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February 2012

Testimony on the History of Broadcasting :
Hideo Higuchi(Former Head of Cultural Promotions Division, NHK)

The 30-year History of a Trendsetter Who Linked Broadcasts and the Audience through Cultural Events

Takashi Shibata

“Testimony on the History of Broadcasting” is our ongoing effort at creating an oral history by collecting stories from our old colleagues who have made contributions to the development of broadcasting. In this report we were joined by Hideo Higuchi, Former Head of Cultural Promotions Division, NHK, who devoted himself to the promotion of NHK’s cultural activities over 30 years, from the radio days, to the pioneer days of television, and to its developmental period, as a bridge between NHK and its audience.

Cultural Promotions Division has been exerted various efforts to strengthen the tie with viewers. Among them, in the interview with Mr. Higuchi, the author focused on the two pillars of the division, (1) promoting the use of broadcast programs for the growth of broadcasting and (2) organizing events.

(1) Promoting the use of broadcast programs for the growth of broadcasting
With an aim to promote “educational broadcasting” which would nurture rich human qualities by utilizing school broadcasts for education, Mr. Higuchi contributed to the launch of the Japan Association for Educational Broadcasting, which became the foundation for the utilization of broadcast programs, in tandem with school teachers. The philosophy of the Association was embodied in its national convention of educational broadcasting, which is still held annually.

He was involved in various activities to encourage the use of broadcast programs, not only school broadcasts but also educational and cultural programs, by promoting “social education” projects, which tries to make use of broadcasts in daily lives, and by forming a group which tries to help people lead a better life using programs such as Fujin Gakkyu [Class for Women]and Rajio Nogyo Gakko [Radio Agricultural College].

(2) Organizing events
Mr. Higuchi launched and organized “general events” in an comprehensive and intensive manner, as an effort for deepening ties between NHK and local communities, which includes program-shootings in front of a live audience or program-utilization meetings for local communities such as cities and ward, as well as special events reflecting the needs of each community.

He also established NHK Trophy Figure Stating, and achieved NHK’s first art exhibition, Ingres Exhibition as well as the first feed of live broadcast of Kohaku Uta Gassen, or Red vs. White Singing Contest,to Brazil.These major events are still influential today.

With the advancement of digitalization, we are witnessing a huge change in the relations between viewers and broadcasters, represented by viewers’ participation in TV programs using the Internet, mobile phones and television’s communication function. Mr. Higuchi believes “Even in the digital age, and all the more, personal contact with others is needed.” That is truly said.

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