Newspapers

28 Jan
The word for newspaper is shimbun – and again, it’s essential word to know. The Japanese are nuts about newspapers. I read a few years back that per capita, Japan has the highest circulation of newspapers; maybe this has altered somewhat with the introduction of online print media, but it would be still close to accurate. The big three dailies are the Yomiuri Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun and the Asahi Shimbun. The Guinness Book of World Records states that The Yomiuri Shimbun is the biggest commercial newspaper in the world.

Of course there are smaller newspapers dedicated to regions or prefectures ie Ibaraki Shimbun, Hokkaido Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun etc. Our newspapers were delivered by the postman on a motorcycle at some ungodly hour – and most days they are crammed with colorful advertisiing material or ‘junk mail’. The two largest newspapers for English speakers are The Daily Yomiuri (printed by the Yomiuri Shimbun) and The Japan Times. They are far easier to find in the bigger cities – I often could not locate an eigo no shimbun (English language newspaper – another phrase to make note of) when I was in more remote locations, but newsstand at train stations would be your best bet. My local library used to receive a copy of the Japan Times each day as well. Both of these publications – The Japan Times and The Daily Yomiuri can be found online and there is tons of useful info on these sites. You may also wish to check out The Asahi Shimbun Personally, I much preferred grabbing a coffee and newspaper at the station, perusing it as I awaited the train, then glancing at it throughout the day; before reading it thoroughly upon days end.

Some meanings: Asahi is the Japanese word for ‘morning rising sun’. Mainichi means ‘everyday’. The Yomiuri Shimbun can be translated as ‘a newspaper with its headlines being read (yomi) and sold (uri) on the streets’.

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