This week, a typhoon hit Japan. It snapped telephone poles in half. It overturned trucks. It killed people.
Footage of the storm in action showed just how powerful it was. Yet, when Japanese news station TV Asahi did its report on the typhoon, it also didn't hesitate from showing a close-up of a woman's skirt being blown by a gust of wind, revealing her panties.
Whenever it's windy and raining, Japanese news stations send out photographers to capture footage of how the weather is impacting the cities and towns. Yet, so much of the footage features young women—whether that is office workers, college students, or schoolgirls—as they try to navigate the weather. And often, they're either being pounded with rain or having their skirts flipped up by the wind.
Japan has rather strict laws about privacy. It's because of these laws that some websites blur out people's faces even when they take photos of public places, such as a street. Sometimes, the TV media will even blur out buildings that surround crime scenes.
But even against that backdrop, the Japanese mass media does not seem to blink about broadcasting accidental panty shots as regular folks walk down public streets, their faces unblurred. "Why does the mass media always film office ladies and schoolgirls?" asked one commenter on Japanese bulletin board 2ch. Well, probably because if they film them long enough, they'll get a glimpse of something.
Filming underage girls' underwear will get you arrested, but apparently if you work for network news, it's totally fine to put that footage on nationwide television. How troubling.
The weather women are often sent out in storms to get drenched or, as the top photo shows, have their skirts blown. In the above gallery, you can see a female weather caster looking directing at the camera and battling the wind with her skirt. Male weather reports also get soaked to the bone in an effort to show how horrible the weather is, but it's nothing like this. The other photos in the above image apparently depict regular folks, who are probably unaware they are being filmed.
There's a long history of attractive "weather girl" types in Japan (and elsewhere, for that matter). A Japanese flick, Weather Woman (above), and its ensuing anime, Weather Report Girl, played off this stereotype. The movie was a surprise hit in Japan during the mid-1990s. It even spun off a television series for Asahi TV.
It's not always like this. During last year's tsunami, this sort of exploitative coverage did not appear. But that's exactly what this is—exploitive. If a woman wants to flash her panties to the entire world, more power to her. If she doesn't want to, likewise, more power to her. But when she's just walking down the street and someone films her? This isn't reporting the weather. It's something else entirely.