Japan’s Flourishing Media Industry And The Unfortunate Repercussions It Creates

When I ditched my social commentary-cum-personal life page on blogspot that I had written for 5-6 years and started this, I made the decision to never write an entry that reflects my view of the goingons around me. Being in a school environment on a day-to-day basis and somewhat a  テレビっ子 has however made me arrived at this point where I decided to retract that decision.

Japan’s broadcast media has excellent programmes on air throughout the week that’s why I’m a テレビっ子. I don’t watch the dramas but I particularly dig their variety programmes because of many things that I can get out of it – particularly things that I would never get to see in my life, things that I could learn and more importantly, the comedy it offers.

Some couple of weeks ago, I was watching 行列のできる法律相談所 on TV where they invited best-selling artistes to the programme. Among whom was host 島田紳助、celebrity ベッキー、 model 木下優樹菜、transgender make-up artiste IKKO, comedian 河本準一 and 後藤輝基. Even in a country with a somewhat liberalistic view of transexuals like Japan, the butt of the joke ended up being IKKO. In Japan, a programme with a transgender that runs without taking a dig at them is like having cheesecake without the cheese. While the name-calling was amusing to me at first, it didn’t stop where it should and I felt that the continuation of 「お化け」 being fired at IKKO from almost all the guests present was uncalled for. I’m not a prude but the way it was presented as humour really was the point where I began to see how the media has created a culture of  いじめ in its nation.

Recently, there was a special episode for celebrity 磯野貴理 who at age 47, having divorced once, is now dating someone 24 years her junior. As they flashed back on her previous appearances on the show, one particular thing was prominent. She was repeatedly referred to as ババァ and there was no attempt by the producers of the show to conceal that. In fact, they specifically edited all videos of her being hurled the unflattering comment. Again, it was presented as pure humour and supposedly an acceptable one at that.

If Japan wants to protect its children, I think TV personalities should start being responsible by knowing when to stop name-callings. いじめ is not in the nature of children. It’s a lesson picked up from their favourite TV personalities.

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