|Changing face of
The history of popular music programs on
television began with This Week's Star,
staged in Tokyo's Hibiya Kokaido Hall on February 1, 1953 as part of the
launch of TV broadcasting in Japan. Kirishima Noboru and Kasagi Shizuko
were among the performers. In the early days, TV pop programs also went
out as simultaneous radio broadcasts. The leading contemporary stars included
Fujiyama Ichiro, Futaba Akiko and Ichimaru.
In 1955, NHK Hall opened in Tokyo's Uchisaiwai-cho
district. The Monday evening Song Plaza
was broadcast live from here, followed by Personal
Secrets, a quiz show launched one year later. The same announcer,
Takahashi Keizo, served as MC for both programs.
Pop Grand Stage
began in 1964, pioneering the pop show format. Unlike earlier programs,
which consisted only of songs, it featured a combination of song, dance
and skits woven together by the three main presenters: Baisho Chieko,
Kanai Katsuko and Antonio Koga.
In 1973, the present NHK Hall in Shibuya,
Tokyo, was completed. By then, the regular program had become Golden
Pop Stage, MC'd by announcer Yamakawa Shizuo with the assistance
of a popular teenage trio called The Candies.
One of the successes of 1981, helped by the
boom in karaoke singing, was NHK Pop Concert
Hall, which featured performances by leading actors and actresses
and cover versions of past hits. In 1993, the program took its present
form as NHK Song Concert, which is now
in its 10th year. Launched in 1970, Stage 101
targeted a younger audience in response to the growing popularity of teenage
stars in the 1960's. It was pre-recorded in NHK Studio
101, and was followed by Let's Go Young!
in 1974, Young Studio 101 in 1986, and
Just Pop Up in 1988. In 1993, the name
was Pop Jam, and every show was recorded
at NHK Hall. The MCs for Pop Jam have
been such popular figures as Motoki Masahiro, Moriguchi Hiroko, Bakusho
Mondai, Domoto Koichi, and currently Yuuka.
was first presented in the early days of experimental broadcasts and
secured a regular place in the schedule when regular television got
under way. Originally broadcast once a month, it went on to showcase
the talents of Yanagiya Kingoro and Mizunoe Takiko every Friday evening.
Starting with Aoki Kazuo, the program's MC has always been a popular
announcer. Aoki was followed by Takahashi Keizo, Sasaki Toshimasa, Ogawa
Hiroshi, and other household names.
In 1961, Dreamtime
Rendez-vous was launched. This was a mix of song, dance and skits
and produced a multitude of hits and new stars. The MC was the fashion
designer Nakajima Hiroko, and regulars included such famous names as
Miki Norihei, Kuroyanagi Tetsuko, Atsumi Kiyoshi, Sakamoto Kyu, Sakamoto
Sumiko, and Okada Masumi. The program featured a popular "This
Month's Song," including such hits by the super duo of Ei Rokusuke
and Nakamura Hachidai as "Walk with Your Head Held High" (the
famous "Sukiyaki Song"), "Look Up at the Starry Sky"
and "Welcome to Baby." Dreamtime
Rendez-vous was on the air for five years, until April 1966,
when it was followed by Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-TV,
featuring Tamori. Dreamtime Rendez-vous
truly provided the foundation for all NHK's subsequent variety shows.
NHK's first quiz program was Personal
Secrets, which opened with the catchphrase "Truth is
stranger than fiction" (MC: Takahashi Keizo and others). The
program took the form of questions about participants' unusual experiences
and skills. It was very popular during television's early days,
and ran from 1955 to 1967.
Nineteen eighty-one saw the start of Quiz
Omoshiro Seminar (MC: Suzuki Kenji), whose opening catchphrase
was "Learning is fun." This show provided knowledge in
an entertaining way with such features as a textbook quiz and a
history quiz. Questions and answers were supplemented by skits,
a format that successfully tapped into audience tastes and won a
maximum viewing share of 42%.
Following Quiz Perfect Score,
and Numbers and Q, NHK's current
quiz show Questions of the Japanese
(MC: Furutachi Ichiro) opens with the catchphrase "Let's stray
from the path of common sense into a maze of questions." Four
regular panelists who pretend to be know-it-alls give their answers
to each question, and the participants must try to pick which answer
is correct. The appeal lies in the banter and repartee among the
panelists, through which viewers try to guess who is telling the
truth. The program is now in its 10th year.