Sunday 11 August 2019

Going up to 12

Why do Japanese TV remotes go up to 12? One of the many mysteries of Japan.


Bill said...

I'm more curious about that infinity button between 9 and 11.

A Brew Rat said...

I wonder if it's a throwback/holdover/legacy to old analog television? In the U.S. when I was a kid, TV sets had 12 channels (channels 2 through 13), that was due to the FCC. Remotes came out before television switched over. So, remotes had 12 channels on them, although they weren't the Japanese 1-12. Since Japan sold the US lots of televisions, they might have adopted a similar system.

Anonymous said...

Searching a bit, it looks like standard TV channels in Japan are numbered 1-12. I alsi see US TV started out with channels 2-13 before UHF channels in higher numbers came online.

My guess is that Japanese remotes standardized that way before the explosion of cable channels in higher numbers and now it hangs on out of habit.

I woukdn't be surprised if old school remotes were laggy, and punching a 1 and then a 2 didn't get you channel 12, it got you to channel 1 folliwed by channel 2

Looking forward to yout trip report on Japan.

Chap said...

I feel sad writing this, but according to Wikipedia, "In Japan, there are seven nationwide television networks – two owned by the national public broadcaster NHK, and five private key stations" - but I bet you knew that already.

Ron Pattinson said...


my hotel has more than 12c channels. But maybe it is a legacy thing.

Barm said...

When I was a kid we had an ancient TV set (black and white of course). It had a big round knob for selecting the channels, as there were so few of them. The first channel was BBC One, reasonably enough. The second channel was ITV ("commercial television" as people snootily called it). ITV had started broadcasting in 1955. When BBC Two came along in 1964 someone had evidently decided to just put that on the third channel, rather than go through the laborious process of re-tuning channel two to BBC Two and then trying to get ITV again on channel three. So all through my childhood you had to turn the knob to position three to get BBC Two. Which I always found odd.