Japanese viewers tuning out, turning off their TVs

TOKYO —

“The necrosis of television,” is the title Shukan Post (Nov 11) gives to five articles about an industry in trouble.

Looking for evidence that the broadcast media is fading fast? Just turn on the telly between the hours of 5 and 7 p.m., and see for yourself. The so-called “evening news” involving actual news-making events such as wars, disasters and financial panics has dumbed down to the point that roughly one-half of broadcast time is typically given over to “gourmet” topics, such as coverage of ramen restaurants or camera crew visits to the food sections at department stores; profiling the antics of cute animals; and spots focusing on the world of entertainment.

Whether for these or for other reasons, the members of Japan’s younger generation are fast losing their interest in viewing the boob tube. Networks across the board are noticing that even the shows capturing the highest viewer ratings in any given time slot report increasingly lower figures.

The White Paper on Data Communications issued last August by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications broke down duration spent viewing TV by age segments. These were then compared with viewing practices of the same age groups five years ago.

Among teens and people in their 20s, the declines were startling. Teens in 2005 had viewed TV for an average of 106 minutes per day; in 2010, the figure had dropped to 70 minutes, a decline of over 30%. For the 20 to 29 age group, viewing time fell from a daily average of 104 minutes to 76.

Japan’s younger generation, long criticized for “watching too much TV,” had apparently managed to pare half an hour a day from their viewing time without further nagging from their elders.

Research by other organizations is reaching similar conclusions. In March 2010, NTT Communications released the results of a survey about TV viewing habits. Among respondents age 29 and below, 14.7% said they “almost never” watch TV. An additional 17.3% said they sometimes record programs for viewing later; only 0.5% says they engage in “one segment” viewing on their mobile devices.

It also appears that after the switchover to digital broadcasting last July 24, a considerable number of households ceased watching TV entirely.

A survey by the Cabinet Office saw this coming. In 2005, the number of all TV units, including analog models with cathode ray tubes, per 100 households was 255—in other words, 2.5 TVs per home. In March of this year, the number had declined to 239. When the switchover from analog arrived, some people made the decision to “graduate” from TV and dispense with their sets entirely. Some 98,000 households notified NHK that they were canceling their subscriptions.

Transposing the results of a survey by the Jiji news agency showing that 2.1% of respondents did not make the switchover to digital suggests that approximately 2.5 million Japanese may have abandoned TV for good.

A key factor influencing the overall trend may be the loss of trust in television. Following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Nomura Research Institute conducted a survey in which the subjects were asked to name the institutions in which their trust had declined when it came to providing disaster information. Topping the list, with 28.9%, were national and local governments. Second was commercial television, with 13.7%.

Taken together, Shukan Post concludes, the TV industry now faces a triple whammy of fewer people owning TV sets; those who have ceased watching even when they own sets; and those whose trust in what they view on their screens has dropped off the charts.

  • -7

    Mentaiko2

    i got an iphone in october. the beginning of the end of TV in our house! all the information and entertainment I need in the palm of my hand :)

  • -1

    DenTok2009

    I don't have a TV and I don't yearn for one. Last time I saw a Japanese program was last year around this time when I lived in a furnished apartment. I saw some old programs (natsukashiiiiiiii!), "news" and quiz shows (celebrities who graduated from prestigious universities straining their brains to come up with kanji). Ho hummm...

  • 17

    sillygirl

    with such garbage on the japanese toob is it any wonder

  • -2

    some14some

    how to lure back viewers? NHK should pay cash gifts and other private channels should offer gift coupons, one of the suggestions.

  • 3

    Maria

    With mult-media phones and computers in every home, who needs a telly?

  • 8

    badmigraine

    I think another reason for loss of interest in television is that people used to the internet or entertainment-on-demand have no reason to sit and wait while other people choose the time, items and then spool it out ever-so-slowly in a tired old formula.

    I visited my parents' house last year and was amazed to find them looking at the clock and saying "oh, the news is coming on.." Then they filed into the living room, sat down and proceeded to watch a feverish man wearing makeup and sitting under hot lights reading from a teleprompter, with a false hammy urgency, a very small selection of stories, chosen out of all the things that happened on the planet that day to fit a half-hour format...and spending 10% of the precious half hour making forced, idiotic "personal" chatter with co-anchors and weathercasters. It was exactly as I remembered it all from 1977. Unbelievable.

