television archives in Japan??

A. M. Nornes amnornes
Wed Oct 10 12:41:00 EDT 2001

The current situation at the NHK Hakubutsukan is pretty dismal. There are
viewing booths in a cramped, hot room. The offerings are well-catalogued,
but conceived as a sampling only. For example, there are quite a few
episodes of famous programs, but they never offer a full run for viewing. I
went there once to see reportage of Sanrizuka and the live broadcast of the
Asama Sanso incident. They had snippets to watch, but not enough for doing
real research. Only a bit to wet the appetite or satisfy the curious.

A word or two of practical advice.

Many famous/popular series have been published on video, and you can find
them via the usual methods.

If you contact one of the networks directly, through official channels, you
are doomed to failure. Odds are you will find them uncooperative.

However, you may be surprised at the effectiveness and relative ease of back
channels. Invest some money into a few lunches or (depending on the person)
even drinking sprees with kankeisha. This in itself will be helpful, but at
some point you can ask if there are tapes around to help your research. It
is not unheard of for people within institutions with the strictest rules
about letting stuff out to lend tapes; they want their work to be written
about, particularly by foreigners. Moreover, for shows produced in the age
of the consumer  VCR, many of these people have copies for their own

Finally, if a show is related to a certain theme or cause, are there museums
out there that are dedicated to that? I find that these places---and the
people that work in them---have tapes in their collections and are more
interested in having people watch shows from the past than the networks


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