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Japanese media


Japanese media

The communications media of Japan include numerous television and radio networks as well as newspapers and magazines in Japan. For the most part, television networks were established based on the capital contribution from existing radio networks at that time. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the capital relationship between the media (such as the relationship between newspaper, radio and TV networks).

For the most part, variety shows, serial dramas, and news constitute a large percentage of Japanese evening shows. Western movies are also shown, many with a subchannel for English.

There are all-English television channels on cable and satellite (with Japanese subtitles).

TV networks

Main article: Television in Japan

There are 6 nationwide television networks, as follows:

  1. NHK (日本放送協会 Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai). NHK is a Japanese public service broadcaster. The company is financed through "viewer fees," similar to the licence fee system used in the UK to fund the BBC. NHK deliberately maintains neutral reportings as a public broadcast station, even refuse to mention commodity brand names.[1] NHK has 2 terrestrial TV channels, unlike the other TV networks (in the Tokyo region—channel 1 ("Sōgō" (General)) and channel 3 ("Kyoiku" (Education)).
  2. Nippon Television Network System (NNS)/Nippon News Network (NNN) headed by Nippon Television (日本テレビ放送網/日テレ Nihon-Terebi/Nittere; NTV). In the Tokyo region, channel 4. Affiliated with the Yomiuri Shimbun.
  3. TBS Networks/Japan News Network (JNN) headed by TBS (東京放送 Tōkyō Hōsō, Tokyo Broadcasting System). In the Tokyo region, channel 6. Affiliated with the Mainichi Shimbun.
  4. Fuji Network System (FNS)/Fuji News Network (FNN) headed by Fuji Television (フジテレビジョン; Fuji TV). Affiliated with the Sankei Shimbun. In the Tokyo region, channel 8.
  5. TV Asahi Network/All-Nippon News Network (ANN) headed by TV asahi (テレビ朝日). Affiliated with the Asahi Shimbun. In the Tokyo region, channel 10.
  6. TV Tokyo Network (TXN) headed by TV TOKYO (テレビ東京). Has ties with the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper. In the Tokyo region, channel 12.

Radio networks

AM radio

  1. NHK Radio 1, NHK Radio 2
  2. Japan Radio Network (JRN)—Flagship Station: TBS radio (TBSラジオ)
  3. National Radio Network (NRN)—Flagship Stations: Nippon Cultural Broadcasting (文化放送) and Nippon Broadcasting System (ニッポン放送)
  4. Radio Nikkei is an independent shortwave station broadcasts nationwide in two content channels.

FM radio

  1. NHK-FM
  2. Japan FM Network (JFN)—Tokyo FM Broadcasting Co.,ltd.
  3. Japan FM LeagueJ-Wave Inc.
  4. MegaNet—FM Interwave (InterFM)

See also


Weekly magazines

Main article: Shūkanshi
  1. Metropolis Magazine Japan's number 1 English magazine Metropolis (メトロポリス).
  2. Aera (アエラ).
  3. Friday (フライデー). Photo magazine.
  4. Josei Jishin (女性自身). For women.
  5. Nikkei Business (日経ビジネス). Economic magazine.
  6. Shuukan Asahi (週刊朝日). Liberal.
  7. Shuuukan Economist (週刊エコノミスト). Economic magazine.
  8. Shuukan Kinyoubi (週刊金曜日). Strong liberal.
  9. Shuukan Bunshun (週刊文春). Conservative.
  10. Shuukan Diamond (週刊ダイヤモンド). Economic magazine.
  11. Shuukan Gendai (週刊現代).
  12. Shuukan Josei (週刊女性). For women.
  13. Shuukan Post (週刊ポスト).
  14. Shuukan Shinchou (週刊新潮). Conservative.
  15. Shuukan Toyo Keizai (週刊東洋経済). Economic magazine.
  16. Spa! (スパ!).
  17. Sunday Mainichi (サンデー毎日). Liberal.
  18. Yomiuri Weekly (読売ウィークリー).