  • 3

    johninnaha

    This is an encouraging sign.

    I have to put up with the noise of TV at hospitals and places where I eat lunch. In the pharmacy, after a hospital visit, you are treated (sarcasm) to a wide screen TV that uses some special channel to hard sell supplements, wrinkle cream, heart checkups, etc.

    I cannot believe the ethics of these guys taking advantage of sick and elderly people in this way.

    I would love for TV to disappear completely.

    What's wrong with silence?

    Or actually talking to people?

  • 22

    Michael Craig

    Plus, Japanese terrestrial TV used to have those late-night sexy variety shows for adults, but a few years ago, the self-regulation authorities wiped them out! They should at least bring them back!

  • 27

    Greapper1

    Maybe people are finally getting tired of watching TV personalities eating food and saying "oishii"

  • 5

    DS

    It's hard to sift through the TV shows and find anything of interest to watch. The news shows are padded with 'special interest' reports and are largely absent of actual news- particularly international events. Shows which may be interesting are invariably packed with large panels of 10-15 simpering idiots (the amusingly named 'talento') and waste more than half their time watching them react or comment on what is being shown. Trim the talento and you could trim the budget by half, as well as the air time.

    The rest of the time consists of the constant repetition of the following words;

    eeeeeeeeeeeh? Sugoi! oishii! haaaaaaaaaaaaa? (with a rising intonation)

    God bless SkyPerfect and the HDD.

  • 3

    y3chome

    Maybe todays young'uns are smarter than they are given credit for. No more with the same formulaic drivel of ; celebrity goes to shabby looking restaurant and its actually oishii (watched by another celeb), or we play a prank on a celebrity (who is always in on it anyway; also watched by other celebrities) and omg everyone is so surprised and it is very funny, or some cheesey drama where everyone acts extremely camp (in a bad way)......... A country the size of Japan should be able to produce something original and entertaining. Maybe its the fault of the handful of talent companies pushing so many NON-talents on the networks all the time. JPTV needs to get rid of this reliance on these non-talents, get some fresh blood, get some originality. People just arent gonna buy it anymore. Esp when they can download UK/US quality programs for free.

  • -1

    Piglet

    With the rise of free replay services and on demand systems linked with your internet subscription (without talking about internet where you can find any TV program or movie you want for free), who would like to watch live TV anymore? The only live TV I watch is BBC news with Hikari TV, and only for some live events. Internet is good enough for most of our needs: TV shows (using streaming websites), news, kids programs, etc... With the HDD, I also record some TV shows, but at least we can get rid of the commercials this way.

  • 0

    JapanGal

    Instead of the boob tube, they are viewing the boob cell phone.

  • 4

    rickyvee

    i'll add a fourth whammy: idiotic programming. do the people that run broadcasting companies realize that the viewing public doesn't want to watch other people eat? every time i turn on the tv it's another show that has someone eating and gushing about how "ooooiiishiiii" something is. even "news" programs have 30 min of people eating.

  • 2

    tranel

    Turning off the TV is a hallmark of a more refined, intelligent and enlightened human being. Unfortunately, making up for the non-TV time by mindlessly browsing your keitai internet is pure idiocy. One step forward, two steps back.

  • 4

    bass4funk

    40% of the Japanese TV is about food, food and more food or you have these lame dramas focusing on typical everyday life in Japan, school, office, housewives. Nothing original, nothing worth really having a TV about. I have skyperfect which for me is a big improvement and also, I have a slingbox, so I get all my good programming from the states and I have a huge variety. At the same time, I love reading, so I devote a lot of time to it. I don't have a problem with TV and I don't think it rots your brain, I never understand some people that try to put Television down. It's the programming that makes TV either good, educational, entertaining, informative or NOT, sadly to say, J-TV for the most part usually doesn't have anything that could be considered informative at least of real substance.

  • 6

    badmigraine

    During the stretch when my Japanese wife and I lived in the US, we actually longed for the Japanese food-and-onsen type shows. I got some of it off torrents or YouTube and we used to watch them and wax nostalgic.

    Some of my American family couldn't believe what they were seeing. I thought they'd appreciate seeing what is one of the better kinds of travel fun you can have in Japan. Instead, it was like:

    --Isn't all that raw fish crawling with intestinal parasites? --What kind of deviant would go unclothed in a common bath with similarly bare members of his own gender, some of them underage? --Never walk on a common shower floor without sandals...you'd get plantar warts --No chlorine in that bath water?! NO THANKS!!

