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This is a past article published in Hiragana Times. Each Japanese paragraph is followed by its English translation or vise versa, and furigana are placed above each kanji to make Japanese study even easier. [Magazine Sample] [Subscription Page]

A Woman with Many Faces

[From March Issue 2014]

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Kyoko SPECTOR
Representative Director of Spector Communications

Kyoko SPECTOR has many faces. Her days are full of activity; in addition to being a TV personality, and the director of an international friendship exchange association, and a wife, she is the representative director of a company that produces TV programs and manages TV personalities. At the center of her life is Dave SPECTOR, a TV personality and her husband.

Dave Spector is a well-known American in Japan. The two of them met for the first time in the late 70s in Los Angeles in the United States. Since her elementary school days, Kyoko dreamt about foreign countries she’d heard about from her father who had once worked for a trading company. She was a college student when her dream of studying abroad in the US came true. Upon graduation, she returned to Japan, but, missing the American atmosphere of freedom, she moved back to the US.

She met Dave when she began working as a concierge and tour manager for a Japanese hotel in L.A. Dave, who was producing programs for an American TV station, asked her out on a date. “He came to talk to me while I was working and his Japanese was so fluent that he gave an impression of being a suspicious American,” laughs Kyoko.

Thinking that there’d only be one date, never in her wildest dreams would she believe that this would lead to a marriage lasting more than 30 years. In 1983, Dave was put in charge of making TV programs for ABC Broadcasting, US, and the two of them went to Japan together. Finally back in her native country, Kyoko began working as an assistant to her husband.

In no time Dave himself began to appear on TV shows as a personality or commentator. Dave attached great importance to being fully prepared and so he instructed Kyoko to collect information about the other personalities appearing on the same programs and to record his shows. In this way she became the manager of the TV personality “Dave Spector.”

Although their life in the entertainment business seemed to be going well, Dave once came under fire from viewers who perceived some remarks he’d made on the popular debate program “Asa Made Nama Terebi” (Live TV Till Morning) as being critical of Japan itself. Discouraged, Dave ended up saying that he wanted to return to the US.

“If he had returned to the US under those circumstances, he’d have been forever misunderstood by Japanese people. I wanted them to see just how much Dave loved Japan. With only that in mind, I did everything I could to stop him, setting goals and saying, ‘Let’s keep at it just a little more until you appear on that show,’” recalls Kyoko.

Overcoming such difficulties, Dave established himself as a TV personality and commentator indispensable to Japan’s entertainment business. Then, Kyoko began her own work in the entertainment business as a TV personality and commentator.

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Besides the one she shows to the TV industry, Kyoko has many faces. She has conducted cultural exchanges with the ambassadors of various countries for many years. Kyoko has inherited friendships that Dave made through work and is deepening them. “We put aside business and socialize purely as friends,” says Kyoko.

She has so far acted as a judge in a Japanese language speech contest for embassy staffers in Japan and has helped with promotion activities for many different countries. In 2002, she was the first Japanese woman to be presented with the “Friend of Thailand” award. In 2012, she was nominated director of the Japanese branch of “San Fortunato,” a friendship exchange association that has a long history in Europe.

Furthermore, she has participated in charitable activities for “Refugees International Japan (RIJ),” a general incorporated foundation. Drawing on her experience of life in the US, she has also presented her work at a charity event where table settings of different countries were on display. That inspired her to continue to this day to devote her life to the art of table setting.

Kyoko’s motto is “Don’t let opportunities slip away.” For example, if Dave gets a request to appear on some TV program, she believes that it’s “rude to the other party” to turn it down because of a scheduling conflict. As representative director, she goes as far as to offer her personality “Kyoko Spector” instead, saying, “Dave can’t make it unfortunately, but Kyoko is available.”

While supporting her beloved husband outside the spotlight, she has always challenged herself and has prized her friendships above anything else. She studied economics in the US and talks enthusiastically about her plan to expand her company’s business in the future.


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