2019 Volume 69 Issue 10 Pages 52-75
NHK Educational TV (ETV) celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2019. Its predecessor NHK’s Tokyo Educational Television was launched on January 10th, 1959 as Japan’s first TV broadcasting service dedicated to educational content. Even now, ETV remains as Japan’s only educational broadcasting service, with programming ratios of “educational content accounts for more than 75% and cultural content more than 15%.” Looking back at the history of NHK Educational Television, we can see that the service’s initial focus was telecourses such as school broadcast programs and language programs. However, in the 1980s, reflecting the aging of population, the public became more interested in lifelong learning, which contributed to raise the number of lifelong learning programs for adults and elderly people. In the 1990s, “block programming” was introduced by setting larger time frames for different target audiences, which was accompanied with the increase of programs for children. Then, the 2000s saw more diversified content for diversified viewers such as hobby and lifestyle, cultural, and welfare programs, and the internet use was actively encouraged to support these programs. The NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute categorized programs into 16 groups for this three-part series themed “Sixty Years of Educational Television” to study the transition of each program group. The reference materials include NHK Yearbook, “Basic Programming Plan for Domestic Broadcasting,” and “Broadcast Schedule” of each fiscal year as well as various documents made by those involved in program productions and program scheduling. This first part of the series focuses on the following four groups: NHK High School Courses, NHK University Courses, programs for teachers and parents, and language programs to look into not only changes in broadcast time slots and air times but also changes in viewers’ learning styles and program directions.