  • 1

    papigiulio

    I for one love Japanese TV. Yeah Its mostly the same crap but there are some great shows among them. I do however agree with the dramas...they ...well ..s*ck. I miss good dramas like GTO, My boss my hero etc.

  • -1

    Darrin Flores

    NO JP TV??... what about my Quiz II Hexagon with Shimada Shinsuke?.. Tsuji-chan?.. Misono? Satoda Mai? Suzanne?.... Now what am i going to do??... i am tired of watching TV shows all about fish!

  • 1

    Vernie Jefferies

    I hate to be someone on a diet while watching early evening Japanese television. Its all about food on every channel.

  • 1

    JapanGal

    I love the food shows. But when they are not on, I use my VPN.

    I could go play Pachinko, but it is much more fun to watch a clothes dryer.

  • 0

    bass4funk

    @papigiulio

    Perhaps it slipped by me these last 12 years of living in Japan, but Which shows are really good?? Must've slipped by me somehow.

  • -3

    PussInBoots

    I would like to think everyone realized that everything impromptu is 100 percent planned and got sick of being lied to, and also sick of the sickness we call shadenfreude, but I think its just the simple fact that the same patterns over and over and over again even get boring for Japanese after a while.

    Whether this leads to an improvement in programming or Japanese just quitting TV and doing something more productive, well either way is fine with me.

    Abolition of the legal requirement of paying the robber barons of NHK would also be nice. Perhaps if they actually had to earn their money they too would improve.

  • 4

    takosrus

    I get so sick of my wife watching the stupid talento talk shows. And everytime they show a new restuarant to try (we live in Sapporo) she just has to go there to try it out. I can't stand the sheep like following of everything the TV says to do, but she thinks its the way of the Japanese, or some such gibberish.

    The only show I watch on JTV is Shimura Genius Zoo, I think Pan-kun is smarter than half the people I meet on the street everyday as it is.

  • 15

    Ivan Coughanoffalot

    I'd be delighted if this article were true. It should be impossible to get "Here's a man who grows rice. We saw his field and ate some. Rather than tasting like every other bowl of japonica rice, this is in some way so delicious we have to shout the word 'delicious' after eating a mouthful of it" past the planning stages. But not only was it considered a network TV event on a par with an Elvis comeback, but it's also a winning format to be replayed every couple of weeks with a different toothless farmer, but the same level of astonishment hat the rice tastes nice.

    Here's the formula for any Japanese TV show:

    Step 1: Have about 15 minutes of content, nothing can be too humdrum or asinine; Step 2: Get half a dozen of this month's "Popular" "Talents" to shout at each other about it for the rest of the hour, agreeing that the subject matter was indeed delicious, cute, dangerous or funny; Step 3: Eat something. Step 4: If anything does happen, (e.g. celebrity falls in water, as planned), repeat the same three seconds of action nine times from different camera angles. Make sure everybody shouts. Step 5: For a real extravaganza, get Beat Takeshi to wander on in fancy dress and pretend it's comedy gold.

    Repeat ad nauseam.

    If Japanese TV ceased to exist today, the world's overall IQ would go up by about 20 points.

  • 6

    tokyokawasaki

    Japanese TV... I would feel more educated and entertained by staring at the microwave for half an hour. TV as we used to know it is history. The internet is the way of the future. News, films, programs and 'ahem' that I want and when I want. The best thing about the internet is that you can watch anything without the sheepish and totally soul destroying 'talento' and annoying commercials...

  • 2

    kibousha

    Haven't watched any TV since the digital switch over. The only show I missed is with the ikegami dude explaining things about current situations in the world.

  • 2

    Maitake

    The only surprise here is that maybe these viewers are actually wisening up and doing something worthwhile? Wait, nah, it's must be something else... Yes, they are viewing "the boob cell phone" aren't they, so perhaps not actually wisening up and finding a hobby or interacting with other humans or family members directly... But given how incredibly lame Japanese TV really is, it is no surprise that the number of viewers would decline.

  • 2

    y3chome

    tokyokawasaki

    would probably feel more educated even after being put in the microwave for half an hour.

