Newspapers in Japan
Japan is one of the world's most advanced countries when it comes to
developing IT services and using the Internet and mobile services, but despite
this, traditional media companies have not yet had to change their business
models, mainly because they cut their costs instead.
The media landscape is dominated by a few established national players who
have successfully managed to defend their markets from start-up media companies,
and all the major companies have also established businesses on the Internet.
The constitution guarantees freedom of expression and pressure, however, to
some extent practiced self-censorship, which is rooted in the system of
kisha kurabu, a kind of press clubs where journalists and representatives
of government and political management meet. Only journalists from established
media are allowed to be members and reporters who write critically have been
excluded. For example, at the official press conferences after the 2011 tsunami,
freelancers and reporters from foreign media were excluded.
The largest news agencies are Kyodo News (founded in 1945) and
Jiji Press (founded in 1945).
TV and radio
TV is the largest medium in Japan and there are about 130 commercial
companies that distribute hundreds of channels via digital terrestrial
broadcasts, cable and satellite. Five networks dominate the national channels.
The biggest is Fuji Television Network.
The public service company NHK (Nihon Hoso Kyokai) initiated radio
broadcasts in 1925 and television broadcasts in 1952. The monopoly that applied
to NHK was abolished by the US Occupation Authority in 1950.
NHK, which is financed with license fees, has four TV and three radio
channels. Since 1998, the company also broadcasts TV and radio programs in some
20 languages to target groups outside Japan under the name NHK World. In
addition to NHK, there are over a hundred commercial companies that broadcast
thousands of radio channels, most of them via the FM band.
Internet and mobile telephony
More than 99% of Japan's over 50 million households have access to broadband.
The most popular sites are Yahoo !, Google, YouTube and FC2. The latter is a
portal for mainly blogs, founded in 1999 in the United States and focused on the
The Japanese have long been at the forefront when it comes to using mobile
phones. One of the reasons is the service for i.a. mobile surfing and e-mail,
in-mode, which NTT DoCoMo mobile operator launched in 1999 and which
quickly became popular. Another reason is the good 3G coverage, which is at 94%
There are five mobile operators with their own networks, of which NTT DoCoMO
is the largest with just over 40% of subscribers. The company is owned by one
third of the Japanese state, while the rest is owned by NTT (Nippon Telegraph
and Telephone), a company that was previously a state monopoly company and was
privatized in 1985.
Disney Mobile, part of the Walt Disney Company, established itself in the
Japanese market in 2009 as a virtual operator in collaboration with the operator
Daily press and magazine
Newspaper reading in Japan is the highest in the world, although it has
declined due to changing media habits. Five national newspapers dominate and
have a total circulation of almost 50 million copies. The major national
newspapers also publish in evening editions and also make regional editions for
the larger cities. Over 90% of daily newspaper sales are made by subscription.
In total, there were 121 daily newspapers in 2013 with a total circulation of
68 million copies. The biggest is the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun, founded in
1874. With an edition of 13 million items. it is also the world's largest daily
newspaper. Yomiuri Shimbun also publishes a daily newspaper in English, The
Over 2,000 magazines and magazines are published for all possible target
groups and the trend is that the magazines are becoming more niche with, for
example, special magazines aimed at a growing older population. Especially for
Japan is also the huge market for many, cartoon series. Several hundred
magazines are published, several of which have editions of over one million
Book and publishing system
The oldest Japanese prints are Buddhist carmina, hyakumanto darani,
from 764-70, made in block book technology. This printing technique was further
developed until the end of the 16th century, when the Gutenberg printing
technique - loose types - was introduced from Korea as well as by Portuguese
missionaries. The older printing technique was reintroduced in the 1630s and
dominated until 1868.
Although publishing in Japan began as late as the latter half of the 19th
century, a high level was quickly reached: in 1927, 19,967 new book titles were
published. The 1960s and 1970s saw a strong upswing in the Japanese book market.
Collected literary works and encyclopedias achieved great sales success.
