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Museum of Broadcasting


90 Years of Radio Broadcasting

Looking back on the early days

In 1920, the world’s first ever commercial radio station, KDKA, started broadcasting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It caused excitement that quickly spread around the world. In Japan, anticipation grew about having our own radio station. One of the key factors that sped up its arrival was the fact that radio communication played a crucial role when, in 1923, Tokyo and the surrounding area were struck by the Great Kanto Earthquake.

“JOAK, JOAK. This is the Tokyo Broadcasting Station.” These were the very first words aired over Japanese radio, on March 22, 1925. A temporary station had been built in Shibaura, on the grounds of the research laboratory of the then Ministry of Communications, and a 53 meter inclined transmission antenna was set up using one of the lab’s wooden pillars. The broadcast output power was 220 watts. The studio and equipment rooms were housed inside the library of the neighboring technical college. On June 1 that same year, the Osaka Broadcasting Station (JOBK) began a 500-watt trial broadcast from a temporary facility using an inverted-L type antenna, and the Nagoya Broadcasting Station (JOCK) followed with a 1-kilowatt broadcast on July 15. The Nagoya Station was built within the premises of Nagoya Castle and had a main building and an annex. There were two large studios on the second floor of the main building and their broadcast equipment was manufactured by the Italian company, Marconi.

Before long, the two-storey concrete headquarters of the Tokyo Broadcasting Station was completed at Atagoyama. It was equipped with two antenna towers and three studios. It began regular broadcasts on July 12, 1925 and had an output power of 1 kilowatts. The Osaka Broadcasting Station was completed the following year and commenced regular 1-kilowatt broadcasts on December 1, 1926.

The exhibit looks back at the early days of Japanese radio broadcasting and features photographs, historical materials, and equipment from the time.

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