Over 70% of Japanese households have newspaper subscription


Danny Choo in a Japanese newspaper

Japan is well-known the world over for being a nation of newspaper readers, so on the surface the headline figure from this survey by DIMSDRIVE Research into newspaper purchase is not too big a surprise. A quick language note – in Japan 新聞, shimbun, is the Japanese for newspaper, which you could probably work out anyway from Q3!


Between the 17th of September and the 2nd of October 2008 10,231 members of the DIMSDRIVE monitors completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 52.8% of the sample were female, 1.2% in their teens, 13.4% in their twenties, 34.2% in their thirties, 30.2% in their forties, 14.8% in their fifties, and 6.2% aged sixty or older. By employement status, the three largest percentages were 40.4% full-time company employees, 20.7% homemakers, and 12.4% part-time or casual labour. By household income, 6.6% earned under 2 million yen per year, 19.8% under 4 million yen, 24.4% under 6 million yen, 15.3% under 8 million yen, 9.6% under 10 million yen, and 10.3% over 10 million yen. 14.0% were not saying or didn’t know.

One way that Japanese newspapers keep their print subscriptions up is to limit the amount they publish on their web sites. Most keep stories down to two or three paragraphs, often publishing just newswire articles, and expire them after just a few days.

If anything, the numbers reported here may be lower than actuality, as the third-biggest daily newspaper in Japan, the Seikyo Shimbun, is missing from the list. Whether this and other organisation’s dailies were explicitly excluded is not stated, as for instance the Shimbun Akahata (Red Flag – guess whose that is!) also shifts almost 1.7 million copies per day.

The photo is of Danny Choo being featured in a Japanese newspaper, from his flickr collection. I and many others, I think, are secdretly jealous that he gets such coverage and makes so much dosh just for doing the stuff he loves!

Research results

Q1: From which media do you usually get your news from? (Sample size=10,231, multiple answer)

PC internet82.7%
Mobile phone internet22.5%
Hear from friends, family17.9%
Don’t read, listen to news0.5%

By age, newspapers showed the most marked increase with age. Just over half of those in their teens and twenties got their news from there, steadily climbing about 10 percentage points per decade to 91.0% of the over-sixties. Mobile phone internet news on the other hand started off at over a third of those in their teens and twenties, dropping down steadily to just 5.6% of the over-sixties using it as a news source.

Q2: Do you or your family buy a newspaper? (Sample size=10,231, multiple answer)

Have a subscription to morning paper(s)40.1%
Have a subscription to a morning and evening set32.7%
Have another type of subscription1.5%
Don’t have subscription, but buy when I want to read one3.2%
Don’t buy newspapers24.4%

Morning paper only subscriptions were pretty steady across all age ranges, but the morning and evening set was subscribed to by under a quarter of those in their teens and twenties, rising up to 56.7% of those over sixty getting two newspaper deliveries a day.

Q3: Which newspapers do you often read? (Sample size=10,231, multiple answer)

Asahi Shimbun24.5%
Yomiuri Shimbun23.4%
Nihon Keizai (Nikkei) Shimbun15.1%
Local newspaper10.7%
Sports newspaper7.0%
Mainichi Shimbun6.4%
Chuunichi Shimbun5.5%
Sankei Shimbun4.0%
Hokkaido Shimbun2.5%
Other financial newspaper1.6%
Evening newspaper1.4%
Industry newspaper1.3%
Nishi-Nihon Shimbun1.2%
Tokyo Shimbun1.2%
English-language newspaper0.6%
Don’t read any newspapers20.8%

Q4: Which newspapers do you or your family have a subscription to, buy? (Sample size=7,734, those who buy newspapers from Q2, multiple answer)

Asahi Shimbun28.3%
Yomiuri Shimbun27.7%
Nihon Keizai (Nikkei) Shimbun13.2%
Local newspaper12.2%
Mainichi Shimbun6.7%
Chuunichi Shimbun6.6%
Sports newspaper5.3%
Sankei Shimbun4.0%
Hokkaido Shimbun2.9%
Tokyo Shimbun1.4%
Nishi-Nihon Shimbun1.3%
Evening newspaper0.7%
Industry newspaper0.7%
Other financial newspaper0.6%
English-language newspaper0.3%

Q5: Why do you read newspapers? (Sample size=8,106, newspaper readers, multiple answer)

To learn about various topics, information42.1%
Can read at my own pace37.8%
It’s a habit35.5%
Detailed information, explanations34.0%
Useful for work, life23.8%
Lots of information23.3%
Information, explanations are easy to understand17.8%
Think it’s best to read15.8%
Information, explanations are accurate15.0%
Can read it anywhere12.2%
Like reading the printed word11.9%
Rich contents9.5%
Objective reporting7.7%
Reporting is speedy7.7%
Price is cheap5.1%
No particular reason11.3%

Q6: Which columns, sections of the newspapers do you often read? (Sample size=8,106, newspaper readers, multiple answer)

Front page77.6%
Television, radio56.4%
Weather forecast32.5%
Entertainment, culture25.7%
Columns, serialisations22.9%
Technology, IT22.6%
Don’t know1.5%

Looked at by sex, most of the topics split the way you might expect, but one exception was that 36.3% of men read international news, but only 19.8% of women did.