In 2011, nearly 76,000 book titles were published in Japan, and sales
amounted to approximately SEK 54 billion. The number of publishers was just over
3,800, most of them small or medium; however, the Japanese Publishers
Association has only 480 members. Most publishers also publish magazines, and
some of the largest, such as Kodansha and Shogakukan, have evolved into media
conglomerates with newspapers, radio and TV and film. A large part of the
publisher's income comes from cartoon series, manga, which enjoy enormous
popularity, even outside Japan. See Japan (Cartoons).
Japan has been a pioneer in electronic publishing and has a well-developed
bookstore over the Internet. The traditional bookstore still holds its positions
well. Unlike many European countries, a book and commission pricing system for
the bookstore has been adhered to. In 2011, there were about 60 distributors
serving about 15,000 bookstores of varying sizes. In terms of price, Japan,
thanks to its large population, has been able to be a low-price country, which
has broken through consumption habits. Most books sold are literature in the
original language, but the proportion of translated titles, mainly American
bestsellers, is increasing.
The pursuit of harmony, beauty and tight
simplicity characterizes many of Japan's cultural
expressions. Traditional gardens and homes will radiate
these properties throughout their structure. In the
classic Japanese room, the colors are few and studied in
unison and the furniture is sparse. The art of arranging
flowers, ikebana, also strives for harmony. While the
West looks more at the beauty and variety of flowers,
the Japanese emphasize their line play and symbolism. In
a modern western-influenced variant, the moribath,
miniatures are created to give the impression of
landscapes or gardens.
Equally distinctive is the tea ceremony, chanoyu, a
sophisticated millennial ritual around the art of
preparing, serving and drinking green tea. Led by a
master, chanoyu will provide an aesthetic experience of
both the beverage, the room, the aids and the decor.
Latest population statistics of Japan, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Many of Japan's traditional musical instruments have
come from China. Among the most famous are koto, which
resembles a citrus, the bamboo flute shakuhachi and the
three-stringed, banjo-like shamis. Throughout the
centuries, folk music and influences from the outside
have been mixed, and after World War II, Western music
has become increasingly resonant. Japan has about twenty
professional symphony orchestras, and musicians such as
the conductor Seiji Ozawa and pianist Mitsuko Uchida
have the whole world as a workplace.
The ubiquitous Japanese pop music (J-pop) has been
developed with influences from Western pop. The music is
often interwoven with vibrant visual presentation. There
are countless Japanese pop artists such as Ayumi
Hamasaki, Kumi Koda and Hikari Kutada.
During the first heyday of Japanese literature a
thousand years ago, masterpieces such as The Story of
Genji and the Essay Collection Notes at the Pillow were
created, two courtiers' depictions of life in the
aristocracy of that time. The novel about the Emperor
Genji, written by Murasaki Shikibu (c. 978 – c. 1016),
is still considered today as one of the great works of
world literature. At the same time, the classic verse
form was born - 31 syllables in five rows - still in
In the Middle Ages, samurai novels and Buddhist
embossed stories were added. From the poetry system waka,
both the chain poem form was developed purely, with
several authors, and the concentrated poem form that for
many symbolizes Japanese poetry: haiku, a three-poem
poem in 17 syllables following the pattern 5-7-5. Matsuo
Basho brought haikun to heights in the 17th century that
today's poets also strive for. Tanka and haiku are so
popular that the daily press has special columns for
During the military regime of the 1930s and up to
1945, "Japanese" literature was burned, but after the
war the literary supply has been the richer. In 1968,
Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972), author of, among other
things, the Snow Kingdom, became the first Japanese to
be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Other great
late writers are Yukio Mishima, Kenzaburo Oe (Nobel
Prize 1994), avant-garde artist Kobo Abe and Haruki
Murakami, widely read also in the West.
A link between literature, book art and visual arts
are the famous color woodcuts, which have greatly
influenced art in Europe. In the case of porcelain and
ceramics, too, Japan has been superior to the West in
design and quality.
