The aim of this paper is to explore history of the concept of public opinion. The main focus is to clarify theoretical thoughts which are discussed by many philosophers from the ancient Greek to modern age about the concept of public opinion. Therefore, I regard this paper as a part of intellectual history which was born from the discussion and theory by the arguments about the nature of public opinion. First, after introduction of analyzing the arguments about people's opinion being made such like Plato and Aristotle, discussions of T. Hobbes, J. Locke and intellectuals in 18 century about the public opinion are examined. Second, the theory of public opinion by J. Bentham and J.S. Mill in 19 century is discussed, and the transformation from collective public opinion to individualistic public opinion is also explained. Third, after discussing the concept of public opinion in J. Bryce's Modern Democracies in late 19 century and the theories in W. Lippmann's Public Opinion and J. Dewey's The Public And Its Problems in early 20 century are studied, I will show some the implications of the debate of W. Lippmann and J. Dewey to contemporary public opinion studies. Finally, I will signify the study of historical approach in public opinion following some discussion of development of 20 century.
In Japan, public opinion survey has been considered to be introduced from the United States as a tool indispensable to democracy. Such a view has been inherited in academic circles as well as in actual society for a long time that public opinion surveys are conducted in order to make the voice of the people as political subjects reflect in politics. And historical studies on public opinion survey have tended to take up development of survey methodology mainly. Some public opinion surveys, however, do not remain in that category. The purpose of this paper is, taking up public opinion surveys by foreign governments, to make clear the political nature which the social technology of public opinion surveys originally has. USIA (United States Information Agency) made public opinion surveys in Japan in the 1950s. Since these surveys have been strictly confidential for a long time, there is almost no opportunity for ordinary people to know them. Then, this paper attempts to describe the purpose or process of the public opinion surveys which USIA conducted in Japan those days. After it was established by the Eisenhower Administration in August, 1953, USIA strengthened investigation section and began to conduct various public opinion surveys in spite of State Department's criticism. USIA assigned research officers under PAO (Public Affairs Officer). The research officer has been assigned in Japan in October, 1955. USIA conducted various surveys, for example, "Public Opinion Barometer" surveys, under the research officer's directions in Japan. USIA thought that a cold war was a war which acquired "man's heart" and persuaded foreign people. It conducted "Barometer" surveys which measured opinions, image of America, and attitudes of foreign peoples in order to persuade them. Therefore, the public opinion surveys have constituted USIA's strategy of "Public Diplomacy", or propaganda activities, to foreign countries.
Japanese public opinion polls have introduced by GHQ after WWII, and they also have improved the quality much better than before by the cooperation with news organizations and mathematicians. Due to the start of election situation survey by Asahi newspaper at The House of Representatives election in 1958, public opinion functioned much important rolls with the election news by news organizations. For long time, search procedures are mainly examined by visiting each object person by examiners, however, since 1980s, each news organization attempted to use public opinion polls by telephone. After the 21 century, RDD (Random Digit Dialing) with random dialing by computers has spread. It is lower the costs and it is also easier to get survey result promptly, and then, 'Cabinet support rate' reported by more than ten news organizations each month has come and gone. However, due to the spread of cell phones, etc., this search procedure showed some limitations. Together with this fact, public opinion polls are facing huge crisis. About the issues in the society, survey object persons themselves do not form their own opinions and also do not think about the resolution, and they answer promptly to the public opinion polls. And then, the answer was easily induced by the amplification which was introduced during the making of questioners by news organizations. Following these result, we do not have to undervalue public opinion polls. They have important roles as to 'measure' the public opinions and to keep polishing fair examinations.
