features

Is Japanese TV really as bad as its reputation?

177 Comments
By Audrey Akcasu

Foreigners living in Japan often give Japanese TV a hard time. For many, it’s either too weird, too predictable or too obnoxious. If it really is so bad though, surely shows like "Iron Chef" and "Ninja Warrior" (Sasuke) would never have been introduced in the U.S.? Nor would America have created the show "I Survived a Japanese Game Show." So if foreign stations are taking cues from the Japanese TV shows, the originals must have some merit, right?

One Reddit user finally asked the big question, “Japanese television. Is it really so terrible?” As you’d expect, the responses poured in, both in favor of and adamantly against it. One user proclaimed that Japan only has three kinds of programs, “Shows about celebrities. Shows about food. Shows about celebrities eating food.” But like TV in any country, there are actually a lot of different kinds of shows, so it’s probably worth a moment to take a walk through some of the programming options.

The easiest place to start is with anime. Let’s be honest, a lot of people who like Japan, started out by watching anime. It’s like a gateway drug into Japanese culture. In general, foreigners’ response to TV anime is positive, although some people like to knock the fact that some long-running shows (hundreds of episodes long) have a lot of unnecessary “filler” episodes that are unrelated to the overall plot and are too short at 25 minutes — even shorter when half of the time slot is filled reviewing the previous episode. Others complain not enough anime is shown in prime-time slots.

Next we move into dramas. A lot of foreigners give Japanese (and Korean) dramas a bad rap, likening them to terrible American soap operas. It’s true that some can definitely take you on unnecessary emotional roller coasters and may contain a little too much overacting. On the other hand, dramas tend to only span 8-12 episodes, then occasionally a second season if they do really well. The short airing is actually appealing to many foreign viewers, because the dramas get replaced by “fresh dramas,” so things don’t get too monotonous. There is also a wide range of dramas, from teen RomComs to serious ones targeting adults or even action-packed shows. Another big difference is that Japanese dramas often star big names — accomplished actors, musicians or idols.

The dramas can be really predictable and a bit bland, though, turning many viewers off. Some Reddit viewers see dramas as political tools or Big Brother-esque moral propaganda:

“Whatever the Japanese government wants their people to believe, it shoves it through NHK.”

“Very frequently [drama’s contain] very heavy-handed moralizing.”

“I’m rather disturbed at how pro-status quo everything is.”

Comedy shows are next up. Japanese comedy shows tend be more on the slapstick side of humor, so if you don’t like that, you probably won’t like them. The Japanese oddity and silliness comes in big time here, while a lot of jokes also have deep ties into the culture, so if you are still new to Japan, there’s a chance you won’t get the jokes even if you understand the language. Comedians in Japan tend to work in pairs or threes, with skits lasting only a few minutes. There are also a variety of prank shows, which are often pretty well done and very amusing.

Less talked about are the documentaries. While they are often over dramatic and have terrible reenactments, they can be informative and cover a variety of topics from travel to disease.

Moving on, we have the variety shows. These are the shows that foreigners like to complain about the most. Variety shows often have an “audience” of talento, B-list stars or quirky people only popular because of their presence on these shows. One Reddit user aptly equated Japanese talento to America’s Regis Philbin, as opposed to someone like Kim Kardashian, because “talento don’t take themselves too seriously and are usually able to joke around… Kim K wouldn’t do 90% of the stuff talento go through.”

Being in the category “variety,” the shows cover an array of topics from travel in different countries to karaoke contests to magicians. The catch, though, is that the TV audience is not only watching the show about the topic of the day, but they also see the reactions of the talento in a picture-in-picture-esque bubble somewhere on the screen. Most people don’t have problems with this, but it’s whenever something relatively surprising or interesting happens, the talento say “Eeeeh!” in almost perfect unison. Many Reddit users find this particularly annoying. Although one user said that they enjoy Japanese TV in general, “the only thing that really bothers me is the excessive ‘Eeeeh?’-ing.”

And then there is the food “problem.” A lot of TV shows in Japan focus on food, whether it be food from home, abroad or new concoctions. This might not sound so odd at first, but the number of these shows is startling; as one Reddit user put it, “Not all TV is talento eating food. Most of it, but not all.”

The biggest issue the foreign Japanese TV-watching community has with the food shows is the predictable reaction by the talento: “Oishii!” or “Umai!” (Delicious!). The review of the food often stops there though and apparently EVERYTHING is delicious. Not merely tasty, you understand, but delicious to the point that the presenter looks like they’re about to burst into tears after inserting it into their mouth. It’s almost as if these people have lived their lives locked in a cupboard living on a diet of strips of newspaper and thimbles of tap water, making every dish they encounter during the shows’ recording a culinary triumph.

As another Japan subreddit user commented, this wouldn’t be such a problem if the presenters occasionally described the food’s taste rather than just saying how “delicious” it was. In the words of another TV viewer, “you can only watch someone eat so many times before it becomes soul-crushingly dull.”

Some of the variety shows feature games shows, which can either be active games, like the ones that inspired that American TV show, or they can be quiz games. The quiz games are usually quite educational and fun to watch, covering everything from history to kanji. Again, the participants in these are the talento.

Some people may not categorize commercials as Japanese TV, but I think that’s a mistake. Japanese commercials can be hilarious, often because they are so weird that you can’t help but laugh. Japan has realized that the weirder the commercial, the more memorable, so they are crazy on purpose, often featuring dancing actors, creepy animation, talking animals and catchy tunes. One Reddit user may even like the commercials more than regular programing, saying, “I usually take my bathroom breaks during the show and make sure I’m back before the commercials.”

Japanese TV can be bad, but it can be good, much like TV everywhere else in the world. Personally, I enjoy it and have learned a lot from Japanese TV. Another Reddit summed it up nicely:

“I somewhat enjoy Japanese TV because… [it] gives me insight to how Japanese people see the world around them. Even if what’s on that random drama isn’t representative of the average person’s thoughts, it shows me what is being presented as normal, or what is ideal for the average Japanese person.”

In the end, it all comes down to your sense of humor, interest in Japanese culture and tolerance of “oishii,” “umai,” and “eeeeh?!”

If you are familiar with Japanese TV, what are your thoughts? For? Against? Indifferent?

Source: Reddit

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- What’s wrong with English education in Japan? Pull up a chair… -- Hulu Japan offers not just movies, but a little education and awesome customer service too -- It’s a Wonderful Disney Life! Beautifully animated Japanese TV commercial receives critical acclaim from around the world

© RocketNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


177 Comments
Login to comment

In short, yes. Worse even.

19 ( +30 / -11 )

Is Japanese TV really as bad as its reputation?

that depends how low you want to lower the bar of quality......

8 ( +16 / -8 )

Just look at the technical quality. Cooking shows, variety shows, etc. don't require decent scripting or imagination, which is why they're so common. When the talent go to locations, the editing is really sparse and looks like it took one editor about half an hour to cut.

The dramas are shot on video rather than film and look like amateur productions.

17 ( +22 / -6 )

...it’s either too weird, too predictable or too obnoxious

All of the above.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

I really enjoy the commercials. The other crap is well, crap. I can't stand the "torture" shows, it gives kids ideas. By torture I mean the comedies that make people eat disgusting food, sit in really hot or cold water ad nasauem.

2 ( +9 / -8 )

Second the point about technical quality. Would add that the vast majority of Japanese actors are talentless amateurs. The entire system must go to some effort to bar actual talent.

8 ( +16 / -7 )

I like Japanese TV. It's very different from the usual stuff I see in Canada. I'm looking forward to the new Gaki No Tsukai.

-4 ( +12 / -17 )

One of my biggest Japanese television pet peeves is most (not all) of the nation's current events panel-based discussion programming. The shows are presumably meant to tackle serious national/world issues but feature panels that combine 'experts' with one cross-dresser or other outlandish/funny guy type wearing an absurd outfit for comic relief and/or a clueless-acting female 'tarento' (celebrity) type whose role is to seem utterly impressed by whatever she hears (invariably there is one 20-something woman in the role of student awed by the all-knowing experts).

The odd variety of guests in these panels is obviously the result of misguided producers seeking to capture a wider audience, and also to create a diversity of guests and opinions in a country that lacks diversity, but please...

20 ( +24 / -4 )

One Reddit user finally asked the big question, “Japanese

Source: Reddit

I don't know about TV, but Japanese media articles are pretty awful at properly attributing their sources.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

I wonder if the reason that Japanese commercials are such brilliant gems is that ad campaigns are better-funded than any other programming. The most talented writers and directors must be going for the big money--making CMs!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I'm not a fan of Japanese TV at all. The news is the only thing worth watching, and even it can be hit and miss.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Late night tv when the grav idols come out is the best imo!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Let's just say there is a reason we have a TV but only use it for watching DVDs or as a big PC monitor.

8 ( +10 / -3 )

The commercials show their deep brilliance at creating, humour, and selling ability....even if you are not sure what they were trying to sell.

People such as Beat Takeshi are a complete turn off, as they are not funny, but rather cruel and do mean things to people physically and mentally. His movies by the way are very poor also, and seeing his face on posters to teach English in the trains is a scam as he cannot even say "how are you?" properly.

The food shows would be an A+ if they did not have anyone taste the food.

I enjoy seeing pros going into restaurants that need help and attempt to fix them.

Rebuilding someone's house is cool too, but stop the back ground music. PLEASE!

NHK English is pretty good for news. Depends on the spontaneous translator.

Weather is wonderfully wrong most of the time, but I like that.

Someone put a gag on ROLA and the likes with those bad voices.

I speak the language, but the old men sitting on the pillows...just goes over my head.

I love the dramas. Perfect for language learners as they are so predictable.

Last but not least...the best thing about Terebi here are the Sub Titles for everything (Deaf people would find that nice).

