TV Broadcasting Starts
In June 1948, NHK conducted Japans first post-war public TV broadcasting
experiment. In February 1950, it established an experimental TV station
at the Science & Technical Research Laboratories, from which originated
a regular 3-hour a day, once a week experimental radio transmission
beginning in November.
Regular TV broadcasting by NHK commenced on February 1, 1953. Although
at the beginning there was only one TV studio that could be exclusively
used by NHK, all the broadcasting equipment for broadcasting except
the image-orthicon were domestically manufactured according to the designs
of the NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories.
Thus, TV broadcasting began, 23 years after NHK began its first television
experiments and approximately 30 years from the start of Takayanagis
The number of receiving contracts on the opening day of regular broadcasts
was 866, among which 664 were in Tokyo. 482 of these viewers were amateur
radio operators using handmade TV receiving sets.
Appearance of Commercial TV Broadcasters
From its beginning, the TV broadcasting culture of Japan has been one
where NHK and commercial broadcasters coexist. Matsutaro Shoriki announced
his plan for the Nippon TV Network Corporation to become the first commercial
broadcaster in 1951. The plan included the establishment of large-scale
commercial broadcasting networks. It called for financial backing from
the United States, as well as the introduction of the latest U.S. technologies
and facilities. Other commercial broadcasters soon followed in applying
for TV broadcasting station licenses. The first to commence regular
TV broadcasting was the Nippon TV Network Corporation, on August 28,
The expensiveness of the TV set initially delayed its diffusion. To
overcome this problem, TV sets were installed in downtown areas, railway
stations, and parks. They attracted large crowds of people excited about
being able to watch professional wrestling and boxing.
TV Unites the Nation
NHK completed its own microwave network servicing Tokyo, Nagoya and
Osaka in 1953. The network was later maintained by the Nippon Denshin
Denwa corp. (later NTT), and major cities from Sapporo to Fukuoka were
connected by 1956. Economic development in Japan and a reduction in
the price of TV sets quickly made the television one of the three most
treasured possessions in peoples homes, along with the electric
refrigerator and the electric washing machine. TV broadcasters began
to create a variety of programs, from news and documentaries, to educational
programs and dramas. TV was rapidly becoming popular.
1959 was the year of the wedding of the Crown Prince of Japan. The number
of black-and-white TV sets quickly exceeded 2 million, as people purchased
them to watch the event on TV. This important event helped people to
recognize the value of television, leading to a period of rapid diffusion
of the new media.
2. Appearance of the VCR: stop time, record images
3. NHK establishes microwave network connecting
Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka
On the Street TV set: diffusion of TV had been hampered
by the high price of receivers.
NHK Tokyo Television begins operation (1953)
The Crown Princes wedding (1959)
NHK Tokyo opens Educational TV channel (1959)
Public Television experiment (1950)