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Despite his ubiquity in the media, the comedian Beat Takeshi is never asked to appear on NHK’s sogo (general) channel, which is why his one-minute appearance last New Year’s Eve on NHK’s annual song contest received a lot of media attention. Considering that other popular comedians are also conspicuously absent from NHK’s flagship channel, it’s easy to conclude that the national broadcaster isn’t comfortable with the kind of crude jokes that pass for humor on the commercial stations.

On the other hand, Takeshi Kitano, the world-famous movie director, is more than welcome on NHK in the capacity of renaissance man and raconteur — though you’re more likely to find him on the educational channel.

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