This Week in Japan

ABOUT THIS WEEK IN JAPAN…Six years have passed since the triple disasters of March 11, 2011. No one who was in Japan that day is likely to ever forget that experience. With the passage of time, it is getting harder to remember just how the media and the public responded to events in the first days and weeks after 3/11. For six months, this blog attempted to chronicle media coverage of the tragedy under the title This Week in Japan. Those posts are archived here.

March 17, 2011

Starting today, I’ll be blogging from Sapporo with reflections on how the Japanese TV networks (and us average little couch potatoes) have been coping with the multiple crises Japan now faces. I have no inside information on the major networks in Tokyo. These observations are based merely on what TV viewers in Japan have been experiencing since the quake, the purely personal opinions of a professional couch potato. But since TV is a window into Japanese society that can be more revealing than a sociology book, I hope chronicling this real-life TV drama will be helpful for you (and therapeutic for me) at a time when life in Japan has suddenly been turned upside down.

I’ll be blogging from Sapporo on the northernmost island of Hokkaido. Up here, the quake was weak. Damage on land was minimal (although the fishing and fish cultivation industries along the southern coastline have suffered damage). There are no rolling blackouts or shortages and the wind–usually–blows south; but the heartbreak, fear and disbelief generated by this tragedy are nationwide. In Sapporo, life still has a semblance of normality to it–as long as you don’t turn on the TV, but watching and writing about Japanese TV has been my business for almost a quarter of a century.

I’ll try to post at least once a week, but please bear with me as I get used to this “blogging” thing. I have had this blog for years but have never been inclined to use it until THIS WEEK IN JAPAN…

Wm. (Wilhelmina) Penn (weekly TV critic for the Daily Yomiuri newspaper (1987-2012) and author of The Couch Potato’s Guide to Japan: Inside the World of Japanese TV.