50 Years of NHK Television

The Evolution of NHK News Programs

Ever since its first television broadcast on February 1, 1953, NHK has presented TV news through images—news that is seen. Nowadays, NHK news is broadcast almost every hour, on the hour. In addition, major news programs are broadcast at convenient times for viewers in the morning, at midday and in the evening. New technologies have been used to make TV news programs even more accessible and easy to understand.

Accurate, reliable news

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Worldwide news
TV broadcasting in Japan began just two years after sovereign rights were restored following the Allied Occupation. People in Japan were yearning for peace and democracy and NHK, as a public broadcaster, was expected to disseminate accurate, trustworthy information.
From the very first day of broadcasting, the lineup included News, Television Newsreel, News Commentary and Weather Forecast.

Nine minutes of news per day
In the early days, TV stations weren't fully equipped for transmitting news footage. At first, news was broadcast daily for four minutes at 12:50 p.m. and five minutes at 7:20 p.m.—just nine minutes altogether.
Another program from the start of TV broadcasting was NHK Television News (once a week, 15 minutes), which was subcontracted to Nippon Eiga Shinsha, a Japanese newsreel company.
Six months later in August 1953, NHK broadcast its own NHK News Films and then in June 1954, NHK News, beamed from NHK's studios. This was the program that established the style of edited film footage paired in the studio with an announcer reading out news reports. It was broadcast three times a day: at noon for 15 minutes, at 7:00 p.m. for 10 minutes, and at 8:30 p.m. for 10 minutes. Later the time devoted to news was expanded and refined, to deliver the news on the hour every hour through multiple media.


Morning news show: Studio 102
In 1960, NHK launched a morning version of NHK News, and the following year the Morning Drama serials. The new schedule was a huge success, with the audience share tripling to reach double digits.
In 1965, Studio 102 (1965-80) made its debut, airing Monday through Saturday from 7:25 to 8:00 a.m. and hosted by Nomura Taiji. The previous year, the commercial NET network had launched Kijima Norio's Morning Show and Fuji network soon followed with Housewives' Studio: The Ogawa Hiroshi Morning Show. This led to a "morning news show war," but NHK stood by its news-centered show throughout. In the end, the news-delivery power of NHK's nationwide network gave Studio 102 the edge and it went on to enjoy a 15-year run. The morning news format subsequently evolved into NHK News Wide (1980-88), Morning Wide (1988-93) and News: Good Morning Japan (1993-present).

NC-9 to NHK News 10
Meanwhile, in the main evening slot, Today's News debuted at 10 p.m. in 1960. In 1974, News Center 9 (NC-9) was launched and achieved tremendous popularity. It revolutionized TV news in Japan by combining a strong sense of presence and immediacy with presenter Isomura Hisanori's engaging style of newscasting. NC-9 ran for 14 years, and Isomura was followed by Katsube Ryojyu, Suetsune Hisashi, Obama Korehito, and then the pairing of Kimura Taro and Miyazaki Midori. In 1988, NC-9 was succeeded by News Today and NHK News 21. NHK News 7 was launched with a one-hour format from 7:00 p.m. in 1993, and the present 10:00 p.m. news, NHK News 10, started in 2000.

50 Years of NHK Programs
NHK has introduced a variety of news broadcasts that go beyond ordinary news formats, including News for Kids, Sign Language News and, for international viewers, News in English. Nor has news been limited to NHK General TV; NHK also broadcasts BS News 50 on BS-1 and led the world in delivering news in HDTV. NHK had a resounding success with the "hat trick" of digital media used to cover the 2002 FIFA World Cup: data broadcasting, Internet website, and services for mobile phones.

The Evolution of NHK News Programs 1953-'60s
The Evolution of NHK News Programs '70s-'00s

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