In early April, the Mainichi Shimbun ran two articles about the permeation of wartime terminology into everyday language. How far should this wartime terminology be tolerated, it asked. Should reporters be referred to figuratively as “heitai” (soldiers)?

Mainichi offers such examples as referring to reporters without a specific assignment as “yūgun” (reserves). Or, when reporters are split into separate groups to cover the same story, they are referred to as “ichi-banki” (squad 1) and “ni-banki” (squad 2). And when breaking news takes place, on-the-scene dispatches are issued by the newspaper’s “zensen honbu” (front-line headquarters.)

Waseda University professor Reiko Tsuchiya, an authority on media history, traced the practice of using military jargon back to the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-5, a time when Japan’s armed forces fought large-scale battles at sea, and the use of new weaponry like machine guns put the conflict at the technological forefront of warfare.