Aug 31, 2017

How to use a television remote in Japan

    It is no surprise that Japanese TV comes mostly in Japanese, and any foreign movie shown on Japanese TV will be dubbed. What I was overjoyed to find is that many channels offer bilingual options when they show foreign (specifically English speaking) media. This means that you could watch the production in its native language, perhaps even with subtitles if necessary.

    I'll admit that I have yet to use the subtitle button. If I want something subtitled, I'll watch it on Netflix. In the meantime, I can show you the button I use on my remote to ensure that my daughter hears Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in its native language.

How to use a television remote in Japan photo

    Looking at the basic remote, we see nothing to indicate subtitles or language options. At the very top on the right is the big red power button that turns the television on and off. Next to it are a selection of green and gray oval-shaped buttons that I have never used. I think they might require a level of setup that was not completed on our machine. As far as I have ever known, we do not have the ability to record live TV on our system as of yet.

    Below this, there is a set of number buttons, for some reason one through twelve. The first button under that goes to our regular TV channels. The BS button connects to our premium channels (which is minimal but includes D-Life, the Disney-associated channel. It shows some of the same material as the Disney Channel but also tons of infomercials for random products and promotional videos about Disneyland. It appears to be especially for those (like me) who do not pay for the proper Disney Channel option.

    Then we have volume control on the left in blue and the channel control on the right in green. The small circular button to the left of the volume control is the mute button. The small circular button to the right of the channel control is input select, for changing the input to Blue-ray/DVD player, gaming console or computer. Under this there are four rectangular black buttons I have never used and do not understand a purpose for.

    The two larger buttons under these are sometimes useful as the one on the left allows you to see the upcoming television schedule, albeit in Japanese only. The circle of buttons below is for navigating the upcoming schedule or input select menu, with "enter" in the middle.

    Honestly, I am not sure about the four circular buttons on the corners here as I have never used them. I'm the same about the four colored buttons at the bottom of the page, each of which is labelled with the kanji for their respective color.
How to use a television remote in Japan photo

    And it looks like that's the end of the remote, but wait! There is a hinged compartment at the bottom of the remote containing even more button options. The only one of these I have ever used is the language button, located on the upper right. Next to it is the subtitle button. The last half of these buttons seem to have something to do with recording TV, but these too have been unused as I am not sure that I have the compatible electronic equipment to do so.

    If all else fails or if your remote differs greatly from the example above, guess and check, hitting one button at a time to determine its purpose. Should that get you into trouble, never be afraid to ask for help.
Happy watching!



A working mom/writer/teacher, Jessica explores her surroundings in Miyagi-ken and Tohoku, enjoying the fun, quirky, and family friendly options the area has to offer.