How to swiftly, and humorously, deal with the bane of every TV owner’s existence in Japan.

In Japan there is one entity that is feared above all else: the NHK guy. For those lucky enough not to know, they’re a group of people dispatched to go door to door and collect the monthly “receiving fee,” basically the TV tax that everyone has to pay to NHK, the Japanese public broadcasting organization.

Even though not paying NHK’s fee of 14,000 to 26,000 yen (US$125 to $230) per year is technically “illegal,” the company rarely ever brings anyone to court over it. This creates a strange legal loophole where you “must” pay the fee, but usually nothing happens if you don’t, meaning many people would just like to get rid of the NHK guy as easily as possible.

That’s why today we’re counting down the top five ways to get rid of the annoying door-to-door NHK guy. Even if you don’t have to deal with the actual NHK guy, it’s always good to have strategies in mind for how to slip your way out of sticky sales situations.

So let’s get to it! Starting off with…

#5. “I don’t live here.”


We’ll start off with one of the most ridiculous ways to get rid of the NHK guy: simply telling him that you don’t live at the house he’s come to.

This is simultaneously one of the most effective and bizarre ways to get rid of them. The conversation about payment can’t continue if you’re not a resident, but at the same time… why are you answering the door at a house you don’t live in? You need some creative answers prepared!

Here’s a sample of how it might go:

NHK: Konnichwa! NHK desu!
Resident: A, kono ie no hito ja nai kara….
NHK: E? Ja, dou iu kankei deshou ka?
Resident: Sore wa kojinteki jouhou na no de….
NHK: ….
Resident: Sumimasen. Sore ja!

NHK: Hello! This is NHK!
Resident: Oh, I don’t live here…
NHK: What? Then, what relationship do you have to the owner?
Resident: That’s personal information, so…
NHK: …
Resident: Sorry! Bye!

Certainly an effective method, though it’s only a temporary solution. Chances are they will press for information on when to come back, and even if you don’t give them a time/date, they’ll just come back in a few weeks or so.

Overall rating
Effectiveness: 5/5
Hilarity: 4/5
Return visit: Highly likely

#4. “Tell me your company name.”


This one might seem strange at first. Why would you ask the NHK guy who he works for? It’s NHK, of course!

Except it’s not. NHK doesn’t hire the door-to-door “salesmen” directly, they’re hired through other dispatch companies. They may come equipped with an NHK name tag, but don’t let that fool you! Their paychecks don’t come from the broadcasting giant, but somewhere else instead.

You can exploit this information to your advantage by having a conversation like this:

NHK: Konnichiwa! NHK desu!
You: Kaishamei o oshiete kudasai.
NHK: _____ desu.
You: NHK ja nai kara ayashii no de okaeri kudasai.
Or if they’d rather not say:
NHK: Sumiasen, okotae dekimasen.
You: Ayashii no de okaeri kudasai.

NHK: Hello! This is NHK!
You: Tell me the name of your company.
NHK: It’s _____.
You: That’s not NHK, this seems sketchy. Please go away.
Or if they’d rather not say:
NHK: I’m sorry I can’t answer that.
You: This seems sketchy. Please go away.

You wouldn’t just hand over money to someone who doesn’t even work for the company they say they represent, so it’s a decent method logic-wise.

However even if you get rid of that one NHK guy using this method, chances are you’ll still get another in a few months’ time. And they might come better equipped to deal with your tough questions then.

Overall rating
Effectiveness: 4/5
Hilarity: 3/5
Return visit: Likely

▼ This woman takes this method to the extreme, shouting “thief!” at the end when the NHK guy doesn’t let her film his ID card. We recommend not causing a loud scene so as not to upset your neighbors and drag them into the conflict.

#3. “I don’t speak Japanese.”


Ah yes, playing the old foreigner card. If you’re reading this then chances are you can pull this one off, though native Japanese people are obviously going to have a harder time.

Pretending not to understand Japanese (or actually not understanding Japanese!) simply shuts down the entire conversation. They can’t try to take your money if you don’t understand them, so it’s basically like pulling the cord right out of their power source.