Monthly magazines

  1. Tokyo Weekender Japan's first English magazine.
  2. Bungei Shunjuu (文藝春秋). Conservative, although some say this magazine is middle.
  3. Chuuou Kouron (中央公論). Affiliated with the Yomiuri Shimbun. Conservative.
  4. Gendai (現代). Center.
  5. Ronza (論座). Published by the Asahi Shimbun Company. Liberal.
  6. Seiron (正論). Published by the Sankei Shimbun Company. Right-wing.
  7. Sekai (世界). Liberal.
  8. Shokun! (諸君!, Gentleman!). Strong Conservative.
  9. Ushio (潮). It has a strong connection with Sōka Gakkai.
  10. Todai (灯台). It has a strong connection with Sōka Gakkai.
  11. Fukuoka Now - Monthly multilingual magazine covering Fukuoka and Kyushu.
  12. Axiom Magazine - Online at but a monthly periodical from December 2011

See also


Main article: Japanese newspapers

National papers

  1. Yomiuri Shimbun (読売新聞). Conservative. First ranked in daily circulation at around 10 million per day. The Yomiuri exchanged a special contract with The Times. Affiliated with Nippon Television.
  2. Asahi Shimbun (朝日新聞). Left of center or liberal. Second ranked in daily circulation at around 8 million copies per day. Known for its preeminent writers as well as the frequency with which its articles are used for university admission examinations. Affiliated with TV Asahi.
  3. Mainichi Shimbun (毎日新聞). Liberal. Third ranked in daily circulation—around 4 million per day. Affiliated with Tokyo Broadcasting System.
  4. Nikkei Shimbun (日本経済新聞). Economic paper similar to the Wall Street Journal. Fourth ranked in daily circulation at around 3 million copies per day. Affiliated with TV Tokyo.
  5. Sankei Shimbun (産経新聞). Right-wing or conservative, pro-American and anti-Chinese newspaper. Sixth ranked in daily circulation at around 2 million copies per day. Known as the nationalist's newspaper and upheld formidably by the right. Affiliated with Fuji Television.

Regional papers

The Tokyo Shimbun (東京新聞) in Kanto and Chunichi Shimbun (中日新聞) in Chūbu are both owned by the Chunichi company and have a cumulative circulation that places them fourth nationally. Other nationally-known regional papers include Nishinippon Shimbun (西日本新聞) in Kyushu, Hokkaido Shimbun (北海道新聞) in Hokkaido, Kahoku Shimpo (河北新報) in Tohoku.

Specialty papers

Among niche newspapers are publications like the widely-circulated Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (The Business and Technology Daily News); the new religious movement Sōka Gakkai's daily Seikyo Shimbun (聖教新聞); and Shimbun Akahata (しんぶん赤旗), the daily organ of the Japanese Communist Party. Other niches include papers devoted entirely to predicting the results of horse races. One of the best-known papers in the genre is Keiba Book (競馬ブック). Shukan Go (週刊碁) is a weekly newspaper that covers the results of professional Go tournaments and contains hints on go strategy.

As with other countries, surveys tend to show that the number of newspaper subscribers is declining, a trend which is expected to continue.

Bias in Japanese newspapers

There are increasing concerns about media bias in Japanese newspapers, and the mainstream mass media in general. This can be best exemplified by a large demonstration in Tokyo on 5 November 2010.[2] "Mass Media" (Masu-komi or マスコミ in Japanese) are often colloquially referred to as "Mass garbage" (Masu-gomi or マスゴミ)[3] and the roles of supposedly 'neutral' mainstream journalists have been called into question, especially in their coverage of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant crisis following the earthquake and tsunami disaster on 11 March 2011.[3] While media bias is nothing new, and can be seen elsewhere in the world, Japanese media often deliberately conceal their bias and boast about their supposed 'political neutrality.[4] Media bias largely stems from structural issues that also plague much of other aspects of politics and economy in contemporary Japan. Kazuo Hizumi, a journalist turned lawyer, details these structural problems in his book, “Masukomi wa naze masugomi to yobareru no ka?” (Why is mass communication media called mass garbage?), which argues that a complex network of institutions, such as elite bureaucrats, judiciary, education system, law enforcement, and large established corporations, all of whom stand to gain from maintaining the status quo, shapes the mass media and communication in a way that controls Japanese politics and discourage critical thinking in Japanese people.[5]

Key stations: television and radio

In Japan, there are five broadcasting stations which take the lead in the network of commercial broadcasting. The five stations are Nippon Television, Tokyo Broadcasting System, Fuji Television, TV Asahi, and TV Tokyo. Their head offices are in Tokyo, and they are called zaikyō kī kyoku (在京キー局, Key stations in Tokyo) or kī kyoku (キー局, Key stations).

