entertainment

Why Japanese TV shows have become boring

62 Comments
By Casey Baseel

There are certain things almost everyone who moves to Japan seems to like. The food? Tasty and healthy. Public transportation? Clean and punctual. But Japanese TV? Let’s just say there’s a reason Internet access is one of the first things new arrivals in the country look to outfit their apartments with.

It turns out this lukewarm reaction to the country’s programming isn’t just a foreigner thing, either, as some 75% of Japanese citizens polled by the Asashi Shimbun newspaper also said that TV has become boring. Today we look at why.

In an effort to shed light on the phenomenon, Japanese expat and Internet columnist Madame Riri offered a number of theories. On a recent visit back to Japan, she sat down to watch domestic programming with a critical eye in order to uncover what characteristics set it apart from television produced overseas.

The first problem area she identified is a common complaint by foreigners in Japan: Too many programs about food. Sure, foodie culture has exploded throughout the West over the last decade, with tons of shows following the exploits of professional chefs and emerging restaurateurs. But while Japan does have a handful of cooking shows, the majority of its culinary-related television programming isn’t about people preparing or selling food, it’s about people eating it.

Specifically, Japanese TV is filled with programs wherein a completed dish is lovingly displayed, then bit into by the on-camera talent. The diner takes a bite, pauses for dramatic effect, and then lets loose with an elongated cry of “Oi—-shii (delicious)!”

For many viewers overseas, part of the draw for shows with on-the-spot taste tests is the chance that the tester will launch into a tirade, spewing venom and crumbs as they take the chef to task for tainting their lips with their subpar creations, then expounding on what should have been done instead. Japanese TV tends to avoid any semblance of such negativity, though. Moreover, generally accepted strict guidelines on how a dish is supposed to taste in Japan often mean that even if you’ve got no problem with the positive tone, you’re not likely to get any insight deeper than “it’s delicious.”

And don’t even get us started on the 30-second close-ups featuring the staff member with the shakiest hands holding said food on a fork, between chopsticks, or balanced precariously between trembling fingers. Jiggling food shots show up in every single show about eating in Japan, making even the most appetizing of foods look somehow less appealing with every jerk and twitch.

Madame Riri’s second criticism is centered on the consumerist nature of Japanese TV shows. Once again tying in to the proliferation of food-based programming, she points to the number of shows which feature a pair of celebrities travelling to one of Japan’s many resort towns such as Kamakura or Kanazawa. Once there, they dine at the city’s best-known restaurants, get beauty treatments, and go shopping for whatever items the area is known for producing, whether ceramics, textiles, or some other sort of handicraft.

While these types of programs are no doubt appreciated by the local economies they help stimulate, Madame Riri worries about the long-term effects of being exposed to shows that seem to be preaching that spending is equivalent to happiness. Ethical issues aside, she also doesn’t believe they make for particularly compelling viewing.

The heavy use of celebrities, as mentioned above, is another item on Madame Riri’s list of problems with Japanese TV. In the case of members of idol singing groups, the name of the individual’s band is often listed after his or her own in the credits, even if no other members of the group appear in the show. Viewers don’t even get a break once the show goes to commercial, as by far the most common marketing strategy in Japan is to parade well-known actors and performers out to stand next to your product for 30 seconds.

Compounding the problem, Riri feels, is the way in which networks seemingly compete to feature the freshest flavor of the month from the talent pool. The result is seeing the same celebs over and over again. While the damage is mitigated when using people who rose to fame as actors or actresses, many of the celebrities who appear on Japanese TV come from modeling or singing backgrounds. Being chosen for their fame in these fields means that not all of them have the on-screen presence and eloquence necessary for an entertaining panelist on the country’s numerous variety ad talk shows. The situation usually doesn’t get any better when these non-actors try to branch out into dramatic or comedic roles on serialized dramas or sitcoms, but nonetheless, the majority of producers seem to place a premium on featuring a face the audience will recognize, regardless of acting ability.

A fourth point of Madame Riri’s that strikes a chord is the similarity in topics covered by Japan’s news programs and talk shows. Whenever the latest scandal breaks in the political, business, or entertainment world, you can bet that each and every network will cover it until it starts to feel like ancient history.

Aside from a risk-adverse attitude and lack of creativity, part of this can be attributed to the comparatively small number of TV channels in Japan. There are roughly a half-dozen national networks, but cable is all but non-existent, and satellite TV doesn’t offer nearly the variety it does in, say, the U.S. A smaller number of options means a less segmented market with less niche programming, keeping the pressure on all networks to attract the widest audience possible by choosing content with the broadest appeal, which in turns means doing the same things as your competitor.

