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JAMCO Online International Symposium

20th JAMCO Online International Symposium

March to August, 2012

The Great East Japan Earthquake: Japanese TV Coverage and Foreign Reception

Readers' Feedback(3)


In the Great East Japan Earthquake, I came to understand the graveness and severity of the situation through the media. In this web symposium, Mr. Sato discussed Japanese coverage and reports from the sender’s point of view while Mr. Hsuan and Mr. Kim discussed the characteristics of Japanese media reports from the foreign receiver’s point of view.

It was interesting in that the participants were media experts who saw the reports from completely different perspectives than that of the Japanese audience. Also, the “ethnocentrism” pointed out by professor Oto made me realize how we should analyze the media in critical perspectives too. Now that I learned the concept, I believe there were many instances where ethnocentrism was manifested in the media reports.

According to Mr. Sato the earthquake reports for overseas began as early as 2:57 pm, only 10 minutes after the earthquake hit Japan. Considering the fact that I was still under panic at the time, media were able to respond almost instantly. Also, it was interesting to learn that Mr. Hsuan from Taiwan and Mr. Kim from Korea both said that the “Japanese media reports seemed very composed. So composed it made us think they were not telling the whole truth.” We are often told to remain calm during a crisis situation but I have never thought that could lead to such a lack of reliability.

The understanding that the Japanese government did not disclose enough information and that the mass media failed to dig deeper into the truth concerning the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is widely shared among the Japanese too. I knew that the foreign media were reporting about the possibility of meltdown prior to the Japanese media but the manner in which they reported the news were quite sensational that I thought Japanese reports were more accurate. Many foreign media sensed the lack of reliability at an early stage and quickly turned to reports coming from more trustworthy media such as that of the U.S. and Germany. The fact that the foreign media distrusted Japanese media is a serious problem Japan has to face.


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