14 ( +20 / -7 )

The truly scary part is when you start liking it.

6 ( +9 / -4 )

A full-screen headshot on a 40 inch screen of someone talking and eating at the same time can really put you off your supper.

'Yes' is the answer to the question.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

I dare you to watch a month of Australian TV then comment ... Even the adverts in Australia (please shout every second/third word at me while saying I really need this product to live my life like a normal person or better than a normal person, or grab some hungover guy/girl to drone on about the quality of product with sufficient gaps in between for dramatic effect, again in a mono-tone voice) pale in quality compared to Japanese TV. Then there's the never-ending dramas which are supposedly classic Aussie Drama, even though filmed and produced in the US of A. Then there's the drama filled cooking drama showoff drama competitions... Then there's the 5 or 6 Australia has talent/idol/voice/drama/X-factor/lack of morals/dancing/bile inducing/judge panel shows that hit us every year.

So while Japanese TV might actually be fairly bad, Australian TV will always be worse...

1 ( +5 / -4 )

It's as bad as TV can get. Mindless, senseless and when Cooking shows are 40% of the entire entertainment lineup, you know you have problems.

11 ( +14 / -4 )

If someone doesn't like Japanese TV programs then why do they watch them? TV shows anywhere are a matter of taste; I don't live in Japan but have found very few TV shows that were very good, so if I don't like them I don't watch them. Nobody forces anybody to watch TV, and there are all kinds of other things to do.

I honestly feel that many people just use something like this to denigrate Japan.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

Yes, yes it is. I loved living in this country for a good five years, until I started watching TV regularly.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

As another Japan subreddit user commented, this wouldn’t be such a problem if the presenters occasionally described the food’s taste rather than just saying how “delicious” it was.

This kind of proves that maybe some of these critics don't understand Japanese well enough to really judge. While there's definitely a lot of oishiis and umais thrown around, the "guru repos" or gourmet reporters are actually expected to say more than that. Their exaggerated and over the top descriptions of textures and subtle flavors can be annoying themselves, but it's more than just oishii.

That said, I generally agree with most of the other complaints. The dramas are especially unwatchable especially when compared to recent American ones. I admit I watch variety/talk shows once in a while though, and some of the comedians and tarentos like Downtown and Ariyoshi are genuinely funny.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

If you don't like the top-rated shows, then they are not aimed at you, but what have you got to complain about? You are not working for production companies for free, just like they are not working for you for free. They are working for ad dollars or subscription dollars or DVD sales and if they don't at least break even on that, no one's going to make up the shortfall except themselves or their creditors. Expect them to mortgage Grandma's house to finance a money-losing unpopular show that you like?

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Kim K wouldn’t do 90% of the stuff talento go through.”

And they wouldn't do half of what she does...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Why the need to eat and say how oiishi things are? On news programs no less.

..and why the need for the talento headshot in the corner of the screen? Is it there in case I forgot how I was supposed to feel?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Is Japanese TV really as bad as its reputation?

Talk about a loaded question! I could show you the dents in my TV screen where I've flung slippers with unerring accuracy at the dreck that passes for entertainment in this country. I'd say 85% is done on shoestring budgets. I'd rate them somewhere on a scale of zero to minus five.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

I like all of the shows that deal with everyday people like the one where they interview foreigners coming into the airport and visiting a Japanese person living in the boondocks of a foreign country. I also wish they had more game shows had contestants that were non-celebrities. I do not care about watching already-rich celebrities competing.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Would add that the vast majority of Japanese actors are talentless amateurs.

Well, they are not amateurs. They do exactly what they are expected to do. Its the method that is horrible. So many of those tropes are just so old and tired...like running a short distance away from someone cajoling you, then stopping still and giving excuses while the other person stands behind. And its a sad comment on Japan that such predictable monotonous melodrama has so much appeal.

Horrible tropes in American TV too though...like cool guys don't look at explosions. Its pretty silly. But its all worse in Japan.

Some problems I have with Japanese TV are a complete unwillingness to test boundaries that are worth testing plus the obvious cheapness that stems from the obvious unwillingness to spend money on these shows.

Manga tests more boundaries. For all the corniness of the show Californication, I appreciate that its not just the same old thing. It tests boundaries. Its interesting.

Japanese TV is just the same thing over and over, new names and places, but so many of the same actors over and over.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

While Japanese TV is the pits....I agree Australian TV is far worse...

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I actually quite enjoy Japanese TV. I enjoy the comedy stuff; because i like the slapstick nature of it. I like stuff like Honmadekka, the Before/after house restoration program. Some of the history documentaries on NHK are good too

I even like watching food shows too - not because i am looking to get an indepth description of the pluses and minuses of that particular dish/restaurant, but to give me an idea of where to go. You already know the food is good if it made it onto the show, so after that its just to see what it looks like (size) and where to get it.

I dont like the dramas, i am not so impressed by the news reporting (although i do get a chuckle out of the typhoon reporters). And i certainly dont like daytime talk shows. But then again, who LOVES everything on TV in their home country? I HATE all of the reality TV shows back in Australia. All of the talent/idol shows etc.

I think the problem with foreigners trying to comment on Japanese TV shows is that they dont understand enough Japanese to get it. Sure "I speak well enough to understand all my friends", but in reality they understand less than 1/4 of what is said on TV. Enough to get the gist, but not enough to enjoy it.

-5 ( +7 / -11 )

It's as bad as TV can get. Mindless, senseless and when Cooking shows are 40% of the entire entertainment lineup, you know you have problems.

If they were actually cooking shows that showed you how to cook things that might be something. They're really just extended commercials for various restaurants in which vacuous "celebrities" stuff their faces.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I don't generally enjoy Japanese TV, so many of the shows just look like the same thing. The only thing I usually watch nowadays on normal TV is NHK news. Other than that, mostly stay on cable.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Where do I start? It's absurd to compare J TV with other countries' and find excuses like "oh, you know in my country TV is worse, so J TV is not that bad". We are not discussing other countries' TVs. We're talking about the JAPANESE TV.

A J. friend working with one of the channels explained that most of the programs are there to provide filler for the commercials. That tells a lot.

News. Ugly casters with buffoon haircut and vintage style clothing running to tell some news, constantly interrupted by cms. Analog weather reports using pointing sticks and cotton to show clouds. Talk about the country of hi tech.

A J visiting another country. His/her words are subtitled, the voices of the locals are dubbed and subtitled. Apparently the TV gurus have decided that nobody in Japan is interested to hear people from other countries speaking.

"Downtown" used to be great. 15 years ago!!! Now they are just a bunch of supposedly genojin talking about how they spent their week. WHO CARES???

Pachinko decoration background everywhere with kitsch waterfalls, fake flowers and lot's of sparkling stuff! Absolutely, definitely need to sparkle!

Change the channel, change the program there seems to be the same director everywhere. Who's that guy?

There is no comedy after Drifters. Only the constant head-top hitting. Glowing exception, the "old men on the pillows".

Quit watching after a 2 hour special detailing which is the favorite hamburger of AKB.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Oh where to start.

Even for bigger productions such as dramas, the production quality of the shows is so low that the special effects and cinematography looks like something submitted by a college student with no money or crew available.

Variety show sets look like they were designed by a 10 year old child on a sugar rush, absolute lack of any cohesion and blinding colors everywhere.

The characters are almost universally archetypes on a level that would appear to be caricature, if only they had aspirations for that level of depth of meaning.

They have not attempted to make the transition from the grammar of stage acting to film, which is essentially about showing over telling. Instead you get huge ridiculous over-acting (food shows are especially notorious) that should embarrass anyone involved in the making or distribution of such garbage.

One example I can recall from the few painful minutes I spent trying to watch "Reiko Kujo: the woman who knows bones" (a detective show that apparently tried to take itself seriously). Enter young female detective and older male coworker.

NARRATOR: Madoka Kirishima was trained in forensic science at Harvard University and operates the most cutting edge machinery better than anyone on the planet.

We see SEMPAI walk up to MADOKA

MADOKA (childish pout on face): Heeeeeee------ I don't understand this! (puts hands on hips and pouts)

SEMPAI (voice as deep as the final resting place of MH370): Let me take a look.

Just one of a million examples of idiotic use of stereotype, an inability to use the visual nature of the medium to convey information, and of course, a pointless reinforcement of gender roles.

I could go on and on but why bother.

12 ( +15 / -4 )

If you like watching a room full of low-budget half-wits shouting at each other then Japanese TV is for you. The only thing I watch now is the "news" a.k.a. LDP propaganda. When the TV breaks I won't replace it; everything I want to watch is available on the internet.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

the voices of the locals are dubbed and subtitled

I especially love how they assign character tropes to everyone, like the "souja, washi wa..." old fashioned voice to anyone over fifty, even when they're speaking normally.

4 ( +4 / -1 )

I think most people that only say negative thing about the Japanese program are because they only watch those kind of programs and are not even trying to find other types.

So let me give you some programs that may be interested and are not at all what most people categorize as Japanese TV programs

News (News Zweo, News 23, WBS, News every, etc.... there is a broad variety of news programs and are informative and some times even entertaining, though yes they tend to focus only in national events, economics and politics making it some time kind of narrow, but still it is news.

Wafu ho sonke... it presents Japanese culture and focus on it... give you that some time the program give the impression that "Japan is the best country" but that you can pretty much found it in BBC, FOX Televisa, etc., etc.

Honmadekka, it is a variety program, but it is impressively smart and in fact you may learn something new.

Shujii ga mitsukaru shinryoujyo, again it is a variety but it main theme is medical care. Again you may learn something

Nandemokanteidan, is not even variety, is just a program where people bring their "treasures" and they are scrutinized and put a price by people who know about this stuff.

Shoten, it is a comedy program that consist in traditional type of comedy.

