Insights from Former TBS Host Yuko Aoki on Nurturing Imagination and Embracing Life’s Lessons | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Insights from Former TBS Host Yuko Aoki on Nurturing Imagination and Embracing Life’s Lessons

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Ms. Aoki, a mother of two

“Mom always says that even if you fail, it’s important to try again!”


Former TBS announcer Yuko Aoki (41), who had hesitated to attend a piano recital held in late March, was encouraged by her sons’ words. Despite feeling embarrassed, she decided to challenge herself by participating in the recital, where she performed the classic song “Wish Upon a Star.” Reflecting on the experience, Aoki says:


“I learned from my sons. Indeed, I’ve always emphasized the importance of experiencing new things. As a mother, I couldn’t hesitate. I participated in the piano recital through the connection of my sons attending the classroom. I wasn’t skilled enough to perform for others.”

Aoki, who has sons aged 10 and 8, values “experiences” in parenting. From clam digging to fruit picking, and firefly watching. She strives to provide her sons with seasonal experiences according to the time of year.

Aoki has compiled her parenting essays, which were serialized on the lifestyle magazine website “FRAU,” into a book titled “Child-Rearing Almanac from Age 3” (Kodansha), released on April 19th. Despite humbly claiming she is not an exceptional mother, Aoki shares parenting episodes involving failures, reflections, and concrete examples of experiences she has practiced with her children throughout the year, hoping they will find it interesting.

Humans and plants are the same.

Harvesting rice with her children. Being in contact with nature is also a valuable experience (courtesy of Ms. Aoki).

“I always had a vague understanding that ‘experiences are important.’ But I didn’t know what to do about it. I thought we had to do something special, like climbing Mt. Takao (Hachioji City, Tokyo) because everyone else was doing it, or seeing beautiful scenery on a trip abroad.

As I began to think about elementary school entrance exams and heard discussions from tutors, I had a revelation. Even simple things we can do at home can become valuable learning experiences depending on how we approach them. I realized that by changing our approach, we could increase enjoyment.”

One of the experiences Aoki practiced with her sons was gardening.

“We grew mini tomatoes and corn on our balcony and rented plots. Of course, they didn’t just grow on their own after planting. We had to water them and weed them, which was hard work. Sometimes, our corn was eaten by birds, and we had to deal with a lot of aphids.

But I think my children learned that plants, like humans, don’t grow easily, and things don’t always go as planned. They could feel the colors and shapes of flowers and stems. The joy of harvesting after hard work is truly special. My children were proud of the vegetables they grew themselves.”

Analog work is also instructive.

For example, in the summer, we write summer greeting cards to our school teachers and friends. In this age of digital communication, where we can easily get in touch with people via e-mail or LINE, just writing the name of the person to whom the postcard is addressed must be a difficult task. On the other hand, I think it is very meaningful to think about what kind of picture you should draw on the postcard to make the recipient happy and what kind of words you should use to convey your feelings. It may not be efficient, but I think that by taking the time and effort, we can better consider the recipients of our letters.

Experiential learning can also be done around the home. For example, by observing the fruit and seafood sections of a supermarket, one can learn what is in season, and by going to a library, one can learn that one must read quietly and return books to their original place.

Tamao Akae’s~.

Festivals give a sense of the season (courtesy of Ms. Aoki).

It’s important to stimulate children’s interests and curiosity.


“When the coronavirus began to spread, the use of private cars increased instead of public transportation. We used to play TBS Radio in the car. Then, my younger son, who was in kindergarten, started mimicking the radio announcer saying ‘Akae Tamao’s ~.’ Thinking if he’s going to imitate something, it might as well be something worthwhile, we started playing rakugo. Initially, it was CDs, then we played children’s rakugo DVDs.


My son became completely hooked. After studying, he started going to storytelling events, and his reward for doing well was a folding fan to imitate a rakugo performer. In rakugo, the storyteller plays multiple roles on stage, which is perfect for developing imagination.”


Fortunately, my husband, Hironori Yabe of ‘Ninety-Nine,’ understands Aoki’s educational approach and supports it. Still, Aoki sometimes realizes she’s focused on results, reflecting on her words and actions while continuing to raise her children. She hopes to share her struggles with other mothers who are earnestly raising their children.




Yuko Aoki, born on January 7, 1983. After graduating from Keio University in March 2005, she joined TBS as an announcer. She worked on various programs such as “Sunday Japan” and “NEWS23X,” covering variety, news, sports, and more, attracting attention with her lively personality. She left TBS at the end of December 2012. She is currently active as a freelance announcer, expanding her career into modeling, narration, and other fields.

Ms. Aoki is also active as a model.
The important thing in raising children is “Don’t forget to have fun!”
Style unchanged from her days as a female TV announcer
Valuing children’s interests and concerns
Despite many hardships and failures, “I love spending time with my children”
Be careful not to overdo it. Ms. Aoki once injured her ligaments while skiing in an over-zealous manner
  • PHOTO Sono Aida

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