[sumo] NHK sumo coverage - being more proactive
pharmer at willamette.edu
Sat Jun 28 15:17:01 EDT 2008
I have been a long-time fan of sumo (since my days training days in
Tokyo in the late '70's) and a long-time lurker in this group. I have
greatly enjoyed the insights and experience of the contributors, which
have kept me entertained and in the loop, but have not felt I had much
to offer. However, the recent (and semi-recent) comments and concerns
about declining support for sumo coverage by various broadcast
entitities, particularly NHK, got me thinking about how to press the
disappointment/frustration of foreign sumo supporters (whether in Japan
or not) to those in charge so they re-think their priorities.
Contrary to some of the opinions expressed in the forum, I believe that
there are enough of us who are put out by the decision, for example, to
reduce the number/time of the on-air commentators on the satellite sumo
broadcasts to make an impact on NHK management.
Just as politicians are influenced by letter campaigns from
constituents, so too are business leaders and government bureaucrats. A
slew of letters emphasizing how much people enjoyed the original
bilingual broadcasts and how these new, truncated versions are
inadequate given the importance of sumo to Japanese history and culture
would be very effective. In addition, failing to support this iconic
activity does not show NHK in a positive light. Certainly having only
one commentator for a two hour broadcast of a major sporting event is
less than the standard in other countries (in the US, for example, I
have never come across a NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL broadcast that did not
have at least a play-by-play person and a color commentator, in addition
to interview personnel. The same holds true for major sports broadcasts
in Australia and most of the European countries I have visited).
There is some background for the potential of this approach. A previous
NHK president planned to eliminate all bilingual broadcasts and
re-direct those financial resources to introduce a new broadcast sound
technology solely for the domestic market. However, shortly prior to
this going forward former Prime Minister Koizumi pointed out that NHK
had a major responsibility to introduce the best of Japanese culture to
the world and the plan was abandoned.
I have a friend in the music business in Japan with various contacts
within NHK who has said that NHK administration is sensitive to such
issues. If we want to preserve (as apparently there is talk of further
reducing the bilingual broadcast coverage), recover, or expand access to
sumo broadcasts it seems that it is worth a letter and the price of postage.
For those who may be interested, I got the following information:
NHK Sports, Ozumo
attention: Mr. Shigeo Fukuchi
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8001
Mr. Fukuchi is the new president of NHK. The more letters he receives,
the greater impact. As with any direct letter campaign, the letters do
not have to be long; the value is the number and the focus on the issue
(bilingual broadcasts are important and they need/deserve two
commentators and continuing support).
There are a lot of people on this group from all around the world -
letters from everywhere (even if you can't directly access the broadcast
or are not a native English speaker) will help. Afterall, much of what
we get to talk about in this group (even the brickbats and bouquets for
the commentators!) origintates in the satellite broadcasts.
Once again thanks to all of you who keep me connected. Hopefully we will
all be able to continue receiving our regular basho fix.
Best wishes, Peter
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