Voices
in
Japan

have your say

What do you think are some of the main differences between the way Japanese and Western media report the news?

46 Comments

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

46 Comments
Login to comment

One difference lies in the question itself. There is an implication that the Croatian media are the same as the Mexican media.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Japanese news articles often read like press releases. Often items from the Yomiuri, Mainichi, Asahi contain the exact information, no more, no less, strictly in line with the info dished by the authorities at the kisha club.

For example, for crime, they stick to the police lexicon, like "stimulants." Ask the reporter what kind of uppers the suspect was caught with, and they won't know. Their "news" is handed to them by the authorities. If the reporters diverge a bit, they can be punished by both the authorities or their own bosses.

Science reporting is really bad, since the beats are assigned to the newspaper employees, nearly none of whom have any science background.

22 ( +26 / -4 )

Japanese news has too many stickers being peeled off boards, too many miniature models, too many 'experts' that go unchallenged, too many animated recreations.

I think there is also a cultural element. In the west, if you don't have an opinion on a news story, people will assume that you don't really understand it. With this in mind, western news will usually start with a basic and cursory overview of the facts and instead focus on providing a few points of view and opposing opinions, or focus on the future implications of a news story.

In Japan on the otherhand, an opinion isn't critically important, a cold and basic understanding of the facts is enough. So Japanese news seems to explain the basic details about what has already happened and exactly why it happened. Japanese mainstream news is more limited and usually just serves to confirm what you probably already know, in that sense I can see why some people find it comforting.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Has any Japanese "Journalist" ever been sent to prison or threatened to be sent to prison for not revealing a "source"?

Does Japan have any "investigative" reporting?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Japan doesn't have investigative reporting.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Simple. One is based on journalism, the other strictly on reporting. One probes beyond the obvious story, while the other simply accepts things at face value. One is very interested in the "why", while the other simply focuses on the "what".

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Japanese news media can spell better.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Japan doesn't have investigative reporting.

Of course Japan has investigative reporting. To give two prominent examples: Honda Katsuichi, who did some of the first research into the Nanjing Massacre, and Suzuki Tomohiko, who wrote on the confluence of the Yakuza and the energy industry.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Oh god this is opening a can of worms. The one simple difference is, Japanese news is 'filtered'. Kisha clubs are set up to dictate exactly who reports what. No journalist would dare do any investigation, or 'digging' for the hard facts. No dirt is ever dished, scandals never brought to light. All in the name of saving face for Japan Inc., right?

It's so passively written I can't stand reading it.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Filtered vs REAL news.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

In the west you get reporting in Japan we get regurgitation!!!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Well, while everyone else will surely praise the Western media (and with reasons that are fair enough) I do believe there is less hyped up yellow journalism in Japan, particularly of the war inciting variety.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

In Japan if you follow the way the news is reported by the media there are no actual criminals in this country. Everybody that gets arrested is a "yogisha" (suspect). Name+yogisha. Even the guy that got caught on the spot in Akihabara trying to kill as many people as possible with his car, was called name+yogisha. Ever heard of a "Name+satsujinhan (murderer)" or "Name+setohan (thief)"? And how about the "mozaiku" (blur) everywhere? You see the reporter saying "in this house...", and the house is completely blured. What's the point then? Or the stupid interview of the neighbours through the intercom...is supposed to show what? Just report what they said.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Pidestroika - What you describe is no different from most Western countries. People are not determined as guilty until they have been through a court case. The news reports based on that. Articles will say 'police claim so and so did ', or 'so and so has been arrested on suspicion of doing '. They never say the party is guilty. Only that someone has claimed they did something, or that they are suspected of doing something. Japan is the same in this regard.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Strangland. I'm talking about the constant need to add the term "yogisha" which is peculiar to the Japanese reporting. Even after a criminal has been found guilty by a court and sentenced you never hear any "name-murderer" or whatever. It's one thing to report "police claim..." and another to constantly add the "yogisha" thing as if there are no actual criminals in Japan.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I'm talking about the constant need to add the term "yogisha" which is peculiar to the Japanese reporting

And I'm saying it's not peculiar to Japanese reporting (other than the usage of a Japanese word). Referring to those arrested as the suspect is the norm in western news reporting. Maybe they don't do that in your country. But the question is about Western media, and Western media does do it.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Strangerland-Still talking about my country...How do you know what they do in the "Western media"? Do you know how they report the news in all the "Western" countries? If no, talk about YOUR country. And I'm talking about the constant use of the word. Too difficult to comprehend?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

How do you know what they do in the "Western media"?

Because I read it every day.

Do you know how they report the news in all the "Western" countries?

No, which is why I mentioned that your country may be different.

f no, talk about YOUR country

I read news from more countries than just my own.

I'm talking about the constant use of the word

And I'm saying it's the norm in western media too.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I can't speak for all the many countries included in the ambiguous term 'Western Media' except my own.

The most obvious difference is how insular the media are here. Unless a Japanese person is involved in the story you would almost never know that there are any other countries/ peoples/ cultures or important human stories on this planet.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I hate the way on Japanese TV news when a person in the studio or a reporter on location is asked a question and then proceeds to read a prepared answer.

