I’ve been doing radio for over three years on my personal channel, but it was embarrassing to look back at old letters. I was 26 years old when I started, so I was afraid to check the transcripts to see if they were saying the same things I am saying now.
says Magnifying Glass, 30, a member of Tokai On Air, a You Tuber based in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture. While working for the popular group, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with about 6.9 million channel subscribers, he also runs a personal channel called “Mushin Kagaku no Hoso Bu” (Mushin Kagaku’s Broadcasting Club). Every Monday and Thursday, he broadcasts a radio program in which he answers listener letters.
On June 2, a book that compiles the contents of this radio channel, “Tokai On Air’s Videos Become 6.4 Times More Fun: The Extreme Magnifying Glass’s Broadcasting Club Edition,” was published. We asked him about the behind-the-scenes production of the book and the future of Tokai On Air.
I was interviewed about the book’s production and the future of Tokai On Air. I did the words, but half of the book is based on letters from viewers. If I had said, ‘This is the one I want you to use,’ I felt that I would only choose the ones that I felt comfortable with, so I asked a third party, the editor, to make the selections for me.
The first video of “Magnifying Glass’s Broadcasting Club” was posted on September 23, 2006. Does Mr. Magnifying Glass remember his past letters?
I recall the contents when I read them back,” she said. “I found my answers to them interesting. For example, in a letter that said, ‘I broke up with my boyfriend because he drank and drove,’ I not only said, ‘Drunk driving is wrong,’ but I went as far as to say, ‘You still have the option to love your boyfriend. Now I would say something roundabout out of concern for public opinion, but I thought I was facing it right in the past.
Getting serious letters is also a difficult part of my channel. It’s not that I want to be an expert at listening to your problems. I just want to make interesting videos, so it’s fine if I read only the light-hearted letters. Even so, there are people who send me letters that say things like, ‘I’m seriously putting my life on the line.
He says he started radio as a personal channel in the first place partly out of an impure motive: “If I get mail from listeners, I don’t have to think about what to record every day. However, in the corner of his mind was “SCHOOL OF LOCK!” (TOKYO FM), which he listened to while studying in junior high and high school. (TOKYO FM), which he listened to while studying in junior high and high school. The image of “Principal Yamashige” facing his students, sometimes on the verge of tears, remained in his mind, according to Magnifying Glass.
In the book alone, we received such earnest concerns as “He was preparing to propose to me, but he has been restructured” and “I want to do something about my father who denies me what I like. How in the world did they come to receive such serious concerns from listeners?
I talk for 10 minutes about a single question, but I don’t think there are many places where you can talk that much with a third party. A friend might listen to me for an hour or two, but they are on my side, so I can’t get an objective opinion from them. Unlike radio, which is broadcast over the airwaves, there is no time limit. I wonder if people who want such advice send it to me.
Even when I answer heavy questions, I don’t think, ‘I want to make a favorable impression by saying something convenient. Sometimes I say harsh things like, ‘It’s your fault,’ or ‘Maybe you should do this. I also say harsh things like, ‘You’re wrong. However, as I have said many times on the radio, I also value the phrase, “People are human lactobacilli” (Note: If there are 10 people, there are 10 different ways of thinking). I am not a psychologist or anything, just a person in his 30s, so please don’t feel too much value of a magnifying glass. Feel free to make use of my opinion or kill it.
After more than four years of repeatedly dealing with his problems and coming up with answers, Magnifying Glass has undergone a change in himself.
He says, “I have been doing this for more than four years, and I have seen a change in myself. I feel that my ego, which says, ‘You didn’t notice this idea, did you? When I write and send a letter, I know what is bothering me, and 70 to 80% of my problems are solved. So now I try to answer only the question at the end of the letter, ‘What would you do if you were Mr. Magnifying Glass? I try to answer only the question at the end of each letter, “What would you do if you were Mr. Magnifying Glass? I think I’ve grown in that I don’t say unnecessary things anymore.
Incidentally, the key to “easy-to-read mail” is to include “My opinion is 00” in the letter. If you write not only interesting episodes but also your own thoughts, it makes it easier for Mr. Magnifying Glass to speak. We hope listeners will give it a try.
Mr. Magnifying Glass has responded to many letters. However, Mr. Mulligan himself says that he rarely worries or discusses his problems with others. When he made the decision to quit his teaching job and become a YouTube star, it was an instant decision.
Of course I didn’t want to quit my teaching job, but when I felt uncomfortable wearing two pairs of sandals, I thought, ‘Is it okay to take one off? I had a serious illness in my childhood and discord with my parents, but I was never really troubled.
But when I listened to the stories of the listeners, some of them were going through experiences that were incomparably more difficult than my own. Compared to that, my past experiences are nothing. If anything, by consulting with others, I may be having my bad memories made smaller.
Tokai On Air will also celebrate 10 years since its formation in October ’23. Is there any uncertainty as to where the group will go from here?
We have a story meeting twice a month, every two weeks, and recently we have started to adopt some of my buddy’s suggestions, but after 10 years, I am getting used to it, and I have to surpass my past self, so the bar has certainly been raised.
There may come a day in the future when each member says, “I want to live in a different country,” or “I want to make Gunpla and live a comfortable life,” and leave YouTube. Even so, I would be happy if the title “Tokai On Air” remains. However, realistically speaking, I think I will still continue to work on YouTube. I can’t imagine when the day will come when it will stop being fun. I’d like to quit, for example, ‘The Journey Home Immediately After Sleeping,’ because it’s painful (laughs).
In April 2011, Mr. Mushinokabe himself announced his marriage and experienced a major change in his life.
I feel like I have more things to do now that I am married, such as having children and building a house. First of all, I would like to make my home a good place to live after watching other members build their homes.
I believe that I will learn a lot about family from now on. I myself have had a bad relationship with my parents, so there is a part of me that does not know the warmth of family. On the other hand, my wife’s family is very close, and they accept me as part of their family.
As mentioned several times on the radio, Mr. Magnifying Glass has made it a theme of his life to “experience more things than others and die. Where did this idea come from?
He says, “To put it bluntly, I almost died once when I was in the sixth grade from an illness, so my life is an extension of that time when I felt like, ‘I didn’t die, I didn’t die. If they told me tomorrow that I had a relapse and couldn’t leave the hospital, I would have said, ‘No way? Why?” I would not say, ‘No way! I am sure they would say, ‘I knew it.
Because I have experienced more realistically than other people that you never know when you are going to die, I think I have a slightly stronger feeling than others that it is too late to have regrets at the time of death. So I would like to move forward, eat what I want to eat, do various things while I am still healthy, and spend as much time as possible having fun.
Publishing a book may be one of those things that no one else can experience. With the release of “Tokai On Air’s Videos Become 6.4 Times More Fun: The Extreme Magnifying Glass Broadcasting Club Edition,” the “Tokai On Air Videos Become 6.4 Times More Fun” series has now sold a total of 160,000 copies, making it the fifth book in the series.
We hope that all members of the club, as well as those who love Tokai On Air, will pick up a copy and see what kind of answers Mr. Magnifying Glass gives to the 51 letters. And now I would like you to send your own problems to Mr. Magnifying Glass. It might just make your life a little easier.
PHOTO： Shinji Hamasaki