The year 2020 has turned out to be a special year where people around the world are forced to go through an unprecedented experience by an unknown virus called COVID–19. As the infection spread, the Japanese government declared a nationwide state of emergency in April, elementary, junior–high, and high school were closed temporary, and citizens were requested to refrain from going out or traveling; people's lives have been changed drastically. Meanwhile, broadcasters have been putting their energies to delivering stories related to COVID–19 though they had to fight with restrictions on reporting and program making. While television and other traditional media were faced with difficulties in reporting, there were a great number of social media posts by those infected with the virus and relevant parties, and these messages were also featured on television, showing a correlation between television and social media. Watching the development, the authors examined how television reported COVID–19, as it partially used social media, during the period from mid–January to the end of July.
Looking into informational programs, infotainment shows, and anchored news programs aired from daytime through nighttime, it is revealed that many of these programs spared much time for stories concerning COCID–19 and that most of them increased ratings. Among those stories, news related to “PCR tests,” “masks,” and “self–restraint” were constantly reported. Besides, television covered a certain amount of information from social media, especially that on Twitter. At the same time, we can see a number of cases where Twitter users actively reacted to TV coverage, which resulted in a considerable number of tweets. Thus, television and social media occasionally interacted with each other, which sometimes had an impact on the real world.
This paper reports the results of the 2020 Nationwide Survey on Changes in the Japanese Language. From the findings, the author presents the following points.
– The younger, the more people interpret “Kuji Jippun Mae” as “a few minutes before 9:10,” not “ten minutes before 9:00.”
– People who think “shijō” (personal feeling) can also mean “personal circumstances” are increasing, especially among those in their 20s.
– As to the meaning of “fune wa hutsuka–okini kimasu” (a boat arrives 2–day oki) only a few people interpret this expression as “a boat arrives every three days” while the majority think it means “a boat arrives every two days.”
– Regarding how to pronounce “言う” (to say), “yuu” is cited by many people, but not a few think it is “iu” as is written.
– Most people say “nukarunda michi”” (muddyemroad) instead of “nukatta michi.” Notably, the younger, the higher percentage of people say so.
– More people say “tarinai” (not enough) or “monotarinai” (not satisfactory enough) rather than “taranai” or “monotaranai.” The younger, the higher percentage of people say so.
– How to pronounce “端” (edge): the highest percentage of entire respondents pronounce it as “hashi,” but the younger, the more people, albeit to some extent, pronounce it as “haji.”
In April and May 2020, Japanese schools and pre-schools were temporarily closed due to the spread of COVID–19, and children and their parents were forced to stay at home. The authors investigated their media use and behavior, along with their attitudes and values, from June through July, after the reopening of schools/pre–schools. The paper also reports how digital learning materials, which was gradually spreading among schools and households, were perceived.
With regards to the changes in media activities “after the reopening,” those who spent “more time” on watching television than “before the closure” outnumbered those who spent “less time,” but when compared to “during the closure,” the figures for “more time” and “less time” were almost the same. Meanwhile, more people spent “more time” on “smart phones” than both “before” and “during” the closure. In terms of changes in their daily lives, they were continuously “suffering multiple and diverse types of stress.”
These findings suggest that the general framework that “there are needs for meaningfulness” remained the same, but some differences were found in specific activities when compared to “during the closure.”
As to digital learning materials, although the use of these materials has been expanded, it was caused by the instructions of schools or authorities and does not necessarily mean the number of those interested in these materials has increased. In the meantime, diverse needs have emerged as a result of the actual use of digital learning materials. As a notable trend, these needs are overlapped with the needs for “on–demand” and “meaningful time” that were observed in the change in children's media contact.