Nihon Shinbun Kyodai “Yondoku!” 2010.04.06
On 2010.04.06, the Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association (Nihon Shinbun Kyodai)* published an interview on their “HAPPY NEWS”, which was distributed to Elementary and Junior High Schools. The interview was also carried by numerous newspapers in Japan that same day.
“HAPPY NEWS” is also available online in “Yondoku!” 「よんどく！」, the NSK’s free site targeted for young people unable to subscribe to newspapers yet. It introduces news and trends about the society, industry, media as well as jokes and puzzles for young people, with the aim of promoting the joy and merits of reading newspapers.
The Happy Interview for this month is with Fukuyama Masaharu-san.
■ What are some of the memories you may have on newspapers?
F: I was a newspaper boy when I was young. From my senior years in Elementary school upto Junior High, I’d be delivering newspapers from 5am in the morning. My mother, elder brother and I would share out the different delivery zones among us. Nagasaki has many hilly slopes, so it was really hard work. I’d sling the newspaper bag across my shoulder like this and run through the narrow streets and alleys. Since I was still a child then, I’d be terrified on the dark mornings since I would imagine ghosts coming out at me.
There were old men who’d do their morning exercises on the doorstep as they wait for the papers. And when I hand it over, I’d hear lots of “You’re late!” (laugh) Although it was just a local Nagasaki paper, I would never have imagined then, that there would be a day when I’d be able to take up a whole page on the newspaper I was delivering.
■ Is your mother doing well?
F: Yes, she’s very energetic. Sometimes, she’d send me the newspaper cuttings that she’s made. She still thinks it’s a great “honour” whenever the papers talk about me. Not just reports on me, but any news related to Sakamoto Ryoma as well! It makes me very happy.
■ In Japan, you’d commonly see fathers spreading open the newspaper to read on the breakfast table. What about the Fukuyama family?
F: Well, my father passed away when I was in High School, but I do remember seeing him spreading open the paper to read, say, on the tatami and then cutting his toe nails on it after he’s finished. (laugh) It’s incredible the number of ways newspapers can be used after you finish reading them. (laugh)
■ What other incredible characteristics of newspapers can you think of?
F: When it comes to the timeliness of news reporting, the internet or TV are probably faster. Even so, because the newspaper is a media with a long history, I believe there is an excellence in the people and their ability as journalists to cover the news stories. In other words, it’s a “trusted media source that we can use for confirmation”. So we get our initial reports from the TV or internet, then we can read up an accurate and conclusive recount of what had happened, on the next day. This, I believe, is the role of newspapers. In a way, you can say that newspapers represent the media by assembling a report of each day.
I take photos too, and when photos appear on such a big page, they can create a very powerful visual impact .
■ Fukuyama-san, what kind of newspaper would you publish, if you were to operate one yourself?
F: Well, I’d slim it down first, smaller in size and less pages. You can find TV schedules on the internet now, so we can take that out…….No, then elderly people who don’t go online, will be affected……. And there’s a lot of information you can get only from newspapers, maybe we shouldn’t slim it down too much…….
Oh, this is a difficult call. The good thing about newspapers is that it’s suitable across all generations and age groups. If we cut down the size, we might not be able to use it to wrap up the breakables when we move house. (laugh) In other words, we’ve come back to the present size as the best one. (laugh)
■ Finally, for Fukuyama-san, when would you feel you’re 「HAPPY」?
F: No doubt, that’s when I see people happy. When I see the audience’s happy faces in the concerts, I’d be very happy too. And I’d feel a surge of gratitude at the same time. Whenever I look at their faces, I’d think it’s because of these people that I’m here now. But I guess it’ll be hard for people not in this business to understand what I’m feeling. Looking at the stage from the audience, with all those heads in front of you, is a totally different view from what I see when I’m on the stage looking at the faces in the audience.
I’m happy when I see happy faces, I guess that means I’m right for this line of work.
~ The End ~
From “Yondoku!” 「よんどく！」 “Watashi no HAPPY” News Interview (私のHAPPY, My Happiness) 2010.04.06