The first half of the 80's ushered in a golden age of television in Japan. The Silk Road documentary series and the Morning Drama serial Oshin drew unprecedented attention, and current affairs programs were broadcast in prime time, reflecting a growing public demand for TV to deliver insightful information.
Hit programs The silk Road and Oshin
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The NHK Tokushu documentary series The Silk Road was broadcast at the beginning of the 80's, mesmerizing audiences with its electronic synthesizer music and stunning vistas of exotic sunsets and camel caravans.
To the amazement of viewers, TV cameras were able to penetrate the innermost regions of China for the very first time to present images of the ancient Silk Road. This huge-scale project was broadcast over a 10-year period. It was a realization of a TV dream that took seven years of planning and negotiations.
62.9% audience share
The morning drama serial Oshin was broadcast from April 5, 1983. The average audience share for this yearlong presentation was a record 52.6%, with a peak of 62.9%, still the highest figures for a drama program. The nation was riveted.
In a survey of one million people carried out by NHK to commemorate the 40th anniversary of TV broadcasting in 1993, viewers were asked which program they most wanted to see again. Oshin was the most popular choice.
At a time when postwar economic growth was reaching its zenith, Oshin reminded people what life had been like just a few decades earlier, and offered a chance to reconsider Japanese history and culture.
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