NHK Starts News Program Interacts With Twitter Messages By Watchers

In Japan, April is the start of school year, and many TV programs also begin this season. Japan’s public broadcasting network NHK began weekday midnight news program News Web 24 [J] works with the popular Internet service, Twitter.

# The 24 in “News Web 24” means 24 o’clock, means 00:00, which is often used in Japan to point hours after midnight when you think it belongs to the day before, especially on TV and bars/restaurants.

The 25 minutes news program on Monday to Friday features 5 commentators rising around Japanese web scene, like freelance journalist Daisuke Tsuda and writer Kenrou Hayamizu.

The program shows watchers’ feedback from hash-tagged tweets, overlay-ed. According to 2-channel, NHK watchers’ board, the first day’s show once displayed “Tweet on TV is disturbing” by @yanpscoop (image below).

Although net-savvies like 2-channel users chucked off this attempt as senior-citizen’s friend NHK playing down to younger watchers, their picking up this tweet is interesting and good. I can not think NHK is streaming all raw tweets with the hashtag, of course they must be manually filtering which tweets they put on.

English Broadcaster NHK World Starts Free Ustream Channel

We blogged several times about NHK‘s online efforts in the past few months (NHK is Japan’s national TV and radio network). And today, NHK World, the broadcaster’s international service that’s available worldwide except for Japan, has launched a channel on Ustream.

NHK World, which broadcasts programs on Japan in English, is live-streaming its content for free on their Ustream channel (they should switch off this one though to avoid confusion).

The service has been letting users view some programs directly on its website for quite some time now, but according to The Nikkei, only “several tens of thousands of people” actually used that service (it’s not a nice experience for Mac users like me, for example).

NHK itself was streaming programs on the web (via Ustream) back in March for a limited time, following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

NHK World on TV is currently available in 120 different countries. The network has released a decent iPhone app in February 2010. It’s also available online via, the English website of wildly popular video sharing site Nico Nico Douga.

NHK To Start Internet Simalcast Radio

AV Watch reports [J] that NHK(Japan Broadcasting Corporation) is going to broadcast its three radio channels, Radio1/2 and NHK FM, over the internet from September 1st.

Those simulcast channel will be listened on website on PC. For Smartphone(Android/iPhone), apps will be released after October 1st.

Some private radio stations have already been airing their program over the internet. The popular one is, which started March 2010. has regional protection, so for example, you may not listen programs by radio stations in Tokyo from Osaka. NHK’s ones can be listened from anywhere in Japan, but not available from oversea.

NHK’s Weather Character Haruchan(@nhk_haruchan) Starts Tweeting

Haruchan (Haru=Spring, chan=casual form of san, honorific title) is a popular personified Spring character on public broadcast TV NHK’s prime time weather news program. She was made by anthropomorphizing high pressure system in Spring weather. Here is a sample of the weather report program,

On April 4, this virtual character girl began Twitter [J] @nhk_haruchan, and got over 20,000 followers within 24 hours.

Her first tweet was “Long time no see!”. Then she announced that her web page [J] has been reneded.

NHK featured Haruchan on their other advertising program [J],

As Haruchan only shows up around Spring, there are of course many other characters on the NHK news. For Autumn, there are Akichan(Aki=autumn),

There are also Natsushogun(“Shogun Summer/Heat”) and Fuyushogun(“Shogun Winter”).

NHK’s another popular Twitter account @NHK_PR by NHK Public Relation section, who has 329,000 followers and is beloved by net users by its exceptionally casual and informal styled tweets, said by seeing Haruchan’s pampered, “I should have beaten her… Haruchan”.

See Also:

Japanese Web Community As Person

Kawaii Security – Over 30 Computer Virus Personified In Japanese Security Book

Groupon Japan’s Osechigate Still Smoldering

The poor traditional holiday food (osechi) delivery happened on New Year’s day around Groupon Japan, followed by media bash then Groupon world CEO’s sincere but delayed video apology 17 days later, must affected somewhat on their Japanese penetration and pitching daily deal business itself.

Even though a month passed, media rushing on this issue has not ceased. On Friday 3rd, Japanese economic newspaper Nikkei’s online released 6 pages, intensively researched long article that explains from what this coupon service is, to osechi and several other problems happening [J]. I have never seen other news which dug down such deep on this topic.

Nikkei pointed out that too-pushy sales caused the troubles, and it is needed to check if only coupon services get fruit against shops and consumers. They also covered a shop owner who ought to sell and cancel thousands of coupons by following Groupon sales’ insufficient explanation, needed to sign on an agreement that he would never tell about it, if he wants to cancel.

Then, Saturday night, national public TV NHK broadcasted 24 minutes documentary, “Kyukakudai! Gekiyasu Ku-pon Saito”(Booming! Heavily-discounted coupon sites) in their weekly program Tsuiseki(Chasing) A to Z.

The program began with explaining what coupon service is as well. NHK interviews some of service providers and let them talk how much it reduces marketing cost with getting social buzz, however, the tone of the program were negative overall, at least web users felt so (from Tweets and 2-channel board

NHK aired the closed Bird Cafe, the osechi vendor. Then they introduced shop-side anecdotes. A hamburger shop in Nagoya, who claims to be forced by sales persons to issue 2,622 tickets, with the price below the cost and they can only serve 30 set per day. The shop served 700 in 2 month but resulted in cancelling the rest. Another Izakaya (Japanese food bar) shopkeeper told that a sales person posted photos of dish which were not theirs (taken from somewhere).

Nikkei and NHK are the ones of the most trusted news sources in Japan, especially by mid-to-old generations. Those people might know the coupon business and its bad reputations at the same time by these.

On the web, someone made a half sized figure of the Bird Cafe’s poor osechi set,

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

and the osechi T-shirt is sold, too.