enpaku 早稲田大学演劇博物館


Japanese Television

Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK (“Nippon Hoso Kyokai”; Japan Broadcasting Corporation), commenced broadcasts on 1 February 1953. During the 1950s, a number of private broadcasting companies emerged, including Nippon TV (commonly known as “Nihon Terebi”), Radio Tokyo (the predecessor of the Tokyo Broadcasting System), Fuji TV, and Nihon Educational Television (now TV Asashi). Consequently, new televisual culture emerged in Japan. Early-era television sets were very expensive. Because few people could afford them, sets were installed outside (this was called “gaito terebi”, or street television), and large crowds gathered around these sets to watch live broadcasts of sporting events, such as wrestling bouts and boxing matches. Television sets then became
a common feature in family homes. A key factor in this development was the televising of major events such as the wedding parade of Crown Prince Akihito and Shoda Michiko in 1959 and the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.

Over the years, Japanese television has added colour to the lives of the Japanese public with its daily broadcasts of dramas, variety shows, music programmes, sports programmes, and various other entertainment television programmes. Japanese television has also served as a vital medium through which the public can view the great events of their time unfolding as they happen. Examples of such landmark televisual events include the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, the Asama-Sanso incident in 1972 (a hostage crisis involving the Japanese terrorist organisation United Red Army), the Gulf War in 1991, and the 9.11 terror attacks. More recently, advances in digital broadcasting technology have given television sets new high-vision capabilities and a broader array of functions. This new technology is changing the way people watch television, and by extension, it is causing our daily lives to radically change once again.

The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum holds numerous television-related resources, many of which were donated by the people involved in producing the programmes. In particular, the museum owns the largest collection of TV drama scripts in Japan, which provide valuable insights into the production process of television programmes.

Note: On the panels, as for the order of the name of the Japanese person, their family name is written first, and then their given name.