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Encyclopedia > Japanese Television and Radio

In Japan, as with most countries, there are television and radio networks. 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).

Since around 70% of the country's terrain is mountainous, transmitting TV and radio signals proves to be a large challenge. Government regulations for broadcasting are also extremely complicated and strict, resulting in a comparatively small number of stations for such a large population. Nationwide there are about 89 FM stations and 215 AM stations. The other 855 stations are low power repeaters to reach valleys and secluded areas. With television this is even more so, with 211 stations and 7341 repeaters. Japanese AM is the same as in many Western nations (530 to 1600 kHz), but their FM is from 76 to 90 MHz, resulting not only in a very limited number of possible stations, but any FM radio receivers from outside Japan are all but useless.

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

There are no all-English TV channels except for cable and satellite. In areas near US military bases there is often the American Forces Network radio which anyone can tune in to.


TV networks

Threre are 6 nationwide television networks, as follows:

  1. NHK (日本放送協会 Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai). Japanese public broadcast network. Its revenue comes from "viewer fees". Because NHK is a publical broadcast network, the standpoint of NHK is impartial. In reality, NHK deliberately avoids making political comments. Hence, some say NHK usually does not contribute to journalism but some feel that plays a role in conveying reliable information at least. NHK has 2 TV channnels, unlike the other TV networks (in the Tokyo region - channel 1 ("Sōgō" (General)) and channel 3 ("Kyoiku" (Education)).
  2. Nippon TV (日本テレビ放送網/日テレ Nihon-Terebi/Nittere). Conservative. In Tokyo region, channel 4. Affiliated with the Yomiuri Shimbun. Considered the Japanese equivalent of Fox News.
  3. TBS (東京放送 Tōkyō Hōsō, Tokyo Broadcasting System). Middle or Middle/Liberal of the political spectrum. However, the famous news program "Chikushi Tetsuya's News 23" is sometimes regarded as a "liberal" program. The main anchor of this program, "Chikushi Tetsuya," is the translator of David Halberstam's "The Powers That Be." He is also influenced by the attitude of CBS News, e.g. 60 Minutes). In Tokyo region, channel 6. Considered the Japanese equivalent of CBS.
  4. Fuji Television (フジテレビジョン). Rightist and Conservative. Affiliated with the Fujisankei Communications conglomerate, which includes the Sankei Shimbun. In Tokyo region, channel 8.
  5. TV Asahi (テレビ朝日). Liberal. Affiliated with the Asahi Shimbun. It had a famous TV news program titled "News Station." It has led by main caster Hiroshi Kume for 18 years, and it ended its program run on March 26, 2004. In Tokyo region, channel 10.
  6. TV Tokyo (テレビ東京). Focuses on the news in Tokyo region as well as economic news. In Tokyo region, channel 12.

The political views of the networks can be summarized as follows:

Summary of the Political Standpoint of TV Networks
Left Strong Liberal Liberal Middle/Liberal Middle Middle/Conservative Conservative Strong Conservative Right
TV Asahi TBS NHK TV Tokyo (or middle) Nippon TV Fuji Television

N.B.: Opinion could especially be different on the absolute degree in respect to liberal or conservative. In this sense, this chart serves to show relative (political) position of TV networks. This disclaimer could also apply to the charts for newspapers and magazines mentioned below.

In Japan, cable TV and multi-channnel satellite TV are less popular than in the United States. Therefore, these 6 TV networks share almost the whole of the viewers in Japan (population 120 million, and 45 million households). As a consequence of this oligopoly, it is not unusual when a specific TV program gets 20% of audience appreciation rating. As well, advertisements and other messages are very effective at reaching citizens. In this sense, TV as a medium has a strong power.

Despite this, Japan does have both cable television (in many communities) and satellite television. The latter includes broadcasts by NHK, Wowow, and Sky PerfecTV.

There are local TV stations (most of them are affiliated companies of the above-mentioned nationwide TV networks), but in light of their small presence, they are not of significant note.

Radio networks

AM radio

  1. NHK Radio 1, NHK Radio 2
  2. Japan Radio Network --- TBS radio
  3. National Radio Network --- Nippon Cultural Broadcasting inc.(文化放送) and Nippon Broadcasting System(ニッポン放送)

FM radio

  1. NHK-FM
  2. Japan FM Network --- Tokyo FM Broadcasting Co.,ltd.
  3. Japan FM League --- J-WAVE Inc.
  4. Mega net --- FM Interwave(Inter-FM)


Weekly magazines

  1. AERA.
  2. Friday (magazine). Photo magazine.
  3. Josei Jishin. For women.
  4. Nikkei Business. Economic magazine.
  5. Shuukan Asahi.
  6. Shuukan Economist. Economic magazine.
  7. Shuukan Kinyoubi. Strong liberal.
  8. Shuukan Bunshun. Conservative.
  9. Shuukan Diamond. Economic magazine.
  10. Shuukan Gendai.
  11. Shuukan Josei. For women.
  12. Shuukan Post.
  13. Shuukan Shinchou. Conservative.
  14. Shuukan Toyo Keizai. Economic magazine.
  15. Spa!.
  16. Sunday Mainichi.
  17. Touyou Keizai. Economic magazine. It has long history and reliable.
  18. Yomiuri Weekly.

