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How has TV in Japan attempted to provide the foundations for an inclusive society? How have the controversial issues been dealt with?

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Week 4 How has TV in Japan attempted to provide the foundations for an inclusive society? How have the controversial issues been dealt with? At first glance, Japanese television seems something of a paradox. If not direct conflict to, it seems to reflect little of the dignified nature of Japanese culture and society, yet it is vital to contemporary Japanese life. The average household in Japan watches between seven and a half to eight hours of television per day, and has more than one set1. Japanese viewers have been captured by a medium that has been designed to hold their attention through culture, ideology and a quasi-intimate interaction between the TV presenters and their audience. Such relationships are formed by a depiction of uniformity, solidarity, spontaneity or; combinations of the three. Though not an assurance of success, the most popular programs will follow such a recipe.2 A prime example is the Japanese news program. With a focus on domestic issues, with weather reports and/or human-interest segments from the various regions of Japan with a brief description of world events following. Such actions seemingly portray the Japanese nation as one, whilst emphasizing the distance of that which is foreign. Regional segments as in the case of the Nihon News Network's 'Zoom-in Morning'; will have field reporters stationed in the majority of the more substantial cities of Japan. ...read more.


Close attention is paid, as she tastes each of the meals, with her reaction to the food and the subsequent emotional response of the cooks being filmed. This contrasts sharply with when each team eats the others food with little decorum, giving the impression that they are not as important as the guest. They are more like the everyday 'boy next door' rather than the immensely popular pop idols with recording and product endorsement contracts.9 After a strategic commercial break, the judge's decision is given, whereby the winners are elated and the losers are inconsolable. The victors each receive a kiss in the cheek or hand from the guest, and a iconic pair of red lips which they add to the side of their chefs hat, like war medals. After a season, the number of lips each member has are tallied and a prize given to the one with the most 'kisses'. The show uses food to promote planning, aesthetics and most notably a consumption ethic, by implying that food sires sexuality and in turn, material success.10 Other cooking shows, still framed by notions of challenge, offer different messages, although with the same theme. 'Douchi no ryori shiou' (Which one? Cooking show) is a competition between rivals to win the favor of a external judge or judges; but speaks of procedure and tries to validate Japanese culinary instincts and traditional ideas. ...read more.


As in the American Civil Rights scenario of the early 1960's, changing loyalties, beliefs and increased willingness to understand differences allowed the marginalized to emerge with a greater confidence. It is this introspection that may be the greatest catalyst for change.16 Thus, Japanese television seeks to create an association between the Japanese people as a whole, attempting to exclude only those that the population would find most obviously foreign - those who live in a different country, eat different food sound and look different. By portraying the Japanese nation as a whole with a superior culture and customs to which her people are organically linked, they unify the nation and therefore their audience. 1 Andrew Painter 'Japanese Daytime Television, Popular Culture, and Ideology in Treat (ed) Contemporary Japan and Popular Culture, Uni Hawaii Press, 1996, p.198. 2 ibid.,p.197. 3 ibid.,p.200. 4 ibid.,p.203. 5 Todd Holden, 'Resignification and Cultural Re/Production in Japaese Television Commercials', M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 04/02/01, available at: http://moby.curtin.edu.au/~ausstud/mc/0104/japtele1.html 6 Todd Holden, 'And now for the main (Dis)course...: Or, Food as Entr�e in Contemporary Japanese Television', 02/02/99, available at:http://www.media-culture.org.au/9910/entr�e.html, p.1. 7 Holden, And now for, p.1. 8 Holden, And now for, p.1. 9 Holden, And now for, p.1. 10 Holden, And now for, p.2. 11 Holden, And now for, p.3. 12 Holden, Resignification and Cultural, p.5. 13 Stephen Miller 'The Reunion of History and Popular Culture: Japan "Comes Out" on TV', Journal of Popular Culture, vol 31.2 Fall 1997, p.162. 14 Miller, pp.164-165. 15 Miller,p.162. 16 Miller,p.171. ...read more.

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