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NHK ( , Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai, Official English name: Japan Broadcasting Corporation) is Japanmarker'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.

NHK operates two terrestrial television services (NHK General TV and NHK Educational TV), three satellite television services (NHK BS-1, NHK BS-2, and NHK Hi-Vision, a High-definition television service), 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.


Until the 1940s, NHK was a national radio broadcasting monopoly.

On March 22, 1925, one and a half years after the Great Kantō earthquakemarker, the Radio Japan produced the first radio broadcast in Japan, transmitting from Atago Hill just north of the Tokugawa Tombs in Shiba Parkmarker. The first program included Beethoven, classical Japanese music, and a play by ōyō. In the same year, there were also broadcasts from Osaka and Nagoya.

NHK was founded in 1926, modeled on the BBC radio company of the United Kingdommarker. NHK evolved from the amalgamation of the three regional broadcasting corporations. This merger and reorganization was carried out under the auspices of the pre-war Ministry of Communications.

NHK’s second radio network was started in 1931. And in 1935, NHK started a shortwave radio service for listeners overseas, which was known as ’’‘Radio Japan’’’ in 1930s and 1940s.

In November 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army nationalised all public news agencies and coordinated their efforts through 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, post-war three radio rules were enacted including the Broadcast Law (“Hōsō Hō”). Under this law, NHK started afresh as a special corporation to be supported by audiences.

NHK started General TV in 1950 and the Educational TV in 1959. It aired its first color television broadcast in 1960.

In 1980s, NHK BS TV broadcasts were started. And in 1995 , NHK started ’’‘NHK World TV’’’.

In 2000, NHK started satellite digital TV broadcasts. And in 2003, terrestrial digital TV broadcasts were started for three megacity areas, which are to be expanded to cover almost all Japan by July, 2011.

NHK BS Hi-Vision analog TV was stopped by September, 2007.

Since End of September 2008, NHK World TV can be received Free-To-Air over the Astra 19.2°E (Astra 1Lmarker) in Europe.

As of 28 November, 2008, NHK World TV was seen to start 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.

License fee

NHK is paid for by license fees (known in Japanese as ). 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 prefecturemarker.

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 domestic broadcasting stations

TV programming

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. In 2 February 2009, NHK World TV change and the flagship newscast Newsline is also change and currently the flagship newscast on NHK and NHK World TV.

Emergency reporting

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 and skip-back cameras makes NHK capable of delivering the news in just 2–3 minutes after the quake. Their skip-back cameras are equipped with a back-up power supply in case the electricity is cut-off and are able to rewind fast to show the first moment of the shaking.


Education programmes are watched nation-wide at primary schools. Tensai Terebikun MAX (better known as TTK) is a one-of-a-kind educational show combining education with a bit of entertainment. TTK is currently hosted by the Yasuda Big Circus and a cast of 24 children ranging from ages 8 to 13.


Weather in detail, nationwide, and international for travellers.


NHK broadcasts the six annual Grand Sumo tournaments, high-school baseball championships from Koshien Stadiummarker, Olympic Games, National Sports Festival of Japan, and a range of other sports. NHK also broadcasts Boston Red Sox games when Daisuke Matsuzaka pitches.

News analysis

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 J-Pop, and J-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 of the foreign country as " ".


NHK has become known for its documentary series, first popularized by the mini-series Legacy for the Future, afterwards, "The Silk Road" in NHK Tokushu (NHK Special at later years), and in NHK Special.


The longest running children’s show in Japan, , still airs to this day on NHK-ETV.


Cooking, comedy, exercise, etc.

Notable programs


  1. NHK: Profile
  2. Sidensticker, Edward. (1990). ’‘Tokyo Rising: The City Since the Great Earthquake,’’ p. 67.
  3. NHK: Evolution of television
  8. [1]
  9. IHT/Asahi: February 24, 2005
  10. Summary of Press Conference (November 2006): On the demanding of fee payment through legal proceedings

See also


External links



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