In our daily lives we are surrounded by many "things." Therefore, for us the phenomena of the media and communications have been presented and represented in our everyday lives by the media itself or by "things" related to the media. However, while there has been much media research concerning "things" or "materiality," most of it did not analyze or consider in a manner that focused on the relationship between humans and non-humans. It means, in other words, this research did not consider "things" and "materials" as conditioned in specific situations. Recently, however, some research has concentrated its interest on both human and non-humans in the same situation and has been taking a variety of approaches that share three common characteristics among them. It takes de-human centrism, de-language centrism or de-text centrism and thirdly it equally presumes humans and non-humans as agencies or actors relative to these situations. In all five papers we attempted to show some approaches on "things" or "materiality" of the media. I have discussed that people will become an audience or fans by themselves in some specific situations. Not only have audiences never lived as a social existence by themselves but neither have fans. Humans become an audience or fans in the conditions where he or she and "things" exist. In other words he or she will become an audience or a fan with a variety of "things" in the conditions where he or she exists.
The aim of this paper is to study today's information environments surrounding cellphones from local relationships between cellphones and humans. To this end, the authors first examined the characteristics of cellphones as objects - more specifically, the meaning of the mobility and variability of cellphones. Then the authors tackled the following issues: (1) developing a theoretical perspective for analyzing relationships between mobile and variable technology and humans; and (2) studying contemporary technological trends regarding design among agencies of cellphone users. To solve the first issue, the authors first examined the framework for studying the adoption of technologies in homes (fixed space) for comparison and showed the limitations of the framework with a view to developing a perspective for analyzing relationships between the mobile and variable cellphone technology and humans. The authors' study revealed that to analyze relationships between cellphones and humans, it is necessary to assume a structure of collaboration between technology and humans rather than confrontation between the two and that humans who use cellphones can be understood as bundles of agencies that continue to change in the structure. To solve the second issue, based on the perspective developed in the above analysis, the authors studied how agencies of cellphone users are being developed and designed in the following two technological trends in recent years: the introduction of ubiquitous technology and the widespread use of applications. The authors' findings revealed that while these two technological trends are separate from each other, they are similar in that they both capture people's activities and experiences in great detail and create information environments in accordance with the flow of everyday life. As a result, all areas of humans' daily lives will become targets of development and design. Based on these findings, the authors finally examined how they can view technology from a critical perspective in such information environments. The results of their study led them to believe that it becomes very difficult to view technology from a critical perspective in a structure that supports collaboration between technology and humans. In order to overcome such difficulty, it is necessary to change the notion of critique from what is projected from outside to what reorganizes an information environment from within its inner structure.
This paper focuses on the social meaning of old photos as physical objects from the perspective of the history of photos in material cultures and emphasizes the need to consider interactions between individuals or events and old photos as physical objects from a social historical perspective. The paper proposes to reconsider the conventional view in historical studies of photos as well as the possibility of expanding the range of historical descriptions. In this paper, the authors conduct a case study on Teijiro Ueda, a photo collector who lived in Osaka before World War II and contributed to archiving old photos as physical objects and to the social sharing of photos. Through this case study, the authors show how his collection of old photos was formed, along with the social role of his collection (known as the Ueda Collection) as a private archive of old photos. The aim of this study is to examine the significance of the private archiving space in Osaka during the pre-war period, which was formed as a result of the photo collection by Ueda and his management of the archive through collaboration with the scholars of Kyoto Imperial University. The Ueda Collection, which is an archive of old photos, and the activities of photo collectors around Ueda contributed to the formation of photo data based on object surveys, helped to create semi-public photo archives on the periphery of the academic world through collaboration with the Kyoto school of economic history, and also provided a basis for the development of new studies on the history of photos. In this respect, the activities of these photo collectors served as nodes in the archiving space that formed an academic community in the private sector during the pre-war period.
This paper studies the materiality of books in the publishing industry. Bearing in mind the criticism of the argument that books have materiality but electronic books do not, the authors examine the materiality of books by focusing on the following three themes: electronic books, book design and comics. The authors organize the concept of materiality used in discussions about books in order to show that unity with the content of books has great significance and the concept of materiality has been affected especially by the aspects of books as three-dimensional objects. Although electronic books do not fully reproduce the materiality of books in print, they have their own materiality, which has caused changes in expression in comics. The authors also show that the publishing industry has traditionally been built on materiality. The argument that emphasizes the materiality of books leads to the denial of publishing by mass replication. Finally, focusing on issues regarding value and prices in the media, the authors point out that arguments about the materiality of publication treat the value of text and that of material as unified, thereby revealing that materiality produces value.
