In Japan, the number of HIV tests and the requests for
HIV/AIDS counselling more than doubled between July and September, 1998, thanks
largely to a popular melodramatic television series, Kamisama Mo
Sukoshidake (Please God, Just a Little More Time), which
told the story of a high-school girl who is infected by HIV while she engages in
commercial sex work. This highly popular programme, which was broadcast over
three months, addressed the issues of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support, as
also the issue of teenage prostitution in a culturally-sensitive manner,
breaking the medias silence on the topic. Prior to the broadcasts of
Kamisama Mo Sukoshidake, which amplified human emotions in
confronting stigma, shame, guilt, fear, and anger, public awareness about
HIV/AIDS had declined in Japan for five straight years, primarily because of
medias reluctance to address the taboo topic. The television series earned
the second highest ratings of all programmes broadcast during the summer of 1998
in Japan, moving a highly stigmatised topic to the domain of public
Entertainment-education programmes, such as Kamisama
Mo Sukoshidake, represent an effective and viable weapon in the war
against HIV/AIDS (Piotrow, Meyer, & Zulu, 1992). Such programmes utilize the
popular appeal of entertainment formats (such as melodrama) to consciously
address educational issues (Singhal & Rogers, 1999; Piotrow et al., 1997)).
They earn high audience ratings, involve audience members emotionally, and spur
interpersonal conversations among listeners on various topics.
Source: Watts (1998).