Saturday, 29 October 2011

Paying the national broadcaster, the NHK man.

Dear mister NHK man,

I explain to you in the politest, genial manner, using my best Japanese, that I will NOT right here and right now give you my flipping personal details and bank account number until I show your "YOU-MUST-SIGN-NOW" forms to my supervisor and colleagues who can advise me on the safety of giving said information. I am new and I wish to take my time to fill out and send this information to an address that you refuse to give me after asking 5 times. Oh what's that? After going around in circles for 25 flipping minutes, you DO have an address and an alternate form that I can send out after all? I don't have to surrender my personal information here and now as you were pushing so very hard for?? Thanks a lot for wasting my breath and confirming to me that, had you not been so stubborn and ignorant, we could have concluded our interchange in exactly a tenth of the time.

/rant over

Moral of the story: sometimes you'll find yourself in a sucky situation in Japan (Disclaimer: yeah, like anywhere else in the world). You will come across bullying tactics if you live here, but I reckon it best that you trust your instincts. You should not feel obliged to give your bank details out at your door to an unannounced man. After all, how can you expect a newbie to the country to judge the authenticity of IDs and documents?
SIDE NOTES - Was he for real do you think?

- I pressed him for a "send to" address five times and he understood what I wanted but kept saying that I had better register now, and continued to remind me that it was the law to pay. Furthermore, and though he didn't exactly say as much, his manner strongly suggested that something bad was going to happen if we didn't settle this now.

- He asked when I moved in and I told him "in August." He said, if I register my details now, that I would not have to pay for August and September. Hurry up and give me your details now, otherwise you'll be out 2700 yen.

Now, I will admit that I am pretty sure he was a true representative, though, the manner of the representative and the method of registering right there and then is crazy I must tell you Mr. NHK policy writer person. If it is your strategy to make the collectors be stubborn and bully residents of Japan into providing information (most particularly bank account or credit card info) in a snap, then you can shelve and file it alphabetically my good man.
Comments appreciated.


  1. It happened the same to me... I was actually leaving my apartment going to Tokyo, opened my door with my bag in my hand and I found a man standing in my door who asks me: do you have a TV and I, confused, answer: yes? And right there he takes out a form and says: then you have to pay. And here I am, paying NHK after 3 years of not even watching it... it's very annoying...

  2. I suppose it is kind of sucky to have to pay if you don't watch NHK.

    Personally, I would like to watch more of it to further my listening comprehension and learn more about Japan so I don't mind paying.

    The things that I am irate at are the bullying, the blatant delay in supplying an alternate option of registering and not telling me that there were other payment methods available that did not require giving credit card or bank account info.

    In the end, his stubbornness was bested, lol.

  3. The NHK collectors are notorious in Japan. And don't worry, they accost everyone with the same ferocity, not just newbies ;)

    It might be useful to know that although you are legally required to pay for NHK if you own a TV, there seem to be no consequences for not doing so (other than the hound-dogging tactics employed by NHK employees).

  4. I lived in Japan for 16 years and never paid , originally we just told them we didn't have a TV , then we had one so big it was the first thing they saw when we opened the door, We just told them it didn't work, then when it was on we told them we didn't understand the TV and didn't watch it. Once my younger brother paid it while I was away and they returned the next month eagerly expecting more money, I told them not only was I not paying it again , but that I wanted them to refund my younger brother's money as he was a tourist and so they never came back.