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The Olympics: Politicized Games That Serve as a Civilizing ForceSatō Takumi

The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang this year provided a showcase for the recent thaw in relations between the two Koreas. Some complain about politicization of the Olympics, but the games cannot be divorced from politics; what is important is their positive effect as a civilizing force.

Japan’s Media: Facing Public Indifference More than DistrustHayashi Kaori

The term “fake news” has gained global currency, and distrust in both the conventional media and online news sources is on the rise. But in Japan, unlike elsewhere, media organs generally avoid controversy and partisanship, making the major concern not public distrust but public indifference.

Journalists in Toyama Ferret Out Shady Payments to Local Legislators

Investigative reporting by local media organs was instrumental in forcing 14 Toyama municipal assembly members to resign after it was revealed that they had filed falsified expense claims. interviewed the key journalists who covered the scandal—and who hope that citizens will henceforth pay more attention to local government affairs.

How the Media Shaped Sumō’s Modern TraditionsJames Singleton

Sumō boasts an impressive history that by some accounts stretches back 2,000 years. Nearly every aspect of the sport—from the dress and customs of wrestlers to the elaborate rituals performed at tournaments—appears to date from antiquity. However, many facets of sumō familiar to fans today emerged in modern times. Waseda University Professor Lee Thompson, during a recent talk at the Internation…

Seeking the True State of Online OpinionKimura Tadamasa

Online discourse is often disproportionately represented by a repetitive stream of extremist comments. To determine what online opinion really is, it is necessary to take a closer look.

The Internet, Media, and Public Opinion in JapanKimura Tadamasa

A Japanese perspective on media in the Internet age, considering how public opinion is formed today.

Australian Students Visit as Part of Media and Politics Staff

On September 6, was honored to host members of the Australian National University’s inaugural Media and Politics in Japan study tour. ANU Associate Lecturer James Giggacher and nine ANU undergraduate students traveled to Japan on a two-week program to explore how Japanese media engages with national and local political issues. They were joined on the tour by a group from Ritsumeikan Uni…

Between Consenting Adults: Japan’s Incongruous Celebrity Sex ScandalsSechiyama Kaku

In the first few months of 2016, Japan’s weekly scandal sheets blew the lid off the sexual affairs of several well-known figures, forcing them to withdraw from public life. Comparative sociologist Sechiyama Kaku questions this ritual of public shaming for behavior that the law regards as a matter of private discretion.

The “Inconvenient Truth” Behind Japan’s Toothless MediaOkumura Nobuyuki

Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Takaichi Sanae caused a stir in February with a comment that broadcasters continuing to air politically biased programs may be shut down. Pressure from the Abe administration continues to mount, but the media has been hesitant to fight back.

The Polarization of the Japanese Media and the Need for Middle GroundSatō Takumi

Japanese newspapers are said to have become polarized in their coverage of controversial issues like the recent national security legislation. How does their current approach compare with their stance in 1960, when renewal of the Japan-US security treaty split the nation? And what is their role in the age of the Internet, where people are unlikely to seek content that conflicts with their own opinions?

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