Dramaturgical Media Analysis Essay on TV Show

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Since Fuji Television Network was established in 1959, the company has accumulated a substantial amount of viewers thanks to its string of hit movies and reality shows. As one of the major TV networks in Japan, Fuji TV Network has won the rating battle in Japan for six years straight, scoring an average of 13.4% share in the golden-time period from 7 pm-11 pm (Mark Schilling 2010). Their success is evident from their viewership, and partnerships with prominent streaming companies such as Netflix and Youku (Fuji Television Network 2018).

With 'Challenge and Creation' as their corporate mission, Fuji TV Network has continually produced shows with creative explorations of social issues (Fuji Television Network 2019). For example, Terrace House has been a hit show since 2012, where a group of six strangers — three women and three men — are provided with a house and automobiles while being observed by a panel of Japanese celebrities and comedians. Terrace House gives its audience an insight into a multifaceted view of Japanese culture while challenging social and cultural norms (Mia Nakaji Monnier 2017). Hence, Fuji TV Network's Terrace House is the ideal platform for our proposal.

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Problem issue

Low fertility and marriage rates

One of Japan’s social and economic problems has been confronting its rapidly aging and declining populations due to its decreasing birth rates. In 2017, the fertility rate of Japan hit an incredibly low figure of 1.43 children per woman, dropping 0.73 compared to 1971 (World Bank n.d.a). As observed from the graph of the World Bank (n.d.b), Japan’s birth rate per 1,000 people decreased dramatically from 1973 to 2017, dropping from 11.8 to stay at 7.6 in 2017. The declining fertility rate has led to a shrinking Japanese population but a rise in the number of older people. According to Nikkei (2018), the quantity of citizens aged 65 or over has reached a remarkable number of 35.57 million and accounting for 28.1% of Japan’s total population. Reuters (2019) reports that Japan is currently the greyest society in the world, and the percentage of Japanese citizens who are 65 or older is estimated to step over the threshold of 35 percent by 2050.

There are a number of major reasons that lead to low birth rates in Japan. The first factor is employment opportunities for Japanese males. As Tsuya (2017) has noted, in contemporary Japanese society, men’s employment rates have largely decreased, and a huge number of men are in temporary jobs. In contrast, female employment opportunities have risen dramatically, with rates reaching 72 percent in 2010 (Tsuya 2017). It is extreme difficulty currently to have regular careers in Japan, and males who cannot grasp regular positions are not regarded as potential partners for females. Moreover, according to POSSE (Semuels 2017), non-regular workers, particularly young males, earn an approximate wage of $1,800 monthly, and this is paid majorly on accommodation renting, social-security programs, and loans from college so they do not have much money left for other things. Consequently, as Japanese culture still sees men as breadwinners in families and in today’s high cost of living, incomes matter. Low salaries lead to fewer men getting married and having children, which results in even worse birth rates. Besides, it is also the unwilling attitudes of Japanese people toward marriage and children. Young adults in Japan, especially men, are disinterested in sexual relationships and say no to sex. Since young males already have their own alternative sexual practices such as 2-D lovers, dating sims, or games, they no longer enthusiastically pursue real-life romances (Ghaznavi, Sakamoto, Shibuya & Ueda 2019; Kelts 2019).

The strong growth of gender inequality in Japan has created pressure on women and reduced their desires for both marriage and children. Tsuya (2017) observes that with wives at reproductive ages, an average of 27 hours was spent weekly on household chores in 2009, whereas there were only 3 hours seen from men. In terms of parenting, Japanese females still hold primary responsibility for rearing children and ensuring they get great results in an aggressive educational environment (Tsuya 2017). Japanese females express that their spouses provide very limited assistance in these areas (Boling 2008). Although similar circumstance of women doing more than men in terms of child-rearing and household tasks is seen in other countries, Japan is much different and extreme. As compared to France, Japanese women’s involvement in housework triples that of France (Boling 2008).

Japan’s new maternity leave law has increased the participation of fathers in the family to some extent. Only 2.03% of male employees used their maternity leave rights between 2012 and 2013 (O'Brien and Wall n.d.). These new plans indicate that even if the spouse of the active employee does not work or is on vacation, they still have the right to take paternity leave. Although this data looks low, it is already four times that of 2005. The father exercised more of his paternity leave right to take care of his wife to ease the burden of his wife in childcare. According to Nakazato’s research, the article shows that all the fathers who have maternity leave have one thing in common their respect and understanding of their partners.

(Re)solving the problem issue

(Ha and Nichole)

The concept:

A new season of Terrace House called Terrace House: First Steps. We think the title lends itself to not only seeing the first steps of a child but also society’s first steps into changing attitudes in regard to parenthood. The house will have two families, one family will have a father as the primary caregiver, and the other will show a single mother supported by her parents. It will be filmed in Osaka and like the other seasons, it will feature select moments captured during the week, as well as a panel of comedians and celebrities that offer their insights and thoughts on the week's events.

Target Audience

In this proposal, we target young Japanese citizens age 18 to 40 years old. This group is within the main period for having children; according to Yasuyo Kasai, an obstetrician at the Tokyo-based Japan Red Cross Medical Center, the higher age the women give birth the higher risks can potentially occur such as miscarriage, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, and diabetes (Otake 2010).