  • 2

    bicultural

    Gotta agree with most of the posters here. The only shows I watch now are WBS (world business satellite) and sometimes Ame-talk. The Ame-talk special about the "geinin" who can't play sports well was absolutely hilarious. Anyone see that one?

  • 6

    Piglet

    1) 100% of the food shows are actually paid by the restaurants / shops they visit, and therefore should be considered as advertising and not real programming (this is the reason why guest cannot express a real opinion).

    2) News on free channels are less and less investigative, most of the news are simply coming from news agencies (I wish there were more reporters sent for investigation). They are replacing news segments with "newstertainment"

    3) Visual quality is very bad on free channels (surpassingly better on cable channels) : a very bad use of colors, special effects and sounds makes it very tiring to watch after a while. It looks like the graphic designers on most TV channels are a bunch of 8 years-old. A what with the use of printed boards (haven't they heard of computer graphics) ?

    4) There are so many commercials that it is impossible to follow a program properly.

    5) Many "educational" entertainment programs (quizz, etc) reinforce stereotypes and a conservative vision of the society.

    6) Talento are characterized by their usual lack of talent.

  • 4

    Nessie

    In the Anglophone world the rise of cable caused network TV to up its game. This never seemed to have happened in Japan.

  • 3

    Virtuoso

    Commercial TV in Japan is basically an oligarchy controlled by five media groups: Yomiuri, Asahi, Mainichi, Fuji-Sankei and Nikkei. They have a stranglehold on the bandwidth, so a Ted Turner or Rupert Murdoch could never break in. (Takafumi Horie couldn't even get majority control of a miserable AM radio station.) The last innovation I saw in japanese TV was the switchover from monochrome to color, back in the 1960s. They have been coasting since then, with the same content and mostly the same people. For an "entertainer" to vanish from the airwaves, his or her heart has to stop pumping. (Although revelations of links to organized crime may work in the short term.)

  • 2

    Dennis Bauer

    i am glad i have cable, i only like kenmin out & nani kore, and that show about valuable things "show me za price" the reruns with shimura on family geki are realy funny

  • -1

    tmarie

    Perhaps it is because the shows are crap? Brainless "talento" doing stupid things, pancake make-ups yelling "Oishiiiiiii" at the most disgusting food I have ever seen, news programs that feature displays that look like grade seven science fair projects and dramas that have just gone for okay to crap.

    Bring back Ainori, dramas like GTO and Good Luck and then perhaps people will watch?

  • 1

    Jannetto

    It's the same everywhere, (un)reality TV trying to compete with a zillion other sources of entertainment. A colleague said the other day he couldn't believe he told his kid to get off the computer & got watch TV.

  • 5

    ExportExpert

    Mind numbing rubbish from the same group of people over n over again, yelling screaming and behaving like an absolute retard, this is what is on japanese TV . Once in awhile there will be a program worth watching the rest of the time it's absolute rubbish, I hate japanese TV except its ideal for seeing some very beautiful women from time to time. Otherwise no thanks.

  • 1

    Scrote

    It's hard to remember when I last watched anything on the commercial channels. I can't stand the noise of the adverts: a squeaky-voiced woman or screaming bloke plus background racket. Why can't the TV manufacturers make a TV that mutes the sound during the ads? The programmes are atrocious, made with a budget of about Y10000, mostly consisting of groups of squeaky-voiced women and shouty blokes failing to amuse.

    I do watch the NHK news regularly, or "Lies and Half-Truths" as they should call it. I'd love to know how they decide the running order for that programme. It's fascinating to observe them skirt around the real issues of the day before moving on to an item about a young lady golfer coming 27th in some minor tournament.

    Still, with internet TV and radio I don't really care what tripe the local broadcasters are serving up. Perhaps falling audiences will spur them to come up with something different?

  • 1

    ben4short

    Everyone's missing the point. Japanese TV was never intended to entertain, educate or edify the public. In the absence of organized religion in Japan, TV is the substitute opiate of the masses, a mindless activity requiring absolutely nothing of the tired, stressed-out viewer. Glassy-eyed after an hour or two, hypnotized by the blurry figures and sounds, the masses are numbed and dumbed to sleep in order to rise at 6 feeling somewhat "refreshed" to begin yet another day of dreadful labor.

  • -1

    sunhawk

    given the rubbish animation produced these days that is near pornography and aimed at the NEETs. its no wonder.

