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Victory in the Radio Drama Category of NHK All Japan University Broadcasting Contest
"Want to be loyal to real me!"

Shoichi Imai

The All Japan University Broadcasting Contest sponsored by NHK solicits radio programs and videos by students and determines the champions of Japan in individual categories. In the Radio Drama Category of the 28th event, "Temporary Mask (Karisome no Men)" by Shoichi Imai, a member of "FM waseda", an authorized club of WASEDA, won first prize. The work was highly appreciated for its strong message and problem-raising for modern people. Imai who was responsible for direction and the scenario talks about his commitment to the project.

After the contest, members of the club striking a pose mimicking the stone figure behind them

The story begins with an encounter between the main character and a mysterious mask seller. Receiving a mask to become whomever he want to be, the main character gets a hero mask to beat bad guys one after another or a mask of a handsome actor attracting the attention of girls. Through mysterious experiences, he gradually becomes unable to surrender the mask. Shoichi got his idea for the story in the spring of his 3rd year. It was when he started job hunting. "In interviews, people hide their real self and wear a mask of a good person. This is true not just for job searching activities but also in daily life. We wear a different mask, depending on whom you talk to. Though your real face is much more attractive, why shouldn't we be honest? The story sprang from such a question."

Shoichi created and wrote a scenario out of a question he embraced while searching for a job. "The difficult thing about a radio drama that develops only with sound is when the scene changes. Instead of explaining it with narration every time, it is necessary to make contrivances to let the audience know naturally that the scene has changed. Taking an easy-to-understand example, when shifting to a scene at school, a sound effect like a chime is used to express that the hero is at school. As the length of the work is limited to five minutes, it is also difficult to communicate the message in a short period of time. Based on reflections from the previous contest where I was disqualified in the qualification round, I tried to make it an easy-to-understand direction for the listeners."

His story safely passed the qualification round, proceeding to the final round. "FM waseda" members, including Shoichi waited for the selection in breathless suspense at the selection venue in Kyoto.

When removing his mask, the main character notices that people around him has forgotten who he really was and feels afraid. The story ends with a warning that modern people who tend to hide their true self was positively evaluated by the judges because 'the theme and message are conveyed very well.' "I felt so pleased, as my message, 'If you live hiding your true self, people will forget the real you,' was well received."

Shoichi is now a 4th year student, fully experiencing job hunting activities. Can you still be the real you? "I wanted to talk as frankly as possible in interviews, but to be honest, that is difficult. To achieve my target, I think an accepted view as well as personal feelings are now necessary." As you want to stick to your real self, what are your feelings before entering the workforce? "When I become a working adult, it will be more difficult to remain honest. But in a few years time, I want to become strong enough to frankly talk to anyone. To achieve this, I want to keep the real me in my heart and humbly go into the real world!" His honest, twinkling eyes seem to be looking purely at his future self.

Mixing console that is always used for editing

Kiyomizu Temple where the club members visited during the trip to Kyoto for the contest


Shoichi Imai

Born in Saitama Prefecture. Graduated from WASEDA University Honjo Senior High School. 4th year of the School of Political Science and Economics. His special skills include the electric guitar. While at high school, he was absorbed in band activities, and at the same time, became crazy about a web radio program, "Tetsu no Radio Barrell," so quickly joined "FM waseda" after entering university. For the All Japan University Broadcasting Contest this year, I will act as a backup member. I have great expectations of my juniors' achievements!"