Imagine turning on your TV to see a panel of well know celebrities trying to understand earthquake faults, measurements, probabilities, and tsunami risks. You won’t see this in the US, but it was broadcast on Japanese KHB TV in September 2014.
While staying overnight in Ishinomaki, Japan and during the making of the “Oregon Unprepared,” I woke up to a moderate earthquake. I quickly turned on the TV seeking an announcement and instead marveled at this show’s colorful use of graphics, voice over, and the interchange between the celebrity guests and their host. But, I was mostly impressed at how this show exemplifies what we don’t do well in American TV on earthquake issues — talk about basic science without relying on sensational dramatizations or re-enactments that exploit an audience’s emotional reaction.
This is a short 8-minute clip that I captured with my iPhone because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I knew that at some later date, I would share this gem of Japanese culture to US audiences. You will need to increase the volume if you wish to listen to the original Japanese audio.
For Oregon and the Pacific NW, I hope this post can help challenge science educators, and especially the broadcast media, to try new creative ways to engage their audiences about seismic issues and the actions we need to take.
Many thank to Nobué Kaité, with japanbridgetranslation.com, who translated the Japanese narration and graphics to English, and to Andy Hare, at Portland State University, who edited the English subtitles. Funding support was provided by the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC).