What the Japanese Think of the Netflix Show “Old Enough!”

10 Reasons Not to Parade Your Family on Japanese TV

DC Palter
4 min readApr 23, 2022


Photo by note thanun on Unsplash

When the Japanese TV show Old Enough! started streaming on Netflix this month, my wife and I began watching an episode each evening.

Although we live in Los Angeles, my wife is Japanese and I’m an editor of the Japanese culture magazine, Japonica. We enjoyed watching the cute, family-oriented TV show instead of the usual fare of murders and betrayals.

The title of the show in Japanese is はじめてのおつかい (Hajimete no Otsukai) meaning “My First Errand”.

The premise of the show is simple: children aged 2–6 are sent by their parents on an errand: pick up something at the supermarket, drop off clothing at the dry cleaner, and deliver lunch to Dad.

Cameras follow the kids as they make their way through town. They usually succeed, surprisingly for their age, with challenges and mistakes along the way that they have to overcome.

The show has been broadcast on TV in Japan since 1991. Watching the episodes brought a sense of nostalgia for the peacefulness of Japan.

From reports in the Japanese media, getting onto the popular show is quite a challenge. You can’t simply apply. The producers visit schools around the country searching for precious, photogenic youngsters.

Then there are multiple layers of interviews and tests until the families are selected. Even once scenarios are devised and the kids sent out on their quests followed by the cameras, many don’t turn into engaging TV and are dropped without being broadcast.

Make no mistake: this is reality tv — scripted fake scenarios with content highly edited for entertainment.

Among the new non-Japanese viewers, the discussion about the show has been mixed. Some people are talking about how safe Japan is, lamenting that it would be impossible to send children out alone in their own countries. Others say letting young kids…



DC Palter

Entrepreneur, angel investor, startup mentor, sake snob. Author of the Silicon Valley mystery To Kill a Unicorn: https://amzn.to/3sD2SGH