1. Platform: Television

‘Contemporary media’ culture in Japan is a bit different compared with other countries. People spend most of their time with social media especially TV in their daily lives, from the statistics, show that the average daily time spent using social media is 48 minutes and the average daily TV viewing time is 2 hours and 29 minutes, and 99% of Japanese families have televisions, a percentage much higher than in other countries (DataReportal 2018).

Compared with the Internet, watching TV is easier entertainment and results in a greater viewership (Kensaku 2010). TV production is a big part of media and Japanese reality shows are gaining popularity around the world, it presents a milder atmosphere instead of dramatic performances, close to people’s daily lives, and reflects issues from real life. This reality show, Terrace House, is all modern comforts and sleek cinematography, and every host has a strong personality and creates a unique dynamic for the show (Taylor 2017). The perfect medium to start the conversation of change in contemporary Japan

2. Platform: Terrace House?

The format and editing of Terrace House aim to create an ‘honest’ and ‘real’ television show. People who participate in the program communicate constantly through face-to-face communication.

Regarding skeptics of the amount of truth that will be portrayed in the show, one of the features that make the Japanese favor their reality show is because of the truthfulness, with a guarantee of the script during the show. As the style of the Japanese reality show is less about creating drama, and more about creating family or camaraderie (Monnier 2017), the show can avoid the audience’s skepticism toward solutions the characters addressed through the show.

3. State why this TV show works

The social surrogacy hypothesis is that people who suffer from social stress or anxiety can create a sense of belonging with their favorite characters in their favorite television show (Derrick, J, Gabriel, S & Hugenberg, K 2009). By being sympathetic to the situation of the characters nurturing a baby in the Terrace House, the audience’s feelings of insecurity and social pressure in becoming parents can be reduced and explored in a safe environment.

Moving further than just impact and influence, the audience can either learn from participants’ mistakes or experiences as well, so they can at the same time gain knowledge of being parents. This is using Entertainment-Educational presentation as a catalyst for behavioral change. This strategy is designed for educating while entertaining, purposely using entertainment as an approach to deliver a social issue to the audience (John Hopkins n.d.)

We believe that broadcasting the benefits of getting married to have a family with babies in Terrace House can first give the audience awareness about this kind of family structure is still exist and doing well in the city, which can trigger their concern or curious about them. And again with the entertainment-educational strategies, the audience will get influenced by what happens in the Terrace House, and as a result, their mindset and behavior adjust. One real example of this method already existed in the Terrace House episode 32, when a new participant, Shunsuke, joined the show and came out as bi-sexual and how he’s in the show to explore his sexuality. This generated positive support from fans, which eventually applauded him for his bravery in challenging Japan’s implicit ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ (Hanaway 2018). With changes in the minds of participants as well as audience members, this is the right step in changing the attitudes towards child rearing in Japan.

Significance and benefits

In the past 40 years, the Japanese government has implemented many programs with the intention of increasing the ease of new parents and those that wish to have children. Even with new strategies, it has proven largely ineffective due to previous anti-natal policies of the past and as Ishii-Kuntz (2018) further expands that without the government’s assistance, those wanting to push for more men to be active in raising children have developed the concept of Ikumen, basically ‘cool dads’. The government could get behind this for future funding, but this can’t be something led by a governing body, it needs to be a cultural phenomenon led by community views.

Terrace House already has the success of previous seasons, but as with every new show, a new concept needs to be introduced to keep content fresh. Previously, location changes and the selection of more interesting participants has kept the show fresh, but we believe that the addition of a new element, children and parenting, and showing a hidden side of modern Japanese problem will spark new interest and healthy conversation, this, in turn, can pull in a new audience with conversations that occur in the day to day of the viewership. For example, in the episode ‘Change of Vibes’ of Boys x Girls Next Door, Seina Shimabukuro — a former Terrace House member — went back to the show, which resulted in a huge fuss where fans started to speculate why she went back. This concept of introducing a new ‘old member’ spread widely among fans and contributed to a record of 8.1% in audience rating, one of the highest ones recorded in the series (Niche Domain News 2014).

Changing attitudes towards child rearing in Japan will help maintain the future generations of Japan, care for and provide for the aging population. The show will also help change the mindset of gender roles within Japanese society, current views that women should be the primary caregiver and that men are only needed for financial responsibility are stale forms that are ripe to change and free repressed elements within Japanese society. It worked out that the more frequently an individual watched a show and the more they were in it, the more probable it was that their view of social standards would change (Otto 2017).

Changing Japanese birthrates is not a problem that can be solved in a day. But Terrace House: First Steps, is the show that will spark that conversation that will leap out of the television and carry across to other forms of media, social media, and into the everyday conversations of Japanese citizens. And for Fuji Network, not just will there be another hit show, but also the chance to again impact modern Japan and increase brand identity amongst the younger generation.

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Dramaturgical Media Analysis Essay on TV Show. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/dramaturgical-media-analysis-essay-on-tv-show/
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