- マス・コミュニケーション研究 (ISSN:13411306)
- vol.92, pp.165-182, 2018-01-31 (Released:2018-05-10)
This paper examines the reception of early television in rural Japan throughSai village in the Aomori prefecture. While the first television station in Aomoriwas founded in 1959, most Aomori residents had previously accessed the televisionsignal from NHK Hakodate( Hokkaido), established in 1957. The small fishingvillage, Sai village, had the highest television penetration rate in Aomori atthat time and was known as a ‘TV village’. Why did the people of Sai villagewant television? What effect did this desire have? This paper aims to answerthese questions by tracing the evolution from the first arrival of television inSai village in 1957 to the wide spread availability of television in Aomori in1959. Interviews and archival documents show that educational motivations, andspecifically the desire to show the outside world to the children, were fundamental to their choices. Through television education in school, the children’seducation flourished and developed into television reception that went beyondeducational purposes. Matsunoyama village in Niigata prefecture also had asimilar television reception as Sai village. Sai village represents a key point ofreference for television reception in rural Japan in that its remoteness preservedtelevision’s function as an educational visual aid. This paper goes beyondthe urban-centred narratives about early television reception by accounting forthe fact that villagers saw a potential for television beyond leisure in education,and by exploring how the affirmation of television as leisure also opened upchildren to outside worlds. The children’s reactions were in line with a McLuhan-esque view of televisionand what happened in Sai village points to the key potentials of television.This paper shows how rural areas had a rich television reception during theearly days of television. In addition, this paper represents the first stepstowards understanding an era in which television reception forms were stillmixed.