Gaiya no yoake and jisesai jipangu, they are more of a investigative type of news program and also it is informative.

there are several more... but see there are a lot more of programs than just "tarento", "food" and "tarento and food"...

Overall I think Japanese TV is fairly entertained and the negativeness comes from a very narrow view and poor choice of what people watch .

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

Japanese TV is only a bunch of talento without talent but speaking loud in 1 room. Well sometimes they have the permission to board in a bus and talk loud, or eventually they are in a course to seek for food in a city and talk loud. I think you need to talk loud to be on Japanese TV.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

J-TV offers a wide selection, I tend to skip most Variety programming though.

Many good and successful J-Drama that are hits overseas and being remade in Korea(Jin, etc).

I don't know which stations uses still analogue displays for weathers, etc most if the reports I see are high-tech.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

On the other hand, dramas tend to only span 8-12 episodes, then occasionally a second season if they do really well.

Now there's a real left-handed compliment -- the dramas are "good" because they only last 8-12 episodes.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I agree with shonanbb, the dramas are a really useful tool for learning Japanese, as they are easy to follow. They have some strange writing though, and the overacting of 'villians' in particular is horrible IMHO.

My personal preference is English language shows, but art is subjective so to each his own.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Japanese TV is just the same thing over and over, new names and places, but so many of the same actors over and over."

Reminds me of Japanese conversation, saying the same things over and over again. I'm a precog at predicting the banal nothings that will come my way.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

justbcuzisay: I agree with shonanbb, the dramas are a really useful tool for learning Japanese, as they are easy to follow.

I have a relative who picked up a 10-season DVD set of a US sitcom and watched through all the episodes four times with captions on, to learn English. His English is pretty good for non-native. I suppose would work similarly, to learn Japanese.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Kaynide. Yes, the headshot in the corner of the screen was the last straw for me. I can`t even look at tv when those programs are on anymore.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@Daniel Neagari

Unfortunately the shows you recommend are aimed those with adult sophistication and therefore not suitable for the majority readers here. Apparently they'd much prefer shows like Big Brother, the Biggest Loser and intellectually stimulating movies like the Fast and Furious series.

Shujii ga mitsukaru shinryoujyo, again it is a variety but it main theme is medical care. Again you may learn something

Such optimism!

-11 ( +8 / -19 )

if I am watching game shows, then most of time I don't understand why viewer in studio are laughing. But at the same time I enjoy watching old episode of television drama 'Oshin' with English sub title.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

No, it's quite good, actually. In most cases, the bad reputation gaijin with NO KNOWLEDGE of Japanese language and culture (including jokes) switch between channels and can't find anything interesting (obviously, isn't it). Then they stop at talk shows, where in the background countless girls are sitting wearing miniskirts.

Trust me, Japanese TV can be very interesting if you try to understand the culture and look beyond the miniskirts...

-8 ( +7 / -16 )

"Unfortunately the shows you recommend are aimed those with adult sophistication and therefore not suitable for the majority readers here. Apparently they'd much prefer shows like Big Brother, the Biggest Loser and intellectually stimulating movies like the Fast and Furious series."

Yeah, you're probably right b/c surely no expats have been following shows like True Detective, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, or Sherlock. And for the love of god, why would anyone go see Interstellar or Boyhood when Rurouni Kenshin or Kamisama no iu tôri are out.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

It's not the worst in the world, I'm sure, but it's got to be close. That said, Anime is definitely the cream of the crop in Japan, and proof of that is its world-wide presence and popularity, and the quiz shows, especially with celebrities, are a lot of fun and educational. Other variety shows are absolute garbage, as are indeed the 'food shows' ("UMMMAI!!" is indeed all they can say), the 'warai', and dramas. If the TV dramas didn't constantly recycle the same celebrities and were shot professionally and using film instead of video, they might be worth taking more seriously. As it is, with few exceptions, they are horrible.

So, on the whole, yes, it's awful. But as is said in the article and by others, there ARE good shows now and again. They are just outweighed by far by shows with no imagination, no good acting, and no entertainment value. If proof is needed on how much better many Western nations' dramas are, just look at how proud people are here if a Japanese actor is featured in an American drama. Japanese television is much like professional baseball in that single aspect -- they know there's a big league out there they are trying to emulate and striving to achieve or appear in.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

@ReformedBasher`

Yeah I know... I am a incurable optimist... "some may say I am a dreamer"

@jcapan We are not talking about the US and UK shows (I do love Big-ban Theory and House... Dexter too (both the toon and the real one). The fact is that most expats that say that there is no good TV in Japan either don't know how to look for good programming or they lost the TV remote and can't change the channel. Of course there is the option that they do only look for that type of programs and then afterward they talk bad about it because of guilty shame.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

Daniel Neagari: The problem with your argument is that it is the typical defensive argument that people in Japan feel when there is no reason to take this kind of opinion personally. Why does there have to be a reason why someone doesn't like Japanese TV besides them simply not liking it? Why do you and others have to try and rationalize the poor quality of programming by saying, "Well, they just don't know how to look for good programming" when you would just turn up your nose to any programming they say is bad and suggest they are wrong? What's an example of "good programming", Daniel? and what will you say when someone says it is NOT good programming if you're entire argument is that they don't know how to look?

I bet you a million dollars that if someone said Japanese programming is good you wouldn't say, "Well, it's not all good -- you just don't know how to look for the bad"; you'd be too busy being personally proud of the praise and patting yourself on the back.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

Japanese TV: a mixture of Benny Hill Show-esque skits and Hey, Hey ! Its Saturday ! (In a nod to the British and Aussie JT ers). If you are into pie-in-the-face, hits on the head with a rubber mallet - and the occasional blackface hilarity - youd love it!

3 ( +5 / -1 )

Japanese TV drama is so predictable that there is a simple drinking game for it.

http://thejapanwanko.sub.jp/?p=536

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I set my TV to wake up to ZIP, the most terrible mess of "news" programming that has ever been made. Between the little dances they do between segments, the props that are swinging around and the use of constant techno music in the bkrgnd at all times, the 15 min. segments about some "tarento" making a commercial for something, it is the BEST way to get me out of bed and outta the house to work. Works like a charm.

It's like hearing a leathal injection every morning. I get out my door and I feel like I've just been born. AHHHHHHHH sweet relief.

11 ( +10 / -0 )

MickHardwick: Japanese TV drama is so predictable that there is a simple drinking game for it.

http://thejapanwanko.sub.jp/?p=536

??? It's a link to an article about Fuji TV sending four guys to an Indian restaurant in Oji to engage in a hot-hotter-hottest curry-eating contest.

It`s now official: Curry IS hot! - Gerald Wilkins on 2012-3-2

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The TV, like TV in any country has its strengths and weaknesses. But unfortunately, the 'bad reputation' Japanese TV has amongst foreigners seems mostly driven by people with limited understanding of the language repeating the same points about how everything is 'oishii' or 'ehhh' or whatever else. Certainly that kind of stuff exists, but if you actually understand what's causing the reaction (e.g. in a show like 'Hoko/Tate' or 'ItteQ')

Also, to the people complaining about dramas being filmed on video rather than on film... How is that actually a bad thing and not just a 'Oh no, this isn't what I'm used to' kind of thing?

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

Everything is based on manga & stars AKB48, Johnny's Entertainment & Yoshimoto Kogyou so, ... how could it probably be any good? The only trained actors are in Kabuki.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

An answer to the typical "language", the "gaijin can't possibly know" and "the TV in other countries is worse" arguments... In all the South-East Asia countries (5) I've travelled to and stayed for a week on average, I found that the TV was FAR BETTER than the Japanese in any respect, even though I didn't understand the language. Even the TV in Cambodia was better than the Japanese and my J wife agreed too. Just because you like a few programs on some channels, that doesn't mean that the J-TV as a whole (11+ channels, broadcasting 24/7) is good. Quite the opposite.

12 ( +12 / -1 )

Trust me its not much better for the vast majority on the technical side either, from my point of view, having some insight and having been involved in broadcast around the world, its every bit overly complicated, inefficient and outdated, technically and creatively, as you might imagine if you have spent anytime working in a Japanese company.

As a viewer, there is the occasional good thing, I enjoy the science experiments that pop up time to time, but the predictably drawn out scenes before every ad break, the same scene from 4 different angles when it wasn't that great to start with, the sometimes 10+ news presenters, the never-ending food shows its pretty poor, grown men doing predictable physical comedy, watching youtube clips (usually months and months old) and them commenting on them, the sexualisation of young women.. its pretty poor for the most part.

Perhaps "I just don't get it", and if they are getting the ratings I will happily admit Im wrong, but many of my Japanese friends are much more likely to be watching hulu or something else I have found lately.

5 ( +5 / -1 )

NZ2011: As a viewer, there is the occasional good thing ...

Dekichatta Kekkon!

Hotaru no Hikari! Although some scenes/plotlines a bit too manga-ish.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Awful! Absolutely awful. Everything is oishi!!! Umai!!! Sugoi!!! The dramas are the worst overacting amatures trying to depict attitudes no Japanese person would ever display. Its almost like trying to show people what society would never allow. I watch one show whenever its on called before and after. What`s needed are fresh creative ideas coming from young people. Wait! This is Japan. That would be impossible.

6 ( +10 / -5 )

DiscoJ: "Also, to the people complaining about dramas being filmed on video rather than on film... How is that actually a bad thing and not just a 'Oh no, this isn't what I'm used to' kind of thing?"

Because it makes the quality horrible, and sets it up immediately as a show not to be taken seriously. As if this needs proof, many shows that use video de-interlace it in editing to try and give it a more 'film-like' look.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Pidestroika, i dont know what you are watching over there, but i am fairly sure you werent spending an hour watching the show (unless it was an English news channel etc).

