Japan's News Propaganda and Reuters' News Empire in Northeast Asia, 1870-1934

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    Exactly 20 years after the first undersea cable was laid across the English Channel in 1851, the last leg of the north- and south- bound cable networks reached Japan via Shanghai, connecting all the continents, except for the Antarctic. This age of global telecommunications coincided with two moves by the major empires in the late nineteenth century: their aggressive colonization in Africa, Asia and the Pacific; and the expansion of the franchise at their metropolitan centres. Overseas news was conveyed more quickly, and affected more people�s views of the world. As metropolitan states gradually expanded their franchise bases, these peoples� views (the public opinion) were becoming an important factor not only in domestic politics, but also in foreign policies. The states had to respond to these developments of technology and mass-based politics, realize the power of news, and come to see the need to develop policy and institutions to utilize news in foreign policy. As soon as global telecommunication networks were established, three major news agencies � British Reuters, French Havas, and German Wolff � created an inter-imperial news cartel system in 1870, and Northeast Asia came under Reuters� news empire. Using the notion of �news propaganda�, this book analyses how the Meiji state came into the inter-imperial news system, and how it became aware of the problem of Reuters� news empire in Northeast Asia. It also examines how the Japanese state began to develop the governmental institutions and a key operational agency, the national news agency, to utilize news propaganda in international politics, and how it challenged Reuters� news agency in the region with a help of American Associated Press. The book demonstrates the modern thinking of foreign policy elites, including high- to � middle-ranking diplomats, military officers and news agency men. They were well attuned with global trends, technological development, and the rising significance of �international public opinion�. They responded not with isolationism from, but with greater engagement with the world public in the time of diplomatic crises and international conflicts. Their challenge to Reuters� news empire was not a structural challenge to the inter-imperial news system, but a quest for Japan�s greater power in that system, and closely connected to the military expansion into China.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationDordrecht The Netherlands/St.Louis, MO USA
    PublisherRepublic of Letters Publishing BV
    Number of pages343
    ISBN (Print)9789089791016
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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