One final point we’d like to add is that unlike in American television production, very few prime-time fictional series in Japan receive more than a one-season contract at a time. A typical season lasts 13 weeks, after which the show’s performance will be judged, and if it makes financial sense, producers will commission a second season, which may not be ready to air until years later. This stilted production schedule makes it almost impossible to craft the kind of sustained, complex narratives that Western viewers have enjoyed in shows such as Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, or The Shield.

Madame Riri feels that all of these problems can be attributed to one cause: money. With viewership on the decline and their coffers low, networks are taking the safe bets, thereby passing up opportunities to make something fresh and interesting. She finishes her dissertation with the wish that producers will start focusing on creating quality programming, and stop chasing after ratings.

While we share her earnest wish for a greater quantity of enjoyable, free entertainment to be beamed into our homes, we can’t help but notice the incongruent logic behind “networks don’t have enough money” and “networks shouldn’t worry about ratings,” since the latter usually tends to be required in order to obtain the former. Nevertheless, no one would be happier than us if Japanese television suddenly stepped up its game.

Source: Madame Riri

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Reasons why it’s harder to raise kids in Japan than in other countries…or not -- Why it’s so important for Japanese celebrities to star in commercials -- Four things to think about before you and your Japanese sweetheart tie the knot

© RocketNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


62 Comments
Login to comment

The diner takes a bite, pauses for dramatic effect, and then lets loose with an elongated cry of “Oi—-shii (delicious)!”

I completely agree! Although some of the food looks amazing, I kind of think they say it's delicious even if it isn't. So those TV shows are rather biased.

And I would add one thing, the comedy show. Seems every time I change the channel I see some comedy show or comedians doing comments or something related. It gets rather unappealing to turn TV sometimes.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

I'm still learning Japanese, but I can say I wouldn't watch much local TV even if I already had. And this article suggests it's equally repulsive to the locals.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

There's a reason why TV is called the "idiot box" and it really earns it's name here in Japan. It's no wonder why TV sales are flat; its the content, not the hardware. Can't imagine watching idiot shows on a beautiful high definition TV. I would rather use it as a glorified PC monitor and surf the net or watch YouTube. Japanese producers really should think outside of the box (no pun intended) and try something new.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Glad to see a well written piece that hits the mark with insightful observations! These concerns have long been held about Japanese television. The fact that we now have the internet as well as access to other entertainment options from overseas just highlights these problems even more.The over-saturation of certain celebrities, tarento and idols, coupled with limited programming just makes viewing a constant "deja vu" experience. The fact that networks have small budgets to work with exposes the amateurish nature of many of the programmes, almost as if they were making it up as they were going along. At some point viewers are going to get tired of what's on offer and just tune out, something which may already be happening. Why eat the same food day in and out when there are so many other choices on offer?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

The title implies that Japanese TV hasn't always been boring. I beg to differ. To be fair though not every show is rubbish, just most of them. The list of reasons why is too extensive but for me the thing that makes me cringe the most is the sight of panels on variety shows laughing hysterically at things that aren't even remotely funny. It's very Japanese. Thankfully sports and movies on satellite TV as well as internet streams and downloads make things bearable.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

I quite like the way that dramas are constructed here. The focus on short seasons and relatively low proportion of continuations means that stories are told in a nice, self-contained kind of way. I do like American dramas too, but they waste a lot of time on years-long mysteries that just end up disappointing (Lost being the best example of this).

5 ( +7 / -2 )

One of the few and only crits that I have had with Japan is the television programming. This names just some of the things I have thought so myself. For the most part good honest article.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The only complaint I have with this article is the title. Japanese TV has not become boring any more than wasabi has suddenly become hot. Wasabi is hot and Japanese TV is boring. I came here in 1991 and the shows were awful then, too.

18 ( +17 / -1 )

I love Japanese TV and I always wondered why it was better than Western TV...

...until I realized I only loved it because I was studying the language and, thus, even the simplest show made for fun, challenging, educational viewing.