The aim of this paper is to study the materiality of media through the experiential analysis of the history of model kits in Japan. The authors focus on the following questions: "What is materiality of media?" and "How are materiality and intermediacy related to each other?" Answering these questions requires hypothesis development for theoretical considerations based on experiential analysis of a specific medium that has materiality as its essential element. In this study, the authors examine the history of model kits in Japan. This paper analyzes the history of model kits in Japan from the 1900s through the 1960s by using a variety of materials, which include miniature model products, miniature model magazines, statistical data and yearbooks of related companies. The authors' findings show that different media were created in different periods: scientific miniature models that mediated the future before World War II; armament models that mediated the present during World War II; and scale models during the post-war period of rapid economic growth. At the same time, the creation of these media was inextricably connected with materials, such as wood, metals, substitute materials, and plastic. However, these materials and models were originally not separate entities but represented different aspects of a single medium. In other words, scientific models were the same medium as models made of wood and metals; armament models were inseparable from substitute materials; and scale models were the same as plastic models. As these examples show, analyzing the creation of media, including actors (materials), leads us to reconsider the deterministic understanding of the essence of a medium. These considerations led to the following conclusion regarding the materiality of media: Specific materials are used to form a specific medium and the resulting materiality creates dynamic changes in the intermediacy of the medium. Inversely, a medium appears to have diachronic identity due to the inextricable connection between the materiality and intermediacy of the medium, which causes its different elements to form a specific area as a group despite the variability of individual elements.
This paper examines issues regarding the Supreme Court ruling (July 14, 2014) in a lawsuit over the disclosure of information on the U.S.-Japan secret agreement on the return of Okinawa. The Supreme Court approved the Japanese government's claim that information cannot be disclosed because the documents do not exist. However, this ruling lacks understanding of the information disclosure system that supports democracy. Focusing on the relationship between the intention of Act on Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs and the right to know, I examined the validity of the Supreme Court ruling. There are two issues to be considered: (1) the ruling imposed an impossible obligation on the disclosure claimant to prove the existence of the documents; and (2) the ruling approved the reasons for non-disclosure as being legally sufficient, despite the fact that they did not fulfill legal requirements. Such a ruling may restrict the right of the people - who have sovereign power - to request the disclosure of information, thereby posing a serious threat to the public's right to know protected by the Japanese Constitution. In the background of these issues, there are judicial passivism and political considerations that have been historically supported by the Supreme Court.
The aim of this paper is to show how vocal communication techniques and audiences' recognition and attitudes about voice changed in U.S. radio broadcasting during the 1920s. Some past studies on radio broadcasting have focused on the effects of "crooning," in which voice from the radio suggests an "intimate" imaginary relationship between the broadcaster and the audience. However, such studies were interested only in the effects of the technological change brought about by the electrical amplification of microphones. In this study, the author examines not only technological changes in devices used by radio broadcasters but also in devices for audiences, including radio receivers and speakers, as well as changes in the audiences' recognition of voice. In particular, the author focuses on the emergence of the term "personality" (which is used as a metaphor for individuality and character in discourse about voice broadcasting) and the term "radio voice" (which refers to a voice suited to radio broadcasting) in order to raise the following question: How did the custom of "analyzing personality from voice communication" emerge and how was it established? To answer this question, the author analyzes the process of change in the recognition of voice among broadcasters and audiences resulting from advances in radio broadcasting technology, such as microphones and radio devices, in the United States around the period from 1920 through 1927. By using primary materials, including radio magazines and newspapers that were read by the public at large at the time, the author studies the history of media by focusing on statements about voice made by broadcasters and by audiences. The findings of this study show the following: Radio-broadcasting devices were improved on an ongoing basis during this period. As radio broadcasting changed in nature from "Dxing" to "appreciative listening" as a result of technological progress, broadcasters invented vocal communication techniques suited to radio broadcasting while audiences developed imagination skills regarding the voice from the radio by changing their attitude toward voice communication. In this historical process, the term "radio voice" changed its meaning from "articulate communication skills" to "elements that show the depth of personality." At the same time, the habit of identifying individuals by "listening" to personality radio and feeling close to the broadcaster was generated.
In traditional research on film reception, the cinema experience has been defined by the time period and the space in which audiences experienced the film. However, audiences also experience the cinema before and after going to the movies through the media, such as through film magazines, trailers, posters, and so on. Understanding how the film is received by audiences, researchers should consider other forms of media surrounding the film-going experience. From this perspective, this paper focuses on brochures that were published by almost all of the prewar movie theaters and analyzes the reading practices of audiences. We first compare exhibition practices by movie theaters with those by opera theaters, and argue that movie theater brochures were formed out of Western modern theater publications. The results show that prewar film exhibitors struggled to contextualize the movie into traditional theater exhibitions because cinemas were considered to be of a lower social standing than prior theater exhibitions. After exploring the origin of brochures, we focus on the contributors' column in which audiences expressed their opinions and differentiated themselves from each other to elevate their status. These contributions were regarded as a kind of literature and audiences usually read them before and after watching films. Some audiences were attracted to brochures and collected them. In particular, brochures published by movie theaters in Tokyo gained popularity. Because of the distribution system, a considerable number of films were only shown around the Kanto region. Instead of receiving original text, rural audiences experienced films vicariously through reading the brochures. Through the analyses above, we conclude that the way of watching films during 1920s in Japan was related not only to the film's text but also other practices such as writing and reading and audiences experienced something beyond the screen.
