Renowned columnist, ad critic Amano dies at 80

JIJI, Kyodo

Nationally known columnist Yukichi Amano has died of interstitial pneumonia at a Tokyo hospital Sunday, his family said. He was 80.

The Tokyo native wrote columns for newspapers and magazines while also serving as a TV commentator. He popularized the act of using TV commercials and other ads for social criticism, and commented on a wide range of social issues.

After working at publisher Sogensha Inc. and major advertising agency Hakuhodo Inc., Amano founded Kokoku Hihyo, a monthly magazine for critiques of advertising, in 1979.

Through his insightful critiques of TV commercials and other ads, which had been viewed only as a means of marketing goods and services, he analyzed social situations with a humorous and casual style of writing.

In the June 1982 edition, Kokoku Hihyo featured anti-war ads that featured such popular catchphrases as “Mazu sori kara zensen he” (“Prime Minister, you go to the battlefront first”) and “Tonikaku shinuno yadamon ne” (“Anyway, I don’t wanna die”).

As a columnist, Amano played an important role in discussions on broad issues, including the economy and politics, in newspapers and magazines. He was also active as a commentator on TV and wrote many books.

In 2004, Amano received the NHK Broadcast Cultural Award from the public broadcaster, before chairing a committee of the Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization between 2006 and 2007.

Kokoku Hihyo ceased publication in 2009, but Amano vigorously continued writing. He most recently cast doubt on moves to bring the nation’s idled nuclear power plants back online.