  • 5

    DS

    I could never figure out the lack of decent graphics on most shows. They have people holding up cardboard sheets with sticky paper covering the important bits of information. The news person pulls off the paper to reveal the key phrase. I wonder what happens to the little bits of paper? The studios must be knee deep in rectangular bits of blank blue paper.

  • 1

    cactusJack

    Prince sang it best: "Ain't nothin' on TV, I ain't seen before".

  • 4

    Parmen

    TV is dead.

  • 1

    kevinintokyo

    Watching same celebrities over and over does get boring. I find that my family also does not watch TV like we used too. I was expecting more interesting channels to come on after the digital switch. They added a few channels where they sell face cream and a few other useless shows. I know in America traditional TV watching is dying quickly. People want to be have service were they can stream and pick exactly what they want to watch.

  • 2

    blackpassenger

    its about time. when i first arrived here in 01, I was shocked at how excruciatingly bad television is in japan. ive been validated finally.

  • -3

    Michael Craig

    given the rubbish animation produced these days that is near pornography and aimed at the NEETs. its no wonder.

    Anime is NOT rubbish! It's the only GOOD entertainment left on this dying medium!

  • 0

    oikawa

    Virtuosoo

    Life in Japan is basically an oligarchy controlled by five media groups: Yomiuri, Asahi, Mainichi, Fuji-Sankei and Nikkei

    corrected for you

  • 0

    Foxie

    There are only 2 things worthwhile to watch on J-TV:

    1. The local news
    2. Japanet, The Home Shopping Channel - It is fun to bet on the amounts the item will be sold at. We do those bettings for chores, the one who is nearest to the amount is the winner.
  • 1

    Ah_so

    Japanese TV is very, very cheap to make. Food, or food related shows must make up a good 50% of content and getting a low-budget tarento to declare that whatever she puts in her mouth is "oishii" cost little to make and fills the airtime easily. However, it is only wallpaper TV, and no one will switch on specifically to see a show that is like almost all the others being shown.

    There is not enough serious drama or documentaries and without them, television will become irrelevant in Japan.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    When it was announced that analog TV would stop being broadcast I just decided I'd click it on (and then usually off again very soon) until the broadcasts stopped. I thought I'd keep it around to watch DVDs and old cassettes, but ending up tossing both analog TVs out and haven't replaced them. Nor will I. I can watch the DVDs on my computer, and the cassettes are pretty lousy anyway. If there were some GOOD television I would consider it, but TV here is awful, bottom line. It's the same recycled 'tarento' and ideas over and over, with the ODD good documentary.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish. As for kids shaving off TV time, they're replacing it two-fold with game consoles and/or smart phones and/or computers.

  • 1

    ThonTaddeo

    They didn't give the figures for people in their 30s, but maybe I can start by saying that I'm over 30, and my TV viewing time is zero. And I know many other such people. The era of the television being turned on first thing in the morning and kept on, blaring away, until the last person goes to sleep is coming to a much-welcomed end.

    I think if you were born after maybe 1970-1975 or so, you grew up playing video games like Nintendo and don't have the patience (or inertia) to sit in front of a screen without interacting with it in any way. Who wants to sit still and listen to mindless geinoujin prattle on about food or whatever? Sports? I wouldn't mind seeing a series of baseball highlights that isn't 90% devoted to the Yomiuri Giants, with a scant few seconds of footage for the Pacific League teams. Or even watch a drama whose ending is carefully elongated out so that there can be a few commercial breaks keeping you in suspense? If I'm going to sit in front of a screen, I'm turning on the Playstation 3 and immersing myself in a game of some kind. And even that I can do at my own pace, on my own schedule.

    There's some good television out there but the vast majority of it -- whether in Japan or elsewhere -- is just too dull. As Nessie has alluded to, hopefully the influx of new media such as the internt will get TV stations to up their game. I wouldn't count on it, though.

  • 3

    Alphaape

    Don't understand much Japanese, but the TV I do see seems to be somewhat childish in some manners. No real discussion seem to be going on about the issues of the day. It seems from what I pick up is that everyone seems to be following the same political line. Don't they have any type of point/counterpoint shows that actually carry on discussions about issues and not just tow the same line?

    They don't need to get as polarized as the US media with the left/right agenda, but for Pete's sake actually have a show about what is going on in the world, and don't stack a panel with a bunch of hacks who sit and gaze at amazement while viewing a video tape of some person in a third world country living below the Japananese standard and marvel at how people could actually live like that.

