Established in 1974, the Journal of Japanese Studies features original, analytically rigorous articles from across the humanities and social sciences, including comparative and transnational scholarship in which Japan plays a major part

Murphy 50:1


The Voice of a Stranger: Rumor, Radio, and the Aurality of Difference in Interwar Japan

In the late 1930s, a unique strain of media criticism developed in Japan surrounding radio broadcasting, sound, and the limits of public speech.  Galvanized by a ban on “groundless rumors” which stifled independent expression in favor of state broadcasting, many intellectuals heralded rumor as a voice of the people—a mode of aural transmission that presented a more vernacular alternative to the foreign intrusions of broadcast sound.  In order to better apprehend this critique, however, this article situates it within a darker history of rumor and aurality that traces back to the violent aftermath of the Great Kanto Earthquake, revealing unspoken anxieties over ethnic and racial difference at the heart of Japan’s interwar media discourse.

Volume 50, Number 1 (Winter 2024)
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