Earlier this summer I was approached by a producer for NHK’s main morning news show, Ohayo Nippon. They were planning to run a report on some off-the-beaten-track locations that represented Japan’s craftsmanship / attention to detail in manufacturing.
These locations also happened to be open to the public (bookable in advance), so were also pitched as unusual tourist attractions.
The producer knew of me from another NHK program broadcast many years ago, and liked the idea of combining my running art (and running hat) with this ‘discovery’ of Omiya attractions.
The shoot took place over the course of three days: Day 1 we visited the JR Omiya Engineering plant, where they dismantle trains from across the Kanto region, replace old parts and rebuild them. I can honestly say that it was fascinating to see behind the scenes, and learn of the attention to detail in all aspects of their work. This ranged from high-tech train carriage simulator used to test air conditioning units, to ‘Hayabusa-kun’ the machine capable of applying 150 tonnes of force to the axel / wheel sections to replace work wheels.
On Day two we visited an amazing family-run mask factory, Japan’s oldest and indeed only high-quality mask manufacturer. The attention to detail here again was astounding. Whilst we were there we saw them pouring moulds for Donald Trump masks, spray painting sumo wrestlers and hand-painting Darth Maul.
On day three I ran the remainder of my running art course that spanned the whole area, drawing out the kanji ‘技’ (waza) meaning ‘craftsmanship’.
The final report of course was reduced to about 7 minutes! Still, with it being broadcast just before the morning drama on NHK’s main channel, we were able to reach a big audience.
Thanks to all the crew and staff for a memorable shoot!