With the FIFA World Cup in full swing, people gathered throughout the nation to whoop, holler and groan as the Japanese national team was defeated 2-1 by Cote d'Ivoire in its first Group C match.
But the Fuji TV program "Tokudane" broadcast the day after the game, reports J-Cast News (June 16), also focused segments of its coverage on people who did not watch the game. Camera crews on the street approached people and posed the question, "Why aren't you watching the World Cup?" Some people reacted to this discriminatory treatment by posting objections on the Internet.
The "Tokudane" segment of June 15 led off with soccer, soccer and more soccer, with live feeds of crowds in front of JR Nakano Station and Ajinomoto Stadium in Chofu City, where the groups of excited fans were clad from head to foot in "Samurai Blue." The feed shifted to Shibuya, where passers-by clustered in front of TVs set up in a electronics department store. Others were shown walking while squinting at the game on their mobile phone screens.
Even after the game, complete strangers were shown greeting one another effervescently with "high fives" while crossing Shibuya's famous scramble crossing -- this despite Japan having lost.
Having run out of camera footage on this subject, the crews then turned to asking people what they were doing if they hadn't watched the game. After all, despite the 51.5% audience viewer rating for Japan in its game one of the previous World Cup, it made sense to investigate what the minority was doing if they weren't watching. So the TV crew began flagging down pedestrians and asking.
"Do I have to be watching TV?" one fellow wearing a jersey with what appeared to be the national colors retorted, insisting the color of his garment was coincidental. And to the question "Do you know what today is?" another hapless pedestrian scratched his head and replied "It's Father's Day, isn't it?"
Then the program narrator remarked, "And even though the game's being broadcast, here's a dating couple," who he then asked, "Do you know what's happening right now?" "Eh? Now? No, what is it?" replied the girl indifferently. Another couple, strolling in Yoyogi Park, were confronted by the crew and asked "Is there any particular reason why you're not watching the game?" The two turned out to be history buffs and had been visiting NHK to learn about the current Sunday evening "Taiga Drama," "Kuroda Kambei," which they happened to be more interested in than the World Cup.
Another crew flagged down a male jogger, who was running bare-chested, along the banks of the Tama River. This was followed by middle school students at a game of "go" tournament, and a woman who was putting decorations on wind chimes. None of them expressed the least bit of interest in the tournament.
Fuji TV's coverage managed to set off some grumbles via Twitter.
"'Tokudane' is claiming that people who don't watch the Japanese team in action are going against the flow," said one. "Is not watching really such a bad thing?"
"More than feeling upset, I'm aghast. It's like they're suggesting people who don't watch are unpatriotic," remarked another.
"People have the freedom to watch or not to watch, so leave it be already, will you?" a third objected. "Do people absolutely have to watch soccer? Is not watching some kind of crime?"
J-Cast News didn't confine its complaints just to Fuji TV, however. On the "Sukkiri" program on rival NTV, it seems a live feed showed a reporter falling in step with people who were jogging around the imperial palace, where he brayed out to them, "Japan is losing to Ivory Coast!"© Japan Today