The TV show that has most successfully exploited the current housing “reform” boom is Asahi’s “Daikozo! Gekiteki Before/After (Big Construction! Dramatic Before and After)” (Sundays, 7:56 p.m.), which was the only program during the recent World Cup that managed to pull in double-digit ratings opposite a broadcast of a match featuring the Japan national team. Right now, many housing companies are going out of business, and those that manage to survive are doing so by shifting some of their resources into reconstruction work on existing houses.
Each program focuses on a single housing reform project that has been given a fixed time for completion and a fixed budget (usually under 5 million yen). The designers are taken from a pool of takumi, or “masters,” in a specific architectural discipline such as lighting or ventilation. Cameras follow the work closely, and the designers explain why they are doing certain things and how they save money.
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