Online ISSN : 2432-0838
Print ISSN : 1341-1306
ISSN-L : 1341-1306
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Opportunities and Difficulties Presented to the Media and Society by the Pandemic
  • A Three-pronged Analysis of Interviews with On-the-spotReporters
    Yasuomi Sawa
    Type: research-article
    2021 Volume 98 Pages 3-17
    Published: January 31, 2021
    Released: May 18, 2021

     More and more interviews are conducted through video conferences as an

    alternative to the ever falling number of press conferences in order to prevent

    the further spread of COVID-19. This paper mainly discusses interviews conducted

    with journalism practitioners to analyze how their communication were

    affected by the pandemic in three aspects—namely, their communication with

    interviewees, fellow journalists, and readers or the audience. The findings are

    summarized as follows. First, reporters are hindered from conducting interviews

    in person and depending on materials provided from interviewees

    instead. Second, unable to help each other at press conferences or in person,

    reporters are taken control of by interviewees. Third, scant coverage of

    infected people and bereaved families was noted, along with coverage that triggers

    on-line witch hunts targeting the infected, as well as a tendency among

    officials and medical experts disclosure and coverage based on effectiveness in

    curbing the pandemic, rather than the role of independent journalism.

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  • Hiroshi Matsui
    Type: research-article
    2021 Volume 98 Pages 19-32
    Published: January 31, 2021
    Released: May 18, 2021

    This paper examines video games in order to discuss roles played by media culture during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, people spent a large amount of their time playing communication-oriented games, such as “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” or social multiplayer games on smartphones. This trend is an extension of the casual revolution in video games since the 2000s.

    Notably, however, communication-oriented games during the pandemic also seem to offer alternative means for casual ordinary communication in the abnormal reality imposed by the pandemic. Their popularity is a sign of new roles played by media culture and games.

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  • Kyoko Shibano
    Type: research-article
    2021 Volume 98 Pages 33-40
    Published: January 31, 2021
    Released: May 18, 2021

     This report provides an overview of trends in Japanese publishing during

    the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines means of publication with respect to distribution

    channels in a broad sense, including in-store and online sales, libraries,

    transmission of digital materials. Publication, in a proper sense, consists of

    numerous elements to achieve various goals. In Japan, publication has consistently

    taken place under a unified structure of distribution, which gave rise to

    an unnatural and distorted environment deprived of external perspectives. This

    problem surfaced when people attempted to access books during the pandemic,

    which could spark off efforts among publishers to reorganize themselves and

    draw an entirely new map for their future.

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  • Obstacles and Potential for Communication at Home
    Natsuki Nagata
    Type: research-article
    2021 Volume 98 Pages 41-50
    Published: January 31, 2021
    Released: May 18, 2021

     This paper examines Japanese families in 2020 and their circumstances

    brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in order to describe obstacles and

    potential for their relationships and communication.

      The stay home campaign run by the government has driven the public to

    encroach into the private realm by encouraging people to perform work

    remotely from home. Sounder relationships formed by necessary dialogues during

    the transition provided the unprecedented potential for the dismantlement

    of the gender-based division of work. Meanwhile, mothers clearly faced difficulties

    in childcare while confined at home. Longstanding social exclusion of mothers

    and children in Japan was exacerbated by peer pressure associated with

    the pandemic. Normally, the government is supposed to address such difficulties.

    As affairs now stand in Japan, the market is supporting families by offering

    intangible experiences to cope with their circumstances.

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  • Masaaki Ito
    Type: research-article
    2021 Volume 98 Pages 51-65
    Published: January 31, 2021
    Released: May 18, 2021

     In Japan, no legal measures have been taken to restrict activities of citizens

    in coping with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. People are simply exercising

    self-restraint as requested by the government. Self-restraint has been a

    contradictory yet widely practiced behavior among Japanese at turning points

    throughout the country’s history from wartime to the present day. This paper

    discusses the roles of such a behavior after picking key turning points based on

    the analysis of a number of relevant newspaper articles of the Asahi Shimbun

    and Yomiuri Shimbun. Examples include the establishment of the wartime

    regime, the inception of the LDP’s dominance under the 1955 system, the oil

    crises, U.S.-Japan trade friction, the demise of Emperor Hirohito, neoliberal

    reforms, and disasters triggered by the 1995 Great Hanshin and 2011 Tohoku

    earthquakes. An observation of self-restraint among the Japanese under these

    circumstances is followed by an examination of the workings of power and

    norms in Japanese society.

