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NHK announcer finds herself in a big new world

17 Comments
By Chris Betros and Satomi Honda

After being a sports announcer for NHK for 10 years, Yuko Aoyama found herself in a much bigger world when she became co-anchor last year for the network’s prime-time program “News Watch 9,” which airs on NHK General TV Mon-Fri at 9 p.m.

“I have to cover everything going on, including sports, and I’ve realized that I really don’t know much. But that is what makes this job so interesting,” says Aoyama. “It’s opened my eyes to so much about the world that I didn’t know before, and made me a more inquisitive person. Now, when I deal with current issues, I look at how other media are covering it, as well as try to predict what sort of turn it will take in the future.”

Born in Hiroshima, Aoyama attended Tsukuba University in Ibaraki where she studied sports science. After graduating in 1995, she started working at NHK as an announcer for both general news and sports. She covered the Nagano Olympics in 1998 and the Beijing Olympic opening ceremony last year. She has been co-anchoring “News Watch 9” with Goro Taguchi since April 2008. Her bright demeanor has helped make the program popular with viewers.

“Sometimes we receive as many as 100 phone calls after the program. Some people call in for requests to cover specific issues as well as point out that the reporting was biased,” Aoyama says. “Others may call in asking about the clothes I wore during the program, so it really varies. It’s not like viewers are going to believe everything that we tell them; they’ve all got their own opinion and they’re not afraid to speak up and critique us.”

Aoyama says her parents are her best critics. “They voice their opinions on the contents of the program and which parts were unclear to them. They also talk about my gestures, my way of wording things, and the way I talk. I always look over ‘News Watch 9’ after it’s over and evaluate how I did, although I end up forgetting the points I need to improve on before I get to apply them.”

One thing Aoyama would like to see more of on the program are inspirational stories. “When I was a sports announcer, I could report on stories like baseball players hitting a home run, but when it comes to news, so much is about accidents and depressing incidents that occurred during the day. There have been nights when I went the entire hour without smiling. I wish that rather than simply reporting what goes on, we could throw in some positive advice or words of wisdom here and there that could potentially help lift the negativity surrounding our society today.”

Preparation for the program starts early in the day. Aoyama shows up at NHK around 1 p.m. “We have our first editorial meeting at 1:30 p.m. During the planning, I try to voice my opinion on how the program should be structured, but a lot of the material ends up changing before we go on air, since news is constantly being updated. For much of the time until we go on air, I watch various news programs and start practicing as soon as footage that we will be using for ‘News Watch 9’ is finalized. My day doesn’t usually end until about 1 a.m.”

As a result, most of Aoyama’s free time is in the mornings. “I’m at home, so I get to eat a relaxing breakfast and watch TV. I like to cook, listen to music and watch DVDs. I also play golf on the weekends, and go to tea ceremony lessons once a month,” she says.

Looking back on all the famous people she has interviewed, Aoyama says Nobel-winning novelist Kenzaburo Oe was memorable. “He had his own vision of life and a great imagination. He made me realize that we should be prepared for the future by constantly looking ahead and making predictions. I think that out of the many sports players that I have interviewed, baseball coaches Sadaharu Oh and Shigeo Nagashima were two who made a lasting impression. I could see how their success stories that we’re used to seeing and hearing about regularly were the products of extreme hard work and passion toward their sport.”

And who in the world would she most like to interview? “My response used to be Tiger Woods, but I would want pick U.S. President Obama,” she replies. “Obama has a solid view of the future and has proposed various plans to accomplish certain goals, regardless of how difficult they may seem. I wish we could have such a powerful figure in Japan.”

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


17 Comments
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I wish we could have such a powerful figure in Japan.”

Don't we all. Or even half as powerful would suffice for the time being. Nice article guys.

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any spot her routine outside of work?....basically doing rubbish alone....no family, no real friends outside of work....sad situation to be in.....but people like her chooses this life.....they live for their work, they live for their fans (ratings) and care for little else. She will hit 40 and will likely be discarded by the broadcaster....leaving her nothing to fall back on.

