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TV presenter Zemba wants to create a relaxed atmosphere for Sunday morning viewers; experienced presenter now leads TBS’s ‘Sunday Morning’ show


The Yomiuri Shimbun
Takako Zemba

Since this spring, news anchor Takako Zemba has been the face of TBS’s news program “Sunday Morning.” As the second anchor of the 8 a.m. Sunday morning production, she’s working hard to attract a multigenerational audience to the long-running show.

“Sunday Morning,” which began in 1987 and is now in its 37th year, covers weekly news with guest panelists discussing the week’s events. A popular segment of the show is “Katsu! Appare!” in which sports commentators evaluate athletes’ performances with “Try harder!” or “Good job!” Another popular segment of the show is explaining the news via handmade signs and models.

“The show fits perfectly into Sunday mornings. I don’t want to drastically change the atmosphere, but instead respect the established quality of the program,” Zemba said. “As I continue to do this show, I’ve come to realize that I’ve taken over a really great job.”

Former host Hiroshi Sekiguchi, who hosted the show from the beginning, had won the trust of viewers with his consistent and sometimes witty way of speaking.

“If I think soberly and rationally, I think it’s a big step to take on the role of a magnate who paved the way for the TV industry,” Zemba said. “But there was no negative pressure. I had a kind of whatever attitude and thought, ‘I can never do the same.'”

Rather than trying to imitate Sekiguchi, who acted like an editor-in-chief, Zemba searches for her own style by going into the field to report news or by taking on the role of a storyteller.

“I’m the type of person who can’t say anything in the studio unless I go out into the field,” she said. “My approach is different than what the show used to do. But I ask [program staff] to get me out on the field as much as possible.”

With her wealth of experience in the news field, Zemba would like to “broaden the attention [the show’s] topics in the future in the field of social security, education, child rearing and other areas of my interest.”

Zemba was born on February 28, 1975 and joined NHK as an announcer in 1997. She hosted “Project X” and hosted “Kohaku Utagassen” (“Red & White Year-end Song Festival”) for the red team. After leaving NHK in 2006, she appeared in TBS’s “News23” and “Hodo Tokushu (News special).”

Zemba was the presenter of “Hodo Tokushu” until March and recalled: “I had a sense of responsibility to be aware of the problems [I was covering]My biggest concern was to spread the news as quickly as possible.

“But now I have switched to a different mode. While I continue to convey what needs to be reported, I want people to watch our show in a relaxed mood.”

Below are excerpts from an interview with Zemba.

The Yomiuri Shimbun: How would you rate yourself? “Good job!” or “Do your best!”?

Takako Zemba: I’ve become a morning person since I started this show, so I think it’s a matter of, “Do your best!” I used to be a night person and have a great time after my family went to bed.

Yomiuri: How do you relax?

Zemba: I may not need that much of a break. But because I work on the weekends, I try hard to make time to go and play with my primary school child. That helps me refresh myself.

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