the kitchen window
Cooking shows on NHK were first shown experimentally
in 1952 before the official start of broadcasting. Once or twice a week,
a 15-minute program about the daily necessities of life called Home
Library offered housewives advice on food preparation in particular.
which is still going strong, first hit the airwaves as a 10-minute program
on November 4, 1957. In those days, Japan's food situation had finally
stabilized, but only about 10% of households had gas, and electric rice
cookers had just come on the market. Accordingly, the show focused on
staple recipes; gourmet cuisine was not yet popular.
Over the next 45 years, the content of Today's
Recipe gradually shifted to reflect changes in home life, eating
habits, and women's lifestyles.
In 1965, as Japan entered an era of high-speed
growth and the nuclear family became typical, the program's recipes
were scaled down from five servings to four. In 1967, "speed cooking"
made its debut as more and more women began to work outside the home.
In the same year, a special on how to prepare the traditional New Year's
o-sechi dishes was aired for the first time and proved a big hit. This
reflected a fresh appreciation of home cooking and old family recipes
at a time when there were fewer and fewer people to pass on traditional
cooking methods. In the 70's, awareness of the health and safety aspects
of food grew.
In 1979, the series Hints
for the Home Chef appeared, geared toward the male cook. That
was followed in 1983 by a Saturday program called Cooking for Men, further
reflecting the shift to an era in which more men had ventured into the
kitchen. The evolution of Today's Recipe
was very much a barometer of the changes in postwar society.
In addition to the practical cooking shows,
more playful programs have emerged in recent years. One example, launched
in 2000, is the very popular New Gourmet
Cooking for Men, in which food-loving guests propose their own
theme and top-notch chefs demonstrate their skills by preparing a variety
of dishes to match it.
Technical and hobby courses
Various "how-to" courses began
in 1959, with the launch of Educational TV, starting with subjects like
draftsmanship, radio and TV repair, the slide rule, hairdressing, cosmetics
Later, programs were added to help people
prepare for professional qualifications as auto mechanics and construction
workers. As the series name How-to Course
indicated, these were practical lessons aimed at fostering technical
skills. But in 1976, the series offered its first course on audio basics,
sending the show in the new direction of helping viewers to express
themselves better in their own hobby activities. In 1981, the name was
changed from How-to Course to Hobby Course,
and new hobbies were added one after another, including golf, tennis,
skiing and fishing. New subjects like Let's
Dance and Piano Pops proved
especially popular. With a couple more name changes along the way, to
Hobby Encyclopedia and then
Hobbies and Leisure, the series continues to this day. Nowadays
the most popular program in the series is, without question, Computer
Basics for the Older Learner, which symbolizes how people's interests
have changed with the times.
Alongside the how-to hobby shows, NHK also
offered Women's Encyclopedia, which
taught housewives sewing, handicrafts and flower arrangement. The show
ran from 1959-93 and was the predecessor to today's Fashionable
Living. From 1967 to the present, Gardening
Time has guided viewers in cultivating flowers, houseplants,
Go and shogi programs were first broadcast on TV in 1960. Go and
Shogi Hints ran every Saturday for just 10 minutes. The hosts
were Honinbo Takagawa Kaku (go) and 9-dan Masuda Kozo (shogi),
who explained their moves as they played against guests. A question
would also be posed to viewers, with a prize for the winning answer,
eliciting around 700 entries per week.
The NHK Cup for go and shogi, which continues today, began in
1951 for shogi and the following year for go. In the radio era,
the progress of each match was read aloud over the airwaves. Coverage
of the NHK Cup moved to TV in 1962, delighting fans by bringing
the hitherto unseen faces of the go and shogi masters into people's
living rooms together with their famous voices.