Japan News in English: 17 Great Media Outlets for Expats
Japan News in English: 17 Great Media Outlets for Expats
Poste date: Thursday, February 8, 2018
Until you’ve planted your feet, moving to another country can be both daunting and discouraging—especially if you feel cut off from news of the world around you. How do you keep abreast of current events? How about a national emergency that’s affecting your area? Though you can get your information online, can you be certain you’re getting the Japanese perspective?
If you’re like the thousands of other expats living in Japan who feel that their lack of Japanese skills may put them in an information blackout, don’t fret. Getting your Japan news in English is easy with these TV, newspaper, radio and online outlets that can help keep you in the know.
Japan Television News in English
If television is your preferred news medium, then NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai, Japan’s national broadcasting company) is a good place to start. They have a number of easily accessible bilingual and English-only programs that feature the Japanese perspective on events, each of which is listed below. NHK must also broadcast early warnings about natural disasters in Korean, Mandarin and Portuguese as well as Japanese and English. English/Japanese dual audio options are available on at least one station and a few other NHK bilingual programs that will likely cover such disasters up-to-the-minute. Note that as it is an international program, NHK World may take a bit longer to deliver the most up-to-date local Japanese news in English.
News Watch 9
This is NHK’s premier bilingual news program that airs on NHK’s main channel at 9 p.m. It covers a wide variety of news topics including weather, the economy, politics and environmental issues. Inventions, technology and other topics, some esoteric but usually very accessible, are also covered.
This is NHK’s other bilingual, half-hour news broadcast that transmits in both Japanese and English on the second audio channel. It airs at 7:00 p.m. on NHK’s main channel and NHK World Premium. Weather and daily events are covered in addition to a variety of other news topics.
If you happen to be in your car, or near a radio, or for some reason do not have access to television or Internet options, tune in to the following stations to get your fill of daily happenings and necessary Japan news in English.
American Forces Network (Eagle 810)
This station is an AM station dialed in at AM 810 kHz. Although this network caters primarily to men and women serving in the American Armed Forces who are stationed in Japan, its content is by no means exclusive to the military. AFN, otherwise known as Eagle 810, typically broadcasts widely known American TV shows and radio shows from popular American network, including emergency information and news. If you’re interested in what’s going on in America as well as Japan, this station may also serve your needs as well.
Sitting on the dial at 89.7 MHz in the greater Tokyo area and 76.5 MHz in Yokohama, this radio station transmits some of today’s hits and news bits, including local and national news. A good portion of the programming is in English with public service announcements and emergency information in a number of different languages..
While Japan is certainly a smartphone nation, many of its information consumers still love a good read on the black and white. If you like your news delivered in print, here are a few newspaper outlets to tide you over.
The Japan Times
This is Japan’s largest English-language publication. Established in 1897, it was once a government-run paper that went private after being purchased by an automotive supply company. Daily and world news can be found here alongside opinion articles, entertainment, sports, and special features. The special features section is catch-all, encompassing education, technology, food and drink, and a variety of other topics.
Older than even the Asahi circulation, this is the only Japanese newspaper company to win a Pulitzer Prize. Also, the JNA (Japanese Newspaper Association) has awarded them on 21 different occasions which makes it the most awarded newspaper company in the history of Japan. Domestic, foreign, travel, business, and sports are all covered.
Founded in 1874, Yomiuri Shimbun is now regarded as having the world’s largest Japan newspaper circulation. It has a history of supporting nuclear power in Japan, provides a life advice column, and is considered a conservative, center-right newspaper company. In addition to political news, up-to-date information about news around the world can be found here. This company established the first Japanese professional baseball team, the Yomiuri Giants, and is known to be influenced by the American journalistic style.
If you instead prefer to get your news digitally, there is a slew of options literally at your fingertips. YouTube, vlogs, blogs, and podcasts are among a dizzying array of news delivery media. In addition to being able to find online content from all the sources listed above, here are a few more options.
BBC News Japan (YouTube channel)
BBC is famous for its quality reporting and news pieces can be found on YouTube with a quick search. Some news segments are in English as well.
This male/female news duo is comprised of a half-American, half-Japanese man born in Japan, but raised in America, and a local Japanese woman. The show touches on topics such as philosophy, current events, anthropology, religion, and science. It was an iTunes chart topper in Japan and certainly worth a listen.
Whether online or off, Tokyo has never been more accessible for information-hungry expatriates craving Japan news in English. For those times that you crave fiction, magazines or other English-language material beyond the news, you may want to browse our Tokyo-area bookstore and library recommendations as well. Whether through television, radio, newspaper or online sources, you can get all the information you need, right when you need it, without the extra difficulties of having to speak Japanese! It’s just another great way to get settled into your new home abroad.
Having an internet connection is essential to modern life. Whether you would like to be connected through a LAN line or prefer Wifi our expat's guide to Tokyo Internet Service Providers will have give you the information necessary to help you make the right decision and choose the best provider for your area and needs.
Visiting a Japan without knowing Japanese can be a trying experience. Luckily, in this day and age, there are smartphone apps that can help you overcome that hurdle. Check out our recommendations for the best Japanese apps for foreigners to help you survive living in Japan—translation, travel, language & more!
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If you purchase a smartphone from one of the main Japanese mobile carriers it will always come with a contract and the phone will be SIM locked. You can also learn how to unlock a locked phone from Docomo, AU and Softbank.