“It’s better to do something and regret it than not to do it and regret it,” is a common phrase found in many self-help books. I also have the impression that it is said by people in the sports industry. However, what I can say without a doubt is that there are definitely things that you regret doing. One example is the end of a long-running TV program. There are very few examples of long-lived programs that have been prolonged by changing their schedules or titles. Nevertheless, people continue to make the same mistakes. There are many “do’s and don’ts”.
“It was forgivable because it was Maetake.
Thirty-one years ago, on October 3, 1990, the curtain came down on Fuji Television’s popular music program “Yoru no Hit Studio” after 22 years of existence.
Yoru no Hit Studio” was launched on November 4, 1968 as a live music variety show. The original hosts were Takehiko Maeda and Mari Yoshimura. Takehiko Maeda, who was known as “Maetake” in those days, started out as a broadcaster and became a lyricist, columnist, actor, host, and radio personality, and along with Rokusuke Ei, Yukio Aoshima, and Kyoizumi Ohashi, he was one of the first multi-talented people.
It was Maetake who wrote the lyrics for the theme song of the popular anime “Eight Man,” and it was Maetake who started the free-talk style of hosting without a script. He also became the second host of “Laoten” at the request of Danji Tachikawa. “He was also the pioneer of the “tongue-in-cheek” style of hosting, and his brash comments were tolerated because “it’s Maetake.
He was a pioneer in the “tongue-in-cheek” style of hosting. The main ones were “San-nichimae no Hamburger” (Yoichi Sugawara), “Peking Genjin” (Barb Satake), “Umiboshu” (Harumi Miyako), “Pinocchio” (Akira Fuse), and “Don-Don Whale” (Shigeru Tsukada, a broadcaster). Utsumi Miyadori’s “Kerompa” was also named by Maetake. He may be the ancestor of Hiroyuki Ariyoshi.
Unfortunately for me, all of this was before I was born, and I don’t know anything about the time when Maetake was the darling of TV.
“It was not accurate to say that he was hung out to dry for his comments.
On June 16, 1973, on the last day of the supplementary election for the Osaka constituency of the House of Councillors, Maetake went to give a speech in support of Takeko Kutsuzu, a doctor officially endorsed by the Japanese Communist Party. Author Seicho Matsumoto and composer Taku Izumi were also with him. Maetake, who was born in the navy, was probably fed up with the absurd violence of his time in the preliminary training camp, and his ideology was “anti-war” and “anti-power. He had two conversations with Kenji Miyamoto, the chairman of the Communist Party at the time, in the Mainichi Shimbun (December 12, 1969) and in the February 1970 issue of the Communist Party’s official newspaper, Zenei. The speeches in support of Maetake must have had something to do with that.
Maetake promised, “If Mr. Kutsuroku wins the election, I will say ‘Banzai’ on live TV on Monday. It was probably just lip service. He was probably just paying lip service, because the election was a tight race for one seat, with a newcomer from the LDP, a former Socialist Party candidate, and a newcomer from the Democratic Socialist Party. “It is not hard to imagine that he thought, “There is no way the Communist Party will win, so let’s liven things up. Against his will, however, Takeko Kutsudake was elected by a margin of more than 10,000 votes over the newcomer from the LDP.
As a result, Maetake is reported to have said, “Congratulations on winning the election, Kutsuze-san of the Communist Party, Banzai! However, this was not actually the case. He merely said “banzai” to Masato Sanjo, the vocalist of the band “Masayoshi Tsuruoka and Tokyo Romantica,” after he had finished his appearance on the program on June 18, 1973. It was not a problem at that time. “Maetake was hung out to dry because of his banzai comment” was not accurate.
The problem arose from a column-style article titled “Two Small Scenes from the Osaka House of Councillors Supplementary Election,” which was published in the Shukan Sankei (now defunct) the following week. The article reads as follows.
Takehiko Maeda, who had long expressed his support for the Communist Party, came to Osaka the day before voting day and gave speeches in support of Takeko Kutsuzu, a candidate for the House of Councillors, at three locations in the city. Here is a passage from his speech
“I like to watch the election bulletin. I like to watch the election bulletin, and when the candidate I support is elected, I shed tears of joy. I always say something about the election on “Yoru no Hit Studio” on Mondays. Please watch.”
This line, which sounded like a PR campaign for the program, drew a huge reaction from the audience. Maetake, now in high spirits, said at the next event, “If I win, I’ll say ‘Banzai’ on the program. Please be sure to watch it.
Nobutaka Shikanai, the president of Fuji Television at the time, was furious when he saw this, and Maetake was told to drop out of the program at the fall revision, leaving behind the highest viewer rating in the history of the singing program, 42.2%, which has yet to be broken. In fact, Maetake disappeared not only from “Yoru Hit” but from all TV programs. The horror of hearsay, you might say.