When presenting a piece, OK read a script, that is acceptable.

But when answering questions to ALSO read a script... that's pathetically bad...

A reporter on location should have knowledge of the situation and handle questions as they come, not read a script... it just seems too much like yarase and making fools of the audience.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Because I read it every day. WOW! How many languages do you speak? French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish...

No, which is why I mentioned that your country may be different. So, you do read meadia from all the Western countries but you don't know how they report it. Interesting.

And I'm saying it's the norm in western media too Ok.You can keep saying it, doesn't mean you are right. Contrary to ALL Western media, only in Japan they instist on "Bin Laden-yogisha" and "Kouachi-yogisha" but you can keep insisting that BBC and CNN call them "Bin Ladin-suspect". But instead of being opinionated and just repeat what you think I got wrong, do you have anything to add to the conversation about the differences between the "Western" and Japanese media?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

No matter how much it bothers you, I read western media every day, and they regularly use this style, which means it's not exclusively Japanese. And that's the point of the question - differences between western media and Japanese media. The fact is that using 'suspect' is not something that's different between the two media. They both do it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Strangerland-You can keep saying it, doesn't mean you are right. Western Media do not use the word "suspect" after every criminal's name. Here. I'll give you the last word and you can go to bed happy.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Japanese newscasters report the news like robots. In the US, their demeanor seems relaxed and natural. After reporting, they often spice up the topic with a couple original comments of their own.

I'm human, I want the news reported without favor or fear. Stop the robots from reporting to the masses, lest they are "robots" themselves.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And just because you say I'm wrong doesn't mean I am.

Western media regularly refers to those who have been arrested as suspects.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

An interesting dialog.

There is one major difference in the manner in which news is reported in Japan when compared to other western media. There is a top down perspective in the presentation of the news in all media in Japan. Not so much as the contents as the "attitude" behind all the reporting.

There one similarity. One or two news subject is "selected" and "chosen", in some cases "created" to be carried on almost forever, day after day, week after week, reporting almost minute by minute occurrences playing on "emotional" attachment of the subject rather than the entire picture of what is happening.

And of course, there are much too many "commercials" and "advertising". which also tend to "opine" on news and taking advantage of "created" news.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If we are making comparisons, then one similarity is the way many advertisements or corporate press releases are now dressed up as a news story (implying a degree of objectivity) and published by news outlets in Japan and in other countries. We find many on this site, too.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Pidestroika

I don't think you should assume that the word yogisha has anything other than a strong negative connotation. The media aren't exactly doing these people any favours by calling them that. For the average Japanese ear it denotes a criminal. It's like when an English speaker hears that police have arrested a 'suspected child molester' or 'suspected murderer' ... the word suspected in this context is just part of a stock phrase that losses all of its real dictionary meaning.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Reporters for the major newspapers here are assigned early in their careers to a certain beat, and never leave it. They thus come to identify more with the people they are supposed to be reporting on than with those they are supposed to be reporting to.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One difference: not all Western news broadcasts are anchored by a middle-aged man solemnly intoning the need to think deeply about whatever the subject of the last story was, paired with an attractive younger woman whose purpose is to look pretty while agreeing with him.

Another difference: There is no FOX News of Japan. Some of us might believe that NHK is to some degree or another a propaganda arm of Japanese conservatives, but they would still be ashamed if caught blatantly lying.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

in the west, the television news uses someone who is somewhat involved with the story to offer an educated viewpoint while in Japan they use planted unionized actors to read off prepared lines while pretending that they just happened to be wandering around the street near the news crew. these comments supposedly express the thought of the Japanese everyman but are really methods to control the narrative from going beyond a superficial level.

American news typically uses dramatic music and exaggerates risks to keep you in a state of fear which primes you for being brainwashed by the propaganda they spout and more susceptible to purchasing the products being advertised that much easier...

so they are similar in the sense that they both employ mass media as tools for herding sheeple...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Does West refer to America, or all of Western Europe too?

Since I only speak one Western language, my opinion would be moot. If there are multi Western language experts on this forum, I would love to hear from them.

There is one thing I do not like about Japanese news reporting is that when they report something from a culture that only uses one name for a person, why do they Always...always, always emphasize that?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The TV news presenters always start a few meters from an incident then run at it dramatically. Never see that in the western media, except maybe Saturday night live or Daily show.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Albaleo made an important point with the first comment on the thread, and katsu78 touched on it: This is another "Japan vs. the Western world" question, and it's not even "Asian media compared/contrasted to Western", or "How does Japan differ from other Asian nations". Nope, just "Japan vs. the rest of the world that is not Asia", basically. The type of reporting differs greatly from country to country, and what's more even within one country there are very different styles of reporting. Do they think Faux News in the US is the same as other news in the same nation? The BBC and CNN the same?

