week’s US midterm elections drew the attention of the whole world, including Japan. NHK covered the whole spectacle in detail, but the usually serious broadcaster went with a bizarrely cartoonish, over-dramatic banner that showed America’s most senior politicians looking like characters in a beat-’em-up game a la Street Fighter.
Last year, we brought you news of a court ruling in Yokohama which stipulated that anyone who owns a device capable of receiving a TV signal, regardless of whether they’ve entered into a contract with NHK (Japan’s public broadcasting station) or not, is legally obligated to pay the NHK licensing fee. An important point to note is that the fees are only paid once per household, and not according to the number of TV sets or devices capable of receiving a signal in the house.
However, a recent court decision seems to be taking the issue of NHK licensing fees in a whole new direction. On October 9, Tokyo District Court ruled in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit that the management company behind three Tokyo hotels must first enter into a contract with the public broadcaster. Furthermore, the hotels, all three of which had refused to enter into contracts despite repeated requests from NHK, must also pay their overdue licensing fees in proportion to the number of hotel rooms with TVs.
Just wait til you read how much money that all comes out to be…
On 23 May, NHK announced that it has been working with Tokyo University to create a way to not only transmit images over long distances but to also send the sense of touch. Using this, viewers would also become able to actually feel whatever appeared on screen with their own hands.
This system makes use of Tokyo University’s newly developed device which can measure the dimensions and hardness of an object in three dimensions simultaneously. On the other end, NHK has been hard at work on a Touch/Force Display which would allow viewers to get tactile feedback from the images presented on screen.
It was announced on April 13 that the Kōchi NHK station’s weekday evening news has been showing the wrong icons for weather conditions in the corner of the screen for four years. Where the following day’s weather forecast for the eastern region of the prefecture should have appeared, the broadcaster had consistently been displaying the forecast for the western region.
We’ve talked before about the oddities of how Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, goes about collecting its fees from ordinary citizens. Rather than sending you an official bill in the mail, collectors will come to your door and ask you for a stack of cash to cover the 13,600 yen (US$133) Japanese residents are technically supposed to pay.
However, many people refuse to pony up the money, since there’s no official penalty for nonpayment, and many feel that NHK’s programming is sub-par and rarely watch it. However, should you make one particular NHK collector walk away empty-handed, he just might mark your house for all to see, as he apparently did to one person we talked to.
As you already know, the third anniversary of the 3/11 Tohoku disaster was remembered this week through a variety of activities, including a fundraiser by Yahoo! Japan which saw the company donating roughly $250,000 to charity. The anniversary was also marked by a powerful earthquake off the coast of Kyushu at around 2 am on March 12, injuring about 14 people and wrecking havoc on innocent anime figures.
It also brought grins to all of the NHK viewers and Twitter users who happened to catch the public broadcaster’s footage of a confused-looking man running around an office in his underwear!