Due to the decrease of response rate and the inspection limitation of basic resident register recently, the execution of public opinion poll faces many difficulties. At once the response rate of face-to-face interview had from 70% to 80%, but because of the increase of temporary absence and refusal, recent response rate decreased to 50% level. Especially the increase of refusal become remarkable and in addition to the increase of privacy consideration as a background, the shortage of understanding for meaning of survey and the evasion feeling of visitation by interviewer may exist. To deal with such a temporary absence and refusal, there are some movements of reevaluation of self-registering investigation such as drop-off/pick-up and postal survey. Once postal survey has a shortage of low response rate, some examples show the high response rate recently. And the opinion pools which can use such register has been limited due to the change of inspection system in the basic resident register and electoral roll. Moreover, there are issues that criteria and procedure of right or wrong of inspection are not unified each autonomy level. Recently, while public opinion polls conducted by mass-media are mainly persuaded by telephone survey of RDD, RDD has some issues that the increasing of young people who does not have fixed-line causes distortion of samples. To study more about these issues related to public opinion polls, it may be needed to share and discuss with the fielding methods among survey organizations.
In the US, public opinion polls have steadily become a part of ordinary life. There is a wide variety of implementation systems for opinion polls, and they cover a wide range of issues. Increasingly, we can see the tendency in the US that conductors of opinion polls have been polarized or politically factionalized in parallel with the polarization of media. There is also a great division in the public about how they evaluate opinion polls. We can see some opinion polls in the US actually mislead the public. The fundamental cause of this misleading is the process of converting complicated realities into numerical data. Furthermore, we can point out that methodological and technical factors like bias in the process of sampling and data handling, misrepresentations by the media, and so on. The crux of the problem in the media is that in many cases opinion polls are manipulated to reinforce certain narratives. More importantly, we should think of the practical context in which the opinion poll that is currently being dealt with, will eventually be used. In Japan, we can see clear tendencies of Japanese the media to put a high priority on the approval rating for the Cabinet as the decisive factor when measuring the success of administration. In fact, opinion polls simply represent a particular outcome, and should not become the causes of that outcome. Some people in Japan are pointing out that we are facing the risk of reification of abstract figures by believing opinion polls too blindly. To avoid believing opinion polls blindly, we should carefully consider the limitations of opinion polls and think critically about their effects.
As usage of Internet has been increasing, the problem how communications through Internet are related to the formation of public opinion arose with huge attention. At this time, such interests are argued with the keyword "Public Opinion on the Net". However, if "Public Opinion on the Net" separates from "Opinion", basically, "Public Opinion on the Net" may consist of "Public Opinion on the Net" as special theory. In this paper, I examined the assumption above, and discussed how to analyze "Public Opinion Formation" process, in line with the times, when it is expected that our media environment will be more complex and interact among different carriers.
The keyword of this study is a Japanese word, "Kyouyou", which means the high-blow culture strongly related with universities and colleges. In Japan, there was a cultural hierarchy top of which was "Kyouyou" until about 1970. At that time, "Kyouyou" was the common cultural background of Japanese people which functioned as a standard the distance of which demonstrated cultural level. Traditionally, it has been assumed that a cultural common ground is the necessary condition for a rational discussion. For example, Harbermas explained it using the word "public sphere" and, in recent years, D. Mutz insisted that whether it is good or not, cultural homogeneity promotes the discussion. Thus, studying about "Kyouyou" in Japan means to seek the base of conversation which is important factor for Democracy. For the purpose of clarifying the prosperity and decline of "Kyouyou", I adopted a historical method. As a concrete target, this article focused on the largest association of music in Japanese history. For, according to Bourdieu, music is a center of high-blow culture. The name of the association is "Ro-on", which was born in 1949. At that time, Most Japanese desired "Kyouyou". In the early days, Ro-on grew up rapidly by supplying "Kyouyou". Later, decline of Kyouyou seriously damaged Ro-on. Then Ro-on tried to create the new common music culture differing from both "Kyouyou" and simple amusement. As a result, the attempt did not succeed but it had the possibility to make a common culture shared with people from every social class. In this article, I attempt to answer the following questions, "Why Kyouyou was decline?" and "What culture will be the new common cultural ground in Japan?"
