Following the 129-year course of the Asahi Shimbun

------ Start of business and expansion to Tokyo ------
1879 1/25 Riichi Ueno and Ryohei Murayama The first issue of The Asahi Shimbun was published in Osaka.
The newspaper started out as a four-page small format paper with illustrations and readings to all the Chinese characters. It sold for one sen (a hundredth of a yen) a copy. About 3,000 copies were printed for the first to fourth issues. Founder Ryohei Murayama employed a staff of about 20. After about two years he enlisted Riichi Ueno as co-owner of the business. The company’s first premises were at Minami-dori, Edobori in Osaka.
1879 9/13 The first editorial was on the role of newspaper editorials.
1883 The average daily circulation reached 21,461, making the newspaper the most widely read in Japan.
1888 7/10 The first issue of the Tokyo Asahi Shimbun was published. The office was set up in Moto-sukiya-cho, Kyobashi. The first issue was numbered No. 1,076 as it was a continuation of three small papers --- Jiyu Tomoshibi, Tomoshibi Shimbun and Mesamashi Shimbun.
1889 2/11 Tokyo Asahi Shimbun sent the full text of the Imperial rescript on the promulgation of the Imperial constitution as well as that of the constitution itself to Osaka by telegraph and Osaka Asahi Shimbun printed them in an extra edition in red ink, thus gaining a huge lead over rival newspapers.
1890 9/27 Tokyo Asahi Shimbun announced the introduction of Marinoni rotary printing presses and boosted printing capacity to 30,000 copies per hour.
------ Strengthening the rapid reporting system ------
1895 6/20 Tokyo Asahi Shimbun became the first newspaper in Japan to make use of carrier pigeons, to send a report on the return to Japan of Kaoru Inoue, a politician.
1899 2/1 Tokyo Asahi Shimbun sent newspaper articles to Osaka by phone for the first time following the introduction of a telephone service between Tokyo and Osaka.
1903 9/30 Sanzan Ikebe Sanzan Ikebe of Tokyo Asahi Shimbun proposed measures to counter Russia to Aritomo Yamagata, a military politician.
Ikebe joined Osaka Asahi Shimbun as chief editor in 1896. Later, as chief editor of Tokyo Asahi Shimbun he wrote many editorials and was instrumental in getting prominent writers such as Shimei Futabatei and Soseki Natsume to join the company. Ikebe made a strong mark on the culture of the newspaper by continually stressing that “a newspaper is a product and journalists are the artisans that create the product” and that “writing should always be plain and clear.” He laid much of the groundwork for The Asahi Shimbun’s future development.
1904 1/5 The column “Tensei Jingo” appeared for the first time in the Osaka Asahi Shimbun.
1904 3/4 The writer Shimei Futabatei joined the company and published the serialized novels Sono Omokage and Heibon in the newspaper. He was later sent to Russia as a correspondent from where he dispatched a travel diary that appeared as a series under the title “Reports from Russia.”
1904 9/30 photo Tokyo Asahi Shimbun printed a photograph from the battlefront in China, sent by correspondent Makkatsu Ueno as “A Photo Report From Liaoyang.” This was the first photograph printed in The Asahi Shimbun.

(Pix caption:The first photo printed in The Asahi Shimbun. Three Japanese soldiers stand at the edge of a trench, with a rising sun flag in the background.)
------ Improvement of layout and contents ------
1907 4/1 Soseki Natsume Soseki Natsume joined The Asahi Shimbun.
The renowned writer Soseki Natsume, then 40, resigned his teaching positions at Tokyo Imperial University and the First Higher School to join The Asahi Shimbun. This was soon after the publication of his novels Wagahai wa Neko de Aru and Botchan which made him the center of literary attention. The first novel he produced after joining The Asahi Shimbun was Gubijinso, followed by Sanshiro, Sorekara and numerous others. He worked also as the editor of the literary pages, which were started at his suggestion. He passed away on December 9, 1916, at the age of 49.
1908 10/1 Osaka Asahi Shimbun and Tokyo Asahi Shimbun were merged into a single unified corporation, Asahi Shimbun Goshi Kaisha, with a capitalization of 600,000 yen.
1909 3/1 Takuboku Ishikawa The renowned poet Takuboku Ishikawa joined Tokyo Asahi Shimbun as a proofreader. While working for the newspaper, he published a collection of tanka poems titled Ichiaku-no Suna.
1911 6/1 Based on a proposal by Sojinkan Sugimura, The Asahi Shimbun established the Indexing Division, which was later renamed the Research Division. The creation of this division marked a first for a Japanese newspaper.
1911 11/17 Shigeko Takenaka Shigeko Takenaka joined Tokyo Asahi Shimbun, becoming the first female journalist in the company.
