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

By Jayson Makoto Chun

This ebook bargains a background 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 eastern pop culture, but in addition the japanese social and political panorama. in the course of 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 identification of postwar Japan through the period of high-speed development (1955-1973) that observed Japan reworked into an monetary strength and one of many world's best exporters of tv programming.

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Would this consumer culture fit with the austere official imperial culture? During the reign of the Taisho Emperor (1912–1926) and the prewar years of the Showa emperor (1926–1989) until 1945, government officials made efforts to subordinate the nation-wide media culture to the national imperial culture. With the rise of military rule in Japan, the government recognized the need to forge the people into a highly disciplined national community. Recognizing the threat of an independent mass culture, with Japan’s invasion of China in 1937, the military-dominated government cracked down on conspicuous consumption and implemented the Prewar Roots of Japanese Television Culture 21 rationing of goods, although the management of a war economy was also a chief reason for these measures.

The through government control of the airwaves meant the complete victory of the government’s plan to associate the “public” with the state, rather than society. 33 Radio definitely played a key role in this subordination of the private to the public (state) interest. The state held such a great faith in the power of radio to communicate with its subjects that a national policy was instituted to provide every Japanese with access to a receiver. 34 Although the beginning of a full-fledged war with the Chinese meant in increasing diversion of national funds toward the war effort, Japan’s television research still managed to make great strides.

25 But proponents of TV development saw something more valuable than human 28 “A Nation of a Hundred Million Idiots”? progress at stake, namely national pride. The presence of a national TV system also marked the level of a nation’s culture, and the Japanese could not fall behind other nations such as Britain, America, Germany, Poland, Sweden, France, Soviet Union, or Czechoslovakia that were developing television systems. The Japanese press also reported on these overseas developments in television.

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