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Broadcasting Politics in Japan: NHK Television News
     

Broadcasting Politics in Japan: NHK Television News

by Ellis S. Krauss
 
The aftermath of Japan's 1945 military defeat left its public institutions in a state of deep crisis; virtually every major source of state legitimacy was seriously damaged or wholly remade by the postwar occupation. Between 1960 and 1990, however, these institutions renewed their strength, taking on legitimacy that erased virtually all traces of their postwar

Overview

The aftermath of Japan's 1945 military defeat left its public institutions in a state of deep crisis; virtually every major source of state legitimacy was seriously damaged or wholly remade by the postwar occupation. Between 1960 and 1990, however, these institutions renewed their strength, taking on legitimacy that erased virtually all traces of their postwar instability.How did this transformation come about? This is the question Ellis S. Krauss ponders in Broadcasting Politics in Japan; his answer focuses on the role played by the Japanese mass media and in particular by Japan's national broadcaster, NHK. Since the 1960s, television has been a fixture of the Japanese household, and NHK's TV news has until very recently been the dominant, and most trusted, source of political information for the Japanese citizen. NHK's news style is distinctive among the broadcasting systems of industrialized countries; it emphasizes facts over interpretation and gives unusual priority to coverage of the national bureaucracy. Krauss argues that this approach is not simply a reflection of Japanese culture, but a result of the organization and processes of NHK and their relationship with the state. These factors had profound consequences for the state's postwar re-legitimization, while the commercial networks' recent challenge to NHK has helped engender the wave of cynicism currently faced by the state. Krauss guides the reader through the complex interactions among politics, media organizations, and Japanese journalism to demonstrate how NHK television news became a shaper of Japan's political world, rather than simply a lens through which to view it.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Ellis Krauss analyzes in rich detail the unique relationship between Japan's public broadcasting network—the NHK—and its political system. This book not only advances the West's knowledge about the relationship between journalism and politics in Japan but offers useful lessons about the media that go far beyond the Japanese case."—Foreign Affairs, Vol. 79, No. 4, July/August 2000.

"In this analysis of Japan's public service broadcaster, NHK, Ellis Krauss provides a wonderfully nuanced and detailed example of the ways the mass media and the Japanese state intersect, creating in the process a media product frequently serving the state's interests. . . . Krauss has written an important work, one that contributes greatly to our understanding of the role that specific institutions, norms, and practices as well as historical events have played in delimiting the watchdog function of the Japanese media, especially its public service broadcaster, NHK."—Laurie A. Freeman, University of California, Santa Barbara. Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 28, No. 1 (2002)

"Broadcasting Politics in Japan is one of the best new works on Japanese politics I have read in years, and it deserves a wide audience. . . It is refreshing to find a genuinely creative and original book on Japan that should have broad relevance for research on the press and political legitimacy in general. This is an excellent book, filled with rich detail, sharp insights, and a novel approach."—David Leheny, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Monumenta Nipponica 56:1

"The reader need not accept Krauss's conclusions to derive great benefit from reading this book."—Nathaniel B. Thayer, Johns Hopkins University. Political Science Quarterly, Spring 2001

"This is unambiguously an academic work, but also immensely readable. He amusingly distinguishes four types of mass media functions: those of watchdog, guard dog, guide dog and lapdog. . . . The book includes an entertaining section on successive NHK presidents."—J.A.A. Stockwin, University of Oxford. Japanese Studies, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2001

"Krauss's book is a rare model of how research should be done—i.e. grounded in theory and executed systematically, longitudinally, and comparatively. . . . Krauss includes both English and Japanese sources to fully document what must be considered the most thoroughly researched book to date (in English) on Japanese broadcasting."—Choice, January 2001

"Broadcasting Politics in Japan is a major scholarly achievement. For a long time I have felt that the study of television needs to be rescued from both the American behaviorists and the European postmodernists. To my mind this work in many ways fills the bill. It is an important book about Japan and even more so, it is an important book about politics."—Harvey B. Feigenbaum, George Washington University

"This is a superb original study of the world's biggest broadcasting company, Japan's NHK. Sophisticated comparisons run throughout the book, making it mandatory reading for social scientists who work on broadcasting both in Japan and in other countries. Ellis Krauss has made a major contribution to research on Japanese politics as well as to the broader literature on the politics of the mass media."—Gregory J. Kasza, Indiana University

"NHK, Japan's BBC, faithfully reports official statements despite legal guarantees that protect its independence. Ellis Krauss asks why. In this fascinating and highly readable book on the politics of public broadcasting, Krauss opens an enticing new window on Japanese politics."—Susan J. Pharr, Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics, Harvard University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801437489
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
07/01/2000
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

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