NHK: Konnichiwa! NHK desu!
You: Uh, excuse me?
NHK: A, gaikokujinsan nan desu ne?
You: Um, soomymassen. Nihongo wa, um, can’t speak.
NHK: Do you have terebi? Terebi?
You: Terebi? Um, soomymassen. Nihongo wa…
NHK: Hai, wakarimashita. Sore de wa….
You: Ah. Okay, bye. Oh! Uh, ariggatto!

This may seem like a good method at first glance, but unfortunately it can backfire. If you live in a more heavily populated area, then the next NHK guy who shows up at your house a week later might be the designated English-speaker. Or, worst case scenario, the one you try this method on might speak English or might have come prepared with English pamphlets. Then you’re suddenly back to square one.

But if you live in a less-populated area, then there might not be a designated English-speaking NHK guy or English pamphlets, so they might just write you off and never come back. It’s a gamble, especially if you have a hard time speaking terrible Japanese with a straight face.

Overall rating
Effectiveness: 3/5
Hilarity: 5/5
Return visit: Varies

#2. “Go away.”

Sometimes the most straightforward method is the best. Rather than trying to trick the NHK guy into leaving, simply getting right to the point and letting them know how you feel is often the most effective.

NHK does not have any special legal authority, so they cannot enter your home without permission. If you tell them to leave your property then they have to leave, otherwise they are breaking the law. Here’s how a conversation might go:

NHK: Konnichiwa! NHK de-
You: Kaette kudasai.
NHK: Ano, NHK jushinryou no ken de….
You: Kaette kudasai.
NHK: NHK to no keiyaku wa gimu na no de….
You: Kaette kudasai. (Close the door.)

NHK: Hello! This is the-
You: Go away.
NHK: Uh, so about the NHK receiver fee….
You: Go away.
NHK: But you must complete a contract with NHK….
You: Go away. (Close the door.)

And that’s pretty much all there is to it! The only downside is that you haven’t technically given them a reason not to come back, so they will probably return at some point to try again – whether that’s in a few weeks or a few months. Still, if you’re in need of a quick fix, you could do worse than this.

Overall rating
Effectiveness: 5/5
Hilarity: 2/5
Return visit: Likely

▼ Cameras also get the NHK guy to go away quickly. This guy says he’s going to “contact the police,” even though it’s not illegal to film and NHK has no special authority.

And the #1 way to get rid of the annoying door-to-door NHK guy is…











1. “I don’t have a TV.”

According to NHK, the only households that have to enter into a contract with them are households with a TV. Therefore if you don’t have a TV, you don’t have to pay. Simple as that.

While we can’t advocate outright lying to the NHK guy, bear in mind that they cannot come inside your home (unless you invite them in), so they cannot confirm whether or not you have a TV.

While NHK has tried to broaden the receiver fee law to apply to computers and smartphones, they have not been very successful yet, so currently this is probably the most effective method for dealing with the NHK guy.

NHK: Konnichiwa! NHK desu!
You: Terebi ga nai desu.
NHK: A, hai. Sore de wa shitsurei shimasu.

NHK: Hello! This is NHK!
You: I don’t have  TV.
NHK: Ah, okay. Well, bye then.

It’s important to bear in mind that not paying the receiver fee is only “legal” if you haven’t already entered into a contract with NHK. If you ever sign those papers and start sending them money, then decide later on that you’d rather not, you’re going to have a much harder time getting out of it. No amount of “but I don’t have a TV anymore!” will help you at that point.

But until that point, this is the best way to deal with the NHK guy. It doesn’t deliver many laughs, but it’s one of the most effective at not only getting them to go away immediately, but to stay away for a long time.

Overall rating
Effectiveness: 5/5
Hilarity: 1/5
Return visit: Unlikely

▼ You could also tell them you’re part of the – yes this is a real thing – Political Party to protect Citizens from NHK. Not sure on the effectiveness, but max hilarity points!

So there you have it, the top five ways to get rid of the annoying door-to-door NHK guy. Have you ever dealt with the NHK guy before? What did you do? Let us know in the comments and maybe some of the techniques will help us all deal with the top five crazy things about the Japanese medical system too.

References: Hikkoshi Hack
Top image: PAKUTASO (edited by RocketNews24)

W.T.F. Japan will be back next Thursday. In the meantime, give me a follow on Twitter and let me know if there’s any topics you’d like to see covered. See you next week!