Japan Times’ 120th anniversary exhibition kicks off in Yokohama

by

Staff Writer

An exhibition showcasing The Japan Times’ 120 years of reporting on the nation’s most important historical moments opened Saturday in Yokohama.

Commemorating the 120th anniversary of the country’s oldest English-language daily, the exhibition features 330 pages of the newspaper’s coverage of major events and topics, including the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the death of Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, in 1989.

Also highlighted in the exhibition is the history of colorful “Timeout” pages featuring Japanese culture and famous Japanese figures. The paper’s coverage of sports and disasters, as well as its role in language education and advertising, are also put under the spotlight.

Another section of the exhibition displays the recently discovered English translation of Japanese historical novelist Eiji Yoshikawa’s famous “Shinpen Chushingura,” a novel about samurai warriors out to avenge the death of their master.

The oldest English translation of Yoshikawa’s work was originally believed to have been written in 1956, but the discovery showed that the work had actually been serialized in the paper between 1942 and 1943.

“Visitors can look at the relationship between Japan and other countries through our news coverage. In that sense, I believe this exhibition can also be attractive for those who aren’t particularly interested in the English-language paper itself,” Sayuri Daimon, managing editor and executive operating officer of The Japan Times, said at the press preview Friday.

Hironobu Suzuki, a 71-year-old living in Chiba Prefecture who has been reading The Japan Times for more than 50 years since he started using it to brush up his English, said he was struck by a feeling of nostalgia after seeing various events covered by the paper put on display.

“In the era of the internet, I still believe reading The Japan Times along with other Japanese newspapers is the best way to get a real sense of what’s happening in the nation and overseas,” he said.

Suzuki said that as the number of foreign nationals in Japan is rising, he expected the paper “to keep playing its role of telling Japan’s story to the rest of the world in English.”

Another visitor, Yasuaki Kamori, 65, from Osaka, said the exhibition helped him learn about the paper’s 120 years of history.

“I found it particularly interesting that the name of the paper was changed to Nippon Times during the WWII,” when use of English was restricted under military pressure, he said.

The exhibition will run through Dec. 24 on the second floor of the Japan Newspaper Museum, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Mondays. If a national holiday falls on a Monday, the exhibition will be open, but will be closed the following day.

Four special lectures are scheduled to be presented during the course of the exhibition, including a talk session on Dec. 10 by high-profile neuroscientist Kenichiro Mogi on how to read the paper.

All lectures will be in Japanese.

General admission is ¥400 while tickets for college and high school students are ¥300 and ¥200, respectively. Junior high students and below will be admitted free of charge.