Mainichi Shimbun

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Mainichi Shimbun
Front page of Mainichi Shimbun from September 8, 2013
TypeDaily newspaper
FormatBlanket (54.6 cm x 40.65 cm)
Owner(s)The Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd.
PublisherMasato Kitamura
FoundedFebruary 21, 1872; 152 years ago (1872-02-21)
(as the Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun)
Political alignmentCentre[1] to centre-left[2]
HeadquartersChiyoda, Tokyo
CirculationMorning edition: 1,950,000 (2022)[4]
Evening edition: 622,000 (2022)[4]

The Mainichi Shimbun (毎日新聞, lit.'Daily Newspaper') is one of the major newspapers in Japan, published by The Mainichi Newspapers Co.[5][6]

In addition to the Mainichi Shimbun, which is printed twice a day in several local editions, Mainichi also operates an English-language news website called The Mainichi[7] (previously Mainichi Daily News, abbreviated MDN), and publishes a bilingual news magazine, Mainichi Weekly. It also publishes paperbacks, books and other magazines, including a weekly news magazine, Sunday Mainichi.

It is one of the four national newspapers in Japan; the other three are The Asahi Shimbun, the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. The Sankei Shimbun and the Chunichi Shimbun are not currently in the position of a national newspaper despite a large circulation for both.


First issue of Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun published on February 21, 1872

The history of the Mainichi Shimbun began with the founding of two papers during the Meiji period. The Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun was founded first, in 1872. The Mainichi claims that it is the oldest existing Japanese daily newspaper[citation needed] with its 136-year history. The Osaka Mainichi Shimbun was founded four years later, in 1876. The two papers merged in 1911, but the two companies continued to print their newspapers independently until 1943, when both editions were placed under a Mainichi Shimbun masthead. In 1966, the Tokyo office was moved from Yurakucho to Takebashi, and in 1992, the Osaka office was moved from Dojima to Nishi-Umeda.

The Mainichi has 3,200 employees working in 364 offices in Japan and 26 bureaus overseas. It is one of Japan's three largest newspapers in terms of circulation and number of employees, and has 79 associated companies,[8] including Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), Mainichi Broadcasting System (MBS) and the Sports Nippon Newspaper.[9] (despite affiliation, the Mainichi does not have majority ownership in TBS nor in MBS)

The Mainichi is the only Japanese newspaper company to have won a Pulitzer Prize, for the 1960 photograph "Tokyo Stabbing", which captured the 1960 assassination of Inejirō Asanuma, chairman of the Japan Socialist Party. The Japan Newspapers Association, made up of 180 news organizations, has granted the Mainichi its Grand Prix award on 21 occasions, making the Mainichi the most frequent winner of the prize since its inception in 1957.

Partnership with MSN[edit]

On 15 January 2004, Mainichi Shimbun and MSN Japan announced they were to merge their websites. The partnership has been known as MSN-Mainichi Interactive [ja], effective since 1 April 2004.[10] On 18 September 2007, Mainichi announced the launch of their new website,, which would include "heavy use of social bookmarking, RSS and blog parts" and would "pay attention to bloggers". The new website began operations on 1 October 2007, marking the end of MSN-Mainichi Interactive, being replaced by The English-language Mainichi Daily News also moved to the new website.[11] MSN-Japan switched to Sankei Shimbun.[12]

Sino-Japanese War coverage controversy[edit]

Mukai at Sugamo Prison after his arrest by the U.S. Army
Noda at Sugamo Prison after his arrest by the U.S. Army

In 1937, the Osaka Mainichi Shimbun and its sister newspaper, the Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun, covered a contest between two Japanese officers, Toshiaki Mukai (向井 敏明) and Tsuyoshi Noda (野田 毅), in which the two men were described as vying with one another to be the first to kill 100 people with a sword. The competition supposedly took place en route to Nanjing, prior to the infamous Nanjing Massacre, and was covered in four articles from 30 November 1937, to 13 December 1937; the last two being translated in the Japan Advertiser.

Both officers supposedly surpassed their goal during the heat of battle, making it difficult to determine which officer had actually won the contest. Therefore, (according to the journalists Asami Kazuo and Suzuki Jiro, writing in the Tokyo Nichi-Nichi Shimbun of 13 December), they decided to begin another contest with the goal of 150 kills.[13] The Nichi Nichi headline of the story of 13 December read "'Incredible Record' [in the Contest to] Behead 100 People—Mukai 106 – 105 Noda—Both 2nd Lieutenants Go Into Extra Innings".

Other soldiers and historians have noted the unlikelihood of the lieutenants' alleged heroics, which entailed killing enemy after enemy in fierce hand-to-hand combat.[14] Noda himself, on returning to his hometown, admitted this during a speech that "I killed only four or five with sword in the real combat ... After we captured an enemy trench, we'd tell them, 'Ni Lai Lai.'[note 1] The Chinese soldiers were stupid enough to come out the trench toward us one after another. We'd line them up and cut them down from one end to the other."[15]

WaiWai controversy and cancellation[edit]

The Mainichi Daily News column WaiWai, by Australian journalist Ryann Connell, featured often-sensationalist stories, principally translated from and based on articles appearing in Japanese tabloids. The column carried a disclaimer since September 19, 2002: "WaiWai stories are transcriptions of articles that originally appeared in Japanese language publications.[16] The Mainichi Daily News cannot be held responsible for the content of the original articles, nor does it guarantee their accuracy. Views expressed in the WaiWai column are not necessarily those held by the Mainichi Daily News or the Mainichi Newspapers Co."[17] Nevertheless, WaiWai content was reported as fact in blogs and reputable foreign media sources.[18]

In April and May 2008, an aggressive anti-WaiWai campaign appeared on internet forums including 2channel.[19] Criticism included "contents are too vulgar" and "the stories could cause Japanese people to be misunderstood abroad."[20][21] Critics had accused the WaiWai column of propagating a racist stereotype of Japanese women as sexual deviants with its sensationalist stories about incest, bestiality and debauchery.[18][21] On June 20, a news site J-CAST reported on this issue.[22] The Mainichi editorial board responded by deleting controversial WaiWai articles and limiting archive access, but the column remained in the Sunday Mainichi.[23] Citing continuing criticism,[24] Mainichi's Digital Media Division shut down WaiWai on June 21.[23] Mainichi also announced it would "severely punish the head of the Digital Media Division, which is responsible for overseeing the site, the manager responsible for the column and the editor involved with the stories."[25][26] On June 25, Mainichi apologized to MDN readers.[27] Some advertisers responded to the campaign by pulling ads from Mainichi's Japanese site.[28][29]

On June 28, 2008, Mainichi announced punitive measures.[20] Connell, who remained anonymous in the announcement, was suspended for three months ("issuing three months' disciplinary leave").[30] Other involved personnel were either docked 10%–20% salary or "stripped of their titles" for a period of one or two months.

On July 20, 2008, Mainichi released the results of an in-house investigation. Mainichi announced that it would re-organize the MDN Editorial Department on August 1 with a new chief editor, and re-launch the MDN on September 1 as a more news-oriented site.[31] Mainichi said, "We continued to post articles that contained incorrect information about Japan and indecent sexual content. These articles, many of which were not checked, should not have been dispatched to Japan or the world. We apologize deeply for causing many people trouble and for betraying the public's trust in the Mainichi Shimbun."[31]


Palaceside Building, the headquarters of Mainichi Shimbun in Tokyo
Newsroom at Mainichi Shimbun
  • Tokyo Head Office (東京本社, Tōkyō Honsha), corporate headquarters
1-1-1, Hitotsubashi, Chiyoda, Tokyo
  • Osaka Head Office (大阪本社, Ōsaka Honsha)
3-4-5, Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka
  • Chubu Head Office (中部本社, Chūbu Honsha)
Midland Square, 4-7-1, Meieki, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya
  • Seibu Head Office (西部本社, Seibu Honsha)
13-1, Konya-machi, Kokura Kita-ku, Kitakyushu
1314 W. McDermott Dr, Allen (Dallas) Texas USA (Central Region)


Like other Japanese newspaper companies, Mainichi hosts many cultural events such as art exhibitions and sporting events. Among them, the most famous are the Senbatsu High School baseball tournament held every spring at Koshien Stadium, and the non-professional baseball tournaments held every summer in the Tokyo Dome (formerly held in Korakuen Stadium) and the end of the fall in the Osaka Dome.

The company sponsors a number of prominent annual road running competitions in Japan, including the Lake Biwa Marathon and the Beppu-Ōita Marathon.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ni Lai Lai" (Chinese: 你来来) can be translated as "you, come, come".
  1. ^ "Relief in Japan After Shinzo Abe's Visit With Trump". The New York Times. February 13, 2017. Retrieved February 20, 2020. In an editorial, the centrist Mainichi Shimbun said that Mr. Trump might have taken a strategy of ...
  2. ^ "Japan's media accuse Carlos Ghosn of 'cowardly act' after flight to Lebanon". The Guardian. January 1, 2020. Retrieved February 20, 2020. The centre-left Mainichi Shimbun quoted a senior prosecutor as saying: "This is what we predicted. This has ruined the prosecutors' painstaking work."
  3. ^ "Beijing will be watching Suga-Biden talks closely". The Japan Times. April 17, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2023. Only two daily newspapers, the liberal Mainichi Shimbun and the conservative Sankei Shimbun, ran contrasting editorials on April 14 and 15.
  4. ^ a b ABC Japan, average for In March 2022
  5. ^ 株式会社毎日新聞社, Kabushiki-gaisha Mainichi Shimbunsha
  6. ^ "Corporate philosophy of the Mainichi Newspapers Co". Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  7. ^ "The Mainichi". Archived from the original on June 23, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
  8. ^ グループ会社・団体/友好会社 リンク一覧 [Group Companies and Organization / Related Companies Link List] (in Japanese). Mainichi Newspapers Group Holdings. Archived from the original on May 4, 2016. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  9. ^ 沿革 [History] (in Japanese). Sports Nippon Newspapers. Archived from the original on May 5, 2016. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  10. ^ Nihon Shinbun Kyokai, Mainichi announces its online news site merger with MSN Archived 2007-12-17 at the Wayback Machine News Bulletin No. 28 April 2004.
  11. ^ Reliability and openness key features of new Mainichi site Archived 2007-10-04 at the Wayback Machine Mainichi Daily News, 2007-09-18.
  12. ^ (in Japanese) 産経Webは「MSN産経ニュース」に変わります, Sankei Shinbun, 2007-09-18.
  13. ^ Wakabayashi 2000, p. 319.
  14. ^ Kajimoto 2015, p. 37, Postwar Judgment: II. Nanking War Crimes Tribunal.
  15. ^ Honda 1999, pp. 125–127.
  16. ^ "Chronology of problems with English-language site - Mainichi Daily News". September 4, 2008. Archived from the original on September 4, 2008. Retrieved December 13, 2021.
  17. ^ "Analysis of the investigative team" Archived 2008-09-04 at the Wayback Machine Mainichi Newspapers, 2008-07-20.
  18. ^ a b "Japanese newspaper admits infamous sex column was untrue" Archived 2018-01-21 at the Wayback Machine, The Daily Telegraph, 2008-7-22
  19. ^ (in Japanese) 英語版サイトに「低俗」な日本紹介記事を掲載 毎日新聞がおわび Archived 2008-06-27 at the Wayback Machine SANSPO.COM, The Sankei Shinbun, 2008-06-24.
  20. ^ a b "Punitive measures over Mainichi Daily News WaiWai column announced" Archived 2008-09-04 at the Wayback Machine Mainichi Newspapers, 2008-06-28.
  21. ^ a b "WaiWai is dead" Archived 2008-06-27 at the Wayback Machine Japan Inc, 2008-06-22.
  22. ^ (in Japanese) 毎日新聞英語版サイト 「変態ニュース」を世界発信 Archived 2008-06-23 at the Wayback Machine J-CAST, 2008-06-20.
  23. ^ a b "Chronology of problems with English-language site" Archived 2008-09-04 at the Wayback Machine Mainichi Newspapers, 2008-07-20.
  24. ^ (in Japanese) 毎日が英文サイト一部閉鎖 「低俗」と抗議3百件 Archived 2012-07-21 at 47NEWS, Kyodo News, 2008-06-24.
  25. ^ Mainichi will ’severely punish’ employees who contributed to WaiWai column Archived 2008-06-28 at the Wayback Machine Japan Probe, 2008-06-24.
  26. ^ (in Japanese) 「低俗過ぎる」毎日新聞英語版のゴシップサイトが批判受け閉鎖 Archived 2008-08-08 at the Wayback Machine INTERNET Watch, Impress Watch, 2008-06-24.
  27. ^ "Apology to readers for WaiWai column" Archived 2008-08-28 at the Wayback Machine Mainichi Newspapers, 2008-06-25.
  28. ^ (in Japanese) 「毎日jp」が自社広告だらけに、ネット上に深いつめ跡残る Archived 2016-11-03 at the Wayback Machine Nikkei BP, 2008-07-08.
  29. ^ "The Birth of Blog Discourse" Archived 2008-11-09 at the Wayback Machine (translation of blog post in CNET Japan), Néojaponisme, November 6, 2008.
  30. ^ The writer was Ryann Connell. Justin Norrie, "Japanese set the blogs on 'sleazy Australian' writer" Archived 2009-02-24 at the Wayback Machine The Age, 2008-07-05.
  31. ^ a b "Mainichi Daily News to start over again" Archived 2008-09-03 at the Wayback Machine Mainichi Daily News, 2008-07-20.

Further reading[edit]

  • De Lange, William (2023). A History of Japanese Journalism: State of Affairs and Affairs of State. Toyo Press. ISBN 978-94-92722-393.

External links[edit]