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NHK is Japan's leading broadcast television network, with programs ranging from news, sports, emergency broadcasts, anime and children's educational programs, several featuring puppets influenced by the Muppet style of puppetry.
Sesame Street has been one of the network's most successful children's programs, and one of the first to be imported from overseas. Sesame Street first debuted in 1971, but was taken off the network in the early 1980s, but resumed in 1988, until the end of March in 2004, when production on a local adaptation was announced, which NHK refused to be involved in. While Sesame Street is primarily designed for preschool children, teenagers and adults watched the program as a guide to learning English (though much later on, a dubbed version was also available).
Big Bird in Japan was produced in association with the broadcaster.
NHK Episode Guides
When the American Sesame Street aired on NHK, the channel produced episode guides for educational use. Some episode guide pages on this wiki use information from these NHK guides.
In the early 1970s, the guides covered parts of every episode. They included transcripts and Japanese translations of selected scenes. By the late 1980s, the NHK guides changed format. They skipped over many episodes, but they had complete transcripts, Japanese translations, and screen shots for every scene in the episode.
In these later years, although the NHK broadcasts were largely the same as the U.S. airings, NHK replaced Spanish language segments with other segments that were in English. The Sesame Street Episode Guides on this wiki created from the NHK guides reflect the Japanese airings and therefore may lack Spanish language segments originally in the episodes, and may include NHK's replacement segments which were not originally aired in the episode.
The 1980s issues also include cartoon versions of scenes from the episodes, coloring pages, and local "Sesame Club" fan letters, news, and photos. The issues covering season 20 also include interviews and biographical sketches (in Japanese) of people who worked on Sesame Street.
Segments and Closings
In the early 1980s, an original closing credit sequence ended each episode. The first one points out of a companion book/guide that is available, along with a mailing address and pricing options, followed by a cast list. These credits also depicted illustrations of the Muppets, some holding numbers and letters, and was accompanied by the theme (one from the Original Cast album, though it cuts off to the last few notes of the closing harmonica solo). Characters seen include: The Count, Sherlock Hemlock, Professor Hastings, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert, Kermit the Frog, Grover, Roosevelt Franklin, Herry Monster, The Amazing Mumford, and an Anything Muppet old woman. The entire sequence ends with a shot illustration of Cookie, Ernie, Bert and Grover poking out of a curtain with the Sesame Street sign (and its Japanese translation above) and the NHK logo. (This illustration was also used at the end of 1976-1977 episodes of "Sesamstraat" with the Sesamstraat sign and the BRT and NOS logos.)
At some point in the 1990s, each episode ended with a segment entitled "Sunny Day Club", which began with a still illustration of Elmo and Grover walking in the park, and Elmo's voiceover introducing the segment. These segments, accompanied by a female voiceover, showcased original artwork sent in by viewers, with Sesame music playing in the background, including Honk Around the Clock and The Happiest Street in the World). Also included were brief clips of sketches and episodes. The segment ends with a shot illustration of several characters (varied from time to time) with the words "The End".