And if you are comparing the sounds/pictures on the shows over in south-east asia with the sounds/pictures of the shows here, then that isnt a really good comparison, is it?

No matter where you are in the world, at least 80% of TV shown is utter crap. That goes for whatever you enjoy watching - if you like news shows then the dramas and talk shows will bore you; if you like dramas then the news and documentaries will bore you. If you really enjoy everything that is on TV, then it might be time to get off the sofa and start enjoying real life.

Thats why i think it is far too much of a blanket statement to say "All Japanese TV is crap", because despite what you may think, there is variety on there. Dramas, Talk shows, news shows, educational shows... Sure there might be a different percentage of time dedicated to certain segments, but they are almost all there. And out of all that is on TV here, if you like some of it, then obviously it isnt all bad.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The lack of channels in this high tech country is puzzling. In the small city I come from in the U.S. (pop 150,000) there are about 10 channels on terrestrial TV. I think the J. govt. has passed regulations making it hard to open new TVRadio stations in order to protect their mouthpiece, NHK--speaking of which, is now controlled by Abe and the conservative/nationalistic LDP. Those of us who are not fluent in Japanese, and don't want cable or SkyPer, are stuck with NHK. Why doesn't NHK have even one news program in all English, only dubbed over news? China has a 24-hr all English channel

Although NHK provides some foreign news shows, they often get cut short, sometimes in mid sentence.. On holidays, they cancel the usual English programming. Emergency announcements are only in Japanese. Documentaries in non-English languages have only Japanese subtitles. Why can't they add English subs? I could go on and on. NHK really frustrates; it is so inward focused. What ever happened to kokusaika?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

NHK documentaries are the exception however. Big budgets and excellent quality!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I NEVER watch NHK, get my news from other channels and sources.

Those other channels are privately owned/financed/sponsored so adding bilingual might not be worth it. MX-TV does have a fair share of overseas programs/shows though, just switch the sound channel.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

afanofjapan, I have no idea what you're talking about. Read more carefuly what I wrote. You and a couple other guys feel you have some short of obligation to defend J-TV or you think it's another Japanese bushing cultural attack by the ignorant gaijin? Everybody here states their opinion. It's called "criticism", what you do when you say you like a movie or not. In my opinion, Japanese TV in general is unwatchable and absolutely terrible. The few exceptions prove the rule. The little I saw in other Asian countries I've been to is far better.

Keep enjoying J-TV if you like it so much. I won't.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"What`s needed are fresh creative ideas coming from young people. Wait! This is Japan. That would be impossible."

In their defense, even if you brought over the entire workforce of Silicon Valley, they'd spend their days bowing to the collective oyaji.

I second some of the NHK fare. The kids programming was good when my kid was a toddler, and I used to enjoy あしたをつかめ Not sure if it's on anymore. Also dug the then theme by Going Underground.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Moving outside the realm of the types of shows covered in the article, how about the production quality of sports broadcasting here? Whether it be professional baseball or soccer, the quality of the graphics used is on part with TV from the 80s in the US. From the large, completely opaque boxes with simple text in them blocking more than 40% of the screen, to the useless graphics, such as the "shots" count they put below the scoreline for J-League games, I wonder if any of the producers for these shows have ever seen an MLB, Premier League, Bundesliga, etc. broadcast. I actually went to the Asahi TV site to complain during the World Cup when they insisted displaying little meta-narrative lines in the corner of the screen throughout entire matches. I can recall the U.S. v Portugal match when it went from "Can Portugal Advance to the Next Round" to "Can Ronaldo and Portugal Make a Comeback?" - because, you know, who cares about what the other team is doing? At least get rid of the unnecessary graphic after the first five minutes or so.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

While the variety shows leave me cold, I like the comedy quiz/game shows... but I really enjoy Japanese police and crime/mystery drama series. I'm not enough of a snob to look down my nose at Japanese TV.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I feel a need to defend Japanese TV about as much as people feel a need to bash it based on cliched reasons.

I'll keep watching TV, you probably wont start. But if someone sees my arguments and decides to start watching one of these shows; learns some pop culture references that they can use in conversation with other Japanese people, then what is there to lose?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Japanese television is like most television the world over. It has its good points and its bad points. I am not overly fond of the dramas or most of the variety shows.

However, I think a lot of their documentaries are really good, especially when they focus on an artist, scientist or sportsperson, because they seem to inbed themselves with the subject. I remember watching a documentary about Mizuki Noguchi leading up to the Beijing Olympics and it showed her breaking down and crying to her coach, because her training was not going according to plan; wonderfully gripping television.

I also tend to think that Japanese television gets better as the night goes on. I mainly watch it from 10pm.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japanese TV is all about making money (for the station) not the entertainment, they spend money on talento and fancy backgrounds and thats it

5 ( +6 / -1 )

gogogo... you ever watch the dramas and documentaries? Japanese TV isn't just talent and variety shows, you know.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Turbosat,

Here's the link to a great way to enjoy J-drama...

http://thejapanwanko.sub.jp/?p=254

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Reputation is earned not given, I feel sorry for those who pay to be dumbed down by the drivel spewing out of their TVs.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

There's a lot of garbage on J-TV but the same can be said about American TV.

There ARE a lot of things that I like watching.

I like the house reform shows. All of the New Years specials. (SOON!) Music Station. I usually only watch a panel show if it has one of my favorite comedians or talento. Some dramas are not bad, even if the production quality is not great.

Whatever, don't like it. don't watch it.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Cricky.

How much to you pay per channel apart from the 2 NHK ones? Never paid for NTV, Saitama TV, Fuji TV, Chiba TV, etc.

Maybe outside the kanto region haven't watched outside of it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cricky.

How much to you pay per channel apart from the 2 NHK ones? Never paid for NTV, Saitama TV, Fuji TV, Chiba TV, etc.

Maybe outside the kanto region haven't watched outside of it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Thunderbird2: The drama's don't get me started, the overacting makes it almost a comedy to watch

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yes. Yes it is as bad as its reputation.

Asinine, puerile, repetitive, stultifying , infantile crap, without a single redeeming feature. Guaranteed to produce unquestioning, easily-manipulated drones among those who swallow the popular=valid falsehood.

Utter, utter crap.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I met someone here who went to university for drama. I asked her if she'd read Stanislavski. "Who?"

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I love animes and their dramas! Not the heavy ones but really worthwhile to watch like Trick and Gokusen! I dunno about some shows like the jpop stars and cooking... not really interested so won't comment on that. But in general i guess it just shows their authetic culture! I love it nonetheless!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

If you think a guy running around in strange garments and making so called funny faces is good TV, then it's great. But if you like programing that has any sort of intellectual content, then it "SUCK!!" I could go on for hours, but like the programing, it's not worth the time or effort. NHK ................?! Use your imagination people!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

An answer to the typical "language", the "gaijin can't possibly know" and "the TV in other countries is worse" arguments... In all the South-East Asia countries (5) I've travelled to and stayed for a week on average, I found that the TV was FAR BETTER than the Japanese in any respect, even though I didn't understand the language. Even the TV in Cambodia was better than the Japanese and my J wife agreed too.

If neither you (nor your 'J wife') could understand the TV you were watching, your opinion isn't based on much. Whether a lack of understanding leads you to like or hate something doesn't matter. 'Good' or 'bad', if you don't understand it, you don't know what you're judging.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

This is such a tendentious question, and logically, every answer is biased. Some people like the tv programs, and some people don't; it's all subjective; no one is right. You can't go to a foreign country and judge their cultural manifestations looking through the tainted lenses of your own culture. There's bad programming virtually everywhere. And Japan has and has had great tv shows.

You can gripe about the unfair practices hoisted onto the tax-paying foreigner in Japan, but I'm sorry, it takes great audacity and arrogance to gripe about their tv shows-- especially when you probably lack the language ability and knowledge of the cultural backgrounds and contexts needed to proffer a fair judgment. The point is is that if the Japanese like or don't like what's on tv in Japan, then that's all that matters.

-7 ( +4 / -10 )

especially when you probably lack the language ability and knowledge of the cultural backgrounds and contexts needed to proffer a fair judgment.

I speak Japanese. There aren't any tv shows that I don't understand. And I understand the cultural context as well. I think Japanese TV is mostly crap.

14 ( +17 / -4 )

I speak Japanese. There aren't any tv shows that I don't understand. And I understand the cultural context as well. I think Japanese TV is mostly crap.

I'm sorry, but someone must've lied to you when they told you what you think renders things definitive.

-6 ( +5 / -10 )

Where did I say my opinion was definitive? You said that, not me.

8 ( +8 / -1 )

Asinine, puerile, repetitive, stultifying , infantile crap, without a single redeeming feature. Guaranteed to produce unquestioning, easily-manipulated drones among those who swallow the popular=valid falsehood.

Never seen "Trick" then? "Aibou"? How about "Odoru Daisōsasen"? They are all good solid viewing... but might not suit your tastes as they don't promote conformity.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Am I really the only one here who watches police or mystery dramas on Japanese TV? All people are commenting on are the talento-filled guff and variety shows. Do you really never watch dramas?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Japan only has three kinds of programs, “Shows about celebrities. Shows about food. Shows about celebrities eating food.” results will depend on which gaijin you ask, there are two type of gaijin in Japan, the ones that have been assimilated, and the ones that refuse assimilation but have a high tolerance level to handle all the petty BS, the rest go home.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

smithinjapan: Because it makes the quality horrible, and sets it up immediately as a show not to be taken seriously. As if this needs proof, many shows that use video de-interlace it in editing to try and give it a more 'film-like' look.

Again, that's an issue of norms and expectations, not one of actual quality.

With that said, I do find 'home movie'-looking J-shows hard to watch, but that's because of where I was brought up (UK) and what media I consumed at the time (lots of US/UK/AUS stuff). The change in style/tone is hard to take, but it's not a problem of the programming.

