[Marxism] JCP as a Profitable Publishing Powerhouse

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Sat Apr 24 07:45:21 MDT 2004

*****   Publications

The JCP recognizes the power of propaganda and at the same time, 
surprisingly, is able to make a nice living from it. The party 
maintains a truly profitable big-business publishing empire, leading 
some to refer facetiously to the JCP as "The Yoyogi Newspaper 
Publishing Company, Limited" (Yoyogi being the Tokyo district of the 
JCP's headquarters). This publishing business practically maintains 
the party by providing it with operating funds and makes it possible 
for the JCP to be independent of special interest groups.

The most important party publication -- its financial lifeline as 
well as a measure of its success in Japanese society -- is the party 
organ Akahata (Red Flag), which comes out in a daily edition (and has 
since October 1945) and weekly Sunday edition (since March 1959). 
Three times a month, the party organ also produces Akahata Shashin 
Nyusu, an illustrated wall newspaper for propaganda and advertising 
purposes, as well as a monthly reduced-size bound edition for 
libraries and a monthly in Braille. Akahata maintains permanent 
correspondents in Washington, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Vienna, 
Mexico City, Manila, and New Delhi. As of 1999, there were 
correspondents in twelve countries, including China for the first 
time in thirty years. In Japan, Akahata employs some 13,000 
correspondents, as well as more than 50,000 unpaid delivery workers.

Combined circulation figures of the daily and Sunday editions of 
Akahata are used by the party as both a measure of its success and a 
perennial goal. For some years now, the party's goal has been to 
achieve an Akahata readership of four million. The figure reported at 
the Fifteenth Party Congress in 1980 was over 3.5 million, the 
highest number ever claimed by party authorities. Since then, the 
circulation has declined by more than one million (or a third) to 
just over 2.3 million, although there are artificial increases before 
each party congress when members try to sign up as many relatives, 
neighbors, coworkers, and friends as they can. Nonetheless, Akahata 
easily surpasses the circulation of party newspapers of other 
nonruling Communist parties. In fact, Miyamoto bragged that his 
colleagues in the French and Italian Communist parties were astounded 
when they learned about Akahata's readership of three million.

In addition to Akahata, the party publishes Zen'ei, an authoritative 
theoretical monthly (since February 1946); magazines for women, 
students, and elementary- and intermediate-level party members; an 
illustrated semi-monthly for potential party members; organs of the 
party's youth, women's, and students' affiliates; a children's 
weekly; monthlies for cadres in the labor union movement and for 
young workers; an economic theory monthly; and the organ of the 
Democratic Literary League, Minshu Bungaku. The circulation of these 
periodicals ranges from 4,000 to 250,000, and total circulation 
figures, excluding Akahata, are about a million copies. At the height 
of its publishing activity in the mid-1980s, the party also put out 
several other journals, among them Bunka Hyoron, a general cultural 
monthly; Sekai Seiji, a biweekly on international affairs; Kurashi to 
Seiji, a monthly report on parliamentary affairs that was revived in 
December 1998 after the party's electoral successes under the new 
title Gikai to Jichitai (The Diet and Local Government).

The Central Committee Publishing Bureau also puts out millions of 
pamphlets, especially during elections, as well as a wide range of 
books. To publicize the work of the party abroad, the JCP established 
a subsidiary company, the Japan Press Service, that since November 
1956 has continuously put out the Japan Press Weekly, a 20-40 page 
press release that routinely provides material in English from 
Akahata and other party publications; and a number of books (works by 
Miyamoto, Fuwa, and others, as well as proceedings of party 
congresses and other important party documents) in English and other 
European languages. Since 1993, the Japan Press Service also 
publishes a monthly 4-8 page newsletter entitled Dateline Tokyo: for 
people-to-people exchange, and since 1998, the JPS Daily News 
Service, which is also available in an email version. In addition, 
the JCP headquarters issues from time to time the Bulletin: 
Information for Abroad (in English, Spanish, and other languages) 
containing translations of important party documents, statements, 
editorials, speeches, and the like.

(Peter Berton, "The Japanese Communist Party and Its 
Transformations," JPRI Working Paper No. 67, May 2000, 
<http://www.jpri.org/publications/workingpapers/wp67.html>   *****

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