NHK’s New Ace “Harp Announcer” Following Kuwako & Wakuda Announcers | FRIDAY DIGITAL

NHK’s New Ace “Harp Announcer” Following Kuwako & Wakuda Announcers

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NHK’s ace announcers Wakuda (left) and Kuwako

Health information program “Tameshite Gatten” (renewed in 2016, then “Gatten!) NHK is in the midst of a drastic reorganization of its programming, with the end of the 27-year history of the NHK TV program, “The Last of the NHK TV Programs,” and the announcement of its new anchor for FY2022 also drew public attention.

The first of these is the departure of Mayuko Wakuda, 33, from “News Watch 9.

She has been the ace anchor of “Watch 9” since 2020. She also hosted last year’s Kohaku Uta Gassen along with actor Yo Oizumi (48) and actress Haruna Kawaguchi (26). The station said at the press conference that she would be asked to do special features and narrations, but the sudden departure of an ace announcer left a sense of discomfort,” said a desk reporter for a sports newspaper.

Watch 9 itself will be replaced in April by Minoru Aoi, 41, and Izumi Yamauchi, who will be joined by Masayoshi Tanaka, 54.

Tanaka, a former news reporter who took over from Yoshio Arima at the end of March last year, still has a stiff image, and viewer ratings have not been good. Even though the duties of the announcer and anchor are different, many people say, ‘If anyone should be replaced, it should be Mr. Tanaka.

The revision also announced the launch of “Saturday Watch 9” (8:55 p.m.), the first time NHK has developed a major news program on Saturday nights.

In fact, the idea of appointing Wakuda to ‘Saturday Watch 9’ has been under serious consideration. Chairman Akinobu Maeda (former chairman of Mizuho Financial Group), who has been promoting reforms that are not bound by precedent, had high hopes for the program, but it never came to fruition.

Many people inside and outside the station sensed that she might have had some private happy occasion, but it seems that Wakuda did not want her to be involved in such matters, so she was dropped as an ace without any particular reason being given.

The new anchor for “Saturday Watch 9” is Nonoka Akagi, 31.

The station seems to have a desire to develop her into a new ace. It is said that this is also the idea of the top management, who have discovered the thoughts of Chairman Maeda. Both of her parents graduated from a music college, and she was trained as a gifted harpist. She is a graduate of Okayama Joto High School and Keio University, and her good looks and upbringing are also likely to appeal to viewers.

On the other hand, Maho Kuwako, 34, another ace TV announcer along with Wakuda, will move from “Ohayo Nippon” to “Close-Up Today. Kurogen, which had started at 10 p.m. as “Close-Up Gendai +,” will revert to its original title, which began in 1993, and start at 7:30 p.m. It is a return to its roots, so to speak.

Kuwako was surprised that she was appointed solely to this position, but she also felt that since her current program requires her to arrive at the station early in the morning and she had been doing so for two years, she felt it was time for a different time-shift. It seems that she and her husband, actor Yukiyoshi Ozawa, were living at cross purposes.

Immediately after her marriage to Ozawa, there was talk of her going freelance, but that does not appear to be the case for the time being.

The Ozawa family is a wealthy family, so I don’t think she will go freelance, at least not in order to increase her salary. It seems that they have told Ozawa that they will work at their own pace.

NHK dominates the commercial broadcasters in terms of the depth of female announcers. This situation is likely to continue for some time.

  • Photo Keisuke Nishi

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