• Tokyo


In his Jan. 11 letter, “Digital won’t make it better,” Simon Foston is correct to state that the switch to digital TV won’t improve Japanese TV standards. It’s not meant to; it is merely a new higher-quality means to transmit the same old garbage.

Although I agree with him that the quality of Japanese TV leaves a lot to be desired, one thing that can be said in defense of many of the programs is that they are not supposed to be watched with a great degree of concentration. The “wide-shows,” with their hours of bad gags, trips to ramen shops and grating cries of “oishii” and “kawaii,” are usually half-watched by families going about their business at home. In essence these shows are background noise, wallpaper music.

I am sure if the Japanese sat down to watch a wide-show for three hours from start to finish without a break, they would think that Japanese TV is as bad as we do and call on programmers to do something about it.

laura holland

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