Unlike many other countries, Japan’s physical newspaper market is generally healthy, as far as I am aware, and this survey from @nifty into newspapers appears to back up my opinions.

Note that some of the figures have one decimal place and some have none; this is because some figures were published to one decimal place, but others I had to estimate off a graph.

I didn’t know half of these uses in Q6! Here is a random cat helping his owner to read the newspaper:


Research results

Q1: Do you or your family read a physical newspaper? (Sample size=2,857)

  Unmarried Married
Yes, for more than 50 years 32.0% 40.8%
Yes, for more than 40 years 12.0% 15.9%
Yes, for more than 30 years 6.3% 11.5%
Yes, for more than 20 years 3.5% 6.6%
Yes, for more than 10 years 2.2% 2.2%
Yes, for more than 5 years 1.3% 1.2%
Yes, irregularly 1.5% 0.8%
Yes, but don’t know when started 4.6% 2.4%
No, quit less than 5 years ago 7.3% 6.8%
No, quit around 10 years ago 11.0% 5.5%
No, quit more than 20 years ago 7.9% 3.2%
No, never read one 10.4% 3.1%

The most popular newspapers were listed, with the Asahi and Yomiuri (broadsheets) neck and neck at 21.9% versus 21.8%, then 13.8% reading a local newspaper, and 8.3% with the Nikkei (Financial Times/Wall Street Journal-like). The first tabloid was eighth, with 3.3% reading one.

Q2: Which sections of the newspaper do you usually read? (Sample size=2,857, multiple answer)

  Male Female
Front page, general news 73.8% 65.6%
Society, crime 66.1% 56.9%
Local news, lifestyle 55.3% 54.6%
Radio, television listings 53.9% 56.7%
Politics 52.3% 29.4%
Economics 51.7% 31.5%
Sports 47.9% 29.0%
International 44.2% 27.5%
Weather 27.8% 32.7%
Opinion, editorial 28.0% 25.6%
Entertainment, arts 23.4% 39.6%
Serialised novel, columnist, cartoon 18.7% 30.8%
Obituary 18.6% 21.2%
Advertisements 7.9% 11.0%
Other 1.5% 1.3%
Don’t read a newspaper 18.3% 22.7%

Q3: When and where do you read a physical newspaper? (Sample size=2,857, multiple answer)

On waking at home 30.0%
Over breakfast at home 26.6%
On returning home after work, etc 22.0%
Free time 14.5%
At work, school 7.3%
On toilet at home 5%
At lunch 4%
At cafe, restaurant 4%
While commuting 4%
At hospital waiting room 3%
At library 2%
At hotel lounge 2%
In bed 1%
Other 5%
Don’t know 1%
Don’t read a newspaper 18.0%

Q4: What do you feel are the good things about a physical newspaper? (Sample size=2,857, multiple answer)

Can read it again any time 44.4%
Can get various unbiased news 44.3%
Information load is high 38.5%
Important news is easy to find 30.6%
There are deep and easy-to-understand explanations 22.2%
In touch with local news topics 19.8%
Information is correct 17.8%
Television listings are easy-to-read 15.9%
Can read in bright areas 12.0%
Layout is easy-to-read 11.7%
Has objective stance 9%
Other 4%
Nothing in particular 20%

Q5: What do you feel are the bad things about a physical newspaper? (Sample size=2,857, multiple answer)

Bothersome to save, throw away old newspapers 30.8%
Information is not timely 27.8%
Lots of advertisement, fliers 27.5%
Lots of information of no interest to me 25.3%
Information, viewpoint is biased 23.3%
Expensive 19.6%
Cannot read in the dark 15.8%
Cannot search, cannot find articles I want to read 14.8%
Newspaper salespeople are pushy 14.4%
Characters are small and difficult to read 13.9%
Fingers get dirty 10%
Waste of paper, resources 10%
Too big, so difficult to read 9%
Other 3%
Nothing in particular 17%

Q6: Other than for reading, what do you use a physical newspaper for? (Sample size=2,857, multiple answer)

  Male Female
Protecting items when packaging 56.6% 60.4%
Undersheet when doing messy things, eg making items, cutting nails 53.6% 60.6%
Wrapping vegetables for storage 50.0% 74.6%
Drying damp shoes 34.4% 51.0%
Soaking up used oil eg from deep frying 30.2% 47.5%
Wrapping up paper nappies, raw rubbish 27.1% 36.0%
Undersheet for shoe box 22.9% 27.7%
Rolling up and swatting insects 22.6% 28.1%
Cleaning window glass, mirrors 15.5% 26.7%
Wiping off dishes, frying pands 14.5% 20.4%
Keeping pots warm 7.2% 10.2%
Wiping floor 6.8% 8.7%
Undersheet for drip-drying washing, soaking up water 5.5% 8.5%
Other 4.4% 8.7%
Nothing in particular 15.8% 4.6%


Between the 7th and 13th of April 2017 2,857 members of the @nifty monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. No other demographic information was given.


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