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By Jayson Makoto Chun

This booklet deals a heritage of jap tv audiences and the preferred media tradition that tv helped to spawn. In a relatively brief interval, the tv helped to reconstruct not just postwar jap pop culture, but additionally the japanese social and political panorama. in the course of the early years of tv, eastern of all backgrounds, from politicians to moms, debated the consequences on society. the general public discourse surrounding the expansion of tv published its function in forming the id of postwar Japan throughout the period of high-speed development (1955-1973) that observed Japan reworked into an monetary energy and one of many world's most sensible exporters of tv programming.

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Extra resources for 'A Nation of a Hundred Million Idiots': A Social History of Japanese Television, 1953-1973

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37 National interest accompanied the idea of television raising a nation’s cultural level and bringing the world to one’s doorstep. The German example showed that television could be a tool for national mobilization. Yet, governments across the world did not sponsor television research merely for the enlightenment of the populace, or even only for national honor. Of course, as with any new technology, governments quickly grasped the battlefield potential of television. 38 In 1939, perhaps with an eye towards justifying to the government the need to continue research on television during wartime, Takayanagi described the military applications of this new technology: Also, in a land war, from above in the airplanes, the condition of artillery sites and scattered enemy armies can be reported by the minute to military headquarters.

Even private radio stations fell under government control when they were pushed by the government to merge into a public corporation. By 1926, the government transformed the status of the stations from private companies to nonprofit, public-benefit corporations. Acutely conscious of the power of radio, the government announced a plan in late 1925 to combine the three existing broadcast stations into a heavily government-influenced public broadcast monopoly. Revenues were to come solely from receiver fees sanctioned by the state, not from any independent source of funding.

The physical devastation of war and sufferings of the people shattered the prewar imperial consensus. 2 The physical scars of war healed rather quickly, and in less than a decade Japan’s formerly burnt-out cities hummed with activity and rebuilding again, but the mental scars took much longer to heal. Most Japanese went about their daily lives with little problem, but a national ideology capable of filling in the gaping void left by the psychic collapse of kyodatsu developed slowly. 3 Ivan Morris, writing in 1960 about the collapse of imperial ideology, remarked on the ideological vacuum that still gripped Japan and related this to the break up of kokutai, the national polity centered on the divinity of the emperor: The ideological vacuum that resulted from the break-up of the kokutai ideal is one of the most important aspects of post-war Japan, and the revival of a predominantly inward-looking, non-political, and fragmented form of nationalism has done little towards filling it.

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