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

By Jayson Makoto Chun

This ebook bargains a heritage of eastern 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 printed its function in forming the identification of postwar Japan throughout the period of high-speed progress (1955-1973) that observed Japan reworked into an monetary strength and one of many world's most sensible exporters of tv programming.

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1 Surprisingly, this concept of an emperor-centered nation had only come about as a fairly recent invention in Japanese history. Historically, with a few exceptions, emperors only had strictly symbolic powers and were out of the popular eye. Therefore, the Meiji government needed to relentlessly drill the emperor’s role into the minds of the Japanese people. The Constitution of 1889 defined sovereignty as emanating from the emperor. Schoolchildren stood at attention every morning to hear the Meiji Emperor’s Imperial Rescript on Education of 1890, a collection of admonitions on morality, read to them by school authorities.

The prewar Japanese press gushed over the most striking aspect of television, its ability to traverse long distances and bring exotic locales into the home. 26 “A Nation of a Hundred Million Idiots”? The thought of TV, with its appeal to the visual and aural senses, seemed nothing short of miraculous to early Japanese writers. An article in King Magazine in 1927, which reported on Baird’s and Bell Laboratory’s public exhibitions of television, portrayed TV, translated into Japanese as “musenenshi” (far-seeing wireless), as an extraordinary device: You can freely view through use of this television device even the sight of a Venice evening, a scene of London, a Swiss lakeside, or even as far as an ice field at the North and South Pole.

41 Shiga’s experience reveals both the potential and limitations of radio as a nationwide medium. First, the custom of daily broadcasting and group listening had conditioned Japanese to taking in information during moments of national simultaneity. In this sense, Japanese had been exposed to broadcasting, and so could easily adapt their experiences with radio to television. However, radio had limits in creating moments of national simultaneity. First of all, the people had listened to a prerecording of Emperor’s voice, not a live broadcast.

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