Top 10 TV Japanese Shows Parents WANT Their Children to Watch

May 20, 2011

A previous post listed the 2011 Japanese tv shows that parents don’t want their children to watch as voted by members of Japan’s national PTA association.

The flip side of the list are tv shows Japanese parents want their children to watch. Some of these are a lot of fun as well.

Here is the top 10:
1. Sekai Ichi Uketai Jugyo (Subtitle: The Most Useful School in the World) – The show features tv personalities, teachers, and university professors enjoying little vignettes of classes about science, music, math, economics, and even English. (Personal comment here: One of the few times I watched the show, there was a non-Japanese university professor on teaching about English and he mentioned that there’s no English word for “soft cream”. I was so disappointed I went out with the family to drown my sorrows in some soft-serve ice cream.)

2. Sodattanoka! Manaberu News! – This show uses news topics and “experts” as a way to teach viewers about wider academic issues.

3. Ryomaden -Starred popular heartthrob and singer Masaharu Fukuyama as Ryoma Sakamoto, one of the most interesting figures in Japan’s long history (in my humble opinion). I think Ryomaden could do really well if subtitled and released outside of Japan. Ryoma Sakamoto’s story has been tackled, successfully, many times in tv and movies and is a story that can be spun and fictionalized in many ways. Not to show my age, but I personally enjoyed the old drama Ryoma ni Omakase which took a comedic view of the history of the era and starred a Kansai dialect speaking Ryoma in Downtown’s Masatoshi Hamada. It was funny, but needless to say people in Kochi wanted Ryoma to speak a proper Tosa dialect instead of Hamada’s comedic Amagasaki accent.

4. Nature Wonderland called Darwin ga Kita Ikimono no Shindensetsu – is an animal show which (as the name links to) also seems to have an English site. There is no controversy about teaching evolution in Japanese schools you know.

4. Tensai! Shimura Dobutsuen – Genius! Shimura Zoo – this one is a somewhat less academic animal show hosted by Ken Shimura who also had a spot on the worst 10 Japanese tv show list.

6. Q-Sama – This is a quiz show that also makes use of some English questions that will make a lot of people teaching English in Japan roll over in their futons… but on the whole it’s a fun, harmless entry in the huge “quiz variety show” category.

7. Itte Q – A variety show based around the idea of having adventures in other countries including a “hot springs around the world series” and the continuing adventures of Ayako Imoto (if you’ve seen a girl with large painted on eyebrows running away from an alligator with some meet tied to her, you’ve seen the show). It’s not the most academic accurate representation of the world outside of Japan, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Japan’s PTA thought it was.

8. Heisei Kyoiku Iinkai – (The Show lists the following English Title for itself “Hei! Say! A Board of Education!” (sic). Yes, even education shows use English like this.) This is another show made up of tv personalities in the roles of students. It’s currently hosted by Beat Takeshi AKA Takeshi Kitano.

10. The Tetsuwan DASH! – this is Tokio’s (the pop band) flagship show. The basic theme is challenges – can people outrun a train, and a long running part of the show is about “Dash Mura” an area in which Tokio and some locals are using traditional methods of cultivation. The Dash Mura, as many people know, is not far from the Fukushima nuclear plants so in the coming months and maybe years, this show could give some insight about the aftermath of (not the earthquake and tsunami per say but the Tokyo Electric nuclear meltdown troubles).

10. Oshiete Mr. News Ikegami Akira no Sonanda Nippon – Another infotainment using current events to teach about the news. This program is hosted primarily by Akira Ikegami, a respected announcer who is currently freelance, but was with NHK until 2005. Akira Ikegami has actually been featured on NewzJapan before as the man who was so into explaining the news that he completely missed the new year countdown that his show was supposed to be doing…

Here’s the video again from the post “TV Asahi New Year’s Show Forgets the Countdown

I can see at least somewhat why parents would want their kids to watch some of these shows, but I also feel there are some much much easier to access options for kids in Japan. Besides, with all the misinformation (and, closer to home – misuse of English) on some of these shows, there may need to be as much parental guidance as for one of the shows on the opposite list to this one.


1 MyShigoto June 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I haven’t seen all of these but I agree that things like Itte Q, Sekai Ichi and Shimura Dobutsuen are good (possibly educational) harmless fun, although it drives me mad how long they drag the programmes out. Darwin ga Kita is definitely a winner, though, and interesting for all ages.
Surprised you didn’t mention something like Naruhodo za Warudo (Naruhodo the World) which is informative and fun although on a bit late for young children.

2 jay@newzjapan June 7, 2011 at 1:22 pm

This is based on an internet poll but Naruhodo za Warudo sounds really good. Even though it can be hit or miss, I love learning things from Japanese tv in a fun or cute or weird or funny way.

That’s a great list of jobs on your website by the way!