  • 2

    DentShop

    We didnt have a tv before we got married, which concerned my in-laws. They bought an enormous tv as a wedding gift and it had me fuming. I didnt want the trite, banal rubbish that Japan serves up as programming infecting my house but Mrs. Dentshop insisted it stayed. DVD movies are something else on the big booming LCD but I can tell you honestly that I have never at down to watch Japanese television on the new screen. In deference to domestic bliss, I dont criticise what she is watching but I do ask her to turn it down.

    The shows in my big, brown homeland are bad enough - but here, it is a new low and I am not even Japan-bashing, the shows are really terrible and I am not surprised people are turning off.

    The gift of an HDD recorder went straight back to shop for a refund.

  • 3

    gaijintraveller

    Everyone is criticising the quality of TV. I agree it is bad, but I would like to make a completely different point: Japan has become so noisy. Shopping is noisy, travelling on trains is noisy, using escalators is noisy, everyhwere outside we are bombarded with noise.

    Perhaps, when people get home they want to give their ears a rest and have some peace and quiet.

  • 13

    kaminarioyaji

    When you first come to Japan, you don't watch much TV because you can't understand it.

    Fast forward a few years, and you don't watch much TV because you CAN understand it.

  • 3

    DentShop

    When you first come to Japan, you don't watch much TV because you can't understand it. Fast forward a few years, and you don't watch much TV because you CAN understand it.

    Comment of the month.

  • 0

    malfupete

    best show on J-tv was Haneru no Tobira or Lincoln (rinkan) with those Downtown guys.. everything else is crap

  • 2

    wolfbiscuits

    Ivan Coughanoffalot, that was perfect. Thanks for the laugh!

  • 1

    kaketama

    Most variety programs in Japan seem to enjoy only among themselves, not intend to amuse viewers.

  • 0

    RaichuLov

    Well, with having internet around now, they can watch almost anything they want online, so of course the TV viewing is going to go down

  • 2

    Yuki Akita Canela

    Finally some good news! LOL.. Also, some of the comments here made me laugh, good ones! hehehe

  • 2

    genji17

    cuz after so many head back eyes rolled up over playing of the words oishii and umai...it just gets old and hurts the ears.

  • 0

    pointofview

    Don`t have one.

  • 3

    Bettingurlife

    Plus, Japanese terrestrial TV used to have those late-night sexy variety shows for adults, but a few years ago, the self-regulation authorities wiped them out! They should at least bring them back!

    Late night tv in Japan used to be great Michael. Did anyone used to watch Gilgamesh Night on Saturdays? A very ridiculously stupid yet funny adult program with Ai Iijima and Fumie Hosokawa ... anyone remember the guys names? lol. I wonder if a similar show was brought back, would it boost ratings again?

  • 1

    Fadamor

    Not just in Japan. Here in the States I have a nice 42" LCD TV mounted on the wall. If it's lucky, it gets turned on for a few hours on a Sunday to watch a football game, but more often than not it sits turned off. Even with cable TV, the dreck is stifling.

  • 2

    Mex Fukuoka

    I agree with most posters here, the TV business is indeed getting boring.

    Specially the breaking news, which repeats the same lines, video coverage, interviews over and over again for several hours.

    Now we have other sources like JT here, where we can choose what to read, and when.

    We don't have a TV at home since the change to chi-degi, but we are still hounded by NHK to pay up.

  • -3

    HansNFranz

    "Esp when they can download UK/US quality programs for free."

    Hmm, 99.9% of what is shown on US / UK TV to me is exactly as irrelevant as Japanese variety shows. Just another form of irrelevant. If you want quality entertainment, I recommend books.

    The British do come up with a funny comedy show now and then. The (UK) office, The Thick of It come to mind. As for drivel like "Mad Men" or "The Wire" - that's just hyped-up drivel which appeals to morons who want to feel intelligent.

  • 0

    tkoind2

    The "dumbing down" of TV is an indicator of the increasing brainlessness of people world wide. No interest in anything and attention spans limited to "twitter lenght" concepts. It is impacting movies too with young people too braindead to read subtitles resulting in Japanese companies deciding not to import as many foreign films.

    For anyone with a working brain, Japanese TV is insipid and mindless at best with endless shows featuring boring "talento" going on about utterly pointless topics. There there is the endless parade of silly game shows and the seemingly unlimited number of times people can say "oishi" on TV in a single hour.