This is a study on jukeboxes in kissatens (coffee shops, cafes, and teahouses in Japan) during the 1960s and 70s based mainly on interviews with jukebox collectors, former employees of major jukebox manufacturers in Japan, self-employed engineers and salespeople, and kissaten owners. Since jukeboxes force others to listen to music that someone has chosen, I assumed that the experience of playing jukeboxes would be different from that of playing records at home or going to concerts. So, applying the basic ideas of musicing and auditory culture, this paper focused on how a particular kissaten, jukebox, and music were selected - rather than what was played on jukeboxes - in the following three phases: 1) What distinguished ordinary kissatens with jukeboxes from other music specific cafes like jazz-kissa and how did people choose to go there?; 2) Why were jukeboxes chosen in kissatens where other means of playing music, like cable broadcast services, were available?; and 3) What was it like selecting songs on jukeboxes - i.e., the touch of the buttons, the designs, and gimmicks that fascinated the audience? By examining the interviews, this study found that when it comes to jukeboxes, the standards for selecting music are ambivalent. That is, on one hand, people were so mesmerized by the jukebox's colorful lighting and the sound and sight of the record picking mechanism inside, that, at some point, the music itself did not matter. On the other hand, the music they chose represented what they wanted to say or do, using jukeboxes as a way to convey messages to others - a boy asking out a girl he just met there, for example. Therefore, jukeboxes can be described as a unique media that provided two very opposite kinds of experiences - sensuous and personal, or contextual and social.
Host-selling commercials are a type of television advertisement featuring characters that appear in adjacent programs. In North America and European countries, this type of advertisement is not allowed in children's programs for fear that it might have a negative impact on consumer confidence and recognizing reality, but such regulations are absent in Japan. In addition, few studies have been conducted to date, and we have no comprehensive knowledge as to the volume and content of host-selling advertisements. For this reason, the author performed a content analysis of host-selling advertisements in children's television programs aired in Japan. For this study, 39 children's television programs that were broadcast from May 28 to June 3, 2012 were chosen and 364 commercials that accompanied the programs were extracted. The number of commercials, the described content, and the timing of the commercials inserted in the programs were analyzed. The results of the analysis show that 60 (16.5%) advertisements in the sample were host-selling commercials, and that they accompanied 23 programs. The host-selling advertisements were often aired in the form of animation and in many cases advertising characters were 13-17 years old. The advertised products were often toys or character goods, which were associated with the programs. Furthermore, these commercials aired in such a way that the boundaries between the programs and the commercials were obscure. The author postulates that the current state of the host-selling television advertisements in Japan makes it difficult for children to draw a line between programs and the commercial's content, which potentially leads to their willingness to unnecessarily purchase such products. For children's healthy development, there is a need for further debates on the use of this type of advertising.
This study aims to consider the historical process of establishing of Manga by focusing on Comic Book Sections in Japanese bookstores from the early 1970s to 1980s. Prior studies on Manga tend to focus on trades outside of regular distribution channels to emphasize peculiar characteristics of the emerging media. Consequently, the social process during the 1970s and 1980s to pervade Manga almost all of the retail bookstores through wholesalers has not been clarified. The article shows how Manga to be recognized as one of the established genre in bookstores by concentrating on the particular standard of shinshoban (pocket paperback edition) comics which became one of the best sellers in retail bookstores after the 1970s. The early spread of permanent section of shinshoban comics during the 1970s can be understood as a conflict between Manga and other genre of books, mostly literal arts, and through industrial change surrounding book business as a background. In the late 1970s, sale structure of the small and medium-sized retail bookstores became more dependent on the shinshoban comics. The situation forced booksellers to redefine the identity of their bookstore represented in the composition of sections. Accordingly, most booksellers decided to redefine the identity of their bookstores as a space for consumption from a space of cultural excellence. Booksellers defined Manga merely as a commodity and accepted shinshoban comics to make up a permanent section in their bookstores to compromise their ideals. However, constructing Manga sections in bookstores was nothing less than legitimizing Manga as one of the established genres of printed books. Therefore, the establishment of Manga in the 1970s and 1980s can be seen as a process of reconsidering the publication culture for the Japanese publication industry in a transitional period.