Nature: a universal language
NHK's nature shows started in 1960 with
Nature Album. By 1985, video had replaced
film, enabling much longer shoots and a new type of nature show, exemplified
by Watching. This program recorded
the lives and behavior of wildlife in great detail, presenting the results
in a studio-based format which appealed to a wide audience and made
popular family viewing.
NHK's nature programs received international
recognition in 1989 with the debut of The
Global Family, a major series broadcast year-round in prime time.
That was exceptional for any country, and the program was also shown
on foreign stations.
By depicting the complexity of living things
and the splendor of their environment, nature programs deliver a message
about the importance of the earth. With the advent of Hi-Vision (HDTV),
both the images and the message have become clearer still, as demonstrated
in the recent series of The Global Family.
Science in society
"The earth looked so blue." Those
brief words by Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, impressed people
all over the world in 1961. That was the year when NHK launched The
Age of Science, a program that tackled various important scientific
themes. Among its successors were Future
Vision, Records for the Future, Science
Documentary and Close Up, which
looked at the mechanisms involved in contemporary problems like environmental
pollution, aircraft accidents and front-line research in the fields
of medicine and engineering.
NHK is recognized for the quality of its
science documentaries. Special features produced as NHK Tokushu and
NHK Special have won many awards, both in Japan and internationally.
Towards better health
launched in 1967, offered a practical range of preventive health knowledge
that viewers could apply to their own lives. It served as the televised
equivalent of a medical encyclopedia.
on the other hand, which was launched on the BS-2 satellite channel
in 1998, used the format of a two-way medical consultation. One distinctive
feature was the use of digital technology, including an image database
and 3D computer graphics of the human body, to respond to viewers' questions.
A website was also set up from which people could obtain information
presented in Today's Health. This
provided a great service to viewers and listeners.
Starting in 2002, Health
is Wealth used advanced digital technology to accomplish the
mission expressed by its slogan: "The show that makes its viewers
The environment is a key subject for science programming, whether
dealing with problems on a global scale or highlighting issues
where science can make a difference in people's daily lives. One
recent program, which drew attention to the dangers of endocrine
disrupters in the environment, drew a great deal of attention
and won the Hoso Bunka Foundation Prize and EARTH VISION Tokyo
Global Environmental Film Festival Grand Prize. In 2003, to commemorate
the 50th anniversary of TV broadcasting in Japan, a Hi-Vision
Broadcast Center was established at Antarctica's Showa Base. Here
a team of five staff members from NHK are spending a year making
and broadcasting programs on global environmental themes.