    I suspect that many people have migrated to the web or to various portable devices and games. This is no more encouraging than TV in a world where people are losing the capacity to socialize, speak intelligently to any topic or to even care what is going on in the world.

    I am often shocked by just how out of touch with world affairs, economics, business, the environment, politics, social issues and most other meaningful topics, the average person I meet is. It is sad and shameful. More and more I think the modern world is breeding mindless consuming worker bees who are fit to work, shop and replace themselves along the way. It is sad that there is not a stronger call in society for people to be intelligent rather than just cute, educated instead of fashionable, socially adept instead of cool and involved in life rather than just working long hours. It does not bode well for the future of Japan or the world.

  • 1

    y3chome

    HansNFranz Have to disagree with you about the Wire and especially Mad Men! Loved the latter. Though there is a huge amount of drivel on our TV back home... maybe there is an equivalent site for Japanese in the UK who are asking *why is every channel about cash in the attic, gardening, or home makeovers?" ;) But having said that, there are afew programs worth watching. Maybe 10%? still seems high compared to Japan.

  • -1

    Neo_Rio

    There's an awful lot of dreck on TV in any country you go to. You just have to watch it long enough to figure out what each country finds important.... and then switch it off.

  • 0

    sleepydan

    100% of the food shows are actually paid by the restaurants / shops they visit, and therefore should be considered as advertising and not real programming (this is the reason why guest cannot express a real opinion).

    Do you have any evidence for this? I've always just assumed it, but my wife denies any possibility it could be true...

  • -1

    whiskeysour

    Japan tv shows are crap - only thing i watch is smapxsmap bistro because the invite hollywood actors and actresses you can actually see their "real" personality.

    Everything else is crap, garbage, crap, crap, garbage, crap, and etc.

    Also everytime they show AKB48 on t.v. the lose 3 foreign / 13 japanese viewers a day.

    People are tired of the same old same old garbage

    How many food & restaurant shows can you have ? How many comedians / talento can you have on one program.

    internet is here to stay mobile phones are here to stay itunes - youtube - and everything else is here to stay

  • -1

    Elbuda Mexicano

    I really do not like ANY TV, period but the other day, guess it was a Tuesday night on Nihon TV channel 4 here in Tokyo, they had a really interesting new tv show SEKAI BANZUKE, 世界番付?? It is a ranking of different topics for all the countries around the world, heck I never new Russia was the number 1 country in using toilet paper! India and no public toilets and no toilet paper well did not surprise, maybe Estonia making the strongest alcohol in the world I think 96% alcohol and they say something in Estonian that means cheers but it sounds like tvsex, in Japanese terebi sekusu, but it only means bottoms up, so I think lots of stuff is boring but this new tv show on Nihon TV, Sekai Banzuke is actually quite good maybe every Tuesday night from 9pm.

  • 1

    wa0tda

    My wife and I just got back to the USA after a 10 day stay in Japan, visiting our 22 year old son. He doesn't watch TV, but he has one that is used for videos and as a second computer monitor. I was impressed by the technical quality of the TV signal, but aghast at the terrible programming. There is no surprise here that the young folks turn to internet media.

  • 0

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Whiskey, I guess you either do not understand Japanese, nor have a Japanese wife and kids, well like I do, and my kids will kill me if I even try to change the channel away from Shinchan, Doraemon, etc..is my guess correct??

  • 0

    RomeoR

    Been watching on the internet a half hour TV Tokyo show called "George Pottman's Heisei Shi". Think it airs there around 12:50 a.m Sunday mornings. It's entertaining and informative. Those living in Japan should check it out.

    RR

  • 0

    mitoguitarman

    I only wish my house were included. Sigh.

  • 0

    dracpoo2

    Its the singing in EVERY ADVERTISEMENT that gets to me :(

  • 0

    Farmboy

    I didn't switch to digital either. I did like NHK, and was paying the subscription, but I can do without it since there is really nothing else on that really suits my tastes. US TV doesn't seem much better these days - vampires, zombies, people with personal problems on talk shows, and a poor excuse for the news on almost all networks (CNN's self-promoting ads, like -"Go beyond borders" repeated a hundred times is like water torture). On the plus side, maybe people will take more walks, buy telescopes, or read more books...no really...it could happen.

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