|Topics in Japan #18:
Fuss over a "fake" TV program
* 2007/2/7 配信 ALC Newsletter No.53(ALC
International Marketing 発行)より
Recently, a storm
has been blowing throughout Japan's TV industry. It all
started in late January when it was revealed
that a popular TV health program called "Aru Aru Daijiten
II" had forged
results and comments from experts in one of their shows.
The show introduced a "Natto diet," which recommended that
people regularly eat natto (fermented
soybeans) in a certain way to lose weight effectively. Right
after the show was aired,
to their local supermarkets and bought plenty of natto packs.
Sales clerks apologized to customers for not having enough
natto, and natto makers decided to increase their production
of natto immediately. Then, right
in the middle of this "natto fever," it all turned
out to be fake.
The audience, supermarkets and natto makers were upset at the TV show's betrayal. Cheating the audience is wrong in itself, but what was worse, is that it was a health program, which meant it had a direct and big influence over the audience's daily lives. A lot of the audience had started practicing methods that had been introduced in the show, believing that it would help them keep fit. They never imagined that the methods had been made up by the production crew.
What the incident did reveal was people's great interest in health. Paying attention to one's health is of course a good thing to do, but some people are so obsessed with all kinds of health tips that they believe and practice whatever methods are introduced by the media without even thinking about whether they're really true and worth trying. And so it can be expected that TV crews might try to introduce sensational health regimen to attract as large audiences as possible, in order to get higher viewer ratings. If they can't find health regimen that are sensational enough, then their last resort is . . . to make them up.
Since the incident
was revealed, "Aru Aru Daijiten II" has been under
attack. The show was ended immediately. The production
company has been investigated thoroughly
to find out how it all happened, and to see if any other
fakes have been done. The media have been widely covering
the incident every day, citing
their viewers complaining that they can't believe in TV
any more. Yes, it's become not just a matter of how a health
show should be, but of how all the other TV programs should
be. And it's probably time for the audience to look at themselves
to see if they have been too ready to believe whatever was
aired on TV, and forgotten to be discerning,