The communication rights concept emerged to re-emphasize and expand the original meaning of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which refers to the right of every person to express herself or himself through any media. Communication rights, though at times controversial, is now widely accepted as a key principle in media and communications policy around the world. In this context, the important role of 'media by, for, and of the people' (here referred to as 'civil society media') for realizing the rights of individuals and groups (especially of marginalized people) has been increasingly recognized in research and in policy around the world. In Japan, researchers have long argued that the Internet has not solved the problem of access to the means of communication and that civil society media should be legally recognized, for example in community radio and public access TV legislation (as they are in many countries). Moreover, many are concerned that recent trends in Internet and broadcast policy may re-enforce the dominance of commercial media and government, and further marginalize civil society media. In current debates on broadcasting-telecommunications convergence and the possibility of an independent regulating authority, the authors contend, the perspective of civil society media has been missing. How to design policy based on communication rights? We solve this question by reviewing existing international research on communication rights, civil society media and policy. We find that most research focuses on community radio, and that communication rights and civil society media theory are not well connected. However, there are some commonly agreed principles that can be widely applied and can serve as guidelines for designing policy for civil society media in a Japanese context.
The study focuses on the legislation of journalists' privilege to refuse to testify, which is a widely discussed issue in the United States in recent years. This article is constituted by the following parts. The first part is to introduce the background of the dispute on the privilege in the United States. The Second part is the presentation of the three demerits and one merit of the legislation. The third part is to give an outlines of the Senate and House bills 2009, and then, to take an analysis over the concrete regulations in the federal shield law related to the above four points. To be specific, the demerits of reporter's privilege law could be concluded from the following three aspects. The opposition to the fair judiciary, the protection to the person who leaks information illegally and the definition of journalist by the legislature. On the other side, the merit of the law is the decrease of the chilling effect on free news gathering according to the improvement of prediction possibility. And the 2009 Bills, could be outlined from the definition of covered person who can invoke the privilege, definition of protected information, conditions for compelled disclosure of information, exceptions of privilege, and the comparison of Senate and House bill. As a conclusion, both of the bills are full of content of detailed regulations, which would bring out the decrease of chilling effect on the case of enacment. However, at the same time, the bills also have several issues such as the lack of consideration on the strong power of Grand Jury and prosecution in criminal cases, the great number of exceptions of privilege, together with the disregard of the journalist's intention while collecting the information.
In recent years, audition programs such as "Super Girl" has become popular in China. Many idols of mainland China, playing an active part in the world entertainment, are created by these programs. Idols' fans are emerging as groups and are acting enthusiastically as an organization. This paper focuses on these new changes which have occurred in the phenomenon of idols/fans in China, and clarifies the generation and features of idols/fans, taking Li Yuchun (a popular idol, the winner of audition program "Super Girl") and her fans "Yumi" as one case. This paper also adopts qualitative research. Semi-structured interviews with 30 Yumi living in Beijing were made in 2007 and 2009. Referring to fans researches of Japan and the west, this paper analyzes interviews with Yumi and draws the following conclusions. For Yumi, Li Yuchun is not a symbol that can be replaced by other idols, and she embodies Yumi's values. Yumi do not consume Li's image as "play", keeping the identity of Yumi more seriously. From what lay behind the images such as "frankness" and "cleanliness" deciphered by Yumi, the anxieties about Chinese society, which has dropped into moral crisis and trust crisis despite high economic growth, can be seen. Yumi feel an idol's kindness from Li Yuchun, while maintaining a distance from her. They have created a sense of solidarity among a wide range of generations, mediated by the image of Li Yuchun. And they also have made a multilayered space of communication through the Internet. Especially, those Yumi who know each other in real life carry out more direct and close exchanges, though it is necessary to consider further whether these exchanges have created a gap among Yumi.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the media's role in Japan's foreign policy process through revising R.M. Entman's model and analyzing a case with a revised model. In studies about the nexus of media and foreign policy, the media is not regarded as an actor who critically reports about a government's performance. Rather, preceding studies show that media preferentially covers information a government posts. However, the rapid spread of globalization after the Cold War helps heighten the linkage between domestic and foreign problems. This enables the public to access information about foreign countries much easier and requires us to reconsider media influence. This paper examines R.M. Entman's study, which has attracted special attention among the scholars in this field. His study proposed a model-the Cascade Model-for analysis of the nexus between foreign policy process and media's role (Entman 2004). This paper points out some problems of this model, and proposes a revised Cascade Model. Also it applies the revised model to Japan, specifically the Comfort Women Issue in 2007. As a case study, this paper analyses the interaction between the actions of political elite and news coverage of Asahi Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun and Sankei Shimbun. In this case study, the argument that media preferentially covers a government's interpretation is not supported. On the contrary, the media criticizes the government from their point of view. Additionally, Prime Minister Abe made a decision to back off from his own belief that comfort women are prostitutes. Finally, he accepted the traditional government's interpretation, the Kono Statement, through the intervention of media and public opinion. In this case, a media frame which reflects the views of Japan's public and each media was found, and this frame pressured on Prime Minister Abe to accept the Kono Statement.
