'A Nation of a Hundred Million Idiots'?: A Social History of by Jayson Makoto Chun

By Jayson Makoto Chun

This ebook deals a heritage of jap tv audiences and the preferred media tradition that tv helped to spawn. In a relatively brief interval, the tv helped to reconstruct not just postwar jap pop culture, but additionally the japanese social and political panorama. throughout the early years of tv, eastern of all backgrounds, from politicians to moms, debated the results on society. the general public discourse surrounding the expansion of tv published its function in forming the id of postwar Japan throughout the period of high-speed development (1955-1973) that observed Japan remodeled into an financial energy and one of many world's best exporters of tv programming.

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Additional resources for 'A Nation of a Hundred Million Idiots'?: A Social History of Japanese Television, 1953-1973 (East Asia: History, Politics, Sociology, Culture)

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Dialect differences, government taboos on openly talking about surrender and a lack of visual cues that TV would’ve provided made it difficult to transmit information to people nationwide. In this sense, radio by 1945 had not created a truly national culture that could unite Japanese in a moment of simultaneity. Postwar television owed much to the prewar legacies of radio, one of the first carriers of the postwar mass culture. The prewar and wartime years saw this broadcast medium become an established part of Japanese life, so when television made its debut in 1953, most Japanese had already been exposed to the paradigms of broadcasting.

Mizukoshi Shin cites historians who claim there were already some 50,000 individual radio operators in Japan, with 15,000 in the Tokyo area at the time of the JOAK broadcasts, who both listened to and transmitted broadcasts to each other. These early radio operators were fairly autonomous and beyond the reach of the state, posing a possible threat to the official imperial ideology. Private amateur broadcasting died out when the government began to root out local radio transmitters, replacing them with all-encompassing, central transmitting organizations such as JOAK, which were easy to censor and monitor.

Prewar officials labeled foreign imports like socialism and western music as contrary to the empire. Yet, in the confusing cultural atmosphere of the 1950s, one poll revealed that Western-style jazz singers evidenced a high degree of support for the emperor system. And how could one explain other cultural contradictions: the rockabilly singer who performed at a Shinto shrine, or the band of leftist laborers in a May Day demonstration who ended the day by furling their red flag and watching the nationalistic film, The Emperor Meiji and the Great Russo-Japanese War, which glorified imperial expansion?

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