------ Establishing high school baseball tournaments ------
1912 7/30 The Asahi Shimbun issued a special extra edition to announce the dawn of the Taisho era. It was a scoop by reporter Taketora Ogata, who later became a conservative politician.
1915 8/18 The Asahi Shimbun organized the first National Junior High School Baseball Championships.
The final match of the Hyogo regional round of the first National Junior High School Baseball Championships. The first venue for the tournament was Toyonaka Ground in Osaka. A total of 73 schools participated in the preliminary matches, and 10 teams made it to the final round. Kyoto Second Junior High School won the championship. The venue for the games was moved twice, finally to the Hanshin Koshien Stadium, where it is held to this day. With the exception of suspensions during the war, this popular event has been held every year, and in 2007 it celebrated its 89th year.

(Pix caption:The final match of the Hyogo regional round of the first National Junior High School Baseball Championships.)
1916 3/29 The column “Ao Enpitsu” named by Joji Harada, was published for the first time in the city news page of Tokyo Asahi Shimbun.
1918 8/25 The “Hakko Incident” occurred. The expression “the white rainbow penetrated the sun,” in an article in the Osaka evening edition, offended the government as it “disturbs the peace and harmony of society,” and it banned the sale of that issue. President Ryohei Murayama and the executives of the Editorial Division resigned to take responsibility for the furor.
1921 5/1 Tokyo Asahi Shimbun began to publish a cartoon strip by Ippei Okamoto in its Sunday evening editions.

This year alone a total of 123 editorials in the Osaka Asahi Shimbun and 85 in the Tokyo Asahi Shimbun called for disarmament.
------ The Great Kanto Earthquake ------
1922 10/21 The company posted a notice in both its Osaka and Tokyo newspapers announcing the formation of a Page Examiner’s Office, an unprecedented step in the Japanese newspaper industry.
1923 9/1 Osaka Asahi Shimbun quake extra The Tokyo Asahi Shimbun office building was completely destroyed by fire in the wake of the Great Kanto Earthquake.
Since transport and communications were cut, no newspapers could be issued. Tokyo Asahi Shimbun set up temporary offices at the Imperial Hotel and sent nine people to Osaka to pass on news of the situation in Tokyo. Eleven days after the earthquake, on September 12, Tokyo Asahi Shimbun issued its first post-quake newspaper, a four-page edition. The damage that Tokyo Asahi Shimbun suffered in the earthquake was estimated at over 1.03 million yen, about 30 percent of its capital.
(Pix caption:Osaka Asahi Shimbun quake extra)
1924 1/1 The circulation of the New Year’s Day edition of Osaka Asahi Shimbun passed the 1 million mark for the first time.
1929 1/1 To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Osaka Asahi Shimbun’s inception, the “Asahi Prize” was established.
1935 11/25 A new office established in Nagoya began to issue morning and evening newspaper editions, making The Asahi Shimbun a truly national newspaper.
------ The February 26th Incident and the Pacific War ------
1936 2/26 Shelves of type are overturned in the raid on Tokyo Asahi Shimbun. During the February 26th Incident, an attempted military coup, rebel army officers vandalized the offices of Tokyo Asahi Shimbun.
Rebellious troops attacked and killed a number of senior government figures. Later in the day, a group of rebels stormed into The Asahi Shimbun’s headquarters and overturned shelves of type. The attack prevented the evening edition from being published.
(Pix caption:Shelves of type are overturned in the raid on Tokyo Asahi Shimbun.)
1937 4/6 People welcome the arrival in London of The Asahi Shimbun’s airplane Kamikaze. The Asahi Shimbun’s airplane “Kamikaze” breaks Asia-Europe record on goodwill flight.
Pilot Masaaki Iinuma and engineer Kenji Tsukakoshi departed from Tachikawa, Tokyo, on the “Kamikazev and arrived in London in four days. The flight was completed in a surprising world record time of 94 hours, 17 minutes and 56 seconds. (Pix caption:People welcome the arrival in London of The Asahi Shimbun’s airplane vKamikaze.”)
1940 9/1 The newspaper’s name is unified into The Asahi Shimbun.
1943 1/1 Publication of The Asahi Shimbun was stopped by the government after the newspaper published a critical essay contributed by Seigo Nakano.
1945 1/27 The Asahi Shimbun’s Tokyo head office was hit in an air raid, leaving one person dead.
------ Promoting democracy under the occupation forces ------
1945 11/5 To assume responsibility for compromising the newspaper’s principles during the war, The Asahi Shimbun’s president and senior executives resigned en masse.
1945 11/7 The declaration ’Stand with the People’ A declaration titled “Stand with the People,” drafted by Kyozo Mori, and an editorial, “New Mission For a Newspaper,” were published.
(Pix caption:The declaration “Stand with the People”)
1946 11/21 The modern kana usage system (shin kanazukai) was adopted by the newspaper.
