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|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia. (June 2009)|
NHK logo, known as "the NHK eggs". The logo's main structure has scarcely changed since 1953.
|Type||Broadcast radio network
and Broadcast television network
|Availability||Nationwide and Worldwide|
|Owner||Government of Japan (Public Broadcast)|
|Launch date||22 March 1926 (radio)
|Former names||Japanese Radio Station (1925-26)|
|Callsign meaning||Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai|
|General TV||Digital–Ch 1 (Tokyo)
Digital–Ch 2 (Osaka)
Digital–Ch 3 (Nagoya)
|Educational TV||Digital- Ch 2 (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya)|
|BS-PREMIUM||Digital- Ch 103|
|NHK WORLD||nhkTV, nhkRadio Japan|
NHK (日本放送協会 Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai, official English name: Japan Broadcasting Corporation) is Japan's national public broadcasting organization. NHK, which has always identified itself to its audiences by the English pronunciation of its initials, is a publicly owned corporation funded by viewers' payments of a television license fee.
In Japan, "NHK" refers to the public broadcaster itself. but English viewers refer to the English name within.
NHK operates two terrestrial television services (NHK General TV and NHK Educational TV), two satellite television services (NHK BS-1 and NHK BS Premium, both now high-definition television services), and three radio networks (NHK Radio 1, NHK Radio 2, and NHK FM).
NHK also provides an international broadcasting service, known as NHK World. NHK World is composed of NHK World TV, NHK World Premium, and the shortwave radio service NHK World Radio Japan. World Radio Japan also makes some of its programs available on the internet.
On 22 March 1926, two and a half years after the Great Kantō earthquake, Radio Japan produced the first radio broadcast in the country, transmitting from Atago Hill just north of the Tokugawa Tombs in Shiba Park. The first programme included Beethoven, classical Japanese music, and a play by Ōyō. In the same year, there were also broadcasts from Ōsaka and Nagoya.
NHK was founded in 1926, modelled on the BBC of the United Kingdom. NHK evolved from the amalgamation of the three regional broadcasting corporations. This merger and reorganisation was carried out under the auspices of the pre-war Ministry of Communications.
NHK’s second radio network began in 1931, and the third radio network (FM) began in 1937. In 1935 NHK began a shortwave radio service for listeners overseas known as ‘‘Radio Japan’’ until the 1940s.
In November 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army nationalised all public news agencies and coordinated their efforts via the Information Liaison Confidential Committee. All published and broadcast news reports became official announcements of the Imperial Army General Headquarters in Tokyo for the duration of World War II. The famous Tokyo Rose wartime programs were broadcasts by NHK.
In 1950, three post-war radio rules were enacted including the Broadcast Law (“Hōsō Hō”), replacing the pre-war Radio Telegraph Law. Under this law, NHK started afresh as a special corporation to be supported by its viewers.
NHK started General TV in 1950 and its Educational TV in 1959. In 1960, it began broadcasting in colour.
In the 1980s, NHK BS TV broadcasts started.
In 1995, NHK commences international TV broadcasting services for North America and Europe.
In 1998, NHK launched its international arm, ‘‘NHK World TV’’.
In 2000, NHK started satellite digital TV broadcasts, while in 2003, terrestrial digital TV broadcasts came for three megacity areas. These expanded to cover almost all Japan in July 2011. NHK BS Hi-Vision analogue TV was discontinued in September 2007, and a year later NHK World TV was available Free-To-Air over the Astra 19.2°E (Astra 1L) in Europe.
A few months later on 28 November 2008, NHK World TV began Test transmissions on the Eurobird series of satellites, Free to Air, at 28.5 Degrees East. The transmissions, on 11.680 GHz (Vertical polarity, FEC 2/3, S/R 27.5MBaud), currently appear only by adding the channel manually on Sky Digital equipment, and the channel is currently recognised by a code number, “51108”. It is not currently known how long this service will be available for, or what the plans for NHK World presently are. It appears in the Freesat EPG on channel 209.