0 ( +4 / -3 )

television in general is a communication media at its very end.

it is not just bad it is not useful anymore.

then one way "bla bla bla" is so old style.

sayonara telebi.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Thunderbird2: Am I really the only one here who watches police or mystery dramas on Japanese TV? All people are commenting on are the talento-filled guff and variety shows. Do you really never watch dramas?

Dekichatta Kekkon was really good. Hotaru no Hikari was good except some parts dragged or repetitive, maybe to match the manga. Watched some of Zenkai Girl because of one youtube clip seen where the ZG babysits the dads' kids in her room, but think that might have been the best scene, it was dragging on so I stopped.

Watching those, Japanese people seem a lot weirder than Koreans (from watching Korean sitcoms and dramas), but maybe Korean producers are tracking US more. e.g. some of the office or fieldwork "let's do it!" scenes in Hotaru no Hikari, made it seem like people act that way every day there.

But not mystery/police. Even US shows like that are irritating to me. Have watched a few UK and one each or so Swedish, German, Dutch, maybe they seemed OK due to novelty, and harder to predict. Chinese mystery movie "Missing Gun" seemed pretty good but that was a while back.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think a lot of the criticism directed at Japanese TV is about quality ( acting, production, scripting etc ). You don't need to be fluent in a language to notice poor quality acting, overacting, cheap production standards and a lack of compelling content.

I used to do occasional part time work as an extra in tv dramas and movies here and the so called "top shows" like Aibou and the various Taiga dramas are still poorly and cheaply made and it shows in the finished result. I couldn't stand watching the finished product and have ditched that job now. NHK's Taiga Dramas are the exception when it comes to set production and budget, but the end result is still the same. The acting is stiff and forced and the story lines are more or less the same in each of these dramas.

4 ( +7 / -4 )

You forgot the makeover shows where invariably they cut the woman's hair into a shoulder length bob and curl it and put her in a dress then for the if reveal they pan up from her toes, gotta show the leg and up up and then, stop at the neck for a commercial then come back and play the entrance again and start at the toes and pan up and finally you see her face and she's got the no and a ton of makeup and oh my, isn't she lawsuit!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I actually miss it since leaving Japan. Just the sheer amount of WTF that goes on on those shows makes them interesting.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Reddit isn't necessarily the best guage to see how foreign people feel about Japanese TV. Many people, like myself, never use Reddit.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

No, it i not as bad as reputation. I have no complains. 以上

-1 ( +4 / -4 )

I enjoy the cop shows, Itte Q when Imoto and Miyagawa are the main features and the program where Seiji goes to different places in Africa looking for the one Japanese person living there. His adventures on the way always entertain me and I enjoy his positive, go for it attitude. Also the way he puts himself on display with his garish outfits and roller suitcase. And my wife absolutely adores him and I get a lot of enjoyment from watching HER enjoyment. We both like the show about animals. The one where the older gentleman walks his little dog around. I have yet to learn his name, but his slapsticky Benny Hill-type comedy shows are amusing, too. We regularly watch Detective Conan, Chibi Maruko-chan and Sazae-san, too. I'm not so into Conan-- my wife is the devotee-- but the others provide some gentle, feel-good moments that relax me before I have to face the dread of yet another work week the next day. Itte Q helps with that, too. Every so often there's some hide-and-seek competition between celebrities that's worth a look, too.

I have a morbid fascination with that Takeshi Kitano show where they recreate crimes, usually in the US, or tell the life story of someone like Colonel Sanders. It has an Unsolved Mysteries/America's Most Wanted vibe to it and the way they try at least to semi-convince you the story's taking place in Texas or wherever when it's clearly shot here in Japan is fun.

On the other hand, the rest of it is tooth-grindingly annoying. Especially the shows where celebs go to little restaurants. I have a running battle with those. I'll turn the TV off fast and go read a book or work on some personal projects or hobbies right quick as soon as one of those starts. My wife kind of tolerates them if she likes the particular celebrity or they feature one of those tiny women who can eat 16 beef bowls in one go. Or if they're ranking the food they eat. She laughs as I retreat to the home office and usually says something like, "It's another food show!"

But I try not to inflict my tastes on her too often, too. We have to share and compromise and I don't complain when there are other things to do instead of hate-watching TV.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Leigh Ivan Quintellio Wighton: I think a lot of the criticism directed at Japanese TV is about quality ( acting, production, scripting etc ). You don't need to be fluent in a language to notice poor quality acting, overacting, cheap production standards and a lack of compelling content.

You think you can judge the quality of scripting and the presence of 'compelling content' without understanding the language? This kind of ridiculous conceit is why Japanese TV has such a bad reputation. People who don't know what they're talking about shouting loudly all the time.

-4 ( +4 / -7 )

Then again 90% of Western foreigners don't understand a thing on Japanese TV. It would be like asking your average 英会話 student to rate Tupac's lyrics...

-1 ( +9 / -9 )

Really its the balance of programs on Japanese TV that screwed up- very few movies (Japanese/Korean/English) shown, excessive celebrities doing the same stuff, cooking shows with no pizazz- in Australia we have Ready Steady Cook where the host buys a select group of foods from a market and chefs are challenged to make something based on those foods. The Japanese cops shows go against the status quo- a firefighter investigating suspicious incidents, a lower level detective investigating crimes that steps on the toes of their superiors.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Actually worse than its reputation. This New Years we will be treated to Downtown's spanking and penis joke 24 hour challenge. Sanma hitting women on their heads with his plastic mallet. Beat Takeshi insulting women and making racist jokes. NHK political shows shoving nationalism down our throats becuase the LDP and its Soka Gakkai lap dog tell them to. And even more sexism and nationalist nonsense on all the networks.

Oh yes, the reputation is deserved.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

When I first moved to Tokyo, I was kind of impressed when I stepped into a restaurant and see a plaque on their wall commemorating their 15 minutes of fame being featured on TV. But then, as I learned the lay of the land (especially the vapid wasteland that is Japanese TV), I realized that it's not all that special. I reckon about 20 restaurants are featured every night.

I would say that pretty soon they're gonna run out of restaurants to review if it wasn't the case that Japanese people get bored with trends quickly and restaurants close down after their 15 minutes of fame. Look at the Wendy's in Omotesando: a high quality fast food experience with a big menu, stylish decor, and decent prices. When it first opened, there were lines for hours. A couple years later, though, it lost its trend status and is now gone.

This is true for Japanese TV, but in a different way. A show will do something and become wildly popular. But then, instead of it being appreciated for what it is, 20-thousand copycat shows appear. These types of celebrity variety shows weren't popular at all 20 years ago. But once producers saw how successful they were, they latched on and never let go. Now, there's no innovation: nothing new, nothing exciting, just the same rehash with different settings or colors.

And this trend is pretty true for Japanese society as a whole. Everything seems stuck in a rut, and what's "new" isn't really new. I hope for the sake of creativity that they can get over it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

DiscoJ, apparently you are confusing TV with Radio. You don't need to understand the language to form an oppinion whether a program is boring or fun to watch. If the acting is horrible or great. If the director has done a good job or not. If the music, the costumes, the plot and many many other things are of good guality. I enjoyed so much a music show on Indonesian TV and a game show for teenagers on Taiwan TV even though I couldn't understand the language. Excelent rhythm, presentation, director and decoration. Overall great fun to watch. When 10 of the 20 minutes of a Japanese drama is close-ups and the rest are shot in a house or school this should tell you how cheap the production is. If different actors perform in exactly the same way in every drama (and yes, my Japanese is enough to understand drama language) then obviously there are issues with quality. Two "commedians" standing on a stage doing nothing else except talking and constantly hitting each other on the head could be hilarious to you but to me it's RADIO. Not TV. Somebody out there is very confused. You and a few others presuppose none of us visiting here understand good enough Japanese to enjoy J-TV or we have cultural issues. You're wrong.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Harold, is there anything you don't complain about?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Kickboard - they asked me what I think of Japanese TV. I think it's crap. What's your point?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

You think you can judge the quality of scripting and the presence of 'compelling content' without understanding the language? This kind of ridiculous conceit is why Japanese TV has such a bad reputation. People who don't know what they're talking about shouting loudly all the time.

Disco, you're missing the point. I'm talking about production standards, acting quality and possibly even casting. You absolutely do not need to be fluent in Japanese to see the low standards in a lot of TV productions here. My Japanese is good enough to follow most stuff on TV here. I don't have 1Kyu, but you don't need certifications in Japanese language to recognise terrible overacting and cheaply made sets and props. I'd go on but Pidestroika said it all quite nicely.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

One final posting from me with some food for thought. Found on the net that only 28% of the Japanese, who obviously don't have any "language or cultural problems" really like their TV, 46% are inclined to like it, 20% are inclined to not like it and about 5% don't like it at all. On the other hand only 8% really find the J-TV interesting. 32% are towards finding it interesting and the overwhelming 60% find the J-TV little or not interesting at all (10% hate it).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I agree with everyone who say that J-dramas are a good vehicle for learning or improving one's Japanese. I'll watch them on tv and then go to one of the J-drama online sites to get the English subtitled versions. It's a great way to expand vocabulary and day-to-day vernacular.

7 ( +6 / -0 )

I must say, I'm very impressed with the reasoned arguments put forward by a number of users above:

Article: Lots of people think Japanese TV is dreadful. Do you agree?

User #1: Yes.

User #2: Yes.

User #3: I don't know who you are but I reckon I'm better at Japanese than you, so your opinion is wrong.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I have actually seen really good shows, I can s pop wall japanese Well enough to watch. The variety shows are insane But I will watch them. I don't watch anime. Yes some of it is over th e'er top But so are shows from England, where my wife is from and I stayed in manila long enough to see the real issues are simply cultural.