Monthly magazines

  1. Bungei Shunjuu. Conservative, although some say this magazine is middle.
  2. Chuuou Kouron. Middle,or Conservative.
  3. Gendai. Middle.
  4. Sekai. Strong Liberal.
  5. Shokun (Gentleman!). Strong Conservative.
  6. Ushio. It has a strong connection with Soka Gakkai.


Summary of the Political Standpoint of Newspapers
Left Strong Liberal Liberal Middle/Liberal Middle Middle/Conservative Conservative Strong Conservative Right
Akahata Asahi Shimbun Mainichi Shimbun Nihon Keizai Shimbun (the editorial writers and leading writers tend to convey a more conservative sense of values.) Yomiuri Shimbun Sankei Shimbun

n.b.: owing to its connection to the Komeito (New Clean Government Party), Seikyou Shimbun changes its position in line with the position of the party (for example, it changes its position depending upon whether the Komeito is one of the ruling parties or not).

  1. Asahi Shimbun (朝日新聞). Liberal. Affiliated with TV Asahi. Known for its preeminent writers as well as the frequency with which its articles are used for universityu admission examinations. 2nd ranked in daily circulation -- around 8 million per day.
  2. Yomiuri Shimbun (読売新聞). Conservative. 1st ranked in daily circulation -- around 10 million per day. Affiliated with Nippon TV.
  3. Sankei Shimbun (産経新聞). Rightist and Conservative. Affiliated with Fuji TV. Known as the nationalist's paper and upheld formidably by the right.
  4. Mainichi Shimbun (毎日新聞). Middle. 3rd ranked in daily circulation -- around 3 million. Affiliated with TBS. Centrist point of view.
  5. Seikyo Shimbun (聖教新聞). Religious paper of Soka Gakkai and its political arm, the Komeito.
  6. Akahata (しんぶん赤旗). Official organ of the Japan Communist Party.
  7. Nihon Keizai Shimbun (日本経済新聞). Economic paper similar to the Wall Street Journal. 4th ranked in daily circulation -- around 3 million. Affiliated with TV Tokyo.

There are also regional newspapers like the Chunichi Shimbun (中日新聞)in Chubu, Nishi Nihon Shinbun(西日本新聞) in Kyushu, Hokkaido Shimbun(北海道新聞)in Hokkaido, Kahoku Shimpo(河北新報)in Tohoku, and English versions of the 5 major newspapers. The Japan Times is the only newspaper exclusively for English speakers. As with other countries, surveys tend to show that the number of newspaper subscribers is declining. This trend will probably continue for some time.

Advertising agencies

These play an important role in the Japanese mass media. There are two big advertisement agencies in Japan.

  1. Dentsu. Largest Japanese advertising agency (4th worldwide). It has an enormous presence, especially in TV media. This company went public in November 2001. This company also has a strong connection to the legislative branch of Japan. Website: Dentsu (http://www.dentsu.co.jp/)
  2. Hakuhodo. 2nd largest Japanese advertising agency.

Wire service

  1. Jiji Tsushin.
  2. Kyodo Tsushin.

External links

  • Unofficial Guide to Japanese mass-media (http://www.kanzaki.com/jpress/newspaper.html)
  • Japan Media Review (http://ojr.org/japan/home/section.php)
  • Companion website to the book A Public Betrayed: An Inside Look at Japanese Media Atrocities and Their Warnings to the West (ISBN: 0895260468) (http://www.apublicbetrayed.com)

  Results from FactBites:
NHK - Encyclopedia, History, Geography and Biography (692 words)
Radio Tokyo and Radio Japan are informal English names, referring to NHK's original role as a radio broadcaster.
NHK was founded in 1926, modelled on the BBC radio company of the United Kingdom.
A second radio network was started in 1931 and a shortwave service broadcasting to listeners overseas began in 1935.
Japan - Facts, Information, and Encyclopedia Reference article (4996 words)
Japanese society is ethnically and linguistically homogeneous, with small populations of primarily Okinawans (1.5 million), North and South Koreans (1 million), Chinese and Taiwanese (0.5 million), Filipinos (0.5 million), and Brazilians — mostly of Japanese descent — (250,000), as well as the indigenous Ainu minority in Hokkaido.
Japanese citizenship is conferred on an infant when a family member registers the infant's birth in the family registry held by a neighborhood ward office.
The Japanese population is rapidly aging, the effect of a post-war baby boom followed by a decrease in births as the country modernized in the latter part of the 20th century (notable aspects including the shift from agricultural to urban lifestyles and the increasing tendency for women to remain in the workplace).
  More results at FactBites »



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