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Articles Sport and the Mass Media in Japan



The tendency in discussions of media consumption in the past decade has been to move away from political economy or the “production of consumption” perspective; it has been accompanied by a growing interest in the active audience, symbolic culture, and textual analysis. Though sport and the mass media are a popular research topic in English language publications, the major focus has been on a narrow range of advanced capitalist economies. This article on the relationship between the mass media and sport in Japan takes issue with both these emphases and contributes to on-going debates about sport, the media, and the commodification of popular culture. First, it provides a sketch of episodes in the development of the mass media in Japan—especially the newspaper press, radio, and television—in conjunction with that of sport. The focal point is the involvement of business corporations in the development of relations between professional sport and the mass media and the underlying commercial logic that steers that development. Second, by focusing on Japanese examples, the article provides additional empirical data so that similarities and contrasts can be drawn among existing accounts of the development of mediasport in advanced capitalist countries. In particular, it is argued that much of the writing about sport and the mass media has been derived from examination of “Anglo-American” experiences. Attention to media and sport in Japan, both as an economic commodity and as a vehicle for the creation of meaningful discourse about national identity, raises questions about debates concerning sport, media, and globalization.

Authors: John D. Horne

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