And then came the combination of Furudate and Kaga.
From then on, Yoru Hit was hosted by Shinsuke Sanba, followed by Jun Inoue and Mari Yoshimura until the end of September 1985, when the newly freelance Ishirō Furudate was chosen to host the show, and from 1988, he and actor Toshio Shiba became the dual male hosts, but the ratings gradually declined. The cause was the change of the times. The reason for this was the changing times, and the fact that singing programs themselves were no longer in tune with the times.
In the past, music played on TV was roughly divided into two categories: “songs” and “enka. These were collectively called “popular songs. Since the 1980s, however, music genres have been subdivided. Strictly speaking, genres that do not belong to either “songs” or “enka” have been on the commercial scene for a long time. These are rock, pop, and new music.
In the 1980s, the decline in viewership of “Kohaku Uta Gassen” was not unrelated to this. The ratings of long-established singing programs such as “The Best Ten,” which was regarded as a rival to “Yoru Hit,” also declined across the board. On the contrary, music programs such as “Music Station,” which abandoned enka and kyoung songs at an early stage and shifted its focus to J-POP, saw its viewership ratings soar, which can be seen as a reaction.
With the change of the year to Heisei (1989), “The Best Ten” came to an end at the end of September 1989 after 11 years of existence. Naturally, there was talk that it was time for “Yoru Hit” to go to ……, but as if defying the times, the title was changed to “Yoru no Hit Studio SUPER” and they chose to continue.
It was here that Mariko Kaga emerged as a new partner for Iichiro Furudate, replacing Toshio Shiba.
Mariko Kaga, who was once called the “Japanese Brigitte Bardot,” was 46 years old at the time. At the time, she was more in demand as a mature female talent with a tongue than as an actress. The staff of the program must have planned to blend Iichirou Kudate’s storytelling skills with her tongue, which must have put a lot of pressure on Kaga herself. Even if this is not the case, the show has a history of being popular because of Maetake’s tongue.
It is no wonder that the meaning of “going back to the basics” was still alive somewhere in the show. Incidentally, the text in the latte column on the day of the show read, “New host: Mariko Kaga, baffled by Furudate,” and it was strange that the content was foreseen in advance, even though it was a live broadcast.
However, on October 18, 1989, the first day of the renewal, the new host, Mariko Kaga, “lashed out at her guest, Kaoru Okui (now Kaoru Kishitani), the vocalist of the rock band Princess Princess, making Okui cry and enraging her. However, as a third-year high school student watching the show at the time, all I could think was, “That’s the same old Mariko Kaga.
A feud over a comment…?
According to internet posts and some online media, she said that she told the members of Pri Pri Pri that they looked “uncool”, but I don’t remember that. I don’t remember him calling Okuika a “pig” or saying, “Are you guys on your period? I don’t remember either of them at all. If they were true, they were horrible remarks, and it’s no wonder they became “a big problem that shook the entertainment industry,” but I don’t remember any of them. It may be that my senses were numb, but the next morning’s sports paper had this to say.
Mariko Kaga’s “Night Hit” Begins
Fuji TV’s “Yoru no Hit Studio Super” started on the 18th with Mariko Kaga (45) as the new host. Kaga was somewhat nervous at first, but as time went on, she started to talk about hot and spicy things. He even said to Toshihiko Tahara, “You’re so sexy,” showing the dignity of maturity.
On October 18, Fuji Television’s popular program “Yoru no Hit Studio Deluxe” changed its host from Ichiro Furudate and Toshio Shiba to Mariko Furudate and Kaga. The program was re-launched as a new one-hour singing program called “Yoru no Hit Studio SUPER. (omission) “I don’t know half of the performers when I see them,” said Kaga, but as she had studied them by listening to their CDs, her conversation with the performers was smooth. It seems that the sixth host, who has a strong sense of sisterhood, has successfully revived the “mature woman line” established by Mari Yoshimura.
There is also this article.
On October 18, “Fuji Night Hit Studio SUPER” started with Mariko Kaga as the new host, but after the program ended, the station was flooded with calls from viewers protesting Kaga’s attitude toward the show. Immediately after the start of the program, Kaga showed his “poisonous tongue” as usual, rubbing his partner Ichiro Kudate’s head and telling the program staff, “Don’t keep changing your instructions.
In other words, despite the displeasure of some viewers, it was just business as usual for Mariko Kaga. When she was asked about it later, she said, “I said what I said with the best intentions” (“Laugh and Be Nice”, May 9, 2006).