Best example is comedy. I don't get any Japanese comedy. I Also don't get filipino comedy, Mexican comedy and at best I get less than half of British comedy. You just have to grow up in those cultures to get it. Even comedy from the American south or worse New England isnt 100% understood. I would think Anyone watching TVs not native to themselves will seem off, strange or unreachable. Japan really isn't that unusual

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Article: Lots of people think Japanese TV is dreadful. Do you agree?

User #1: Yes.

User #2: Yes.

User #3: I don't know who you are but I reckon I'm better at Japanese than you, so your opinion is wrong.

Right on the money there, Harald!! And you`ve got downvoted too!! Thin skins!!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

turbotsat: If you don't like the top-rated shows, then they are not aimed at you, but what have you got to complain about? You are not working for production companies for free, just like they are not working for you for free. ...

JT-verse: -6

Oops, my bad, sorry, I forgot NHK is paid by license fees.

You poor sods! Must be painful watching that lot! :(

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Let me rephrase: If J-TV would be made with the tiny gaijin community in mind, then the gaijin community (the main responders on this pool) would find it better. It's made for the Japanese people, with a culture and language not comprehended by many foreigners, so of course it's not very appealing to them. atarimae!

-1 ( +7 / -9 )

Ebisen.

Perhaps you`d like to try to watch a few dramas without having your intelliegence insulted.

Sit still though, otherwise you might fall down one of those plot holes!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Is Japanese TV really as bad as its reputation?

Yes! I mean no!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If you love watching women stuff their faces with food and seemingly climax over the taste and lots of commercials of women guzzling beer and preening themselves then you will love it. I still cannot get used to the silly inane high pitched voices and two word endings to commercials.The talento shows where everyone has to smile and whenever anything interesting is on their is talento in the top corner of the screen watching. My little boy and wife seems to like it all though. I do like that big man that dresses as a women though. He/she is great. Very funny. Maxo Deluxe?? Also that program where they go around the world looking for/visiting Japanese that have settled in other countries is interesting. Mostly thought Japanese TV is very poor quality and rather mindless.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Mick nope, why would I want to do that ff's sake? I'm not a housewife!!.

ON the other hand, perhaps you would like to watch some of the excellent NHK documentaries and shows. Oh, if not, you can switch to BS (1-8) for some excellent travel shows (both within and outside Japan). Ah, but they require a bit more intelligence, and many never show any girl in miniskirts, how boring is that?!

Also have you ever thought that the things that might appeal to westerners (including all the idiotic "reality&talent shows") might not be so palatable for a Japanese? I mean , come on, Takeshi's castle comes from Japan. On New year's Eve there is a nice chance to sample the Japanese humour, but many would not even understand that the jokes are on!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

In a word; " YES ". EVERYTHING is either a show about Cooking, or Fishing....channel, after channel...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ebisen if Japanese TV is a reflection of Japanese culture then Japanese culture is shallow, superficial and mindless which it is NOT. So you prefer it to Aussie TV do you???

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I think Japanese TV is just unique.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japanese commercials are horrid. Loud, shouting, screaming, using "children" voice sound effects . And toooooo much. Terrible.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In a word; " YES ". EVERYTHING is either a show about Cooking, or Fishing....channel, after channel...

and cop shows... and family dramas... and historical dramas.... and anime.... and superhero shows on Sundays.... and news shows....

Only thing that really annoys me is that guy on the news discussion show who wears different hats and glasses every day... he really annoys me.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Pidestroika: DiscoJ, apparently you are confusing TV with Radio. You don't need to understand the language to form an oppinion whether a program is boring or fun to watch.

My point was that without understanding, the basis of that kind of opinion is weak. Regardless of whether the opinion is positive, or negative, it's basis is weak. If someone cannot understand what is happening (and 'why' it is happening) in a show, they can not properly judge it.

Musical/dance performances, sports, etc. may be exceptions to this, but for scripted/speech heavy programmes, yes, understanding of the language (or, at least, subtitles) is needed.

This point isn't unique to Japan, Japanese or to television appreciation. It applies to films, games, sports, whatever. Nothing will stop you from forming whatever opinion you want to form, but without some base of experience or understanding, that opinion probably won't be worth listening to.

Two "commedians" standing on a stage doing nothing else except talking and constantly hitting each other on the head could be hilarious to you but to me it's RADIO. Not TV.

Is stand-up comedy (popular in the UK and US amongst other places) just 'RADIO' to you as well? How about interviews which just featured two people sat down chatting (another popular format in many countries around the world)? Is something only worth being on TV if it features Pidestroika-approved presentation, rhythm and direction?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

This much I know. This article, comments inclusive, is much better than Japanese TV.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

i pay for cable TV and even it is crap. Endless repeats of US programmes on most channels. The only thing remotely worth watching is BBC and CNN news.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Short answer: Actually, it is worse. I want to scream the next time I see a close-up of some geijnojin stiking some food in his her/mouth and exclaiming "oishiiii".

There are a couple of good shows, but they are few and far between.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Is Japanese TV really as bad as its reputation?

What are you comparing it to?

Japanese reality TV is not as mundane as the West.

I would rather have someone drive a nail into my forehead than watch a second of the simpleton shows like America's Next Top Model, Asia's next top model, Europe's next top model, Jersey Shore, keeping up with the Kardashians, cbs survivor, dancing with the stars etc etc etc!

Watching reality TV dulls the brain, reading a book keeps you alive!

But, to be completely honest I watch about 15 hours of tv per week and about 10 hours is the news on different channels. I do a very strange thing the rest of the time, I read books or read newspapers (online and paper).

So, I find Japanese reality tv humorous because of it's old style slapstick humor.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

My point was that without understanding, the basis of that kind of opinion is weak. Regardless of whether the opinion is positive, or negative, it's basis is weak. If someone cannot understand what is happening (and 'why' it is happening) in a show, they can not properly judge it.

Have you ever heard abt ishindenshin as well as abt non-verbal communication? Language, words are not the main means of communication in Jp. I'm fluent in Japanese but Jp TV (TV shows etc) don't use the words (language) itself that much--screaming, shouting single words, laughing, clapping etc.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

During the 30 years that I lived in Japan, I peridically commented to my (Japanese) wife and son about a show they were watching, "This show is horrible! This would never be popular in America." I made that assessment especially when they were watching some Japanese show in which a succession of embarrassingly no talent amateurs sang in front of a panel of celebrities who then each gave their critiques, some complimentary and some quite hurtful. Eventually, by way of internet application procedures and telephone conference calls, I secured a legitimate career in America. Upon reaching Raleigh-Durham International Airport, while waiting for my suitcase to arrive at the carosel, I saw on the overhead television sets a broadcast of some American show I had never seen or heard of: "American Idol."

6 ( +8 / -2 )

No, it's quite good, actually. In most cases, the bad reputation gaijin with NO KNOWLEDGE of Japanese language and culture (including jokes) switch between channels and can't find anything interesting (obviously, isn't it). Then they stop at talk shows, where in the background countless girls are sitting wearing miniskirts. Trust me, Japanese TV can be very interesting if you try to understand the culture and look beyond the miniskirts...

And what are these masterpieces that I have been missing out on? I am sure I can catch up on these classics - I even know a site that does English subtitles on old Japanese dramas.

I sometimes play food bingo - flip through the channels to find out how many are simultaneously displaying food. Once I got "bingo" - every single one was on a food topic. Actually one was showing a ramen commercial and the rest were discussing food in some way, including both NHKs.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The commenters on here defending Japanese TV are laughable. I've read through every comment and will address the following arguments.

You don't understand the language - I'd surmise that a large percentage of commenters on here, who have expressed their disgust of Japanese TV, are like myself quite proficient in the Japanese language. How that has anything to do with gauging the quality of the TV content itself is beyond me.

You don't understand the culture / humour - Interesting angle. How did you reach that conclusion? Again, the defensive types on here making brash & baseless assumptions. It's a straw man argument - We're talking about the quality of the televised content here, not whether or not so-and-so's humour is regarded as 'funny'. Crass is crass. You want my two cents? Japanese 'comedians' are anything but that - it's a collective group of one trick (or 'gag' in this case) ponies. Nothing more. True comedians are adaptive, innovative, very well-spoken - and witty.

Oh, but NHK produces quality content - Comparable to the likes of BBC? Where's the online content? Big budget productions? Kohaku every year? You're going to have to do better than that. What about investigative journalism? You don't find it the least bit farcical that all the major boat-rocking stories on Fukushima have come from foreign news agencies? NHK is basically a government-censored mouthpiece.

Well, at least the dramas are interesting - Right, so we get the same themes, same pool of 'actors' & programming that's jam-packed with ads. How about a drama on political backstabbing (along the lines of House of Cards)? The war on drug crime (think Breaking Bad)? Risque & multi-leveled love stories that captivate an audience? They don't exist. The Japanese entertainment industry is controlled & carefully curated by a handful of agencies - and TV is no exception.

It's beyond your intellect - This is my favourite. You want to go there? I'm game. You name one hard-hitting TV programme that tackles the real issues. John Stewart-esque? Colbert Report-esque? A programme that goes against the grain and presents the viewer with thought provoking monologues from a well-informed (gasp!) host. A programme that prods politicians into choking submission, rendering them unable to form a convincing response. A programme that doesn't consist of a brain-dead has-beens who really have no credibility on the subject matter whatsoever. A programme with a real outsiders view, rather than a view of a clueless 'talento' who knows nothing about the world. And I mean nothing.

Guess what? It doesn't exist. Much like your amalgamated, and quite frankly offensive, argument.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

NHK documentaries are getting a fair bit of support here. My favourite one was a support piece for the fishermen of Taiji.

The highlight for me was a fisherman sitting in his truck (which was transporting a dolphin), blocked by foreign protesters, and calling his wife to ask, "How do you say doitekudasai in English?"