If I were a native Japanese speaker, the TV would definitely be horribly boring.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Agree with pretty much everything Riri says. TV in Japan will NEVER, EVER come close to television in the west, save perhaps with documentaries and of course animation. Especially over the last five years or so, television is EXPLODING in the west, with more and more Hollywood or other big-scree actors returning to the small screen for outstanding television shows. It's not even really worth it to go to the movies anymore (not that it was to begin with, price-wise). Aside from the fact that Japanese shows generally run 13 weeks or so and are not recontracted and the story neatly ended, the fact that the popular idols of the day are so recycled makes the shows utterly impossible to believe. "Hey, there's Kim-taku on SmaXSma! Now in the coffee commercial that follows! Now in the drama where he's a hockey player that follows that! Then a pilot! Then in the muzak in the elavator!". Now, the sell-out level is far too high.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Don't watch or even have it connected is the what I did to solve the time wasted watching it. Further more I thought the TV programs were generally stupid and misleading so I was actually being more stupid if I then watched it.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

One thing that this article didn't mention is that there is an issue of too many 12-13 episode Japanese anime series that don't have enough episodes to do proper character development. I'd like to see the anime studios commit to more 24 to 26 episode series, ones that have the pacing with that many episodes to do real story development. I cite for example "Suisei no Garugantia," which I thought should have been done as a 24 episode series, not a 13 episode series (though I've read a second 13-episode season has been approved for production).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I beg to differ. No one is forcing anyone to watch "boring" tv shows.

There are plenty of food shows, documentaries, sporting events and educational (for children) shows that are certainly not boring. Japanese food and documentaries do a stellar job of covering non-japanese food, with specials that cover cuisines from all over Asia. Many of them are inspiring.

I would not give western television that much credit. There is a lot of crap on American television. And most of those shows that sell either contain violence, sexuality, or are politically controversial. It's all to rack up ratings.

Living here in the states, I have access to hundreds of cable network channels, but 90% of the time its tuned to TVJapan. Admittedly, public broadcast television is pretty sorry in Japan, but so is public broadcast television in the US. Fictional TV shows are purely entertainment and in my opinion a waste of time. If you aren't going to learn something factual or useful from the TV programming you're watching its not worth watching to begin with.

-18 ( +8 / -26 )

When I was a kid back in the 80s, sometimes I was up late and watched some late night TV. I would be too embarassed to say what I saw, but they showed everyting (that is when I first realized I was gay). It was sooo raunchy. And there were these wierd 15 minute dramas (I wish I could remember their names and find them on U-Tube). But TV got civilized in the 90s and "one pattern" as they say here, and booring (a side effect of the burst of the bubble?). However, it is your responsibility to make your life more interesting than a TV show so you don't watch TV but live. I don't mean to sound like a teacher.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

wasabizukiJAN. 25, 2014 - 09:20AM JST If you aren't going to learn something factual or useful from the TV programming you're watching its not worth watching to begin with.

Wow... lighten up dude, live a bit.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

And just wait until an NHK representative comes knocking on your door (not once but many times) telling you you MUST (shades of Big Brother) pay the NHK fee. Once you pay it, good luck trying to unsubscribe from it I used to watch the Red and White singing contest on New Year's eve, but I only viewed it for ten minutes this year. I do agree that watching TV is excellent for one's listening of the Japanese language, but other than important earthquake information or how the weather might be for any one day, I seldom watch it anymore. NCIS still captivates me on cable.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

i dont understand japanese, but sometimes just watching the acting in some japanese movies, i see too much repetition. for instance, over and over and over, the bad guy escaping from the good guy, and they make eye contact, with such stupid over-acted kabuki faces. The repetition of the same type of scene, and their faces, at least 5 times, is nauseating more then boring. this doesn't mean that other countries / cultures do it better.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Not surprising, the Ms. Riri misses the big picture in her "insights" into J-TV: J-TV is almost entirely a vehicle for funneling advertising to the sheeple/viewers. Programs in Japan are just programming advertisements placed between tradition advertisements. And of course, the networks want to do this in the cheapest way possible, relying on formulaic, hackneyed conventions. Not surprisingly, most people find hours of advertising tripe boring.

