Japanese media groups routinely stage sports and other events and promote them through their commercial outlets. The Yomiuri sports pages, for example, reads like a Yomiuri Giants fanzine. The media can be a harsh taskmaster as well. The rapid deterioration of the Yomiuri-to-Kawasaki-to-Tokyo Verdy soccer team is directly traceable to the Yomiuri family’s decision to drop the team when the J-League did not allow them to use it as a promotional vehicle for their commercial interests.
The Fuji-Sankei Group is no exception. In this particular case, Fuji TV, the crown jewels of the Fuji-Sankei multimedia group, held Japanese broadcasting rights to the Four Continents 2008, staged in Seoul, South Korea. Yomiuri did cover the competition itself, but ignored the exhibition altogether as a non-event, which, for them, it was exactly that.
* The (mostly) Andō photos are currently ranked nos.1 through 9 among the most popular images on the Sankei website.
Seriously, I can’t help repeating: Sankei has hands-down the most reader-friendly media website in Japan. In fact, with all the accompanying visual bells and whistles, it’s better than its hardcopy version. I don’t understand how this is driving revenue, though I suppose fourth-place Sankei has less to lose. Still, I’d like to see how Asahi, Yomiuri and Mainichi respond (or not). They’d better hurry up; are they trying to make a Japaneo-con out of me or what?