Many people in Japan have long had a tumultuous relationship with the country’s public broadcaster, NHK. Ever since the government decided it was the station’s own responsibility to collect funding from the public, the troubles began.
Every country has its own way of generating money for their public broadcasters but in Japan, NHK is largely left to fend for themselves and have outsourced a team of bill collectors to do the dirty work for them.
On one hand, they largely get the job done. Recent estimates say over 80 percent of Japanese residents pay their monthly TV license fees – although this rate shot up after the Japanese Supreme Courts backed NHK’s right to demand money from virtually anyone, even if they don’t watch NHK.
On the other hand, in many instances the conduct of these collectors has been compared to that of an organized crime group. Homes have been vandalized, and sexual assaults have occurred. As a result, many people never answer their door out of fear that it’s an NHK collector on the other side.
So naturally it’s not uncommon for these collectors to ring a door bell and get no reply.
In such cases the collector often simply leaves a boilerplate note in the mailbox which reads: “I visited today regarding the broadcasting license fee. Because you weren’t home, I will visit again.”
However, that’s only moderately unsettling. Luckily for them, there is also a small space where your local collector can add their own personal touch, such as one did to Twitter user Tomoki Sajiki (@7j4HKgv1GET5MzZ).
▼ “You have a sticker on your entrance, so next year when the crackdown begins, you will be in trouble.”
Saijiki also happens to be a member of the Protect the Nation from NHK political party which has the sole agenda of ending this practice of door-to-door demands for money from people who might not even want to watch NHK.
As a public service, they offer “collector-repelling” stickers for free that people can stick to their front door and state their allegiance to the Protect the Nation from NHK Party. This in turn tells the collector that the people inside are belligerent time-wasters who are not worth the effort.
However, according to the collector who left the message above, NHK has something mysterious planned about these stickers next year.
This tweet prompted a reply by Osashimi Kuwaeta Doraneko (@osasimi0999) who shared their own personal handwritten note. they’d received from an NHK collector.
▼ “IF YOU ARE HOME OPEN THE DAMN DOOR”
That bluntly worded one in particular elicited a strong reaction from people online.
“So they’ve completely become the yakuza then.”
“I have to think only evil people are cut out for this kind of work.”
“That’s a threat, is it not?”
“You should probably go to the police about this.”
“Does it say ‘11 runa 5 de 3 yo‘? That person even writes like a maniac.”
Television itself is a quickly changing entity with more and more people in Japan gradually adopting internet-based services for their visual entertainment. The aging population will probably ensure regular broadcasting such as NHK remains healthy for some time to come, but at some point, this unusual funding scheme will have to be reformed.
And when that day comes, people may finally begin answering their door again.
Source: Twitter/@7j4HKgv1GET5MzZ, Hamusoku
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