At 3:30pm an upbeat jingle of ♪♪Tera-chan, Tera-chan♪ flows over the airwaves from Nippon Cultural Broadcasting (AM1134). It is the start of Yuyake Tera-chan Katsudo-chuu (Tera-chan in the Evening-At Work (Mon-Fri, 3:30pm -5:50pm), the information program of main personality and veteran announcer Naomasa Terashima (54). Terashima, who presents the latest news in an easy to follow manner, is a graduate from Chuo University’s Faculty of Commerce. He entered university with hopes of becoming a licensed tax accountant, not a media person…
At Chuo University, Terashima belonged to the Accountancy Society, a group which supports qualification acquisition, and studied with his fellow members in order to become licensed tax accountants or certified public accountants. Around this time he passed level 2 bookkeeping. If he continued this way he would become a tax and accounting professional. “But something wasn’t right. It had something to do with the superior ability of the other students.” Did he feel out of place? His attention was turned elsewhere.
“I had erythrophobia. In order to deal with it, I decided to enter broadcasting school.”
It may sound unbelievable to people who only know his light, free and witty way of talking, but talking to others was his weak point. Terashima started going to broadcasting school in the autumn of his third year at university and studied for a year. He paid for the lessons by working part time.
The students consisted of 28 females compared to just two males. It was a sign of the times that announcers were females. Lessons started with vocal exercises and continued until you could speak smoothly and clearly. “You are gradually improving,” he was praised by his teacher one day. Whether the other students wanted to do something else or because the number of students was dropping, “I thought I would only study the number of lessons I had paid for.”
The results of his continued studies could be seen in his teaching practice. He taught social studies at his alma-mater Kosei High school in Tokyo (boys’ school). At the end of his training, he gave a questionnaire to 40 students. “How were my lessons?”
“You should become an announcer.” “You were steady, like an announcer.” “You spoke clearly. Your way of speaking ‘Konnichiwa’ was easy to understand.”
A new path had opened up. “An inferiority complex breeds a sense of fulfillment. The joy I feel when something goes well is more than double that of other people. Weak points aren’t necessarily bad, they give me energy. I thought I could become an announcer through my teaching practice.” He had moved away from his original aspiration of becoming a licensed tax accountant.
Extracting true feelings at on first meetings
Terashima became an announcer and began doing street interviews called outside work. To get people you meet for the first time to understand radio broadcasting and have them speak out was extremely hard work. “They would put up a barrier.” In overcoming this he relates, “You work on that person’s positive aspects. If they have a figure that reminds you of celebrity Matsuko Deluxe, you can’t say they are slim. Saying that they look healthy is appropriate for the radio, and you get a different reaction.” Terashima continued outside work for more than 20 years.
Even when changing to broadcasting from the studio, his one-on-one relationship with the listeners doesn’t change. “I make sure I say ‘listeners out there’, or ‘you out there listening’”. The listeners will think, “Was he just talking about me?”
Being close to the listeners, here is where the existence of radio lies.
You provide the information, the listeners pass judgment
News commentators from a wide range of fields appear on one of his current programmes, Yuyake Tera-chan Katsudo-chuu.
Yasumi Iwakami (Mondays, journalist), Takashi Kadokura (Tuesdays, economist), Hirokatsu Kinoshita (Tuesdays, doctor and husband of current female professional wrestler, Jaguar Yokota), Hiroko Ogiwara (Thursdays, economic journalist), Naoki Ogi (Fridays, education critic), and Takaaki Mitsuhashi (Fridays, economic critic).
He drew a professional opinion from Hosei University professor Ogi, affectionately known as “Ogi-mama” with his particular manner of speaking, on the suicide of a male junior high school student in Otsu. Later, he was commissioned by Otsu City as a member of a third-party committee made up of outside experts and set up by the city to investigate the facts of the incident.
Terashima, while respecting the specialized nature of a commentator’s work, aims to express himself in a manner that the listeners can easily follow. “There is a lot of information in the world. I present that and also give my own opinion on the program. Which one to choose to believe is up to the listener. I present both the information and my own opinion to give the listener some information for making a decision.”
“I also want to say this to Chuo University students. Listen to people’s opinions. Learn the way various people think. Question whether what happened at that time was true or not. I want you to have critical skills. Don’t make simplistic decisions.”
Continuing fixed point observation research on a daily basis
Terashima is busy every day. He uses the time before and after his live broadcasts to gather news. Recently he has been observing Tokyo Sky Tree (Sumida Ward, Tokyo) from a fixed point. What he learnt from this research is that there is rubbish disposal problem in the surrounding area. There is also an issue of abandoned bicycles. Tourists who bring profit to the area also bring negative elements. Terashima’s reporting didn’t just end as coverage on the opening of Sky Tree. His perseverance in continuing his devoted reporting has earned praise from the listeners.
In addition to gathering information and news, by continuously reading the works of invited new commentators or guests who change every day, and checking homepages and blogs, time seems to fly by in a flash.
“There is no such thing as an easy job. The more you envy other work, the tougher it is. What is important is pleasing the listeners. I will continue to provide them with valuable information. I found this out after becoming a professional. Saying you are busy is an excuse.”
Terashima has also saddled himself with another burden. He is trying to get qualifications as a financial planner (FP). In July he passed the 3rd grade Certified Skilled Worker of Financial Planning Examination. His partner on his Tuesday program, Moe Fukuda (former Miss Yokohama National University, Twitter idol) attempting and passing 2nd grade Certified Skilled Worker of Financial Planning Examination at the same time seems to have stimulated him.
“An old guy of 54 is taking up the challenge. Some people urge me on, and it is ok if they laugh when I fail.”
Although he drifted away from becoming a licensed tax accountant, is there a kind of fate here in his gaining FP qualifications? He is a mid-fifties challenger. His next aim is 2nd grade of the examination. With that attitude to life, it is no wonder the title of his program is Tera-chan in the Evening-At Work.
Offered by: Hakumon CHUO Autumn 2012 Edition No. 228
Born in Tokyo. Graduated from the Faculty of Commerce, Chuo University. Affectionately known as “Tera-chan.” Currently working as full-time chief announcer for Nippon Cultural Broadcasting Programming Department Production Unit. Main programs include Yuyake Tera-chan Katsudo-chuu(Mon-Fri 15:30-18:30) and Hama Mie no Itsuka Anata To (Someday With Mie Hama) (Sun 10:30-11:00). He is part of a comedic duo in Naikai Bunka/QR No Genkin 5Manen Iri No Handobaggu (Inland Sea Culture/A Handbag With 50,000 yen of QR Cash) (Internet Radio, BBQR, Podcast QR), and is said to have two faces as an announcer and comedian.