Japan's oldest preserved theater form is no, which
sheds all unnecessary decoration and has a single
protagonist. Easier for the accustomed is the colorful
Kabuki Theater, where all roles are played by men, and
the puppet theater bunraku. Today's cartoon and textual
culture includes the cartoon series, manga, which are
also read by adults. A Japanese comic book is often
several hundred pages thick and has a storytelling
technique similar to that of the film.
Japanese pop culture in the wider sense is a
phenomenon that has gained many followers in other
countries. It is characterized by manga series, animated
films and a variety of subcultures, for example,
role-plays with imaginative costumes that are often
inspired by different manga characters.
Japan also has extensive film production, and among
the major filmmakers who have achieved international
fame include Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu and Kenji
Mizoguchi. In recent years, director Hirokazu Koreeda
and animator Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away With Several)
have received attention.
Unmistakable expressions of Japanese culture also
exist in the world of sports, especially when national
sports sumo wrestling and martial arts such as judo and
karate. For Japan public policy, please check
Historical settlement of six slaves
Japan and South Korea conclude a historic settlement
that countries hope to resolve the protracted conflict
over how Japan can make it possible for Korean women and
girls to be used as sex slaves by Japanese soldiers
during World War II. In 1993, Japan acknowledged that
the women were exploited but no apology was delivered.
According to the new settlement, Japan agrees to a
demand from South Korea and promises to establish a 1
billion yen fund (US $ 8.3 million) on behalf of women.
Prime Minister Abe also apologizes, saying that Japan
has a "deep responsibility" for women's fate. South
Korea announces that the issue will be considered
definitively resolved if Japan lives up to its promises.
Controversial legislative changes are adopted
Parliament's upper house adopts the controversial
legislative changes that allow Japanese troops to be
deployed in combat abroad. Despite the opposition's
attempts to block a vote in various ways, the proposals
were voted through with 148 votes in favor and 90
Abe thanks no to military parade
Japan's Prime Minister Abe refuses the invitation
from China to participate in the country's military
parade in early September as a result of the end of the
Second World War.
Nuclear power plants start again
The first nuclear power plant in the country is
restarted after the long break after the Fukushima
disaster (see March 2011). A reactor is
set to start in Sendai, after the plant has undergone
extensive new safety tests. Demonstrations are ongoing
outside the Sendai plant and outside Prime Minister
Abe's residence in Tokyo. 25 nuclear power plants have
applied to start operations again.
Controversial legislative changes
Parliament's lower house adopts two legislative
amendments that make it possible for the first time
since World War II to deploy Japanese troops in combat
abroad (Compare June 2014). The law
changes are very controversial. According to opinion
polls, over half of the Japanese are against them, and
opposition members are leaving the parliament in protest
before the vote. The amendments now go to Parliament's
upper house where they will be considered within 60
Japan and the United States agree on new guidelines
The US and Japan are adopting new guidelines for
their defense cooperation. The guidelines allow for
greater cooperation between the countries and open up
for more active Japanese participation. They reflect
both Prime Minister Abe's desire to abandon the strict
focus on self-defense in the country's defense policy
and the perceived threat from China in the region.
Japan and China in summit
Japan and China hold a high-level meeting on security
issues. It is the first meeting to be held since 2011.
Among other things, we discuss how direct communication
between the countries' military can be improved with
regard to the dispute over islands in the East China
The Crown Prince comments on historical writing
Crown Prince Naruhito says it is important to
remember the Second World War "properly". The statement
is seen as a post in a debate that has erupted since
Prime Minister Abe suggested that Japan's war history
should be described in a less humiliating way for the
Minister of Agriculture resigns
Agriculture Minister Koya Hishikawa resigns after
admitting he has received illegal financial aid from a
company. He is the first minister to leave Prime
Minister Abe's new government.
IS requires ransom
The extremist Islamist movement IS demanding $ 200
million as ransom to release two Japanese citizens
captured by the movement. At the end of January and the
beginning of February, video films are released at
intervals of one week, which are reported to show that
both Japanese were beheaded.
DPJ selects new leader
DPJ chooses Kutsuya Okada as new leader. He is a
61-year veteran of the party who has held several