Ono Seiko and Aaron Gerow onogerow
Tue Jul 20 02:55:00 EDT 1999

This is an issue that touches not only on televisual culture, but also on 
the nature of personality in modern Japanese culture, but what do people 
think of the hubbub over Nomura Sachio?  The whole thing, which started 
over complaints that Nomura Sachio, the wife of the Hanshin Tigers 
manager and a "jukujo" (mature woman) talento in her own right, was rude, 
not paying back debts, and fond of borrowing things without giving them 
back, has utterly dominated the wide shows and the weekly magazines for 
over three and a half months and has progressed, with accusations that 
she falsified her educational credentials when she ran for the Diet a few 
years ago, into a criminal investigation and a debate in the Diet.

True, there may be some "truth" behind all the accusations, but factual 
reality does little to explain how the topic has completely dominated the 
media for such a long time, escalating into what some fear is a witchhunt 
or at least a coordinated and violent (in the sense that the TV camera is 
always violent) attack on an individual person.  I have read articles in 
the paper speculating that the fact the Satchi affair has dominated the 
media just as the Diet is dealing with legislation that significantly 
changes postwar Japanese society such as the guidelines law, the flag and 
national anthem designation, etc., with little media attention is not a 
coincidence.  Even if we don't accept such conspiracy theories, why is 
the media so interested in this topic at this time?  Why are viewers?  
How is the Satchi affair functioning ideologically in contemporary media 

Clearly some of it has to do with the circulation of personality within 
the mass media.  The media destruction of Nomura Sachio, who herself was 
purely a creation of the media (with no "talent" per se), is proof of the 
power of the media, as well as indication that the content of mass media 
is merely a circulation of signs that only refer to one another and not 
to any "reality" (the "news" reported is only the "news subjects" the 
media itself creates and makes important).  But there is obviously a lot 
of other things going on involving the definition of motherhood (Satchi 
came to fame as a hardnosed older woman who told off the younger 
generation), wifehood (why isn't her husband getting dragged down in this 
affair?), "normal" behavior, privacy, media violence, voyeurism, etc.

Any thoughts?

Aaron Gerow
Yokohama National University
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