At first glance, American reality televisions looked so weird for me, since I thought there is not such a programme in my home country. But when I googled it after class, soon I found it is not the case. There exist some fairly similar reality programmes in Japan, and moreover, to my surprise, I have watched one of those shows quite recently and enjoyed it to the full.
A clip from “Ainori 2” ~Cambodia~
A popular reality television programme, “Ainori(あいのり)” which means ‘together ride’ and ‘love ride’, was broadcasted from 1999 to 2009, recording relatively high rates. In the show, 7 single, young people get on the pink minibus, called ‘love wagon’, and travel around the world. Their goal is to find love with another participant and return to Japan as a couple. Once a participant determines to become a couple with another participant, he/she declares love to the person with two flight ticket bound for Japan. After one night’s consideration he/she has to answer in either accepting the love with a kiss as a token of love and becoming a couple, or returning a ticket and the jilted participant going back to the country alone. After the incident above, the pink minibus adds to a new participant to keep the total number of member 7.
Why does this become so popular? Obviously the viewers enjoy watching the participants’ romance with a lot of curiosity. And this show clearly reflected people’s desire at the time. In the decade of 1999-2009, Japan was in the midst of a long-term economic depression and people were a bit fed up with their hopeless everyday life. They watched the programme with enthusiasm because this reality television satisfies their longing for unusual life and leisure abroad which is full of fun and romance. In addition this show coincided with a sharp rise of people’s desire to travel foreign countries. Probably it can be said this encourage Japanese people to enjoy their romance. As I have noted in the previous post, the young people today are not very aggressive. The thing is “Ainori” also aims at these young people who want to have a partner but hesitate to start the relationship, satisfying their potential desire. All in all, “Ainori” was very successful because it is well designed to reflect people’s desire, thus it affected the viewers in various ways.