Media and Politics in Japan ペーパーバック – 1996/2/1
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Japan is one of the most media-saturated societies in the world. The circulations of its "big five" national newspapers dwarf those of any major American newspaper. Its public service broadcasting agency, NHK, is second only to the BBC in size. And it has a full range of commercial television stations, high-brow and low-brow magazines, and a large anti-mainstream media and mini-media.
Japanese elites rate the mass media as the most influential group in Japanese society. But what role do they play in political life? Whose interests do the media serve? Are the media mainly servants of the state, or are they watchdogs on behalf of the public? And what effects do the media have on the political beliefs and behavior of ordinary Japanese people?
These questions are the focus of this collection of essays by leading political scientists, sociologists, social psychologists, and journalists. Japan's unique kisha (press) club system, its powerful media business organizations, the uses of the media by Japan's wily bureaucrats, and the role of the media in everything from political scandals to shaping public opinion, are among the many subjects of this insightful and provocative book.
"Media and Politics in Japan" is a textbook style collection of essays that were collected as a project for studying the news media in Japan, an entity infamously threaded with the government, to a point where it is difficult to separate them.
The essays deal with such issues as the kissha clubs, the reporter clubs attached to political parties, such as the dominate LDP. At the clubs, reporters and politicians drink and gossip together, ensuring the the reporters know every detail, even while "requesting" that they print only official statements. Reporters purposely ditch stories in order to maintain this symbiotic relationship. Also highlighted is the use of images in Japanese news, as well as the coverage of violent news, and the different vocabulary used for violence within Japan and that on foreign shores.
There are several innovative and interesting articles, each providing one more facet of the strange image of Japanese media/politics. Japanese media as the trickster, for instance, plays off of the anthropological trickster character as one who gets things moving within a society.
A fascinating study, although not for casual readers by any means. "Media and Politics in Japan" is not meant for casual readers, and is best used in context with a course on the subject.