Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Japanese Press Exposed!

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Japanese Press Exposed!

Article excerpt

"'A Public Betrayed': The Power of Japan's Scandal-Breaking Weeklies" and "'A Public Betrayed': Establishment Press Leaks Tips to Japan's Weeklies" by Takesato Watanabe and Adam Gamble, in Japan Media Review (Aug. 26, 2004), www.ojr.org.

Many Japanese readers who suspect (correctly) that they're not getting the full story from their bland daily newspapers turn to a raffish alternative: the shukanshi, 15 weekly newsmagazines that purport to give the real lowdown on people and events. More than 90 percent of shukanshi sales are made by newsstands, so the magazines feature sensational headlines, sometimes bearing little or no relationship to the articles that follow.

In the United States, the market is largely divided between a small audience of relatively highbrow newspaper and magazine consumers and a mass audience. Japan, by contrast, has a large middlebrow market. So along with sleaze and sensation, some shukanshi offer social commentary, book reviews, political news, and fiction.

Bizarre combinations of Newsweek and The National Enquirer, with a dash of Penthouse and a pinch of The New Yorker, the shukanshi are often dismissed as trashy tabloids. …

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