Previously: The Pied Piper.
Type: Unclassifiable. Subject has elements characteristic of EVs (Electronic Viruses), UCDs (Unusual Communication Devices), and IHs (Information Hazards); however, subject does not wholly appear to belong to any of these classifications, either. Further research is required.
Period/location of origin: Circa 1985, Japan; alternatively, circa 2000, the internet. (See: Additional notes.)
Appearance: Subject appears to be a late-night television broadcast on the Nippon News Network (NNN) typically referred to as “the NNN Special Broadcast,” “NNN Temporary Broadcast,” or “NNN Extra Broadcast” (in Japanese, NNN臨時放送). This broadcast, which appears only during the network’s off-air hours, is preceded by a color bar test pattern. When the broadcast itself begins, it presents viewers with the image of a trash processing plant, over which a list of names begins to roll. An expressionless voice reads out the names as they roll. Somber classical music plays in the background.
This unusual roll call proceeds for approximately five minutes, throughout which the image of the trash processing plant and the classical music remain constant. Following the completion of the list of names, the voice then announces, “These are tomorrow’s victims. Good night.”
The broadcast then concludes.
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Modus operandi: Subject’s modus operandi remains largely unknown.
It is not known how the “victims” come to be targeted by subject.
It is not known whether the viewers of the broadcast are targets themselves.
The manner by which the named “victims” are meant to expire is not known.
From who or from what subject originates is not known.
Whether subject has appeared more than once or only a for a single broadcast is not known.
Subject’s goal or function beyond announcing “tomorrow’s victims” is not known.
Whether or not it is possible to witness one’s own name in subject’s roll call is not known.
What might happen should that occur is not known.
It is not known which meaning is correct.
Containment: Unknown. Perhaps impossible.
Additional notes: The first known mention of subject occurred in a post published to the Japanese message board 2ch, now 5ch, on Nov. 26, 2000. The writer of this post described having witnessed subject “about 15 years ago” — which, at the time, would have made the year of occurrence circa 1985 — at “about 2:30 in the morning.” Much — in fact, virtually all — of what is known about subject comes from this post. The writer was never able to determine precisely what they had watched, but noted that they had remained frightened of late-night broadcasts ever since.
This original post is no longer accessible. However, it has been copied and pasted elsewhere several times since; one such version remains preserved here (see post 145).
The Nippon News Network was formed in 1966, making it the second oldest news network in Japan. (The oldest is the Japan News Network, or JNN.) It is a commercial network owned by Nippon Television, which is itself part of the conglomerate Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings, or 株式会社読売新聞グループ本社. NNN typically broadcasts a variety of news programs between the early morning hours and the late evening hours, with sports occupying the later hours.
Special broadcasts may also occur in the event of notable incidents — elections, natural disasters such as earthquakes or typhoons, etc. These special broadcasts may occur at any time, independent of the typical programming schedule of NNN.
Note that NNN is NOT a national network or public broadcasting system; it is a commercial network. Japan’s public broadcasting system is Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai (NHK), or 日本放送協会. This difference is key: NHK is required to broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Commercial networks like NNN, however, may sign off for several hours between the conclusion of the previous day’s programming and the beginning of the next — typically between 2 or 3am and 4 or 5am.
Subject ONLY appears during the off-air period — that is, it cannot, by its very nature, appear on NHK.
A recreation — or possibly simply an imagining — of subject may be viewed here. Note that this video is NOT subject itself, but merely a facsimile of subject. It is, however, notable both for its age and for one particular image that may be seen within it: It was published to YouTube in 2007, making it one of the earliest and longest-lasting videos posted to the video-sharing platform; and, it contains one of the earliest known appearances of a subject not yet chronicled in this Encyclopaedia. (Note: Further research is recommended.)
Several other reports gathered over the years describe similar events, although they are different enough from the initial description of subject that it is unclear whether or not they are related.
According to one such report, for instance, tuning in during the off-air hours will first display a static pattern — a “snowstorm” or “sandstorm” — on the screen before presenting viewers with an unusual eye or face. A garbled voiceover will also sound, although viewers may not necessarily be able to make out what is being said.
According to another, a broadcast announcing numerous deaths of military personnel may sometimes be heard on the radio, rather than viewed on the television. These radio broadcasts may occur in the early morning hours — typically after 2am — and, like subject, feature a background soundtrack of somber classical music. However, the deaths announced during this style of broadcast are presented in such a way that they appear already to have occurred.
Note that although subject ostensibly appeared in 1985, no written record from that time has been located. Much, therefore, remains unknown, including whether subject truly did exist in 1985, or whether subject was instead described into existence in 2000.
Recommendation: Stay away from the television late at night or early in the morning.
If you refrain from turning your set on during those hours, you won’t have to worry about viewing subject, either accidentally or on purpose.
After all, ignorance is bliss.
Japanese Urban Legends: NNN Special Broadcast on YouTube.
“I’m really scared because the radio is broadcasting strangely…” on Paranormal-ch.
Recreation of subject on YouTube.
[Photo via Anete Lusina/Pexels]