In any case, since we've got to lump all of Western culture into one homogenous bag vs. the island archipelago of Japan, I agree with others above that there is no real investigative news here, but regurgitating summaries of that which is handed to them by the proper authorities. You DO have bias even among Japanese news stations and media, as can be seen with the recent row between Abe and Co. vs The Asahi Newspaper and him preferring to use The Yomiuri and other LDP puppet media like NHK, but they don't differ terribly in HOW they report. That said, you do get a lot of bias reporting depending on the station you watch in Western media, and sometimes it's hard to know the basic facts.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In Japan, even a pop star can be a news reporter. Am I supposed to take a member of Arashi or Kanjani8 seriously?

Oh and the weather forecaster or reporter is generally a young, cute girl here. Back home, every news channel has a meteorologist that has been there since the 70s or 80s.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In america at least, the very stories themselves that are reported are biased. A left-wing media source just won't run a story on something that makes the liberals/democrats look bad. Like planned parent hood selling baby parts. And vice versa. Or they'll barely touch on it. The stories seem like they're all factual, but in reality, the facts are carefully selected and worded to steer the reader into empathizing with their ideals.

No media source in America can be trusted to be "factual". It just doesn't exist.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@smithinjapan

This is another "Japan vs. the Western world" question

While I agree, I feel like withdrawing my original comment. The comments here suggest the 'Japan vs. Western' distinction is something pushed by non-Japanese and not, as I implied, a creation of a Japanese worldview. A comparative study of the Seikyo Shimbun and the West Highland Free Press may be in order.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I watch NHK World daily and read Yomiuri Shinbum& find the reporting to the point As far as western news i watch the BBC and recently One America News As for the "Networks" i find them as Leftist Puppets who KowTow to their Liberal Masters and Goose step when so ordered & that says it all for me in terms of differences between the west & Japan-Not Much!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

aagonsr, It's interesting that you mention the left-wing when Fox News is the most obvious example of biased and agenda-driven reporting. Neither side is perfect, but at least the left avoids bold-faced lies like the planned parenthood videos you mentioned.

As for comparisons with Japan, I can only compare with the US. I think the US news media has become a business and is more concerned with ratings than informing the public. They can be sensational, but they're also less hesitant to be critical since they can always find new sponsors if they have to.

Everything seems way more institutionalized here in Japan, though, with everyone rubbing each others back. It seems like their media is only ever critical when they have to be, which is usually after it's hit the fan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's plain and simple because in this day and age you have to doubt the fairness, accuracy and completeness of any news media. The journalist and organizations might claim to make or produce accurate and informative reports however their is good reason for concern. Take a look at how they are covered by media executives, advertisers, governments and check out the spin put on facts including omissions, mistakes, and competition. In the end it's wise not to believe everything you read or hear in the news media. In other words have a healthy skepticism by keeping an open mind.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

what is "Western" reporting of the news? Is the "reporting" in (say) the Daily Mirro or The Sun the same as (say) the Guardian or the FT? what about (say) an Italian paper vs a (say) Russian one? as for news on TV, that is even more diverse as to how it is reported...... Japanese news reportin in general is pretty factual, often banal, sometimes clearly biased in some way and very often dumbed down by stupid whiteboards and diagrams, stickers and models and squeaky reporters.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Under British law until someone is sentenced by a Judge, Magistrate or Sheriff they are still a suspect, an alleged criminal, hence when a case is reported the media will call the person a 'suspected killer' or they 'allegedly' carried out the crime. Innocent until proven guilty.

How different is that from the way Japanese media report cases?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese media has no problems printing blatant propaganda given out to them by their government. Western media on the other hand, are independents who are not mouthpieces of their government. Another difference: Western media for the most part are ranked high in press freedom. Japan on the other hand is way down the list, along with the likes of Guyana and Dominican Republic, getting worse everyday, and ranked even worse than Haiti. I hope the mods don't delete this post because it's negative on Japanese media.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I remember back in 2011 when NHK and Nihonterebi were reporting there was no meltdown in Fukushima.

Then I looked at BBC, Aljazeera, RT, PressTV, FOX news, and MSNBC and ALL of them reported a meltdown. When the JP media figured out that the jig was up, they finally admitted to the meltdown.

I have learned NEVER to trust anything Japanese media says

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How could the media declare a meltdown if the experts didn't declare it?

Like "state of cardiac arrest", or whatever term it is that Japanese media use for very still people before official declaration of death by a medical examiner.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I honestly love the Japanese reporting a lot better. No exaggerated opinions, no attempts to twist the basic facts like in the western media. Professional reporting skills with plain and simple facts. No more and no less. That is what reporting should do--providing information. Having opinions will be the audience's job after receiving basic information. The audience should obtain just facts rather than being influenced in the beginning.

We have come to the point where we must rethink the so-called "western style reporting". Factually, it is not any superior. Since 2016, "face news" seemingly became on of the most trendy words in the English-speaking world. Why is that? Because you lovely western media has put many "opinions" into their reporting and have gone so extremely, just like CNN/MSMBC vs. Fox. They have so many extreme views that people started to doubt their integrity as media and suspect their ties with business organisations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites