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Yomiuri Group


This profile considers the Yomiuri media conglomerate of Japan.

It covers

  • Introduction
  • Evolution of the group
  • The flagship
  • Studies


The Yomiuri group of Japan is a broadcast, film, press, sports and property development conglomerate.

Its flagship newspaper - the Yomiuri Shimbun - claims to have the highest circulation in the world. Like rivals such as the Nikkei, Fujisankei and Asahi groups, most revenue comes from operations in Japan.

Evolution of the group

The group's flagship - the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper - was founded in 1874. At the end of the US Occupation the group expanded into radio (from 1951) and television (from 1953).

The extended Yomiuri group currently comprises subsidiaries and affiliates concerned with television, radio, newspaper and magazine publishing, book publishing, film/video production, travel agencies, business schools, sports and of course property.

The latter featured in the so-called Yomiuri Land Scandal of 1983, in which sokaiya (gangsters) extorted money regarding the company's annual general meeting.

An indication of the holdings is here.

Its Nippon Television Network (NTV), competing with Fujisankei's Fuji TV and Asahi's NBC, is a leading television network with 30 stations. Services include a 24-hour news channel.

It is active in international television production and broadcasting through its US-based NTV International, engages in feature film and video production, and owns leading baseball and soccer teams such as the Yomiuri Giants.

The flagship

The Japan Media Review indicates that the daily circulation of Yomiuri Shimbun is around 10 million for the morning editions and 4.3 million for the evening editions. Its readership is reported as are 50.1% female and 49.9% male, with the largest cohort of readers being in their 50s (21.2% of the women and 22.4% of the men) and 40s (18.4% women and 17.5% men. 30% of Yomiuri readers consider themselves homemakers. Household income is split among those earning 2-4.99 million yen pa (19.6%), 5-6.99 million (22.4%) and 7-9.99 million (21.6%).

The English-language The Daily Yomiuri, launched in 1955, is skewed toward expatriates (72.2%) and men (57.2%); over 36% of foreign and 27% of Japanese readers as of 2001 were businessmen and women. Over 75% of readers reportedly have undergraduate or postgrad degrees. 68% of foreign readers were in their 30s and 40s, versus around 50% of Japanese readers.

The Yomiuri Shimbun is supposedly the top online newspaper, reporting around 4.5 million unique hits from users accessing the site at home and over 2.1 million from work as at early 2005.


There is no major English-language study of NTV or Yomiuri.

For the group's early history see Gregory Kasza's The State and The Mass Media in Japan 1918-1945 (Berkeley: Uni of California Press 1988). A perspective on more recent developments is provided by the essays in Media and Politics in Japan (Honolulu: Uni of Hawaii Press 1996) edited by Susan Pharr & Ellis Krauss and by Laurie Freeman's Closing the Shop: Information Cartels & Japan’s Mass Media (Princeton: Princeton Uni Press 2000).

For sports see Robert Whiting's You Gotta Have Wa (New York: Macmillan 1989). Other sectors are discussed in Anne Cooper-Chen's Mass Communication in Japan (Ames: Iowa State Press 1997).

For the Yomiuri Land scandal see Carl Kester's Japanese Takeovers: The Global Contest for Corporate Control (Boston: Harvard Business School Press 1991).

Memoirs of Tsuneo Watanabe (Tokyo: Chuo-Koron Shinsha 2000) - not sighted by the authors of this profile - is an account by Yomiuri's Washington correspondent in the mid-1960s and president from 1991.