The only thing she misread was, “Well, it was awful. Unlike the young singers of the Showa era who would laugh it off and say, “Ahahaha,” the members of Pri Pri Pri would have been upset. However, late at night on the day of the broadcast, Okuika said on her regular program “Pop n Rouge” (TBS Radio), “I hate that lady. I don’t like that lady. She’s not nice.” However, on the following day, November 15, Pri Pri Pri appeared on “Yoru Hit” as if nothing had happened.
The following day, on November 15, Pri Pri Pri appeared on “Yoru Hit” as if nothing had happened. The story of that day was titled “Kaori Okui’s strong attack on Mariko Kaga: ‘Oh my God! The following is a report from a weekly magazine. It’s a long story, but I’ll quote it here.
“Mariko Kaga, the “No. 1 actress with a sharp tongue,” and Kaori Okui, the vocalist of the popular gal band Princess Princess. These two powerful women are having a “battle of the sexes” with sparks flying all over the place. What is the real reason for this happening during a live TV show? Will there be a return match?
It all started during the live broadcast of “Yoru no Hit Studio SUPER” on November 15. On that day, Seiko Matsuda made her first live appearance in a year, and the studio was more excited than ever. Before Seiko sang her new song “Precious Heart,” Okuika, the composer of the song, joined the conversation. Okui, who had gone to see the Rolling Stones perform in the U.S. a few days earlier, couldn’t resist saying, “I met Otomo-san (Kohei Otomo of Hound Dog) in New York. I met Otomo-san (Kohei Otomo of Hound Dog) in New York. No, I didn’t. “No, I didn’t,” Okui replied, “but I have to go on a date,” Kaga said. The mood in the studio turned sour for a moment.
If this was the first round, the second round was when Okui talked about this day on her radio program “Pop n Rouge” (TBS) and complained, “I’ve already had a bad experience on TV. According to some reports, “I hate Mariko Kaga. I’m not saying I won’t appear in ‘Night Hit,’ but I don’t want to see Mariko Kaga’s face! According to some reports, Okui was supposed to have lashed out at her, but the truth seems to be that her words were actually softer than that. (omission)
It seems that Kaga’s venomous tongue will never stop, but as a defense measure(!), he appeared on “Yoru Hit”. It seems that the idols who appear in “Yoru Hit” are now secretly forming a group to “support” Kaga. (omission) Aside from that, don’t worry, Pri Pri will continue to appear in “Yoru Hit” as usual. But don’t miss the third round of “tongue-in-cheek” when it happens! (Shukan Meisei, December 24, 1989)
The horror of hearsay
As sharp-eyed readers may have noticed, this was nothing but a “promo article” written by Fuji Television’s program publicity department, which asked a weekly magazine to write it. It was a measure taken because the ratings did not increase as much as expected one month after the renewal, and the TV station would never have allowed such an article to be published if there was a real problem. If there was a real problem, the TV station would never have allowed such an article to run. Even if there wasn’t, for music programs, labels and production companies, not to mention the artists, cannot be treated lightly.
There is no doubt that Okuika was upset with Mariko Kaga at the time. It may be that I was just insensitive, but it may also be true that Kaga Mariko’s tongue was too venomous. In addition, there may have been a complicated and deep-rooted relationship between the two, which I have not been able to trace, and I do not deny that at all.
However, at least at this point in time, it had not become a “major problem that shook the entertainment industry.
In the end, the popularity of the program never recovered, and on October 3, 1990, one year after its renewal, “Yoru no Hit Studio” put an end to its 22-year history. If you do an Internet search on this matter, you will find that “Kaga Mariko’s ranting was the cause of the show’s demise,” which, like the story of Maetake’s tongue twister, is not entirely accurate. I don’t mean to defend her entirely, but the show would have ended sooner or later even if Mariko Kaga had not been cast.
Once again, I feel the horror of hearsay. At the same time, I was reminded of the wise words at the beginning of this article, “It is better to do something and regret it than not to do it and regret it. Takehiko Maeda’s trivial lip service turned out to be fatal. Mariko Kaga, who tried to be faithful to her duties as required. If I were to speak for them, I would say, “There are definitely things you regret doing,” or rather, “Regret is everything.
Reporting and writing： Masashi Hosoda
Nonfiction writer, born in Okayama City in 1971. Raised in Tottori City. After working as an anchor for Samurai TV, he became a broadcast writer. Has contributed to magazines and websites while working in television and radio. Author of "Sakamoto Ryoma wa Itachi" (Saizusha) and "Why Musicians Abandon Their Kasukan-no-Wives" (East Shinsho). His most recent book, "The Man Who Made Tadashi Sawamura Fly a Vacuum" (Shinchosha), won the 43rd Yasuharu Honda Nonfiction Award from Kodansha.
Photo： Kyodo Photo