Like a Taiji fisherman would actually do that if the camera wasn`t on!!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

SighClops:

Touche'.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

sighclops

Gratuitous boob shots are a significant plus, IMO.

What say you?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think Japanese TV is just unique...... unique rubbish.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Love to hate Japan reingns in here. Then, that's pointless for anyone to opine here except to throw stones in anything regarding Japan.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

sighclops "You don't understand the language - I'd surmise that a large percentage of commenters on here, who have expressed their disgust of Japanese TV, are like myself quite proficient in the Japanese language. How that has anything to do with gauging the quality of the TV content itself is beyond me."

You'd 'surmise that' based on what? I'm surmising, based on the high focus consumers are placing on visuals and OISHII/UMAI food rather than on storylines or content, that no, most people in this thread don't have a good understanding. The comments made here don't show much understanding, it's mainly 'I can see people eating' or 'I can see men acting stupid' or 'I can see pretty girls in short skirts'.

As for what it has to do with gauging quality... would you listen to someone's opinion of the latest manga (or indeed, any book) if they couldn't actually read it? Sure, for a manga or a comic, they can fairly assess the visuals and they may (or may not) be able to broadly follow the flow, but if they don't understand what any of the text means, would you still value their opinion? If you would, fine. Great. But I wouldn't.

Your other points are pretty interesting and I'd agree there seems to be a lack of 'experimentation' or really stand-out high quality shows here compared to (the best of) the US or the UK. I personally think there occasional gems, especially in TV Tokyo's Friday night slot, but yeah, I wouldn't hold them up against the best of the West. In general, I just watch what I enjoy here and disregard the rest (same as I do for UK TV when I'm in England).

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I agree withsighclops totally. There would never be a Japanese equivalent of Roger Cook's Cook Report, or Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe. Look at what happened when Frost interviewed Nixon.

Would never have happened here.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

DiscoJ

Just a point -- the "bi" in "terebi" is take from TeleV where the V stand for Vision. So comments on the visual aspects of a show can be just as valuable and worthwhile. Take genius dialog from any show and surround that with distracting visuals and pompous acting and you have crap. I think that's what most people here are commenting on. The visual should add to the viewing -- and in their opinion -- it takes away. I agree with this sentiment.

Someone above noted that NHK has some nice historical dramas and I would have to agree. About ten years ago they did one on Ieyasu Tokugawa and I couldn't wait for the next installment. Good stuff.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

My point is that both perspectives are needed for a reasonable opinion.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Sighclops, have you ever watched Ikegami Sho's Kaisetsujuku? I would call him a very well informed host that explains current world issues in a fairly engaging manner.

And just these last few days i am getting videos shared of News ZERO's caster Murao Nobutaka grilling the PM about abenomics to the point where Abe pulls out his earpiece and starts ignoring him.

Its no Colbert report, and there is certainly no Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. But i still think that the majority of people here do not even TRY to watch TV here. Or they are just looking at the pictures and recognising the few words that they understand (which, if you do that, it will seem that they are repeated over and over and over).

TV in general is mindless crap. But there is some interesting stuff on sometimes.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

sightclops - you're all game? Well you and your "intellect" are a fish in the barrel. Have you ever seen any BS 5 very tasteful international travel docus? A very well known Brittish "traveller" made a totally sh!tty documentary on an East European country, and never fixed his mistake. After that was shown on "Travel" Channel, (bringing a lot of complaints from the J-Viewers), NHK sent there a team of three and took tens of hours of ultra-gorgeous footage that were made in a mini-series of documentaries, showing the nicer part of the same country. They gave the "Western" Channels a huge lesson in how to make tasteful travel shows... Have you ever seen the NHK's "Professionals" (I think it's called like this) shows - where they present some ultra highly skilled persons and the secrets of their trades? Let me guess...NO?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Apparently one more posting is necessary as obviously some here are too opinionated... Putting aside the "gaijin" that "atarimae" don't understand the language therefore their opinion is "not worth listening" (then why do you reply to them?) I posted that among Japanese viewers "only 8% really find the J-TV interesting. 32% are towards finding it interesting and the overwhelming 60% find the J-TV little or not interesting at all (10% hate it)." In other words 92% of the Japanese find their own TV of average or bad quality. "afanofjapan" admits that "TV in general is mindless crap" but has issues if someone says so. "ebisen" has difficulty to understand that the existence of a few good documentaries does not mean the J.-TV as a whole is good. "Disco" keeps repeating the same mantra without proving us that his/her Japanese is good enough to form an opposite opinion. People keep telling him "we understand Japanese perfectly well" but somehow it doesn't register. To him/her Japanese TV is full of unique philosophical ideas that only a native Japanese could understand and therefore no "gaijin" should ever say anything. It's extremely difficult to understand the "concept" of tarento going to a restaurant eating food and yelling "oishii", every day on every channel. Only he can understand and appreciate. Enough with this. Keep watching!!! Have a good one everybody.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japanese people tend to answer surveys very conservatively so I'm not surprised 'only' 8% said it was 'very interesting'. The total of 40% that apparently finds it 'somewhat or very interesting' is the more meaningful figure there.

Also, I don't need to prove anything. I've never stated that I think Japanese TV is wonderful (especially not compared to my favourite UK or US productions). I enjoy the shows I enjoy (and can understand) and disregard the rest.

Thus, in my opinion, Japanese TV is not as bad as its 'reputation' (amongst foreigners/Reddit users) suggests, since that reputation appears heavily based on ignorance. It's only one step up from people who 'review' things they haven't seen.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

In short there are too many variety shows that are hosted by too many talrento. The audience rarely has a chance to graft on to a host before someone else comes along. With the shows, every thing is presented as significant, which makes everything insignificant in the end. Also everything that shows up on TV is controlled by a VERY select few which are mandated to act within standards that are pretty conservative.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If you don't like it, change the channel or turn off the TV. There are many options. Some people just love to complain. Reading won't hurt either.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

DiscoJ

I'll disagree. I think one aspect of a show, if horrific enough, can absolutely destroy the watchability of a program.

People here comment on Hollywood Movies all the time. Great Effects + Skilled actors + shallow story and bad writing = crap. Same for a bad production of Shakespeare - bad acting will kill a performance.

It only takes one glaring shortcoming to sink a show. And that's what we are talking about here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

We need a guy like Jerry Springer to come here and show the Japanese how to make REAL TV shows....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I ve seen a bit of Japanese TV, well its the biggest load of rubbish I've ever seen! poor acting poor editing, poor production what is the budget for the TV shows about 5000Yen?And the worst of all is on NHK TV he's a Yankee guy who stands behind this well known Japanese lady whose cooking, and he explains every thing two or three time, like she was on TV once and she said your grate the Daicon and put it in the bowl, then he tells us all what to do again and again, how F*****g condescending is this? is it were so dumb that we don't know 1: how to grate daicon and 2: how to put it in a bowl. Ive never ever seen such rubbish in my life! Producers of TV shows need to come to the UK and see how the professionals do it, just take a look at "blue planet" this was made and narrated by sir R attenbrough, this film went world wide in sales to other countries, you need to spend lots of money on a good show if you don't you end up with cheap shallow day time TV programs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japanese TV is atrocious. I agree about the variety shows with the talentless talent eating food, or staying at an onsen, or eating food and staying at an onsen. We also get to see them ride on trains and buses in what appears to be real time or walking around a Tokyo neighbourhood looking at shops - the televisual equivalent of watching paint dry.

Then there are the dramas (usually police or hospital based) that are so slowly paced you can see the actors age while you are watching. They have clunky dialogue and are directed by someone who learned everything they knew from watching episodes of appalling UK TV soap Crossroads.

The worst, though, is those daytime wide shows. Talking about nothing for three hours. Yawn......

And why does everything on Japanese TV, apart from some news programmes, have to have a musical accompaniment? And why does everyone have to sit behind desks? And why does every studio look like an explosion in a paint factory? And why does everyone on Japanese TV have a pointy stick?

God, it's awful.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I am a bit surprised by the overwhelming criticism here.

80% of Japanese TV is rubbish of course, but so is it everywhere else. Don't tell me Kim Kardashian stuff or reality TV in the U.S. is quality.

80% of Drama's suck and are based on drama's, but some are true gems. And they don't drag on for 10 years. Taiga drama's are sometimes spectacularly good, for example Ryomaden or Atsuhime. 80 % of comedy is nonsensical, but a good chunk is very funny, like "shabekuri seben" - if you don't agree, well, lots of Japanese do think it is funny, that is why these programs exist NHK documentaries are sometimes very good and in depth Tanteinaito skip and Yoshimoto shinkigeki is really funny (if you live in Kansai) True that there is too much stuff on food, but people are genuinely interested in local and seasonal foods, something that almost doesn't exist in the U.S. anymore. People like to watch programs about local restaurants (B-gurume) and some background of the chef. Overacting has a very long history in East-Asian drama, even before the advent of TV
2 ( +3 / -1 )

80% of Japanese TV is rubbish of course, but so is it everywhere else.

For comparison, here is the free-to-air tv listings in the UK for 21 December of what will be showing at 9pm:

BBC 1: The Apprentice final - final of the UK version of the business challenge competition BBC 2: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (movie) ITV: Midsomer Murders - police drama Channel 4: Homeland - US CIA drama Channel 5: Gran Torino - movie BBC 3: Top Gear Bolivia Special - car-based travel comedy BBC 4: Sammy Davis Jr - biopic ITV2: The Holiday - movie ITV3: Michael Buble's Christmas - music Film 4: Magic Mike - movie E4: Edward Scissorhands - movie Drama: The Great Train Robbery - true crime drama

I think that that is a pretty good selection of viewing, requiring no subscriptions or additional subscriptions. I could watch the majority of those, probably just missing out Midsomer Murders and Michael Buble. What does Japan offer in a head-to-head comparison of "what's on"?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Not a bad selection depending on your taste, but maybe interesting that so few of those items are actually British-made TV productions.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I think that the anime until 2008 and the anime after 2008 are very diferent things. The anime have been turning in something worse and its popularity have been decreasing in the last years.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Not a bad selection depending on your taste, but maybe interesting that so few of those items are actually British-made TV productions.

