Yesterday’s TV programs were mostly dedicated to marking the first anniversary since the Great Tohoku Earthquake and, as expected, 99% of the information shared was sombre and depressing. We saw stories of people who had lost everything, as well as people who were trying to rebuild despite the incredible difficulties in collecting resources, funding, and manpower. The people of Japan are not ones to sit around when there’s real work to be done, though, so some stories did focus on the people who were doing more than their fair share of the cleanup and reconstruction in the northern prefectures. As with any TV program, commercials were interspersed throughout the hour to pay the bills. That said, the TV commercials seemed a little off ... even by Japanese standards.
In the case of one particular program, people were watching as families visited the place where their homes once stood. They laid flowers, talked about their neighbors, how they had saved up for years to afford the mortgages they’re still liable for, and showed pictures of family members who were lost to the devastating wall of water that smashed through the walls of their home and carried away everything that mattered to them. A lot of tears were shed.
Luckily when it came time for a commercial we got to see a bunch of 20-something girls dressed in skimpy clothes screaming and laughing in delight as they played at a recreation center that charges 1,800円 per hour. The next commercial was for an eco-friendly car. The third was for an all-you-can-eat buffet. The fourth was Toyota “Drive for Tohoku” message featuring Beat Takeshi and Kimura Takuya.
With the two minutes of advertising space consumed, it was back to the program and the struggles of a 5th generation fisherman who had lost not only his boat, but the right to fish in the seas his father and grandfathers had reaped for decades.
Honestly, I was hoping to see commercials more in line with the programs being shown. It’s not like the companies seeking to advertise didn’t know their wares would be peddled during such morbid TV shows. Heck, I was longing for the endless run of AC commercials that clogged the airwaves in the ten days that followed the first devastating quake. At least those messages were more in line with 3.11 than a bunch of playful girls screaming and otherwise wasting time at a batting cage. Maybe I’m just old and bitter ... I really can’t say.
Did you watch any of the 3.11 programs on Sunday? Did you think the advertisements were insensitive?