Can a simple comment change the world? The power of the media is incredible!

Did you know that a single comment made on a Japanese quiz show broadcast in 1988 led to the revival of archaeological sites in Chile?

In this article, I would like to talk about this single comment that helped the world.

On a TV show called “Sekai Fushigi Hakken”, which quizzes people on the wonders of the world, the moai statues of Easter Island were the theme of one particular episode.


Moai statues are a group of stone statues on Easter Island, Chile. Their average height is 3.5 metres and the largest would be 20 meters high (if completed). The heaviest ones weigh as much as 90 tons.

The mysterious stone statues are thought to have been built for ritual purposes, but that is not certain. It is also a mystery how these huge stone statues were made and carried.

There are as many as 900 moai statues, including those that were unfinished. Easter Island is not that big, so try picturing an island with statues all over it.


Despite the statues being such an important and unique part of the culture of Easter Island, many of them were toppled over, likely during tribal warfare. It must have been difficult to do that however, considering their size and weight.

This information was broadcast on the TV show, with the local governor of Chile commenting,
If only we had a crane…”

Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, one of the performers, then said,
“Doesn’t Hitachi have a crane? If Hitachi had a crane…”
The main sponsor of this TV program was Hitachi.


One person who saw the show took action. He was an employee of a company in Kagawa prefecture called Tadano Corporation. It’s one of the world’s largest manufacturers of construction cranes.

From his initiative, a project to restore the moai of Easter Island was started. At the time, Japan was in the midst of an economic bubble and although the economy was booming and people had a lot of money to spare, Easter Island, the site of the project, was an isolated island 3,700 km away from the Chilean mainland.

There was no port to ferry in the large equipment, and Chile was in a state of domestic turmoil at the time, so support was unavailable.

Furthermore, it was not enough to simply erect moai statues; archaeological research was also required, and considerable difficulties lay ahead. Tadano donated three cranes and hoisted the statues upright one after another. The company was paying for the cost of that crane, the hauling, and the entire restoration project.

Eventually, the whole island was registered as a World Heritage site.

Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, who made the comment that triggered this project, did not know about it for a while, but by around 2010 she learned that her casual comment had changed the world.

If it had not been for this TV program, and Tetsuko Kuroyanagi’s comment, the moai of Easter Island may have remained in their toppled state.

I think we can safely say that it was this comment that changed the world. Also, how wonderful are the employees of Tadano, who took this thought to heart and set it in motion.

If you ever visit Easter Island, I hope you will remember the Japanese people who were involved in the island.


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