Riding the Digital Wave: How Podcasts Are Reshaping Japan’s Media Landscape

Joel Fukuzawa
4 min readJun 6

Based on forecasts from Nikkei, the Japanese economy daily, voice-based social media, chatbots, and location systems are predicted to be the three key areas for future marketing strategies. Since 2021, digital advertising in Japan has eclipsed traditional mass media, with the most significant decline seen in radio advertising. Yet, paradoxically, online audio content is booming. Newspapers and magazines have begun producing digital broadcasting features, and the number of podcast programs continues to increase.

Mamoru Miyazaki, a 47-year-old TBS radio producer who has been an avid night-time radio fan since high school, immersed himself in the world of broadcasting in the late 1990s. Having worked on late-night radio shows for over 20 years, he felt a crisis in traditional radio programming for the first time in 2010. “It’s not that the program wasn’t good,” he said, “it felt like being thrown into a bottomless abyss and falling continuously.” Coincidentally, Japan launched the Radiko app, a web-based digital radio service in 2010. This technology allows radio programs to be live-streamed directly through the internet, no longer requiring radio waves, and even replayed at any time. It’s creating opportunities for late-night radio shows to appear in different daytime scenes.

According to market statistics reports from Nomura Securities, over 20% of last year’s radio listeners were loyal listeners to radio programs from the Radiko app. “With the emergence of internet radio apps, radio programs have become more vibrant,” said Miyazaki. Radio stations producing conversational podcast programs with original radio production standards have shown greater planning abilities and attracted more audiences than ordinary podcast programs.

Citing a striking example, on the day when Ryota Yamazato and Yu Aoi announced their marriage in 2019, Ryota Yamazato explained the process of his romance, dating, and decision to marry Yu Aoi in his own radio program. The replay count of the program that day broke the highest replay record on Radiko at that time. And Miyazaki was the producer of that show. “Whether it’s a radio program or a podcast, the essence of the content is the same,” he explained. “The first thing is to be able to talk, and the second is to make people…

Joel Fukuzawa

福澤 喬_東亜人間社会観察,喜歡讀書與你分享。每天兩分鐘帶你窺探東亞的社會文化動態與經濟趨勢。所有文章不提供免費轉載,如有合作需求請先 email :fukuzawanewmedia@gmail.com

More from Joel Fukuzawa