1st Edition

Press Freedom in Contemporary Japan

Edited By Jeff Kingston Copyright 2017
    336 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    336 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In twenty-first century Japan there are numerous instances of media harassment, intimidation, censorship and self-censorship that undermine the freedom of the press and influence how the news is reported. Since Abe returned to power in 2012, the recrudescence of nationalism under his leadership has emboldened right-wing activists and organizations targeting liberal media outlets, journalists, peace museums and ethnic Korean residents in Japan. This ongoing culture war involves the media, school textbooks, constitutional revision, pacifism and security doctrine.

    This text is divided into five sections that cover:

    • Politics of press freedom;
    • The legal landscape;
    • History and culture;
    • Marginalization;
    • PR, public diplomacy and manipulating opinion.

    Press Freedom in Contemporary Japan brings together contributions from an international and interdisciplinary line-up of academics and journalists intimately familiar with the current climate, in order to discuss and evaluate these issues and explore potential future outcomes. It is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand contemporary Japan and the politics of freedom of expression and transparency in the Abe era. It will appeal to students, academics, Japan specialists, journalists, legal scholars, historians, political scientists, sociologists, and those engaged in human rights, media studies and Asian Studies.

    Introduction, Jeff Kingston

    Part I: The Politics of Press Freedom

    1. Media Muzzling under the Abe Administration, Aurelia George Mulgan

    2. The Right-Wing Media and the Rise of Illiberal Politics in Japan, Koichi Nakano

    3. A Pooch After All? The Asahi Shimbun’s Foiled Foray into Watchdog Journalism, Martin Fackler

    4. The Hatoyama Administration and the Outing of the Establishment Media, Michael Penn

    5. NHK: The Changing and Unchanged Politics of Semi-Independence, S. Ellis Krauss

    6. Abe and Press Oppression: Guilty, Not Guilty or Not Proven? Michael Thomas Cucek

    Part II: Legal Landscape

    7. Chilling Effects on News Reporting in Japan’s "Anonymous Society", Lawrence Repeta and Sawa Yasuomi

    8. Japan’s Designated Secrets Law, Arthur Stockwin

    9. State Secrets and Freedom of the Press in Japan, Kenta Yamada

    Part III: History and Culture wars

    10. Press Freedom Under Fire: "Comfort Women", the Asahi Affair and Uemura Takashi, Yamaguchi Tomomi

    11. Letter Campaigns, the Japanese Media, and the Effort to Censor History, Alexis Dudden

    12. Remanufacturing Consent: History, Nationalism and Popular Culture in Japan, David McNeill 

    13. NHK, War-related Television, and the Politics of Fairness, Philip Seaton

    14. Pointing the Bone: A Personal Account of Media Repression in Japan, Gregory Clark

    15. Tabloid nationalism and racialism in Japan, Mark Schreiber and William Wetherall

    Part IV: Marginalization

    16. Media Marginalization and Vilification of Minorities in Japan, Debito Arudou

    17. Media Side-lines the sit-in protest in Takae, Okinawa, Akihiro Ogawa

    18. A Historical Perspective on Press Freedom in Okinawa, Yoshimoto Hideko

    Part V: PR, Public Diplomacy and Manipulating Opinion

    19. Spin over Substance? The PR Strategies of Vladimir Putin and Abe Shinzo, Tina Burrett

    20. Japan’s Global Information War: Propaganda, Free Speech and Opinion Control Since 3/11, Nancy Snow

    21. The Japan Lobby, Press Freedom and Public Diplomacy, Jeff Kingston


    Jeff Kingston is Professor of History and Director of Asian Studies at Temple University, Japan. He is the author of Japan's Quiet Transformation (2004) and Contemporary Japan (2011).