120th Anniversary Special
A celebration of 120 years of delivering the news … and our latest evolution
On the momentous and historic occasion of the 120th anniversary of the inauguration of The Japan Times, it is a great pleasure and honor for me to address you as president and celebrate this unique moment with our esteemed readers, who have provided such a long and lasting patronage of our paper.
When looking back and thinking about the significance of the past 120 years, both in history and of the existence of The Japan Times, I am humbled and moved.
1897 marked nearly 30 years since the Meiji Restoration and was when Shigenobu Okuma, one of the founders of modern-day Japan, was the foreign minister. It was at this time that Japan took the first steps to modernization and built its foundation of democracy.
On behalf of The New York Times, I’d like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to The Japan Times on its 120th anniversary. Throughout its history, The Japan Times has offered the world a unique perspective on the critical issues affecting Japan, producing content of the highest quality and integrity.
As we celebrate our 120th anniversary today, it may interest readers to know that the last time The Japan Times had a major redesign was 30 years ago, for our 90th anniversary, when the current logo first graced the front page.
Two years ago, when we first decided to rethink The Japan Times logo for the 120th anniversary, we considered reintroducing the inaugural blackletter logo in order to emphasize our Meiji-Era roots. After redrawing and digitizing The Japan Times logo from 1903 and testing it in both print and screen we realized, however, that it simply wasn’t working.
Digging through The Japan Times print archives in the basement of the company’s building in Shibaura, Tokyo, it’s fascinating to flip through history and see how the face of the paper has changed with the mood of the times.
- Sadayuki Sakakibara
- Masataka Watanabe
PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
- Nobuaki Koide
PRESIDENT, THE CHUNICHI SHIMBUN
- Toshihiro Yamamoto
PRESIDENT & CEO, DENTSU INC.
- Hisao Omori
PRESIDENT & CEO, HAKUHODO DY MEDIA PARTNERS INC.
- Shinichi Ueno
PRESIDENT & GROUP CEO, ASATSU-DK INC.
- Paul Madden, CMG
BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN
- Viorel Isticioaia-Budura
AMBASSADOR OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
- Estifanos Afeworki
AMBASSADOR OF ERITREA AND DEAN OF THE AFRICAN DIPLOMATIC CORPS
- Andre Correa do Lago
AMBASSADOR OF BRAZIL
- Frank C. T. Hsieh
REPRESENTATIVE, TAIPEI ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE IN JAPAN
- Hiroyasu Ando
PRESIDENT, THE JAPAN FOUNDATION
- Kojiro Shiraishi
CHAIRMAN, THE JAPAN NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS AND EDITORS ASSOCIATION
- Masaki Fukuyama
PRESIDENT, KYODO NEWS
- Masao Omuro
PRESIDENT, JIJI PRESS
- Kiyotaka Akasaka
PRESIDENT, FOREIGN PRESS CENTER JAPAN
- Hugh Cortazzi
FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN
- Takamitsu Sawa
DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR, SHIGA UNIVERSITY
- Mark Schilling
- Roger Pulvers
FORMER COLUMNIST, FILM DIRECTOR
In the history of English-language dailies in this country, The Japan Times is virtually the last one standing, with its ups and downs involving business difficulties and challenges, wartime government control, mergers, and post-war press freedom.
One lingering question about the history of The Japan Times is: Does it have any connection with the Japan Times launched in 1865 in Yokohama? The answer is “Yes,” but in a roundabout way. In 1918, The Japan Times absorbed The Japan Mail, which had absorbed the earlier Japan Times in the 1870s.
Witnessing major historical events is exciting, but it also means challenges for journalists. In my early days as a staff writer of The Japan Times in the 1990s, tragic events such as the Great Hanshin Earthquake and Aum Shinrikyo’s sarin nerve gas attacks in 1995 kept us busy. That took away reporters’ private time and left us sleep deprived.
Concerns over the spread of “news deserts” are growing in the U.S. The term news deserts is how the University of North Carolina in 2016 described the crisis of some communities losing their local newspapers. These papers are subjects of speculative investment in being bought and sold by groups of investors. If the sale of a local newspaper fails and the newspaper is abolished, area residents can lose their only source of information.
With English being a major international language today, English newspapers and language schools in Japan have provided content and education in an effort to help Japanese people be better prepared to participate in the global community.
The term fourth industrial revolution is not new anymore. Whether or not we understand what it means and its implications, we have a sense that technology has led — and will lead — us to a very different world. More industries are being disrupted and new business models are emerging almost every day to enable us with more capabilities.
From photo archives of The Japan Times, a look back at memorable times, events and people in the history of Japan and the newspaper.