Message from the President

Toshikazu Yamaguchi

The Yomiuri Shimbun started out in the 1870s as a small newspaper publisher with a staff of fewer than 30.

The only newspapers in Japan had hitherto been written in an archaic form of Japanese derived from classical Chinese used by the intellectual class . But The Yomiuri Shimbun was written in the style of polite speech in Japanese, with phonetic readings accompanying the kanji (Chinese characters) to aid the reader.

Only 30 percent of Japanese were reportedly literate at the time. Reading a newspaper was still the preserve of the intelligentsia.

In those early days, The Yomiuri Shimbun catered to common people ill served by the highbrow press. It sought to build an enlightened society with readers by bringing knowledge and information to the less literate.

It succeeded magnificently in that endeavor. In the year after its founding, The Yomiuri Shimbun became the most widely read newspaper in Japan, and its readership grew steadily thereafter. The spread of newspapers fostered the habit of reading. Japanese began to read silently as part of their daily routine. Silent reading gave them time for self-reflection and instilled a modern sense of self.

With the passage of time, advances in technology have led to a society where anyone can share content. Media have deversified, and vast amounts of information constantly travel across the world. But people have only limited time to consume information, and the multitude of media out there are constantly vying for it.

When it comes to grabbing users' attention, inflammatory content has the edge. Social media is like a contest to be the most provocative. It is consequently a hotbed of fake news and conspiracy theories, bringing harm effects by fueling social divisions.

A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, wrote Herbert Simon, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. When people's attention is distracted by a plethora of information, they easily fall prey to an indifference to facts that characterizes the post-truth era.

When the internet was beginning to catch on in the mid-1990s, Simon argued that the task needed was "not to design information-distributing systems but intelligent information-filtering systems" for protecting people from too many demands on their attention.

This age of information overload requires just such a filter. The Yomiuri Shimbun is committed to acting as a high-quality information filter by bringing readers only accurate, truly useful news and dispassionate commentary.

But our activities do not stop at news coverage and commentary.

Sports, culture and entertainment form the other side of our business. We established the Yomiuri Giants baseball team and launched Japan's first commercial TV station, Nippon Television Network Corporation. The Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Chuokoron-Shinsha, Inc., and the Yomiuriland amusement park are also members of the Yomiuri Shimbun Group.

We pledge to continue building on the trust we have earned through our journalism by engaging in a wide range of enterprises that serve the public interest.

Some 150 years ago, the first issue of The Yomiuri Shimbun declared, "In publishing this newspaper, we intend to write of useful matters in a way that anyone can understand."

Times have changed greatly since then. In those early days, people were alienated from information because no easily readable news sources were available. Now, by contrast, there is such a superabundance of information that it is difficult to distinguish the truth amid it all. Yet, The Yomiuri Shimbun's founding vision remains unchanged.

With your support, the Yomiuri Shimbun Group will continue reporting, analyzing, and evolving as Japan's leading media conglomerate-and a family of companies that enriches people's minds.

Toshikazu Yamaguchi
The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings

Toshikazu Yamaguchi

Representative Director and President, Circulation, The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings
Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, The Yomiuri Shimbun

Born in Tokyo in 1957, Toshikazu Yamaguchi is a graduate of the School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University . He joined The Yomiuri Shimbun in 1979. His past positions include Deputy Editor, City News Department and Deputy Manager, Legal Affairs Office at The Yomiuri Shimbun; Chief, President's Office at the Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings; Managing Director, Corporate Communications, Compliance at The Yomiuri Shimbun; Senior Managing Director, Corporate Communications, Media at The Yomiuri Shimbun; Senior Managing Director, Chief Officer, Corporate Strategy Headquarters, Corporate Communications at the Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings. In 2015, he was appointed Representative Director and President of The Yomiuri Shimbun . He has served as Representative Director and President of The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings since 2017 and Representative Director and Chairman of the Board at The Yomiuri Shimbun since 2023.