Starring in Japanese Reality TV

Photo by Karl Baron, via Flickr

Nagging questions and doubts remain. Have we somehow prostituted ourselves for the vicarious entertainment of television viewers? Has the private language, the intimate currency of our happy household, been debased by making it public? I had thought it would be ‘fun.’ I was wrong. But somehow it has felt like an education of sorts — perhaps in self-knowledge — however involuntarily acquired, however unwelcome the conclusions.

My husband and I, for example, have been forced to confront difficulties in our marriage. Under the pressure of Y-san’s gentle but probing, seemingly innocuous questions, a fine tracery of cracks mars the pleasant facade: how often do my husband and I actually talk? When was the last time we went out on a date, just the two of us? Do we gladly contemplate living together for the rest of our lives?

Professor Wendy Jones Nakanishi writing in Kyoto Journal about her family’s experience being filmed for a Japanese reality TV show. The show looks at the life of a foreigner in Japan.

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