I listed 12 channels. Four are showing movies, which are mostly Hollywood, but of the eight TV shows, only 2 appear to be foreign. "Top Gear" is British and apparently the world's most popular TV show. But it is good to see foreign dramas as well - quite a number of quality subtitled foreign language films and dramas are shown on British TV.

As a snapshot for 9pm on Sunday 21 December, what has Japanese TV got to compare from its handful of terrestrial channels? We will find later, but I bet it will be a pretty poor selection, by comparison.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I give loud resounding 'NO'! We live in the USA, and 90% of our "TV" time is spent watching Japanese TV shows, JDrama's-comedies, Tiaga drama's. We love them. We find them entertaining, educational, and thought provoking. U.S. television is full of what is complained about in this article, stupid game shows, predictable laugh lines, or way overboard graphic crime shows, and last and worst...."reality TV shows". Television has become like book stores, there is so much produced now, it's hard to find good quality shows to watch, like it's hard to find a good book. I hope Japan keeps doing what they are doing and don't worry about the whining of foreigners and keep their TV - Japanese!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Ah_so, of those 12, only The Apprentice and Midsomer Murders are actually new shows. Everything else is either a movie (mostly US), a US drama or a repeat.

I can tell you (as a British person) that this kind of reliance on US-productions and endless repeats is very characteristic of modern British television, and it's exactly what people in Britain criticise about it. I mean yeah, having as many as 12 free to air channels is great and all, but when such a large proportion is literally recycled content, it's not much to be proud of.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"80 % of comedy is nonsensical, but a good chunk is very funny, like "shabekuri seben" - if you don't agree, well, lots of Japanese do think it is funny, that is why these programs exist."

Dead wrong, these programs exist because only 3 talent agencies for the big three networks have a strangle hold on the "comedy" market. Soga and Fujiwara control NTV (Downtown, Cocorico, Ame no kozoku, and others agency), Johnny's (NHK), and Avex for TBS.

They keep any new blood off the air to protect the careers and fortunes of the washed up one trick ponies that should have been gone long ago. Be honest - why is Downtown still on TV? Soga and Fujiwara's monopoly on the board of NTV. It is well known that any exec there that talks of killing off Dowtown no gaki, りんかーん, or Downtown DX becomes suddenly fired. And that is only one example at one network.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When I lived in the states I rarely watched any programs other than sports. I really enjoy most of Japanese TV. Monday evenings are my favorite for the "Why did you come to Japan" show and I also like the Japanese living abroad program. When the sumo wrestling tournaments come on they do a quality job. I too enjoy the commercials. Just once I would like to see one of tasters on the food programs say what they put in their mouth is horrible. The documentaries for the most part are very good. I am not big TV watcher, but there are some very good venues here and I will continue to enjoy them. Finally, Eeeeh does get annoying at times.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Very bad!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

reywat: There's a food segment show on Fuji TV's ぶらぶらサタデー show called '有吉くんの正直さんぽ' (Ariyoshi's Shoujiki Sanpo). The concept of this segment is that Ariyoshi actually gives his honest opinion of whatever he eats. It's the only time I've seen someone on Japanese TV say something like 'In short, it's disgusting'.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Reminds me of Japanese conversation, saying the same things over and over again. I'm a precog at predicting the banal nothings that will come my way.

Exactly!!

And my boss in # 1 in this.......

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I agree with some of the posts about Australian TV.... it's dreadful.... cooking, building, reality, morning news shows to name a few (although the ABC and SBS have some good shows). Some of the Japanese shows are quite funny.... although my humour is a little low brow anyway. Whatever happened to Hard Gay?...I liked him...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I agree with others who say 80% crap, 20% entertaining. Same as TV elsewhere in the world btw.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I watched Japanese TV for the first month of my stay (mostly at hotels) and I haven't watched it since. Everytime I turned it on, there was a 'variety' game show going on and little else. Occasionally I would stumble upon the news and an old drama that I would classify as the Japanese version of an old Western. A samurai hero would save the town from some evil dude. I never did see the anime, although I've watched them elsewhere. The only shows that were interesting for me were the old samurai shows as the variety shows just repeated the same stuff over and over. I was surprised to see the same people on different variety shows.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

if you like anime methinks it's pretty much the only thing worth watching in Japan. The 7 Deadly Sins, Your Lie in April and Parasyte are my current recommendations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I really, really detest the food obsession. I cannot stand some generic idiot getting his/her hands on food from somewhere, lifting it piously with a pair of chopsticks, pausing so the camera can get a closeup of the glistening, moist delight, lifting it reverently into his/her mouth, chewing, staring into the middle distance misty eyed whilst contemplating the incredible melody of flavors and the magnificence of the culinary experience, and after an eternity of consideration offering the incredibly descriptive critique of 'OISHIIIIII!' to sum it up. I certifiably hate that.

To me, the Kohaku Uta Gassen perfectly sums up Japanese TV. It is a festival of camp, bizarre, stylized and traditional all bundled into one. I'm lucky to last an hour of the 5, but the family loves it so it's on for the duration of the night. It's a long night.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The only decent shows are ones featuring foreigners like "sekai gyoten news". Even when they do a story about Japanese on those shows, it tends to be boring and drag on too long. I guess its no surprise that shows now often focus on foreigners' in Japan or Japanese abroad.

I enjoy Sasuke but its only on maybe 2 times per year, so can hardly be considered a TV series.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm not that familiar with Japanese television programming, but I do like J-Dramas and anime. ^.^

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Every country has its good and bad TV programs, with the exception of North Korea and possible exception of China.

Japan has some great programs - NHK nature programs, Chibi Maruko, Doctor X ( OK, Doctor X is finished until next season )...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is what I would call a "sweet" article. It does not include the heavy-handed criticism, Japan-bashing and fury that accompany a lot of the comments I've heard (and probably made) during my time here. The one thing the writer gets absolutely right is how apparently there are only two words to describe food in Japan: "Oishii!" and "Umai!" and each one is said as if the speaker were either on the verge of having an orgasm or in the midst of one. It drives me insane.

I have a Japanese husband and I have struggled to the point of tears to tolerate what I can only call baffling programming. First, men run all the networks, that's obvious--if a woman has a voice at any network in Japan, I am sure it is silenced, insulted or laughed at, much as it is on the insipid "wide shows." As for NHK, it constantly paints a picture of Japan that only exists in the mind of the men who run it, mainly how great Japan was, how it is a victim of foreign powers, and that, apparently, no foreigners exist, except as part of historical dramas--they cannot be included in a single modern-day drama (why not??); except for one anchorwoman, the rest have to be under 30, preferably much younger; most Japanese dramas include someone dying in a hospital, someone running hysterically, someone crying, with cameras landing on the actor's eyes so we can really see that they are crying... and of course, any time there is an election, seeing a politician screaming himself hoarse to prove how "impassioned" he is. The list goes on and on. I let my husband watch TV for an hour each night, after which we go to HULU and choose a Western film, which he loves. In fact, I have to force him to watch old Japanese films (there were some incredible ones).

It's the current crop of Japanese TV shows that consistently display a lack of diversity, a lack of ideas, and a lack of talent. Japan Inc. has written into its by-laws that chirpy AKB48 creatures will forever dominate the airwaves and they, plus "Johnny's Boys" will determine who gets to star in a show, what songs we get to hear, and what dramas we get to see. They are revealing in a way, but not in a good way.

Japanese TV has been on life support for so long it does not know how to breathe on its own anymore.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Short answer to the question: Yes it is.

Longer answer: Yes it bloody is, it's sodding dreadful.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have lived with my Japanese husband in Japan for 21 years. In that time, I was able to tolerate one soap opera about a group of people in Hokkaido and a few scattered entertainment programs where old pop stars sing their hits. Other than those, I have had to leave the room, as my temperature rises within nanoseconds at the incredible stupidity, manipulating, blatant nationalism, and every possible effort to keep foreign faces off Japanese TV unless they're black singers (preferably with Asian blood), stupid gaijin clowns or evil gaijins from historical eras where Japan was "the victim" (oh, I'm sorry... was there ever a time when Japan wasn't a victim?).

In addition, Japanese TV is FIXATED on putting cameras on people's faces while they're eating or drinking so we can get their "gut reaction" to what they're eating or drinking... which is ALWAYS the same. "Oishii!!!" ("Delicious!!!!").

As for their "dramas," someone is always running hysterically, crying hysterically, or dying in a hospital. Also, in Japan, producers apparently believe that SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS makes things more "dramatic."

I love my husband, but I HATE Japanese TV. It makes me nauseous. That is NOT to say that Japan cannot create riveting drama or doesn't have some kick-ass movies or animated films. But TV is, as someone said, about cooking (how many times can we watch someone swirl udon noodles in a strainer?), celebrities (and there are so few who have ANY talent), or same celebrities "acting" or eating or appearing in commercials. In between there are dramas about men who scream, women who cry, men racing down beaches screaming out women's names, and so much fakery and stupidity and manipulation that short of having a lobotomy, the only thing I can do is walk away. Yes. I agree with HaraldBloodaxe: "Yes it bloody is, it's sodding dreadful." Except I would have put DREADFUL in caps.

Talk about dreck!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese television is absolute garbage and I feel sorry for the people who do nothing except watch TV all day in Japan. They are effectively pumping trash into their minds.

0 ( +0 / -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