Q7: When choosing what newspapers to read, what points regarding the pages themselves are important? (Sample size=8,106, newspaper readers, multiple answer)

Information accuracy35.6%
Ease of understanding information, explanations32.6%
Has information I want26.2%
Detail of information, explanations25.5%
Amount of information23.5%
Whether useful for work, life20.5%
Ease of reading type20.3%
Local coverage19.1%
Objective reporting17.8%
Goodness of page layout10.8%
Has information not found in other papers10.6%
Whether I support its stance, point of view9.3%
Is related to my favourite baseball team4.6%
Serialised novels, etc3.3%
Nothing in particular21.3%

Q8: When choosing what newspapers to subscribe to, what points are important? (Sample size=7,482, those with subscriptions from Q2, multiple answer)

Quality of page contents, volume, etc36.3%
Cost per issue, subscription16.9%
Amount of advertisements, folded-in leaflets14.8%
Sign-up offers, gifts11.6%
Salesperson’s recommendation11.3%
Frequency of publishing, delivery2.0%
No advertisements, folded-in leaflets1.0%
Saw television advertisement0.5%
Don’t know, didn’t choose myself28.8%

Q9: Why don’t you read a newspaper? (Sample size=2,125, newspaper non-readers from Q3, multiple answer)

Get news from internet, television72.0%
Price is high49.5%
Creates rubbish after reading it34.9%
Don’t have time to read26.6%
Don’t like newspaper sales24.9%
Slower compared to internet, etc21.1%
Gets my hands dirty6.1%
Difficult to read the type5.3%
Doesn’t print the news I want4.6%
Not interested in what goes on in the world1.5%
Don’t need news0.9%
Don’t know, no particular reason6.1%
Read more on: ,,,,


  1. lucien trong said,
    January 26, 2013 @ 20:32

    国際創価学会へのレター Letter submitted to SGI

    上記の方法の中 我々は資料の証明または教義上の証明で議論したい。

    Prabhutaratna(Taho)、偉大な4名 Bodhisattvas、
    (1953年G.Renondeau PUF 日蓮の教義)
    法華経について 第XI章(B.Watson訳)

    IS SHAKYAMUNI DISCIPLE OF NICHIREN ? Lucien.trong@laposte.net

    Soka Gakkai is an Association of ordinary secular people. It is created to spread out Buddhism whose founder is Shakyamuni. Relying on Lotus Sûtra, Nichiren, a japanese monk on XIIIth century, created the Lotus School . This Sûtra says that we all have Buddhahood inside, and that every body is equal. So we have the right to contribute by submitting positive ideas.

    Nichiren devised a method for evaluating any religion or philosophy : Documentary Proof ( for Nichiren, his Writtings or Gosho ). Theorical Proof ( relying on reason ) Actual Proof ( any
    thing to make people believe ). We wish to argue about Documentary Proof, on DOCTRINAL basis, the two others posing no special problem.
    Nichiren has materialized the XIth chapter of the Lotus Sûtra ( there are 28 ) on the Gohonzon or Object of cult «  In the center the title of the Sûtra, Shakyamuni and Prabhûtaratna (Taho), the 4 great Bodhisattvas, Vicistacaritra ( Jôgyô) and the three others..(The doctrine of Nichiren, G. Renondeau PUF, 1953). Accordingly to the Lotus Sûtra, XIth chapter (translator B. Watson)

    Nichiren considered himself as the Bodhisattva Jôgyô and always as the disciple of Shakyamuni.
    After his death on 1282, within two centuries, it is accepted as so by all branches of Lotus School
    From Nichiu (1409-1484) Nichiren suddendly became the Original Buddha and Shakyamuni just a « Transitory » Buddha! This affirmation is nowhere in the Gosho, but in the Comments by his successors. Is this a Documentary Proof ?
    The 3 SGI Presidents,the 3 other Bodhisattvas? mainly the last one, succeeded,with lots of effort to introduce this Buddhism in 192 countries now. Excommunication on 1991 by Nichiren Shoshu where the mouvement issued, could be considered as a luck permitting to revise this comment. 
    Rehabilitate Shakyamuni to his place will help legitimate SGI on his way of Peace to the World.
    This might be in conformity with L.S Chapter II (Means) and The selection of the time (Gosho) ?

  2. lucien trong said,
    January 26, 2013 @ 20:36

    Nichiren considered himself as disciple of Shakyamuni.
    He fight against Jodo School venering Amida instead of
    Shakyamuni. We would never admid to place himself as
    Original Buddha, above the one he considered his Master ?

    Dint you thik so ? What do you have to say about that ? Thanks

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