The key stations make news shows and entertainment programs, and wholesale them to local broadcasting stations through the networks. Although local broadcasting stations also manufacture programs, the usage of the key stations is very large, and 55.7% of the TV program total sales in the 2002 fiscal year (April 2002 to March 2003) were sold by the key stations. Furthermore, the networks are strongly connected with newspaper publishing companies, and they influence the media very strongly. For this reason, they are often criticized.

In addition, there is CS broadcasting and Internet distribution by the subsidiaries of the key stations. The definition of key station has changed a little in recent years.


In Japan, every broadcasting company (except NHK and Radio Nikkei) which performs terrestrial television broadcasts has an appointed broadcast region. In Article 2 of the Japanese Broadcasting Law (放送法), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications defines the fixed zone where the broadcast of the same program for every classification of broadcast is simultaneously receivable. So, the broadcasting company constructs a network with other regions, and with this network establishes the exchange of news or programs. The broadcasting companies which send out many programs to these networks are called key stations.

Presently the broadcasting stations located in Tokyo send out the programs for the whole country. However, although TOKYO MX is in the Tokyo region, it is only an Tokyo region UHF independent station.

Broadcasting stations in Nagoya and other areas are older than those in Tokyo. However, in order to meet the large costs of making programs key stations were established in Tokyo to sell programs nationwide. Some local stations have a higher profit ratio since they can merely buy programs from the networks.

Sub-key stations

Since the broadcasting stations which assign the head offices in Kansai region (especially in Osaka) have a program supply frame at prime time etc. and sent out many programs subsequently to kī kyoku, they are called jun kī kyoku (準キー局,sub-key stations).

List of key stations

Media Network Kī kyoku (Kantō) Jun kī kyoku (Kinki) Kikan kyoku (Chūkyō) Ref.
Terrestrial television Nippon News Network
Nippon Television (NTV) Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation (ytv) Chūkyō Television Broadcasting (CTV) [6]
Japan News Network
Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) Mainichi Broadcasting System (MBS) Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting (CBC) [7]
Fuji News Network
Fuji Television (CX) Kansai Telecasting Corporation (KTV) Tōkai Television Broadcasting (THK) [8]
All-Nippon News Network
TV Asahi (EX) Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Nagoya Broadcasting Network (Mētere・NBN) [7]
TV Tokyo Network
TV Tokyo (TX) Television Osaka (TVO) Aichi Television Broadcasting (TVA) [9]
AM Radio Japan Radio Network
TBS Radio & Communications (TBS R&C) Mainichi Broadcasting System (MBS)
Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting (CBC) [10]
National Radio Network
Nippon Cultural Broadcasting (QR)
Nippon Broadcasting System (LF)
Mainichi Broadcasting System (MBS)
Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
Osaka Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Osaka, OBC)
Tokai Radio Broadcasting (SF) [10]
FM Radio JFN Tokyo FM fm osaka FM Aichi [11]
InterFMFM CocoloRadio-i [13]


It is criticized that the key stations are governing the local broadcasting stations with the power of the networks. [14]

Advertising agencies

  1. Dentsu (電通). The largest advertising agency in Japan, and the fourth-largest world-wide. Dentsu has an enormous presence in television and other media, and has strong ties to the legislative branch of government.
  2. Hakuhodo (博報堂). The second-largest Japanese advertising agency.
  3. Asatsu-DK (アサツー ディ・ケイ). The third-largest Japanese advertising agency.

Wire services

  1. Jiji Press (時事通信).
  2. Kyodo News (共同通信).

See also


External links

  • Unofficial Guide to Japanese mass-media
  • , 27 March 2001.
  • , 17 April 2001.
  • Brief history of TV Technology in Japan by NHK
  • Japanese TV Shows Online
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