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Taking Risks
Maiko Sasakawa
JapanGALLERYCONVERSATION
I had just graduated from college, where I had studied economics, and had never thought of working in the media industry until...
In Japan, the networks usually want an anchor to be an all around player and to be exposed to different kind of viewers which means that you get moved around different programs. As for me, I did morning shows, baseball news, variety shows, as well as news shows. I even did skits with comedians on the variety shows. There was one show in particular that was similar to Saturday Night Live where they have a regular cast and then bring on guests.
When I was first appointed to cover baseball news I knew nothing about baseball; I didn’t know the rules and I didn’t really know the game. Baseball is one of the most popular sports in Japan so when they gave me a rule book I started going to the baseball fields, watching the players and trying to learn the game.
Being in the spotlight as a TV presenter, I sometimes felt constrained from enjoying a private life. In Japan, a woman’s role is still regarded conservatively. As a woman anchor I had to deal with viewers’ expectations that I be a “pure good woman” who would likely to become a good mother and a good wife. I couldn’t imagine going to a nightclub at that time, because I was afraid that kind of demeanor would lead to the type of bad image which I am sure my company would have not liked.
While being a TV anchor was a lot of fun – every day I met different people who were specialists in their own fields, and that was very stimulating – I felt I was deprived of any focus and felt this was not a career I could build upon. Being in the media industry as a young TV anchor was more about popularity than about being an expert in a certain field, and that wasn’t fulfilling for me any longer. I wanted to find my own focus, to find something I was good at, very good at.
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