NHK is paid for by license fees (known in Japanese as reception fee (受信料 Jushinryō )). The Broadcast Law which governs NHK’s funding stipulates that any television equipped to receive NHK is required to pay. The fee is standardized, with discounts for office workers and students who commute, as well a general discount for residents of Okinawa prefecture.
However, the Broadcast Law lists no punitive actions for nonpayment; as a result of this, after a rash of NHK-related scandals, the number of people who had not paid the license fee surpassed one million users. This incident sparked debate over the fairness of the fee system. In 2006, the NHK opted to take legal action against those most flagrantly in violation of the law.
NHK General TV broadcasts a variety of programming. The following are noteworthy:
Local, national, and world news reports. NHK News 7 offers bilingual broadcasts on NHK General TV, NHK World TV and NHK World Premium. Its current flagship news program is News Watch 9, also broadcast throughout the whole NHK network. NHK also offers news for the deaf, regional news and children’s news. News Today 30 Minutes is the new name of NHK NEWSWATCH which ran for 6 years. It is an English newscast designed for foreign viewers. On 2 February 2009, NHK World TV changed and the flagship newscast, Newsline, also changed and is currently the flagship newscast on NHK and NHK World TV.
In his book 'Broadcasting politics in Japan:NHK and television news', ES Krauss states:' in the 1960s and 1970s, external critics of NHK news were complaining about the strict neutrality, the lack of criticism of government, and the 'self-regulation in covering events' ' Krauss claims that little had changed by the 1980s and 1990s. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 NHK was criticised for underplaying the dangers from radioactive contamination.
Under the Broadcast Act, NHK is under the obligation to broadcast early warning emergency reporting in times of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Their national network of seismometers in cooperation with the Japan Meteorological Agency makes NHK capable of delivering the news in just 2–3 minutes after the quake. They also broadcast air attack warnings in the event of war, using the J-Alert system. All warnings are broadcast in five languages: English, Mandarin, Korean and Portuguese (Japan has small Chinese, Korean and Brazilian populations), as well as Japanese. The warnings were broadcast in these languages during the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Education programmes are watched nation-wide at primary schools. Tensai Terebikun MAX (better known as TTK) is a show combining a small amount of education with entertainment. TTK is currently hosted by the Yasuda Big Circus, Maki Nishiyama and a cast of 24 children ranging from ages 8 to 14.
Weather in detail, nationwide, and international for travellers.
NHK broadcasts the six annual Grand Sumo tournaments (having done so since the 1953 Natsu Basho), high-school baseball championships from Koshien Stadium, Olympic Games (under the Japan Consortium), National Sports Festival of Japan, and a range of other sports. NHK also broadcasts Boston Red Sox games when Daisuke Matsuzaka pitches. NHK also holds rights to broadcast the FA Premier League in Japan.
The network carries in-depth reports on current topics, political debate, and similar programming.
The annual Kōhaku Uta Gassen on New Year’s Eve is the highlight. The weekly schedule includes an amateur hour, and prime-time shows for all ages. Music Japan is shown each week with brand new Japanese pop, and rock acts.
J-Melo is NHK’s first music program to be recorded entirely in English for international consumption.
A sentimental morning show, a weekly jidaigeki and a year-long show, the ’’Taiga drama’’, spearhead the network’s fiction offerings. NHK is also making efforts to broadcasting the drama made in foreign countries as "Overseas Drama (海外ドラマ Kaigai Dorama )".
NHK has become known for its documentary series, first for the popular mini-series Legacy for the Future, and later for the NHK Tokushu (later known as NHK Special)  documentaries series such as The Silk Road and The 20th Century on Film (映像の世紀 Eizō no Seiki ).
Sesame Street was one of the first imports, debuting in 1971. It resumed in 1988, until 2004, when a local adaptation was announced, which NHK refused to be involved in. Teenagers and adults watched the program to learn English (though much later on, a dubbed version was also available). When the American Sesame Street aired on NHK, the channel produced episode guides. In the 2000s, when the show was available in both English and Japanese, Sesame English was interspersed within the program, first as a replacement for Elmo's World, but later in addition to it.
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