Proving by Images and Sound
Hitoshi Sakurai / Makoto Higashino
This series features individuals involved in the makings of broadcast programs in the pioneering days of TV documentaries in Japan. The authors delve into their personalities and productions as well as explore the social context and backgrounds and their impact on succeeding generations.
The first report of the series features Ichiro Ogura of NHK. Ogura, who started his career in radio broadcasting, enthusiastically produced TV programs in the years around 1960 as a member of the production team for Nihon no sugao [Japan Unmasked], the very first TV documentary made in Japan. He defines “documentary” as an expression of “proving by images and sound.” His works include the famous Kibyou no kage ni [Behind the Puzzling Desease] (1959) that for the first time revealed the hardships of Minamata disease-sufferers to the viewers across Japan, Gicho no isu [Chairman’s Seat] and Reportage of Miike, both of which documented the turbulent year of 1960, from the revision of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty to the Miike coal mine labor dispute, and Inochi no nedan [Price of Life] and Chitei: aru tankoujiko no kiroku [Under the Ground: A Record of a Coalmine Disaster], which cut deeply into the structure of Japanese society where human lives were disrespected. When Japan was at the turning point, moving from postwar reconstruction to high-economic growth, Ogura continued to accurately show the fact to the viewers by recording images from a viewpoint of a “common man.” Later, Ogura developed a new type of documentary series Aru jinsei [A Life] (1964-71), through which he fostered many young TV staff as the chief producer, where his view on society and the program itself was always consistent. By exploring the history of NHK documentaries, the authors trace the “gene” of TV journalism handed down by Ogura.
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