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any spot her routine outside of work?....basically doing rubbish alone....no family, no real friends outside of work....sad situation to be in.....but people like her chooses this life.....they live for their work, they live for their fans (ratings) and care for little else. She will hit 40 and will likely be discarded by the broadcaster....leaving her nothing to fall back on.

kenchan: What a mean comment! I dont think she has a lonely life. Sounds like she has great parents. And I'm sure she has friends she plays golf and go tea ceremony with. What's your problem?

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Yummy!

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She's the only reason to watch News Watch 9. The ratings have risen among the oyaji set.

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baseball coaches Sadaharu Oh and Shigeo Nagashima

They ain't coaches. They were players and later, managers.

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I like her - I think she does a good and professional job. She looks good, hits the right tone for good and bad news stories, but doesn't distract from the news. Having supermodel anchors is never a good idea

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H`mmm by her own admition she doesnt, didnt, know very much, must have been quite the shock to find out there is a big world outside of Jpn ha ha

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I can't stand News Watch 9. I hate the way Yuko Aoyama has to defer to the font-of-all-knowledge-father-figure Goro Taguchi. She has to listen meekly as he spouts off his opinions... who cares what he thinks, he's not an expert! They are probably scripted opinions anyway Of course we know it's the traditional Japanese news program style for the cute woman to defer to the wise older man, but you'd think NHK would be a little more progressive. They seem to be taking a step back into the past with News Watch 9 and it's horrible to see an intelligent woman like Yuko Aoyama being a part of that.

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She will hit 40 and will likely be discarded by the broadcaster....leaving her nothing to fall back on.

Well, if that happens, I will happily accomodate her. She is gorgeous, and smart.

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imacat, agreed

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GW:

My thoughts too.

NHK announcer finds herself in a big new world

Anybody watching NHK news would be led to believe that Japan was the only country on earth. If she wants to learn more about world affairs, I'd say she'd do well to go abroad and not rely on NHK news - you'll end up thinking that the Japanese are single-handedly propping up the major league in USA, and that no foreign sportsmen are worthy of any mention in any sport.

I just find Japanese news, especially NHK, presented in an immature (and patronizing) way, as if the viewers are either children or retarded. And how about having an intelligent woman front the news, regardless of age - eg the presenter of Closeup Gendai (can't remember her name, Kuniya Hiroko/Yuko?).

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Anybody watching NHK news would be led to believe that Japan was the only country on earth. If she wants to learn more about world affairs, I'd say she'd do well to go abroad and not rely on NHK news - you'll end up thinking that the Japanese are single-handedly propping up the major league in USA, and that no foreign sportsmen are worthy of any mention in any sport.

Ironically, America finds itself in the same boat.

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She works very well with Taguchi, who, by the way, imacat, may not be an expert on everything, but he does his homework and has sufficient knowledge about the topic he is on.

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She works very well with Taguchi, who, by the way, imacat, may not be an expert on everything, but he does his homework and has sufficient knowledge about the topic he is on.

We'll have to differ on that one... I think I could learn as much or more from some of the posters on here for example.

Don't you think it's strange for a TV announcer to give his opinions during the evening news? Especially on the national public broadcasting channel.

I of course accept that there's a role for TV news reporters to debate current topics, but for a TV announcer on a public channel to state opinions as they are reading the evening news... that to me is not right and not professional.

And I also still hate the way Yuko Aoyama has to defer to a font-of-all-knowledge male announcer. It's pathetic to watch that.

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I laughed at the part where it says her day "starts early" at 1pm. Even if she is in or around the broadcast building until 1am, I doubt I'd ever call 1:00 in the afternoon "early".

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seesaw> would you play golf at 9am in the morning during weekdays?

...yes I may seem mean, but thats only because I know this type of person very well from personal experience and they are all the same. I just wanted to inform you lot about the off-screen lives of these people and not the candy coated rubbish they churn out.

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