• Kyodo


Long-running TV talk show “Tetsuko no Heya” (“Tetsuko’s Room”) marked its 10,000th episode on Wednesday.

The show holds the Guinness World Record for the most TV talk show episodes hosted by the same presenter.

Veteran actress Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, 81, has presented the show since it began on Feb. 2, 1976, and in the past four decades she has never missed a taping, says TV Asahi, which airs the show every weekday at noon.

The guests for the 10,000th jubilee episode were Masahiko Kondo and Noriyuki Higashiyama, renowned actor-singers who Kuroyanagi has known since their teenage debuts in show business. It was Kondo’s 16th appearance on the show, and the 10th for Higashiyama.

“I want to thank all guests,” Kuroyanagi said as the program commenced on Wednesday. “I really appreciate the fact that no one failed to show up on the day of the recording.”

TV Asahi President Shinichi Yoshida told a news conference on Tuesday the show is “a treasure to the company.” He said the network would be pleased for it to continue.

What has made the show run for so long is Kuroyanagi’s “personality, full of consideration for others and curiosity,” Yoshida said.

Executive Director Takashi Hirajo said Kuroyanagi “hopes to host the show until she turns 90, but we would like her to keep hosting as long as she can, be it 12,000 or 15,000 episodes.”

Kuroyanagi has often featured interviews with celebrities, in which they describe their wartime experiences. She has also spoke of her activities as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Past guests include rakugo storyteller Nekohachi Edoya III, who talked about his experience as a Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor, and actor Ryo Ikebe, who discussed his wartime service with the Imperial military in its southern operations.

Kuroyanagi said she hopes the show will serve as an archive of precious experiences and will be broadcast again and again.

“TV has the power to change the world,” she said in an interview earlier this year.

Domestic and foreign celebrities who have appeared on the show include actor Hisaya Morishige, actor Ken Takakura, Nobel laureate for literature Kenzaburo Oe, cartoonist Osamu Tezuka, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and U.S. singer Lady Gaga.

“Tetsuko’s Room” is prerecorded but undergoes little editing. There is no prepared script but Kuroyanagi pens a run sheet for each episode.

With her clipped speech, she has drawn out of the guests countless anecdotes related to their profession. She has also prompted them to speak about their personal problems and sometimes make surprise announcements.

Yoichi Matsuo, an 85-year-old broadcast critic, said that for celebrities, appearing on “Tetsuko’s Room” is regarded as “a kind of status” and the show is like “a salon in the TV world.”

As a goodwill ambassador, Kuroyanagi has visited more than 30 countries including Kosovo, Afghanistan and South Sudan, and raised more than ¥5 billion ($40.8 million) for UNICEF’s programs to protect children from conflict, disasters and poverty.

She is also known for her best-selling childhood memoir “Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window.” About 8 million copies of its Chinese translation have been sold since it went on sale in China in 2003. It has been called “a miracle in the Chinese children’s book industry.”

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