“There is no democracy in Japan”
Such were the last words I heard Jun Hori utter before he left for Japan, having spent a year at UCLA as a visiting scholar. His quote paints a picture that is reminiscent of the world created by George Orwell’s dystopian classic “Nineteen-Eighty-Four”. Admittedly, Japan is a far cry from Oceania, the totalitarian regime that conjured the notion of “Big Brother”, but some of the Orwellian factors may indeed be present in today’s society. Jun is a prominent TV personality, working for NHK, Japan’s only public broadcaster. His easy personality and his 「甘いマスク」(sweet looks) belies a stubborn drive and determination to rectify all that he deems to be wrong with the Japanese society. The ongoing dilemna that Jun faces is based on the unique position he stands on: on the one hand, he works for NHK, the largest, most dominant TV presence in the country, but on the other, he is an independent journalist/film maker, driven by his desire to cover stories that NHK refuses to cover. The juxtaposition of his two sides puts him in constant ire of his employer, NHK, who finally decided to let him go just a few days ago. Now, Jun is free from the clutches of the media giant that has kept him grounded, like so many others. His new-found freedom will certainly enable him to pursue his own passion towards an “open” press, one where the people tell the stories.
Continue reading at 変身｜Metamorphosis: A turbulent ride towards justice