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Japanese Television’s Contribution to TourismUchiyama Takashi

Japanese television shows are increasingly being aired overseas, including traditional over-the-air broadcasts and online distribution services. This growth in Japanese-made programing has helped build interest in Japan in foreign countries and is playing a role in Japan’s ongoing tourism boom.

Japan Top Court Finds NHK Fee System Constitutional (News)

Tokyo, Dec. 6 (Jiji Press)—Japan's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a provision of the Broadcast Act requiring television set owners to sign subscription contracts with Japan Broadcasting Corp., or NHK, is constitutional. It is the first time that the top court has made a judgment on the constitutionality of the law provision. The court's Grand Bench, led by Chief Justice Terada Itsurō, al…

Sympathy for the Monsters: Ultraman’s Minority Perspective

Ultraman is a perennial favorite, loved by generations of children for more than 50 years. We spoke to Uehara Shōzō, one of the scriptwriters from the series’ earliest days, who applied his outsider perspective as an Okinawan in creating some of the show’s more morally complex episodes.

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.

Yano Kōji: The Japanese Actor Who’s Big in China

Actor Yano Kōji is one of the most popular Japanese people in China. After starting his career with repeated roles as Japanese soldiers in World War II dramas, he diversified into other roles and appears regularly on a popular Chinese variety show. Now he plans to return to Japan, but still wants to maintain a link with his Chinese fans.

Will TV Be Dethroned as Japan’s Entertainment King?

Television in Japan is at a crossroads as the rapid spread of smartphones and tablets has forced a move away from traditional broadcasting. With advertising revenue stagnant, television companies are seeking a new business model for the Internet age.

How NHK Lost Its WayHayashi Kaori

The political independence of NHK, Japan’s public broadcasting behemoth, has come under sharp scrutiny in the wake of controversial comments by its newly appointed president, an Abe appointee. Media scholar Hayashi Kaori explores the ideals that long guided public broadcasting in Japan and the forces that seem to have driven it off course.

How I Learned Japanese: Television and “Manga”Shirin Nezammafi

Iranian-born Shirin Nezammafi arrived in Japan in 1999 and won her first award for Japanese fiction seven years later. In this essay she acknowledges her debt to two important teachers—television and manga.

Big in Beijing: Two Japanese Creative Workers Creating a Stir in ChinaKobayashi Sayuri

Although government-level relations between Japan and China remain tense, growing numbers of Japanese people have put down roots in China and are flourishing at the forefront of their fields. Beijing-based writer Kobayashi Sayuri talks to two of them about the challenges they have faced.

Why is Homosexuality Absent from Japanese Television?Kato Yuko

British theatre fans were pleasantly surprised by the recent news of a new television drama series in the works. The British television channel ITV announced that Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi will play an old, gay couple in a new sitcom series. I found this news wonderful and very interesting. Ian McKellen is one of the most respected actors in the English speaking world. He is known t…

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