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Home > Media Reiews > Other Review Last Updated: 14:56 03/09/2007
Other Review #68: January 12, 2005

Japan Media Review Update: January 12, 2005

JMR Staff (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California)

The following reviews are posted at:

Sony Mum on U.S. Debut of Popular Media Console
From Chicago Tribune: Japanese consumers are snatching up the Sony entertainment console PlayStation Portable, but the company has remained coy in releasing details about the PSP's launch in North America, set for an unannounced date in March. Since the device's debut in Japan last month, Sony has sold more than 500,000 of the units notable for playing movies and music as well as games. The PSP goes for about $190 in Japan, but upstart sellers have sold them for up to four times the price. At the PSP's unveiling during last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony suggested it may be sold in the States at the Japanese price.
-- By Japan Media Review Managing Editor Shellie Branco

Scandal-plagued NHK President Announces Resignation
From Yomiuri Shimbun: NHK President Katsuji Ebisawa revealed his plan to resign in March during a regular press conference. Sounding weak-voiced during the announcement, the 70-year-old Ebisawa said he would like to "pursue (his) future after sorting out business plans and the budget for fiscal 2005." A series of scandals involving NHK employees caused about 113,000 households to turn down paying their NHK viewing fees as of the end of November. The president and executives at NHK were punished when the public learned of the scandals. Around 27,000 viewers, who watched an NHK-broadcasted apology in December in which Ebisawa made an appearance, sent comments to the station, including some insisting on Ebisawa's resignation. In the press conference, the three-time NHK president admitted that the televised apology did not help stem the number of households refusing to pay the viewing fees, putting more pressure on him to step down.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

Walk a Robot With a Cell Phone
From The Asahi Shimbun: The first cell phone-controlled walking robot will be up for sale online in February. The cell phone, manufactured by Toshiba Corp. and marketed under KDDI's brand name Au, operates the robot through Bluetooth wireless communication within a 10-meter range. The user must log onto a Web site from the phone to download instructions for robot commands such as walking and waving hands, then transfer the commands to the memory of the robot. The robot will cost around 200,000 yen (over $1,900), and the cell phone is sold at about 20,000 yen (about $193). Co-developers KDDI and I Bee KK said they plan to expand its functions to the home security realm, adding a video camera for surveillance purposes.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

Free Papers Attract Young Readers
From Kyodo News via The Japan Times: While the market for mainstream magazines is heading downward, free newspapers and magazines are thriving, according to the Japan Free Newspapers Association (JAFNA). There are 225 million copies of these ad-crammed publications found nationwide, mostly distributed at train stations and mostly read by women. In an effort to gain male readership, the publisher of monthly Hot Pepper launched another magazine aimed at men between 25 and 35, an age group with a lot of money to spend, but also difficult to corner. Another free magazine, the weekly R25, contains original articles about entertainment and politics, each written in 800 characters to allow a reader to finish between train stops. R25's circulation soared from 100,000 to 600,000 since its start in July. Editorial director Daisuke Fujii says one purpose of R25 magazine is to help prevent young people from fleeing paper media, essentially becoming a "portal" to the print world. The popularity of free papers among young generations is related to consumption patterns often associated with the Internet, adds JAFNA senior managing director Akira Tsukamoto. "Young people are living in a world where information can be obtained freely using mobile phones and personal computers," he says.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

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