Old enough, the Japanese series is coming to Netflix

“Old Enough” has been a cult for Japanese television for years, showing the adventures of young children who intend to do small errands on their own

Old enough

For more than thirty years a cult program on Japanese television, from April it is also available in the Netflix Italy catalog Old enoughthe bizarre series in between a documentary and a reality show, where the main characters are small – and decidedly awake – children who are at. run errands to help the family, wandering alone in the streets and shops under the watchful eye of dozens of well-camouflaged cameras.

What’s going on in “Old Enough”?

The original title of the program would be Hajimete no Otsukai, “my first commission”, but the English version that the series arrived in Italy with is just as eloquent. The assumption behind the show is actually very simple: “mom and dad say the little protagonist is big enough (old enough exactly) to complete a task? We believe in him and we want to test him! “

And then, accompanied by a beautiful narrator and colorful captions, children and children aged 2 to 6 years they are hired without their knowledge in a small social experiment to observe their behavior during their first commission. There are those who have to go home and prepare the juice for the relatives who work in the countryside, those who have to buy the ingredients for the dinner or those who are sent to the watchmaker to pick up the repaired watch. The only rule is that do everything strictly alone.

An educational program?

The Japanese are considering Old enough an absolutely instructive product, where the story of the first commission – which in Japanese culture represents a very important phase for the child’s growth – is so spectacular, but accompanied by many positive messages.

In fact, in Japan, there is an educational concept that aims to crucially privilege the autonomy of the little one, who from the earliest years of life is encouraged to become increasingly independent and consequently involved in family life. What may seem to us on the verge of absurdity – seeing children all the way down to two crossing busy streets alone can be a big blow to the stomach even for less anxious parents! in the Japanese world it is instead understood as the best way to stimulate skills of babies and establish it early relationship of trust which in the much more protective West (especially in Italy) may seem unthinkable at least until a certain age is reached.

And then the children shown are not robots: they are often distracted, playing and scaring just like all their peers in all parts of the planet.

No danger to children

Although the ways of making TV in Rising Sun are known for detachment and a certain sadism, the small protagonists are they are actually never left alone. During their adventures, all children are actually kept under constant surveillance by dozens of cameramen who show up several times inside the footage despite the rough disguises (cameras hidden in toolboxes, shopping bags, etc.) so as not to make the little ones too suspicious . Moreover, the places chosen to record the various episodes never involve vast metropolises, but almost always villages and towns where children they know spaces and often and often shows great confidence in the inhabitants of the area.

And approx the ethical aspect? Here, too, you must be sure. The program is a true institution of Japanese television, and each season is prepared with careful attention to the psychophysical protection of the main characters. The committees actually start with thousands of questionnaires sent to kindergartens, schools and private institutions, after which the authors and casting staff after strict control and an initial screening relate to individual families.

Why watch “Old Enough”?

After the initial shock, viewing this series may offer an interesting opportunity dealing with so distant a culture from ours, both conceptually and geographically. In our eyes, Japanese children seem to behave like “little adults”, already empowered and so adept at deal with difficulties and relationships with adults (each episode is full of bows, formal greetings and very polite thanks for the help received).

In short, it can be a way to learn something more about the world around us, and that even the little ones, if properly supported, can be a little more independent of their parents. And then let’s face it: seeing very tender children behave the way adults are really fun!

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