50 Years of NHK Television

A network for Japan and the world

Until the advent of television, people in Japan rarely had an opportunity to see footage of current events, even those occurring in their own country. With television came a network of microwave links that allowed pictures to be transmitted and received anywhere nationwide. Starting in 1995, an international network was established and NHK news and programs can now be viewed anywhere in the world via NHK WORLD.

An information web

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Local roots
Since TV broadcasting began in 1953, NHK has been striving to promote local broadcasting as a public broadcaster with a firm base in each region. The first slots for local programs were established in the hours from 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. in 1959.
In 1963, a morning slot for local news was added, and reporters and producers were dispatched to stations throughout Japan to form the foundation of a national network of news and program production.
The full potential of this national network was demonstrated by news programs like Studio 102.
Since the late 1960's, local stations have set an excellent standard for local news and programs by pursuing such stories as the campaign to eradicate polio (Hokkaido), the cause of the mysterious "itai-itai" disease (Fukui), and the anti-nuclear movement (Hiroshima).

Half-hour local programs
In April 1972, NHK General TV added a once-a-week 30-minute time slot to the existing weekday morning and midday 15-minute news slots. The plan was to give local stations total freedom to choose their own content and time slot for the program, but in 1973 the half-hour local program was shifted to the golden hour (prime time) from 7:30 to 8:00 on Thursday evenings, except in the Kanto and Tohoku regions.


an evening local magazine showTailored to needs
Then in April 1976, an evening local magazine show was started from 6:40 to 7:00 p.m. In Tokyo, for example, it was known as News Center 6:40. The evening local programming schedule has gradually expanded; the local block now starts at 5:05 (3:05 in Hokkaido), and lasts from two to four hours until the national news at 7:00 p.m.
With its potential for finely tailored programming, digital broadcasting promises to enable local news and programming to match local needs more closely than ever.

Bringing the world to every home
The original magic of television was its ability to bring distant places and things to living room screens. Japanese viewers, as citizens of an island nation, have demonstrated a particular thirst for knowledge and images of places beyond Japan's shores.
Soon after the Second World War, NHK was already dispatching reporters abroad to cover important events in a timely fashion. Foreign correspondents were stationed in Paris in 1952, and New York the following year. In 1956, General Bureaus were established in Europe and the United States to beef up international coverage. In 1959, Overseas Report: The African Continent went to air, the first product of a long-term assignment undertaken abroad by a team dispatched specifically for that purpose. The same approach later produced Southeast Asia (March to May 1960), Latin America (July to September 1960) and The Middle East (October 1960 to January 1961). Serving as a window on the world, these programs also incorporated emergency coverage as the situation demanded, weaving in aspects of current affairs as they introduced viewers to the history, culture, politics, economy and natural wonders of many nations.

NHK as an international news resource for all of Asia

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