Comments from the Top (Executive Director of Broadcasting)
Summary of Press Conference (October, 2020)
On the series finale of “Kirin ga Kuru (Awaiting Kirin)” and the first episode of “Seiten o Tsuke”.
(Comments by MASAGAKI Satoru, Executive Director of Broadcasting)
I would like to announce the broadcast dates of the currently broadcasting Taiga drama “Kirin ga Kuru (Awaiting Kirin)”, and the next Taiga “Seiten o Tsuke”, which means “pierce the blue sky”.
The last episode of “Awaiting Kirin” will be February 7th, 2021. And the following week on February 14th, “Seiten o Tsuke” will begin. The total number of episodes of “Seiten o Tsuke” is yet to be decided.
On the second-generation NHK speech synthesis system
(Comments by MASAGAKI Satoru)
NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories has developed a second-generation version of its speech synthesis technology. It uses AI, making it easier to produce synthesized speech that sounds more natural in a shorter time. The technology will be used for the pre-recorded opening segment of a new weekly news program “Shuukan World News” which launches on BS1 on November 7th. I think we will be able to use the technology for a range of NHK services in the future.
On the “Komoribito” Project
(Comments by MASAGAKI Satoru)
In November, NHK is launching a project to create a chance to think about the issue of “Hikikomori”, or social shut-ins. Japan’s “Hikikomori” population is estimated to top 1 million people. It was once seen as an issue among young people, but now, the number of middle-aged shut-ins is believed to be about 610,000 people. The problem is familiar to many, regardless of their generation. NHK will broadcast 13 programs on the theme. We will also set up a website that features articles about the programs and the stories of people and families suffering from “Hikikomori”.
NHK Special will focus on the so-called “8050 Problem”, which refers to elderly parents looking after middle-aged shut-ins. There will be a drama and a documentary shown over two weeks. The drama is “Komoribito (A Shut-in)”. It will feature MATSUYAMA Kenichi as a son who hasn’t been out of his house for over 10 years, and TAKEDA Tetsuya as his father who tries to rebuild a relationship with him after finding out he himself is terminally ill. The documentary is “Hikikomori Shi – Genkai Kazoku no Kiroku (Hikikomori Death – A Record of Families on the Edge)”. It looks at how people caring for their older parents or people that have retired lose their connections with society and are driven to death. The long-time documentary will look for ways to solve the problem and protect lives.
E-Tele, or Educational TV will air programs that look at issues of “Hikikomori” children and “Futoko”, or children that refuse to go to school. And on radio, NHK will air a special program “Minna de Hikikomori Radio”. It will feature the voices of shut-ins themselves.
On NHK Special “Sekai Saikyo no Zuno x Zenronbun AI Kaidoku – Shingata Corona Kansen Sai-Bakuhatsu ka Shusoku ka (The World’s Best Brains and Data Deciphered by AI – Will the New Coronavirus Explode Again or Be Brought Under Control?)
(Comments by KOIKE Hideo, Deputy Executive Director of Broadcasting)
Winter is approaching, and experts warn that it will be the time when the virus is at its most infectious. Will infections spread again, or will they be brought under control? What is the real reason there are fewer deaths in Japan than in Europe and America? What can we hope for from vaccines and treatments?
On NHK Special, artificial intelligence (AI) will work with the best scientists to create a team of ‘the world’s best brains’ to find answers to these important questions.
On programs related to the US presidential election
(Comments by KOIKE Hideo)
On November 1st, an NHK Special “America Daitoryo Senkyo Bundan no Yukue (The US Presidential Election – The Results of Division)” will be broadcast. The very divided society that has been created in America during the four years of President Trump will be examined through the key battleground state of Michigan.
On BS1, two BS1 Specials will be broadcast. One is “The Real Voice”. Customers of a diner will talk about their expectations of a new president, and the future of living with the coronavirus. Interviews were carried out remotely using a ‘virtual robot director’. The other program, “Shomin ga Mita America Daitoryo Senkyo (The US Presidential Election as Seen by Ordinary People)” will focus on the ‘millennial generation’ born between 1980 and 2000. It will examine how they decide to vote. The millennials make up around 40% of the electorate and are said to be liberal, but the voices of young, conservative Trump supporters are also beginning to be heard. Young people recorded their daily life and issues facing them on smartphones for this program.
And on the day of the election, which will be the 4th in Japan, the results of the vote will be delivered in an expanded news program on General TV, along with reports scheduled to be shown on BS1 and on a dedicated website.
On “Colorful na Majo no Monogatari - KADONO Eiko 85-sai no Kamakura Kurashi (The Story of a Colorful Witch - KADONO Eiko – Her life in Kamakura at Age 85)”
(Comments by WAKAIZUMI Hisaaki, Deputy Executive Director of Broadcasting)
On November 22nd and 29th, Educational TV will broadcast two programs about the life of KADONO Eiko, the author of the children’s book “Majo no Takkyubin (Kiki’s Delivery Service)”. The program will include an essay she wrote for the programs.
On “Makaizo no Yoru 2 (An Evening of Magic Remodeling 2)”
(Comments by WAKAIZUMI Hisaaki)
This entertainment program on BS Premium features top-class engineers who compete with their ideas and techniques. They “magic remodel”, or upgrade children’s toys and household electrical appliances and turn them into something with amazing new features and power.
The November episode has a robot development company, a precision machining factory and a major car and motorbike manufacturer, competing against each other. The two challenges are ‘how far can a magic remodeled cleaning robot long jump?’ and ‘how many tiles can a magic remodeled drumming teddy bear break?’. The program reveals how far the Japan’s engineers with manufacturing technologies can take things.