A History of the Local Newspaper in Japan

Authored by: Anthony S. Rausch

The Routledge Companion to Local Media and Journalism

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815375364
eBook ISBN: 9781351239943
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines the trajectory of the Japanese newspaper, outlining the arc of the major titles while concentrating in depth on the diverse and varied histories of the country’s many local newspapers. The chapter begins with the birth of Japanese newspapers in the mid-nineteenth century and the establishment of their modern versions in the pre-Second World War period. While many local newspapers were established in the 30 years preceding the start of the twentieth century, it was in the post-war period when they emerged as champions of citizens’ rights. During and after the period of high economic growth in the 1960s and 1970s, national but in particular local newspapers increasingly came to take on adversarial roles as industrialization and social changes influenced Japan, both urban and rural, in negative ways. More recently, local print media in Japan has enjoyed a path distinct from the general demise of print media, as both local newspapers and the emergent town magazines thrive in their local settings. By focusing on the historical trajectory and linking it to contemporary developments, this examination of the local newspaper in Japan makes a contribution to our understanding of local media and journalism.

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