Asahi Shimbun

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Asahi Shimbun (朝日新聞, Asahi Shinbun) is a Japanese national newspaper. It is also the second most widely circulated newspaper in the world, after its Japanese rival, the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun. Together with the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Mainichi Shimbun, the newspaper forms the "Big Three" in Japanese newspapers.[1] Its circulation, as of June 2005, was 8.2 million copies of the morning edition and nearly 3.8 million copies of the evening edition.[2]


The newspaper's first issue was published in Osaka on January 25, 1879, by the politician Murayama Ryohei (Ueno Ri'ichi, who joined the management two years later, is often cited as a co-founder). The paper was a small-sized four-page publication, complete with pictures (although the first photograph was not printed until 1904) and furigana (Japanese signs used to indicate pronunciation). In the beginning, the newspaper usually sold a 1000 copies a day. In September the same year, it published its first editorial.[3] In 1882, "neutrality" and "altruism" were adopted as the newspapers' principal policies,[4] which at the time was seen as a novelty, as most of the newspapers of that time sided outspokenly with either the civil rights movement or the government. In 1883, the newspaper's circulation went over 30,000 copies a day, making it the largest newspaper in Japan. In 1888, an office was opened in Tokyo, and the first Asahi Shimbun Tokyo edition was printed.[5][6]

During its time as Japan's most widely read newspaper, a title it lost to Yomiuri in 1977,[7] Asahi stood out as an early adopter of new technology. In 1889, Asahi was the first newspaper to send news stories by telegraph, between the Osaka and Tokyo offices; in 1890, the first to use rotary presses in Japan; and in 1895, the Asahi Tokyo edition was the first newspaper in Japan to make use of carrier pigeons. In 1923, the newspaper inaugurated the country's first regular airmail service to link the Osaka and Tokyo offices, which was sustained with its own fleet of aeroplanes. It was also the first to install a newspaper-clipping morgue and the first to run a picture supplement.[6][8]

World War II

"In World War II, the militarists "purged" Asahi, but the interlopers were ousted after Japan's surrender". [8]


  1. Britannica: 'Asahi Shimbun'.
  3. Titled "On the role of newspaper editorials" (Shinbunshi ronzetsu no koto wo ronzu, 新聞紙論説の事を論ず)
  4. In Japanese hodochushinshugi (報道中心主義) and koheimushi (公平無私), literally "neutrality in reporting" and "fairness and altruism".
  6. 6.0 6.1
  8. 8.0 8.1,9171,794925,00.html

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See also