bombing of North Vietnam, the show preempted its regular programming to broadcast a special report, scooping the straight media. In 1972 Eleven EM. even won a Galaxy Award--the Japanese Emmy--for its exploration of such topics as sex education and Japan-Korea relations--then both taboo on mainstream Japanese TV.
But as the show entered its second decade and Japan was swept up in the 1980s economic boom, viewers began to tire of the program's vicarious pleasures. Flush with cash in the palmy days of the bubble economy, less inhibited by traditional mores than their fathers and older brothers, younger salarymen began to take overseas trips and attend the live sex shows in Amsterdam themselves. Instead of seeming racily advanced and daringly underground, the show now was, if not passé, nothing special. And those searching for on-screen sexual kicks could find more thrilling ones in the neighborhood video rental racks than the show could ever hope to offer.
As the news race heated up among the commercial nets in the late 1980s (see NEWS STATION), NTV began pushing the show's time slot back to make room for its evening news program. In its last days, Eleven P.M. was going on the air at 11:45 P.M.--too late for all but the most dedicated fans or hard-core night owls. Finally, in 1990, the show was canceled.
Late-night TV lived on, but with a difference. By the mid-1990s, a popular figure on an Eleven P.M. successor was Ai Ijima, a red- headed former porno actress who spoke her mind about topical issues and dissed her male colleagues with raunchy talk. The days when the biggest thrill on TV was ogling miniskirted girls on the streets of the Ginza were like a dimly remembered dream.
In the days before Hideo Nomo, a polling organization asked Americans to name as many famous Japanese as they could. The list was short, headed by Bruce Lee, Hirohito, and Godzilla. Unfortunately, two of the top three were not Japanese. The Emperor doubtless qualifies, though he does not carry a Japanese passport, vote in national elections, or possess that ultimate proof of Japanese citizenship, a family register. Kung Fu action star Bruce Lee was from Hong Kong. Finally, Godzilla may have often visited (and visited destruction on) Japan, but was born off the Bikini Atoll, in the wake of a U.S. hydrogen bomb test.
In the decades since his debut in the 1954 Gojira ( Godzilla), the big guy has come to stand as a symbol of. (1) campy, cheesy monster movies, and (2) mindless destruc
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Publication information: Book title: The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture. Contributors: Mark Schilling - Author. Publisher: Weatherhill. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 57.
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