Today is "Television Broadcast Commemoration Day" in Japan. On Feb 2 1953, NHK, of the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, began regular TV broadcasting from a single TV studio in Tokyo, although it had been conducting 'experimental' broadcasts, one a week for three hours a day, since 1950 in its Science & Technical Research Laboratories. Read more about the history of television in Japan here.
Japan's got an amazingly rich diverse pop and leisure culture that's increasingly popular overseas. But Japan is a country where people work as hard as they play. Or maybe more. A recent survey carried out by Cross Marketing, a research company in Tokyo, showed that 60% of working people felt that they did not have enough free time to relax and enjoy leisure pursuits after work.
18 years ago, Taro Akebono – or Chad Rowan, to give him his birth name – made Japanese and international history by becoming the first ever foreign-born wrestler to reach the rank of Yokozuna, the highest rank in sumo.
Japanese fashion brand Innocent World is collaborating with TV Tokyo for a brand new anime, GOSICK, which first aired on January 7 this year. The main character, Victoria, is being voiced by Aoi Yuuki, who was dressed by Innocent World at the anime press conference held in last December 2011.
On January 19, 1946, NHK broadcast its first ever "Nodo Jiman Shiroto Ongakukai", a much loved show that celebrates the hidden singing talents of ordinary folk. Now a TV programme, it could be the first ever example of the X Factor style talent search programs that have taken over our screens the past few years. Nodo jiman means, literally, "showing off the throat", and shiroto means amateur.
Origami is so 2010. It's all about creating art with fruit peel now. Atarashii Mikan no Mukikata, or 'New Ways to Peel a Tangerine', published by Shogakukan, has proved a massive hit in Japan, with adults as well as children enjoying the creative possibilities of tangerine peel.