Just how many times can one watch a group of (un)tarentos walk around some boring, economically-depressed area (that has paid them to do so) and "spontaneously" stumbling upon the "most delicious" yakitori stand they've ever come across?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I watched Japanese TV to improve my listening skills but close ups of food being held between chopsticks, squealing voices and mindless dramas either irritated me or insulted my pretty average intelligence. I certainly learned the words 'oishii' and 'kawaii. Some news shows are good but I've never understood why 'highlights' of football games include Japanese players in Europe hitting bad crosses which the defender easily clears are seen as worth showing. I remember a conversation with my wife's friend who worked in TV advertising and believed the reason much of Japanese TV is so light and often moronic is because most Japanese don't expect too much from TV nor see it as some kind of educational resource. He pointed out that in my own country of birth the quality of TV is much higher and has more educational content, but mindless tabloids outsell the quality papers while in Japan the reverse is true. Japanese TV often resembles a tabloid on air. I'm not sure I agree with all his points but perhaps we shouldn't expect too much from the box as most Japanese don't.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There are some redeeming features of Japanese television... but I need to get back to you while I try to think about them. This article is spot on, and the reasons listed are pretty much why I have never even bothered buying a TV in the few years I have lived in Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The country that arguably produces the highest quality around is half the size of Japan. British TV no doubt has a much larger budget though with the best wildlife docs bar none, a massive amount of creativity and variety, intelligent and informative. Japanese producers should be in England right now taking notes and that's exactly what one of my English students who is a TV producer did last year.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I do not think it is becoming boring. I have been here since 97. Japanese was and is about 90% inanity, and annoying to boot.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Wow for once an article that actually nails something LOL!! What a rarity!

J-tv for the most part is such utter trash, I would never watch except the Mrs has to have it on haha!!

Ok we all know the stupid food/travel crap but one other I HATE is stupid cop shows where they ALWAYS end up by one of the following:

cliff by ocean

Beside a nasty river, or bridge over one

And then they all stand in a circle with one imbecile often wielding a knife/gun & shaking it ridiculously & then they all gab for a lifetime LOL!!

Drives me nuts!!!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Why hasn't anyone mentioned the eehhhs! of the audiences cued to every gab-show utterance? Likely dubbed, but if not, then directed. I can't get to the mute or OFF button fast enough.

Did enjoy this article.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

There is very little I would watch by choice, and some of the programmes I consider to be ok are buried in televisual dross. NHK is far too serious, in stark contrast to the banality of the commercial channels. One thing they DO have in common is the promotion of (R)Japan, the product: reinforcing traditional values and seldom challnging accepted norms. Precipitating the idea of (R)Japan as somehow floating in a bubble separate from the rest of the world, and so on. Check out: Aibo Trick

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't rate Japanese TV either. What surprises me is that on these variety shows almost everything anyone says is subtitled underneath. Can the viewers not hear properly? There always seems to be someone's face in a circle in the corner of the screen showing their reaction to whatever is happening too. That gets on my nerves.

And the acting on dramas is so over-dramatic and hammed, it's not believable.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

on these variety shows almost everything anyone says is subtitled underneath. Can the viewers not hear properly?

It's just cultural. Subtitles don't have the same association as being for the hearing impaired here like they do in the west.

I'm appreciative of it myself, it helped me learn a lot of kanji.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The problem is the advertisers who are willing to support these less than entertaining shows.. and the corruption that runs rampant in entertainment. With this closed circuit you are going to get less imagination, creativity and entertainment that enriches the mind and spirit. Its like Jpop.. why is it the same crap over and over.. and not as good as KPOP... and why are Korean Dramas watched by Japanese women and they turn off the TV when Japanese crime drama and shows come on? The future is mobile viewership and global English language programming that takes the viewer on adventure, stimulates the mind.. expands consciousness and helps people break free of the sameness living in an anthill.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well-written and factual.

....... the 30-second close-ups featuring the staff member with the shakiest hands holding said food on a fork, between chopsticks, or balanced precariously between trembling fingers.

To add to that comment: most of us watch TV on big screens these days, 50 inch close-ups of someone eating with their mouth open and then talking and eating with mouth still open are really not very nice.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Agree. It is amazing that at 2pm I can still watch "Colombo" and movies of the 70th here in Japan. Lots of cost effective "talento" shows with no stories are especially boring as they are really intellectually challenging and stimulating (sarcasm).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

lets not forget the NHK fee!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japanese TV shows have always been boring. I'd say it's more of a propagandist tool to keep the citizens dumb, misinformed and inane.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Excellent points Kekahuna,

I don't feel Japanese tv in general is any more boring than other places but agree the programming is so "safe". Everywhere has hit shows and lots of "fillers". Free TV needs to be paid by the advertisers so the advertisers have a big say - and the broadcast law in Japan is quite restrictive.

Some of my good friends work producing shows for TV stations here -- and they have excellent ideas for shows, but they back off for job security reasons like many staff in corporations here -- the standard fear in society of causing problems -- so no controversy follow the boss.

