Those unforgettable puppets
At NHK, children's programming was part
of the mix from the beginning, with Children's
Hour broadcast each day at 6:30 p.m. The six o'clock hour has
been dedicated to children ever since.
Puppet shows provide a great mode of expression
for childrens programs. In 1956, Tirolin
Village and the Walnut Tree featured characters inspired by fruits,
vegetables and animals. They acted out stories in a wacky, slapstick
style. This popular show ran for eight years and 812 episodes. It was
followed in 1964 by Pop-Up Gourd Island,
an enormous hit characterized by lighthearted satire and such friendly
fellows as Don Gabacho.
The first animated program to appear on
television was Astro Boy, which ran
on Fuji TV in 1963. Ten years after the start of TV broadcasting in
Japan, animation became a staple of children's programming overnight
by bringing popular comic book characters to life right before kids'
eyes. In 1978, NHK broadcast Future Boy Conan,
created by todays king of Japanese animation, Miyazaki Hayao.
Animation has been a core feature of children's television on NHK ever
since. In 1998 NHK launched an animated program developed in-house,
Prince Ojaru-maru, which also proved
Starting the day With Mother
started in 1959. A viewer who was three years old then would be 47 now,
and those who married young may even be watching the show with their
grandchildren. The show has given birth to many popular characters over
the years. In 1960, The Three Little Pigs
featured actors wearing animal costumes. With
Mother constantly pioneered new approaches, including the animated
Do You Know Someone Like This? and
In Pajamas, which featured a child
dressing for bed. In 1999, a song called "Three Dumpling Brothers"
featured in "This Month's Song" became a smash hit.
You! makes youth tune in
the show that put NHK on the map with teenage viewers, started in 1982.
It featured Itoi Shigesato as host, theme music by Sakamoto Ryuichi,
and a title sequence by noted animator Otomo Katsuhiro. These elements
contributed to a pop vibe that set the program apart from any previous
NHK show and drew in many young viewers. Using an English word as the
title was also an unprecedented departure. Since then NHK has created
many interactive programs for teens, including the recent programs Top
Runners (1997) and Teenage Debate