In January, 2021, two important documents for considering the future of NHK and receiving fee system were released. One is the report compiled by the subcommittee on the roles of public service broadcasting of the study group on issues surrounding broadcasting, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC). The other is NHK's Corporate Plan for Fiscal Year 2021-2023. This paper summarizes the movements and discussion leading up to the publications of these two documents. Following them, the author focuses on the issues that have been put off or left out of the framework of discussion at the subcommittee.
The author believes that the subcommittee should broaden their horizon to include above issues in the framework because the topics currently discussed do not suffice though they are important ones. The reasons for the author's argument are as follows.
It appears not a few people and viewers are looking at NHK and its receiving system from outside the framework of discussion, which the MIC and NHK regard as the major premise. This theme must be discussed in connection with the “dual system” consisting of NHK and commercial broadcasters and with the future of terrestrial broadcasting media, namely “public nature of broadcasting” and “universal services.” Otherwise, people cannot see the expected roles of NHK and the role sharing with other media. More and more efforts are made to solve problems both within large frameworks such as the government's “Society 5.0” and the SDGs and small frameworks of individual communities that are becoming more multi-stratified, it is indispensable to review the public nature and discuss from the viewpoint of the roles that media can play.
On a side note, there were various movements of media during the period targeted for this paper, but this report mainly examines policy discussion.
Using the “oral history” methodology, the author has presented a series of papers on TV art based on the testimonies of persons involved. This article focuses on the TV art in From The Northern Country (Kita no Kuni Kara), produced by Fuji TV and aired from 1981 to 2002 as a drama series as well as “drama special” sequels. TV art must have played a magnificent and multidimensional role in the production, for which outdoor sets were built in Hokkaido where the story unfolded. This paper elucidates this point through an interview with Umeda Masanori, Art Producer of this legendary work.
The house the protagonist's family moved into was also an outdoor set. From what idea was the house created? How did the house evolve into a more and more realistic space for living? Reflecting on this set in chronological order reveals that the production involved immense ingenuity and various hardships. Umeda says that although a drama is a lie, the basic principle of TV art is to portray it as a real thing. Once aspired to become a prop man for movies, respecting the art in Kurosawa's films as a textbook, Umeda wanted to present TV art that can vie with cinematic art for this drama. Undoubtedly, his uncompromising attitude towards art inspired the staff and cast to be more committed to the production and contributed to making From The Northern Country a drama that goes down in the history of television.
“NHK for School” is an NHK's portal site offering various services for school education. Since 1996, when its predecessor “NHK School Broadcasts Online” was released, the portal site has been increasing users year by year and reaches a milestone to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.
“The 2018 NHK Survey on Primary School Teachers' Media Usage and Attitudes” conducted by the NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute finds more than 80% of teachers knew “NHK for School” and 70% had used the site in the class. During the temporary closure of schools due to coronavirus, many households accessed the site, partly because of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's recommendation on its “Children Learning Support Website.”
Looking back on the history of online expansion of NHK's school broadcast programs, we come to understand the factors for the increase in users. Simply converting broadcast programs into webpages was not enough: there was a solid framework building, which involved thorough discussion with academic researchers on the media elements necessary for learners, as well as constant improvements of the site and services by understanding and reflecting users' needs.
With “one to one device” for school pupils being brought to realization and the government calling for the introduction of “personalized and self-regulated learning” and “collaborative learning,” the author discusses the future of educational services of public service media, by reflecting on the history of the school broadcast programs' online expansion.
This series examines broadcasting by the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy in the “southern occupied territories” during the Pacific War. Part II delves into the reality of broadcasts in current Indonesia, then called the Dutch East Indies.
The Dutch East Indies was a strategically important resource region rich with crude oil and other natural resources. Once the Japanese armed forces seized the region, they launched nearly 20 radio stations, and most of them continued broadcasting until the end of war. The development of radio broadcasting differed in different islands inducing Java and Sumatra, and the Army and the Navy were in charge of different areas for operating broadcasting. This article looks into the real situations of broadcasting by focusing on the differences in the structure of implementing broadcasting, the content of radio broadcasts, and listening status.
Among the Army's areas of responsibility, Java saw the launch of broadcasting right after the start of occupation because the island's broadcasting had already been developed prior to the war. Meanwhile, it took more time to open radio stations in Sumatra, and only a few stations were launched there. Navy's areas of responsibility included Celebes (now Sulawesi) and Borneo that had no radio stations before the occupation, and the Navy had to establish broadcast stations from scratch. As seen above, the structures of implementing broadcasting were remarkably different depending on the area.
Listening statuses, however, were almost the same: the Japanese armed forces had requisitioned a massive number of radio receivers in the region for the purpose of counterintelligence, and afterwards radio did not spread well in any of those areas. Local residents listened to radio broadcasts mainly through radio sets installed in public spaces. Radio programs aired in each area were mainly music performances and replaying of records that would suit for group listening.
While the upper echelons were not able to decide on specific propaganda policies, officials in charge of broadcast stations in each area were forced to grope in the dark to continue broadcasting. Before the Japanese armed forces were able to verify whether the goal of winning local citizens' understanding of Japan's occupation policy had been achieved through broadcasts, the broadcasting in the occupied territories was brought to an end.