Comments from the Top (Executive Director of Broadcasting)
Summary of Press Conference (December, 2019)
The 70th Kohaku Uta Gassen (Red & White Year-end Song Festival)
(Comments by Yukinori Kida, Executive Director of Broadcasting)
The 11 guest judges for the 70th NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen (Red & White Year-end Song Festival) have been decided and so I would like to announce them.
The people who can be said to be the ‘faces’ of Japan this year have been gathered.
Boxer Naoya Inoue, who this year became world champion, and professional golfer Hinako Shibuno; swimmer Daiya Seto and long jumper Maya Nakanishi, who are expected to compete at next year’s Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, respectively. From NHK dramas, Suzu Hirose, the heroine from the morning serial drama “Natsu”; Erika Toda, the heroine from the drama “Scarlet”; the lead actor from next year’s Taiga historical drama “Kirin ga Kuru”, Hiroki Hasegawa, will all participate. And Kei Tanaka, who appeared in a hit drama from a commercial broadcaster this year and a number of other big productions, as well as the comedy duo Sandwichman, who are popular across the generations and ambassadors for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch. Comedienne Emiko Kaminuma, who has previously been the MC for the red team on the Kohaku, will also appear. And Akira Yoshino, who recently won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, will be a guest judge.
The MCs for radio have also been decided. Chieko Katayama, the presenter of the NHK music program “Utacon”, and Naoki Tamura, a reporter on the “Asaichi” news variety program, will be the MCs.
(Comments by Yukinori Kida)
We are fast approaching 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. NHK will broadcast various related programming in the lead up to the event itself; one of these will be “2020 Stadium”, which was presented by the pop group Arashi this year (2019) in July and August, and which will start again as a monthly program beginning in January. The program will present the latest news on the athletes and the thoughts of people working on the events every month until the Paralympic Games in September. The first program in the relaunch will be on January 8th, on the theme of “2020 no Kao Dai-Shugo Special (2020: A Gathering of the Faces Special)”, where those who will be the ‘faces’ of next year in various ways will be featured. Leading medal favorite ‘face’ is badminton player Kento Momota. He will play against the five members of Arashi at the same time. Momota will use all his skill and technique to overcome his five opponents.
It will also feature ‘faces’ whose participation alone is a profound expression of the Olympic Spirit.
Athletes from South Sudan, which is wracked with conflict, have come to Japan early to prepare for the Olympic Games. Men from South Sudan apparently don’t cook, but at the urging of the people from their host city of Maebashi, give cooking a try with Satoshi Ohno from Arashi. While eating the curry they made, the athletes talk about just how much their participation in the Olympic Games means for the people in their homeland. Arashi are also set to unveil their NHK 2020 song “Kite” in the program.
Programs to mark 25 years since the Great Hanshin Earthquake
(Comments by Satoru Masagaki, Deputy Executive Director of Broadcasting)
January 2020 will mark 25 years since the Great Hanshin Earthquake. To mark this milestone, NHK will broadcast a series of programs to provoke thought about the disaster. One of these programs, on January 17th, the day the Great Hanshin Earthquake struck, will be an NHK Special “Chosa Hokoku – Otona ni Natta ‘Shinsai no Ko’ (Investigation Report: The ‘Children of the Earthquake’ Who Have Now Grown Up)”. To mark the 25 year milestone since the disaster, with the cooperation of experts in social psychology, an unprecedented large-scale investigation was carried out. The subjects were elementary and middle school students aged between six and 15 at the time of the disaster, the so-called ‘children of the earthquake’. Now aged between 31 and 40, they were asked about in what ways the disaster had affected how they have lived their lives and the paths they have chosen. As the experts analyzed the answers gathered from around 600 people some surprising results became clear. Of those who suffered the most in the disaster, including losing family members or their houses being destroyed, those who answered that they ‘took a positive attitude to the experience of the earthquake’ exceeded 60%. On the other hand, around 20% said they ‘don’t want to think about it even now’ or ‘didn’t want to talk about it’. What is that separated the two groups? It emerged during the analysis and reporting that the key was the adults around them, such as teachers and neighbors. Unraveling the truth about how the ‘children of the earthquake’ lived their lives over the last 25 years will deliver new lessons from Kobe to disaster-affected areas around the country. The presenter will be actress Keiko Kitagawa, who was an elementary school child at the time of the earthquake.