Every Sunday at 6:30 pm I enjoy watching "Sazae-san (サザエさん) which gives some good insights to current cultural trends. Another show I think is fantastic and we need an English version is "Tsurube no Kazoku ni Kanpai (Tsurube's Cheers to Families) -- love how the show doesn't have much of a script and total spontaneous interviews of people around Japan. Creativity seems to be better in the commercials here - I just love the 'kin mugi" commercial with Dan Rei - and the "chip commercial where the actress is eating chips on the train and offers the viewer one. I just want to say "sure" Commercials seem better at actually communicating with the audience!

TV delivery is changing nowadays so this will push changes for better programming but the industry in Japan is so conservative.......but it is slow.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

NHK is probably the only decent station in Japan.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Tell me who on earth is Mme Riri. A Japanese expat living in Japan? Sorry for my ignorance, but I have never heard of such a name.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Today I briefly saw a program that saw 4 'talento' wandering around the streets of some suburb of Tokyo engaging in various 'entertaining' activities as buying donburi then sitting on a bench and eating said donbiri while laughing about inane comments about the, donbiri. Then one decided to go to a local bread shop, look around a bit with staff giggling, but some bread, leave and meet up with his fellow 'telento' to which they all began to eat the bread and exclaim several times each, "oiishi!" At then they got on a bus and .... oh, you get the idea. Why bother?!

I once heard some famous person say, "TV? why waste your life watching other people living their lives?!" and Japanese TV takes this to a new level.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@kitzrow

Right now, they've gone back to showing "CSI" on Channel 7 weekdays at 12:30 (bilingual) which you could record if not home ! They will start re-recording "NCIS" from 10th February I believe.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

but they waste a lot of time on years-long mysteries that just end up disappointing (Lost being the best example of this

Obviously, you didn't see the ending of Dexter....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I quite like the dramas, especially the police ones... or ones with a quirky detective. Or anything with my favourite actors and actresses in. The rest I could ignore quite happily... although the talento shows at night are good for helping me sleep.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What?

Unscripted TV programs with canned laughter and dead, completely talentless "talents" boring?

No, surely not!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

NHK is probably the only decent station in Japan.

If by 'decent' you mean 'not completely terrible,' I agree. I couldn't be any more complimentary than that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I rarely watch Japanese tv for many of the reasons discussed in the article. This was a good article that, frankly, most people that watch J-tv could have written. There's something about people trying so hard to sound like the expected persona that wearies me. I sometimes like the NHK 15 minute dramas- I liked "Carnation." I like, though seldom watch, the NHK Sunday singing contest show. That's real.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I like the writer of this story, he hit the nail on the head. I only watch Japanese shows for educational purposes, just as when I reaf JT articles; even when it was meant to be for entertainment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't own a TV. Sometimes come into contact with a TV (someone's home, a ramen restaurant) and amazingly find that a variety show I haven't seen for decades has exactly the same tarento on as the last time I saw it!! "Is he or she still around!?" I ask. No TV. Internet, rental shops and a radio in emergencies are enough.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"have become" - it must have happened long before I arrived in 1990!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are too many obnoxious gays and trannies on TV these days. Get them off the air!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It amazes me how state of the art televisions in Japan are and how every home has a huge expensive 3d tv and yet the Japanese programing is insufferably boring. Imagine how advanced TV would be if Japanese television were the same quality as the US! Also, has anyone noticed the pastel color pallete in almost all commercials and dramas these days. I feel like I have glaucoma sometimes watching TV.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This article hit a nerve. Really now, nothing against an occasional food program, but when I see yet another close-up of some genojin`s mouth stuffing this or that food into it, followed by the inevitable "oishiiii", I want to scream.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Has become? Ha ha! I've been here over a decade and Japanese TV has always been childish rubbish! There is no way I would ever pay those NHK scalers when they come to my door. I've been quite abusice to them and slammed the door in their face. If you want adult content on Japanese TV you have to watch the children's programs in the afternoons. They are the only programs with any point!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What gets me are the over the top kitsch sets and on some of the talk shows with these silly costumes, draws away attention from an already lack luster program. One thing Japanese TV did do was help me to become a better cook when preparing Japanese food, but that's about it. There are a lot ogre at shows from the West that Japan could bring in addition to what they have to give the audience a wider selection of content. There is a reason why so many foreigners download shows, but Japan discourages it. It takes forever for new movie releases to come to Japan, quite often a big portion will never come if it doesn't have an A-class actor in it. But watching cooking shows, school dramas and detective stories gets quite tedious after awhile. One time, I was eating at a restaurant and some celebs were there in the back for a promo to film them while they ate the food. They did a lot of takes, I think about 12 if I can recall and the entire time, they had to say the typical Ooooishi, but at that point, I think they were Oishied out! They looked tired and clearly wanted to go home, also they had to re-warm the food over and over again and snacks were given in between. It was very interesting to watch, but many of these food shows are a facade.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Become boring? I lived 4 of my 7 years in Tokyo sans TV due to the mindless drivel that permeated the airwaves. Japan produces excellent animated films, but the TV programming, movies and music are about the worst I have ever encountered.

