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Anyone interested in Japanese television is familiar with the term “yarase,” which refers to on-air situations staged to look natural and spontaneous.

When the content is news-oriented, charges of yarase will lead to in-house investigations and, if proved, apologies on the parts of senior executives. In the realm of entertainment, however, viewers usually let things slide. In fact, recognizing yarase is a component of media literacy in Japan. Not just because people wise up to subterfuge after years of exposure to it, but also because producers actively incorporate the idea into their shows. Wondering whether something is fake is part of the supposed fun.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
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