Some of recent media studies pointed out the increasing of media effect in politics and public opinion. In what meaning, why and how has the media effect increased? The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the time-varying effect of media coverage on the cabinet approval rate by analyzing aggregate time-series data. I examine two hypotheses about factors that increased the media effect on the cabinet support rate in Japan. Hypotheses I; the growth of floating voter, what is called on "mutouha", who are sensitive to political information made the media effect increase. Hypotheses II; Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi who used media for getting support of electorate make the media effect increase, what we call "the Koizumi effect". In examining the relation between the media coverage and the change of the cabinet support rate, I introduced "the sentence-final modality" model as the new method of the contents analysis. The method is used for specifying positive/negative information about prime minister or cabinet in editorials of newspapers and converting its information into positive/negative score. In addition, I adopt the recursive regression method for analyzing time-varying effect of media. I can acquire three findings. First, the positive/negative evaluations in media coverage make a clear effect on the cabinet support rate. Second, the media effect has been significant after 1993 when floating voter grew rapidly. Third, "the Koizumi effect" is not able to confirm in this analysis.
This paper discussed with the intertextual nature of discourse, and how the connection of various media texts is formulated by the participants. Contrary to prior media effect research, both cultural studies and cultural reception research produced valuable framework by bringing audience into the picture of mass communication and suggesting their active manner on media texts. However, because these studies methodologically separate the text and its audience in research, we have yet to address the study of the reading of media text. My approach, on the other hand, is an ethnomethodological one that focuses on member competence and understanding when reading media texts. A weblog article was analyzed according to Sacks' notion of membership categorization in addition to contemporary arguments in ethnomethodology and conversation analysis. The weblog article was composed of several media texts, all dispersed in time, location, and occasion: an excerpt from a PSA video on texting and driving, a quote from the director of the division of traffic safety, and an article by a weblogger about the video, followed by readers' comments. It was found that categorization was used in relation to each other and were coordinated, thus creating coherence between the media texts. For example, when the author of the weblog article used the membership category "parents" for describing one of the actors in the video, it was then cited by the director of traffic safety in his quote, then, further used by commentators of the weblog, not only verbatim but also in relation to (1) activities bound to that category, and (2) other categories, such as "infant", a co-incumbent of the same "family". To conclude, it is this network of categorization that gives coherence to a network of media texts.
This paper explores variables related to blogs classified as "well-known people's blogs", "acquaintances' blogs", "others' blogs", and "organizations' blogs". People who read blogs during the 2007 Upper-House election campaign in Japan completed online surveys exploring what type of blogs they read and how they evaluated those blogs. Readers of acquaintances' blogs' accessed blogs most frequently and read political information as personal affairs. Readers of well-known people's blogs' and organizations' blogs read political information as if it was news. Acquaintances' blogs were regarded highly on familiarity. Well-known people's blogs were regarded highly according to the measures of popularity. Others' blogs received low evaluations on all measures. Organizations' blogs were highly regarded for credibility. Finally, organizations' blogs readers tended to talk about political information in blog entries with friends and acquaintances. This analysis will contribute to further discussion of the behavior of blog readers.