Japan's Push to 'globalize' their Media

For the Japanese, the current emphasis is on selling Japanese news values to an International audience. The nation's top public broadcasting corporation, Nippon Hoso Kyokai(NHK) and Media International Corp. - a consortium staffed largely by former NJ employees and owned by four dozen major companies, are starting to disseminate Japanese shows overseas. In 1991, the company broadcasted eight to ten hours a day of Japanese and English Language shows, in the U.S. and Europe.

The hope of this undertaking is to reduce the misunderstanding and misrepresentation the Japanese feel are the norm currently. The stations hope to calm Japanese foreign critics by giving them news from a Japanese perspective.

Keiji Shima, chairman of NHK, said, "You have to be Japanese to cover certain Japanese matters," an idea echoing the feelings of people in the country that "ill will" towards Japan were a result of misunderstandings about the country. I found this interesting, because to this date, we have mainly heard this complaint from developing countries. Japanese complaints, however, reinforce the idea that it is the West that dominates the dissemination of news.

Schlesinger goes on to say in the article that Japan is having a difficult time implementing their plan. Capital Cities Inc/ABC Inc. and European Broadcasting Union were slated as likely partners, but the companies are not too interested.

AN ABC executive said of the proposed Global News Network, "Mr. Shima's ideas are laudatory in principle but maybe not practical." American broadcast executives say Japanese programming "tends to be drier, less analytical and less graphically sophisticated."

This reveals that despite differences in mass media, in order to succeed, these differences need to be minimized, rather than celebrated and appreciated. It raises questions of whether there is a possibility of being successful in the global arena if one does not conform to the western style.