- Freedom of speech and the press is guaranteed by the constitution of Japan as a fundamental human right. Japan’s high literacy rate and its people’s thirst for new and stimulating information have sustained the mass media’s appeal.Today there are more than 100 newspapers published in Japan, including five national dailies (Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun and Nihon Keizai Shimbun), and a variety of regional and industrial papers – greater than 90% of which are delivered to regular subscribers. These five newspapers account for a combined daily circulation of around 25 million copies per day, with the Yomiuri Shimbun having the largest daily circulation in the world with greater than 8 million copies. There are also more than 3,000 magazine titles in Japan with a total annual distribution of nearly 4 billion copies. In fact, the average Japanese person buys more than 30 magazines per year, and this trend may continue to balloon with new magazines focused on niche interests, despite the international trend towards digital reading.
Of the more than 100 newspapers that are published across Japan each day, only three are English language, the Daily Yomiuri, the International Herald Tribune/Asahi Shimbun, and the Japan Times. All three newspapers are available for direct subscription, and can be purchased at some convenience stores, train station “kiosks”, and bookstores.
The Daily Yomiuri (http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/), published by its Japanese sister publication, the Yomiuri Shimbun, is a 24-page newspaper that offers a balance of domestic and international news with translated stories from the Yomiuri Shimbun, and original articles written by the publication’s staff writers. The publication also provides a daily international news page from the Washington Post, and special weekly coverage from the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post.
The International Herald Tribune/Asahi (http://www.asahi.com/english/index.html) combines the breadth and depth of the reporting in the International Herald Tribune with translated stories from the Asahi Shimbun. The IHT/Asahi, as it is sometimes referred to, does not provide as extensive reporting on Japan as the Daily Yomiuri or the Japan Times offer, instead the publication supplies unparalleled coverage and analysis on what is happening around the world, with 4 to 6 pages dedicated to Japanese affairs.
The Japan Times (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/) is a 16 to 18 page newspaper that offers a balance of domestic and international news through partnerships with international news agencies and newspapers. The publication also includes commentary from opinion leaders across a variety of fields in satisfying diverse interests.
Where to Find International News
While many expats in Japan rely on Amazon.com (or the online store’s Japanese branch – Amazon.co.jp) for the latest English releases, books and other reading material in English (and other languages) can be found at dozens of bookstores across the city. Maruzen’s store in Marunouchi has one of the largest foreign collections in Japan as does Kinokuniya’s main store in Shinjuku.
Marunouchi OAZO Building
Kinokuniya Main Store