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  • On BookReview Journals in China during the 1930s
    Haruka Higo
    Type: research-article
    2021 Volume 98 Pages 69-86
    Published: January 31, 2021
    Released: May 18, 2021

     This paper aims to clarify what kind of changes were intended to be made

    to the qualitative forms of reading in China during the 1930s, when the practice

    of reading expanded quantitatively. For this purpose, from the perspective of

    the history of reading that has been pioneered by Western historians like Roger

    Chartier, the author reconfigured the social expectations for reading practices

    based on the discourse analysis of book review journals, which were successively

    published in the 1930s. As a result of this analysis, in contrast to the view

    of previous studies that politics was only an external factor to the reading practice

    stipulated by “market discipline,” a multi-tiered relationship between reading

    and politics inherent in the discourse of the time would be revealed.

      First, as the scope of must-read books became less obvious with the popularization

    of publishing, readers were soon expected to discern and read “good

    books.” The book review journals were the media functioning to guide readers

    for this end, and not a few readers actively responded to the expectations by

    subscribing to magazines. Then, in the context of the war and revolution of the

    time, it was no wonder that political expectations were also placed on this

    active readership. They expected to selectively read only those books that

    would directly lead to political practice, arguing against the notion of intrinsic

    value of reading under the name of “reading for its own sake.” The Nationalist

    regime eventually shared this political expectation for reading but did not

    exclude the idea of “reading for its own sake.” The political code of reading,

    which strongly criticized its depoliticization, was passed on and institutionalized

    after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

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  • A Consideration on theAttribution of Responsibility in Mass Media Discourse
    Wei Yu
    Type: research-article
    2021 Volume 98 Pages 87-105
    Published: January 31, 2021
    Released: May 18, 2021

    The attribution of responsibility is a daily sight in the mass media and one

    of the roles expected of journalism. While reporting on responsibility is perceived

    as a routine event, this paper considers the next issue: the plurality of

    “responsibility” in the mass media. If the attribution of responsibility is determined

    by certain rules, then the same result should always be achieved. However,

    more than one “responsibility” may be presented for a particular agenda

    that is controversial.

      The paper focuses on the plurality of “responsibilities” and conducts a theoretical

    research of epistemology and methodology. The paper begins with

    Shanto Iyengar’s work on the attribution of responsibility and identifies the

    problems with this research. Next, the paper discusses the attribution theory

    developed by Fritz Haider in social psychology to which Iyengar referred.

    Finally, in order to shift the perspective away from attribution theory, the

    paper argue for the need to interpret the plurality of “responsibility” in a social

    constructionism way. The paper will explore specific methodologies from this

    position; for example, rhetorical analysis and framing analysis.

      As a result, the attribution of responsibility in the mass media is not simply

    determined by existing social norms and legal systems, but rather is a defining

    movement of responsibility that is constructed through various interactions. In

    the defining movement of responsibility, the process of justifying specific attributions

    of responsibility is an important subject of research. In terms of influencing

    the attitudes of the audience, both rhetorical and framing analyses need

    to be conducted at the same time.

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  • Focusing on Relation to the “Opinion Leader” Concept
    Yuji Miyazaki
    Type: research-article
    2021 Volume 98 Pages 107-124
    Published: January 31, 2021
    Released: May 18, 2021

    This article focuses on how the term kuchi komi (meaning “word of

    mouth”) came to be used in advertising theory in Japan in the early 1960s from

    a view of conceptual analysis.

      So far, little attention has been given to kuchi komi in media history and

    advertising history. This is because kuchi komi is a medium that leaves no

    material or institutional traces. This article aims to provide a history of kuchi

    komi by focusing on it as a concept, and analyzes how it came to be presented

    as an advertising tool. We mainly analyze textual data that presented kuchi

    komi as an advertising tool in the early 1960s.

      As a result, we revealed:( 1) the Reading Social Survey conducted during

    1956 played an important role in the spread of the “opinion leader” concept in

    the advertising industry, and( 2) the term kuchi komi was newly presented as

    an advertising tool in the early 1960s in relation to the “opinion leader” concept.

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