50 Years of NHK Television

Special Programs

Fulfilling their mission as a mirror of the times, the NHK Specials covered critical issues facing Japan and the world as the 20th century ended and the 21st began. By the end of 2002, N-Spe had passed the 1,500-program milestone.

Looking back at the 20th century, anticipating the 21st

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A century of war
The NHK Special era coincided with the end of the 20th century, so programming naturally focused on one question in particular: what did the century mean for Japan and the world?
Socialism in the 20th Century combed Eastern Europe for clues to the breakdown of Soviet-style socialism.
This was the first century in which history was recorded in moving images, and The 20th Century on Film portrayed the reality of a century of war using extensive film archive footage from both World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and the Cold War and its aftermath.
The Pacific War adopted a contemporary standpoint in examining what happened at Guadalcanal, the Marianas, Imphal, and Leyte Gulf, focusing on electronics, information warfare, and decision-making systems.
Fifty Postwar Years: Japan As It Was depicted decisive postwar moments that came to define the modern nation. These included the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty demonstrations, Japan's longest labor dispute, the formation of the Nippon Steel Corporation, the student movement at Tokyo University, Okinawa's reversion from the U.S., the oil crisis, and the privatization of Japan National Railways.

Gazing into the 21st century
In the last decade of the 20th century, N-Spe explored Japanese and international topics that were expected to remain crucial in the 21st century.
The Japanese Condition Today took up issues of immediate concern to viewers, such as overtime, overeating, and overseas workers entering Japan's labor market. Japan's Choice and Redesigning Japan addressed tax reform, the decentralization of government, pension reform, national security, health insurance and public works.
Moving into the 21st Century grappled with post-Cold War trends including surging immigration, ethnic conflict, and developments in the Islamic world. Family Portraits depicted how families were coping with a turbulent and changing world.
2000 and Beyond delved even deeper into our past and future, examining issues of continuing relevance in the new millennium, including food security, money, war, aging, the family, computerization, cancer and euthanasia. Altogether 45 episodes were broadcast from January 1999 to December 2000, making 2000 and Beyond the longest and most ambitious series in N-Spe history.


Exploring who we are
The Path of a Nation series gave visual form to author Shiba Ryotaro's thoughts on what it means to be Japanese, and the real meaning of a nation, culture, and people. The series looked back on the road that Japan's people had traveled and questioned where it might lead the nation in the future.
Long Journey to Prehistoric Japan used the latest research to shed light on the diverse origins of Japanese ethnicity, while Mysterious Cities of Asia drew attention to Asian customs in some of the continent's most ancient cities.

Sports documentaries
In numerous programs on sporting themes, N-Toku and N-Spe have explored the mental strength that enables athletes to push their bodies to the limit. Viewers were captivated by such N-Toku presentations as Enatsu's 21 Pitches and N-Spe's Just One More Pitch: The Fastball Life of Red-Hot Reliever Tsuda Tsunemi , The 17th Inning: The Epic Struggle between Yokohama and PL Gakuen and Takahashi Naoko: My 42.195 Km.

Audience shre top 10

Major Programs of NHK Special 1996-2002

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