Former Fuji Announcer Ako Nagao’s Remarks Draw Sharp Criticism, Raising Questions About Treatment of Female Announcers | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Former Fuji Announcer Ako Nagao’s Remarks Draw Sharp Criticism, Raising Questions About Treatment of Female Announcers

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In June ’22, after the sudden announcement of the transfer, Ako Nagao, an analyst, responded to a direct interview with this magazine with a smile.

In the case involving interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, the mood around Los Angeles Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani player shifted dramatically. However, weekly magazines are still dominated by articles related to Ohtani’s wife and former basketball player, Mami Tanaka.

“Good personality and cooking skills seem to stand out in the content. Many fans express sentiments like, ‘It’s really good that Ohtani married Mami before all this happened, and she became his support after Mizuhara’s incident,’.” (Sports newspaper reporter)

Regarding Ohtani’s marriage, opinions like “It’s good that he didn’t marry a female announcer or idol” are also seen on social media.

“In 2017, Weekly Bunshun (December 14th issue) reported that Ohtani’s parents said they would not let him marry a female announcer or actress. In reality, there were several female announcers who actively pursued Ohtani, and among them, there were female announcers at broadcasters in the Tokai region who posted suggestive comments related to Ohtani (bitter smile).” (Same reporter)

In this context, former Fuji TV announcer and current freelance narrator-announcer Ako Nagao’s post on X (formerly Twitter) on March 18th has become a topic of discussion.

“I won’t say what the topic is, but lately I often see posts like ‘It’s admirable not to go for female announcers’ or ‘If the partner is a female announcer, they won’t be celebrated’ Are female announcers really that bad?”

The posts are talking about the following.

Nagao joined Fuji Television in 2016. She had a background of ranking fourth nationwide during her high school years in Nagasaki Prefecture’s broadcasting club, and she was also renowned for her announcing skills.

“Among her female announcer peers were Yui Suzuki and Reimi Tsutsumi, both leaving a relatively subdued impression. Among them, Nagao stood out relatively due to reasons like being considered naturally charming or not fitting the typical female announcer image, according to fans.” (Fuji Television staff member)

In 2018, a unit called Odaiba Wangan Musume 2018 consisting of 18 female announcers from Fuji TV was formed, and Nagao, with her natural singing ability, was entrusted with the role of main vocalist. On Halloween, she appeared with serious makeup resembling the popular character Krillin from Dragon Ball on her own SNS, receiving high praise on the internet for her cute appearance and warm atmosphere.

However, despite her successful career as an announcer, on July 1, 2022, she was transferred from the announcer’s department to the public relations department. Regarding the reason for this, Weekly Shincho reported in September 2022, ‘She had difficulty with mornings and was frequently late when she appeared regularly on ‘Mezamashi TV’ as a reporter. Then, just half a year later, on October 1, 2022, she left Fuji Television.

“It’s now common for female announcers to become freelancers when transferred to other departments. Other examples include Moe Hisada, who also left the company and joined Yoshimoto Kogyo, and Akiko Kuji, who married NBA player Yuta Watanabe. However, due to the negative publicity surrounding Nagao’s reported reason for transfer, she received few job offers even after becoming a freelancer, and her notable achievements seemed limited.” (TV magazine writer)


Regarding the recent remarks made by Nagaoo, a certain executive at Fuji TV expressed, 

“As a fundamental principle, female announcers do not like the term female announcer. So, I felt quite uncomfortable with Nagao’s remarks attempting to defend the term. Certainly, in the past, there was a tendency for female announcers to marry athletes. However, today’s television announcers are not necessarily considered extremely popular professionals. I think they have changed considerably from the female announcers of the past. I always thought Nagao had a non-typical female announcer vibe, so I was surprised that she reacted to such comments on social media.”

Furthermore, they added, 

“If she had confidence that she was different from the image the public has of female announcers, then there was no need for her to make those remarks. The fact that she chose to speak out suggests that ultimately, she was aiming to fit the image of a female announcer during her time as an announcer.”

Nagao clarified her stance in response to the controversy, stating, 

“I’m sorry about everything. I didn’t want to be defended, I just wanted to say, if they love each other, then congratulations to anyone.”

In August 2021, this magazine reported a photo of Ako Nagao and her handsome boyfriend.
In August 2021, this magazine reported a photo of Ako Nagao and her handsome boyfriend.
  • PHOTO Takahiro Kagawa (1st), Ichiro Takatsuka (2nd, 3rd)

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