My Japanese wife concurs and we have spent an inordinate amount of time discussing this with our many bi-cultural friends. Would be interested to hear anyone's opinions as to why this is the case.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Boring... going back to my coma now!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is boring indeed... though, I do have my soft spot for a couple of programs (one on Sunday, the other on Wednesday).

For most of the programming in Japanese TV, there is the feeling of the same thing in every channel. The Comedy limits its very limited... the series are basically soap operas (even the so-called action series).

The good thins is that, time to time there are irregular schedule programs that are in fact entertaining. But for the every day basis... yes I agree, it is boring

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Never understood why there's no equivalent of "Match of the Day" here.

There's a J-League; why not show the best of the action each week?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I agree that there are way too many food shows. I have never been interested in any of the Japanese dramas but I do love the comedy! There aren't that many funny shows as maybe 10+ years ago but it is still funny.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The problem is not that the celebs have nothing to say. The problem is that the shows focus on their yabbering at all. TV producers don't seem to get the fact that TV is a visual medium. On J-TV, the visual are unimaginative, and most of it looks cheap. This is driven home by the obvious gazillions of yen flushed into the adverts. It's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Does anyone know whey these indistinguishable and dreadfully unimaginative time-wasters are called 'variety' programmes? The one thing they most definitely do not have is variety.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is nothing new to hear, in my country tends to be the same here as ia read the article is the stuff driven to the extreme. What I don't get is the proliferation of "tarentos" which are talentless in a sea of these the chances to see a real talented person is very rare, I remember watching NHK in my country, there was a musical variety program (No, It wasn't J-melo) and they put a girl group to perform "live", I don't have a musical ear, but that was positive garbage complete tone deaf and off... As I watched I wondered how bold were the Japanese to show talent less people to the world...

ON the other hand, I do like the dramas, but again there are too many and so different you can get everything, people with great acting skills other only with pretty faces and mediocre ones...

As for US shows, domestic TV is not that good either so the good shows are the ones that run on cable, I was very fond of "fringe" for example and i was very sad when it ended, on the other hand very long series like Dr. House or Friends can get boring when the seasons extend too long. And remember, the seasons are 20+ episodes and very few have 13+ episodes, so, they are really long.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I guess it's fortunate that my exposure to Japanese television serials came through internet sites like MySoju (before it shut down.) When I think of Japanese tv I think of Trick, Galileo, Remote, Himitsu no Hanazono, Gokusen, and Haotaru no Hikari. I really enjoyed all of these even though Gokusen became too formulaic over the seasons. All of these are 5 to 7 years old so maybe "become" is the right word. I haven't seen anything current.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

With late night Japanese TV from the 80/90s and Super Jockey on Sunday no longer on, Yes Japanese TV is in fact boring.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nice article! I refuse to buy the point about there being few channels is to blame though. Perhaps for a population this large there are somewhat few channels, but for a country as homogenized as Japan I'm sure it suffices. One of the channels is even government owned (?) and financed by TV owners and so does not rely on sponsors or word of mouth to that degree.

While spot on, I'm afraid Riri is walking against the current, at least for the time being. I personally can't believe TV channels have much of a future at all, except perhaps for news, with streaming being as convenient as it is. I believe Japan will lag behind the rest of the world in this department as well though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you need money, go to Hollywood!!

Get some Hollywood writers to write your comedies, and have them write shows like "the big bang" that feature Japanese actors, or "office", etc. Hyperreality in office and school will be popular also in Japan. Better, maybe just have them develop a totally new show like that and show it in Japan.

They should have more reality shows to engage the audience, go buy the rights of American Idol and get Sony to spend the money to develop the program for free. May have shows like Kardasians but about a reality show that features Kyary Kyary Pamyu.

And gosh SHOW MORE ANIME, who says that you cant show anime in prime time. Have Ghibli produce prime time series, or just move One Piece to prime time. Who says that people dont like watching shows like Spongebob in prime time. **

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites