Wowow (Wauwau, pronounced [waɯwaɯ], stylized in all-uppercase in Japanese) is a satellite broadcasting and premium satellite television station owned and operated by Wowow Inc. (株式会社WOWOW). Its headquarters are located on the 21st floor of the Akasaka Park Building in Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo.[1][2] Its broadcasting center is in Koto, Tokyo.[1][3]

Wowow's headquarters at Akasaka Park Building in 2012.
Broadcast areaNationwide
HeadquartersAkasaka, Minato, Tokyo
OwnerWowow, Inc.
LaunchedNovember 29, 1990; 33 years ago (1990-11-29) (pre-opening)
November 30, 1990 (1990-11-30) (actual)
December 1, 2000 (2000-12-01) (digital)
ClosedJuly 24, 2011 (2011-07-24) (analog)
Former Wowow headquarters—Toraya Building 2
Former Wowow broadcasting center—Tatsumi Koto

On October 1, 2011, Wowow expanded their single channel broadcast satellite service to provide four high-definition TV channels:[4] Wowow Prime (WOWOWプライム), a general entertainment channel, Wowow Live (WOWOWライブ), covering sports, documentaries, movies and live performances, Wowow Cinema (WOWOWシネマ), a 24-hour movie channel and Wowow Plus.



Wowow was the first 24/7, 3 channel, full high-definition broadcaster in Japan.[5]

Wowow began pre-opening broadcasts on November 29, 1990, with service beginning the following day, on November 30, 1990. Digital broadcasting began on December 1, 2000. The network began with 207,753 subscribers (31.5 billion yen in sales), growing to 2,667,414 two years later (64.5 billion yen in sales). As of December 2011, Wowow claimed approximately 2.56 million subscribers to its digital service.[6] On July 24, 2011, Wowow shut down its analog broadcast.

Wowow mostly rebroadcasts movies, but is also well known for showing (and even co-producing and/or assisting in the production of) original anime series such as The Big O, Brain Powerd, Overman King Gainer, Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran, Trinity Blood, Cowboy Bebop (the complete uncut version), Shinreigari/Ghost Hound, Crest of the Stars, Ergo Proxy, X/1999, SHUFFLE!, Paranoia Agent, Now and Then, Here and There, Le Chevalier d'Eon, the 2016 Berserk series as well as the Anime Complex block. Due to the looser broadcast standards for satellite television in Japan, Wowow has become a primary means of widespread distribution for anime with themes or subject matter that the broadcast networks cannot show. Several anime studios have partnership deals for distributing their more mature series, with the famed Studio Madhouse among them.

The channel's name is a double "Wow", and the three W's also stand for "World-Wide-Watching".

Previously, Wowow's headquarters were in another facility in Akasaka.[7]



Wowow also broadcasts Japanese-dubbed American television series such as Friends, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Cold Case, Grey's Anatomy, Medium, The 4400, Animaniacs, South Park, and The Simpsons, among others. Wowow has also screened Ultimate Fighting Championship events for Japanese audiences, the Korean drama My Lovely Sam Soon and the UK comedy sketch show Little Britain, as well as the British drama/action show Ultimate Force under the name SAS: British Special Forces.

Wowow began producing original live-action TV series in 2003. The series called "Drama W" includes works such as Penance, xxxHolic, The Grand Family and Futagashira.[8]



Wowow has broadcast all four tennis Grand Slam Championships since 2008. They are the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

Current broadcast lineup[9]



The president and CEO of Wowow is, as of March 2021, Akira Tanaka.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Corporate Info." Wowow. Retrieved on November 20, 2010. "The Head Office 21F, Akasaka Park Building, 5-2-20, Akasaka, Minato-ku Tokyo 107-6121 Tel. 81-3-4330-8111 Wowow Inc. Map." and "2-1-58, Tatsumi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0053" Addresses in Japanese: "東京都港区赤坂5-2-20 赤坂パークビル21F" and "東京都江東区辰巳2-1-58"
  2. ^ "Head office." (Direct image link) Wowow. Retrieved on November 20, 2010. Map in Japanese (Direct link)
  3. ^ "Broadcasting Center." (Direct image link) Wowow. Retrieved on November 20, 2010. Map in Japanese (Direct link)
  4. ^ Wowow Inc. (2011). Business Summary: Business Contents. Accessed on January 31, 2012.
  5. ^ "History | Company Information | WOWOW Inc".
  6. ^ Wowow Inc. (2011). Business Summary: Subscription. Accessed on January 31, 2012.
  7. ^ "Corporate Information." Wowow. April 13, 2008. Retrieved on November 20, 2010. "1-5-8, Moto Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8080" Japanese address: "東京都港区元赤坂1-5-8"
  8. ^ "連続ドラマWとは?". Wowow. Retrieved May 1, 2024.
  9. ^ "スポーツ". Wowow. Retrieved June 1, 2023.
  10. ^ "President's Message | Company Information | WOWOW Inc".