Programs related to the Taiga historical drama ‘Kirin ga Kuru’
(Comments by Ikuko Suzuki, Deputy Executive Director of Broadcasting)
Regarding the Taiga historical drama “Kirin ga Kuru”, which will begin broadcasting from January 19th, I would like to talk about related programs which will be shown before it starts. On January 11th, “Anata ga Shuyaku (You are the Lead Actor) 50 Voices Taiga Drama ‘Kirin ga Kuru’ Voice” will be broadcast. The program visits the locations where the drama was shot and talks to of course the lead actor Hiroki Hasegawa and the cast, but also the author of the source material, the scriptwriter, historical accuracy advisor, director and others, a total of 50 in-depth interviews which produce the kind of inside stories that could only be heard on set. On January 14th, “‘Kirin ga kuru’ Made Matenai! Sengoku Taiga Drama Meibamen Special (Can’t Wait for ‘Kirin ga Kuru’ – Famous Scenes from Taiga Historical Dramas of the Warring States Period Special)” will be broadcast. From the Taiga historical dramas which have been set in the Warring States period, which account for around 40% of productions up until now, impressive scenes from major battles and of the famous actors who have portrayed the three unifiers of Japan – Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu – will be featured. In addition, the portrayals of Akechi Mitsuhide, the main character in “Kirin ga Kuru”, in previous Taiga dramas will be presented, along with a look into what kind of person and what kind of samurai he was in reality.
And on January 18th, the day before “Kirin ga Kuru” starts, “Countdown Taiga Drama “Kirin ga Kuru” will be shown. It will feature introductions to the main characters, the making of the drama, interviews with the cast, a look into that world, mixed in with appearances by studio guests, providing an easily understand overview of the drama.
NHK Special “Shippu! Iron Road – Shirarezaru Kodai Bunmei no Kobo (Powerful Winds! Iron Road – The Rise and Fall of an Unknown Ancient Civilization)”
(Comments by Satoru Masagaki)
On January 13th, the NHK Special “Shippu! Iron Road – Shirarezaru Kodai Bunmei no Kobo (Powerful Winds! Iron Road – The Rise and Fall of an Unknown Ancient Civilization)” will be shown. It will focus on the unknown ‘Road of Civilization’ that is older than the Silk Road. This route, which carried the iron that is now indispensable to modern society, brought the material from West Asia to the Japanese archipelago and has been named the ‘Iron Road’ by archaeologists.
In the steppes and mountainous northern regions of Eurasia, which even now are sparsely populated, archaeological excavations have uncovered dozens of tools, items of horse tack and various other implements used in everyday life, which at the time were very unusual, a rich array of ironware suggesting a surprising level of advancement in those areas. The archaeological sites where many of this ironware were uncovered point to a route that ran from east to west across Eurasia. It is thought that this represents an ‘Iron Road’ where the metal was transported and was deeply linked to the rise and fall of ancient nations along it. Along this route it appears was ‘unknown world history’ separate from the famous ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece. The program is presented by actor Yosuke Eguchi and will tell the impressive story of this slice of the ancient world and cover the latest research on the Iron Road.
Niman-nen no Utsuwa (20,000 Years of Dishes) Ceramic Road
(Comments by Ikuko Suzuki)
On BS4K on January 12th and 19th, Niman-nen no Utsuwa (20,000 Years of Dishes) Ceramic Road will be shown across two weeks. The ‘dishes’ which fill our everyday lives are not just ‘tools’, but items which hold a mysterious appeal for people. The program will tell the tale of 20,000 years of dishes where people pursued more beautiful, more useful pieces delivering deep insights into them through the prism of ‘color’, utilizing the ultra-high-definition of 4K. Appearing in the program will be the red earthenware of the Jomon period, the black patterns of Mesopotamia, the blue earthenware that ancient Egyptians adored, and the transparent and strong white porcelain which was developed in China. That white porcelain traveled the Silk Road to Europe and helped spread colorful and beautiful dishes around the world.