1947 6/8 Serialized novels were revived with the publication of Aoi Sanmyaku by Yojiro Ishizaka.
1949 11/30 The Asahi Shimbun started to publish the serialized cartoon strip Sazae-san by Machiko Hasegawa.
1951 2/1 Popular cartoon strip Kuri-chan was launched in the evening edition.
1951 10/1 The coupled publication of morning and evening editions was revived after 7 years.
1951 10/2 A new column titled “Hitotoki” appeared for the first time. The column began with essays contributed by prominent women but by the following year included only submissions from readers.
1952 9/1 The Asahi Shimbun credo, composed of four clauses, was instituted.
1953 3/10 Editor Shozo Ogiya and the editorial staff of Shukan Asahi received the inaugural Kikuchi Prize.
1954 1/20 The publication of an English-language daily, Asahi Evening News, started.
------ Japan’s first newspaper to hit a circulation of 5 million ------
1957 10/1 The Asahi Shimbun is awarded the first Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association Award for a campaign to search for missing parents.
1960 6/17 Bloody protests against the Japan-U.S. security treaty prompt 7 Tokyo-based newspapers to issue an appeal for a renunciation of violence and the protection of parliamentary democracy.
1964 4/8 The golden mask of Tutankhamen The Asahi Shimbun held an exhibition of the Venus de Milo in Tokyo and Kyoto, which attracted a total of 1.72 million visitors. The following year, the company brought the ancient Egyptian treasure Tutankhamen to Japan, for exhibition in Tokyo and two other cities. The number of visitors was a record-breaking 2.93 million.
(Pix caption:The golden mask of Tutankhamen)
1965 1/1 The circulation of the New Year’s Day edition of The Asahi Shimbun was 5.31 million, breaking the 5 million mark for the first time in Japan.
1965 4/1 A new cartoon strip, Fuji Santaro by Sanpei Sato, appeared for the first time in the entertainment pages of the evening edition.
1967 1/3 The Asahi Shimbun exchanged a special New Year editorial on the subject of peace in Vietnam with five of the world’s leading newspapers. All six newspapers published the editorials together.
------ Getting to the bottom of the Lockheed scandal ------
1976 2/5 The Asahi Shimbun front page reporting the verdict sentencing Tanaka to four years imprisonment The Asahi Shimbun scored a major scoop when it published the first report on the Lockheed scandal.
In August, reporter Yoshio Murakami arranged an exclusive interview with Lockheed Corp. vice chairman A. Carl Kotchian. In October 1983, in response to the conviction of former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka for corruption, The Asahi Shimbun printed a front page editorial that insisted that no radical reform was possible unless Tanaka left the political world.
(Pix caption:The Asahi Shimbun front page reporting the verdict sentencing Tanaka to four years imprisonment)
1979 11/18 Participants start the First Tokyo International Women’s Marathon. First Tokyo International Women’s Marathon was organized by The Asahi Shimbun.
(Pix caption:Participants start the First Tokyo International Women’s Marathon.)
1980 4/23 A ceremony marking the completion of The Asahi Shimbun’s new Tokyo head office building was held at the site in Tsukiji. At the same time a state-of-the-art computerized page-creation system (NELSON) started operation, signaling the end of traditional typesetting methods.
1986 1/1 An international satellite edition of The Asahi Shimbun was published for the first time in London. Satellite editions are now printed in six locations around the world, including New York.
------ Intensive reporting on the emperor’s illness ------
1987 5/3 The Asahi Shimbun’s Hanshin bureau was attacked, leaving one reporter dead and another critically injured from shotgun wounds. This incident, along with an attack on a dormitory of the Nagoya head office, a shooting at the Tokyo head office and the attempted bombing of the Shizuoka bureau, were designated by the National Police Agency as special violent crimes, code-named “Case No.116.”
1987 9/19 Asahi Shimbun front page reporting the illness of the emperor The Asahi Shimbun scooped rival papers in confirming the illness of the emperor. It followed this with detailed stories reporting on the emperor’s condition.
(Pix caption:Asahi Shimbun front page reporting the illness of the emperor)
1988 6/18 The Asahi Shimbun triggered the revelation of the Recruit scandal by uncovering the involvement of the deputy mayor of Kawasaki in the illegal distribution of the stocks of a subsidiary of Recruit Co., Ltd. The scandal spread, implicating major political, bureaucratic and business figures. In 1989, The Asahi Shimbun received a special prize from the American Investigators and Reporters Association for its coverage of the scandal.
1988 7/10 The Asahi Shimbun’s Tokyo head office celebrated the 100th anniversary of its establishment. Circulation of the New Year’s Day edition reached 8.34 million.
1989 1/7 At the demise of the emperor, The Asahi Shimbun ran headlines reading “Emperor passes away” and “Heisei era arrives,” and a variety of articles, along with an editorial titled “Farewell to Showa,” on the front page.
------ Continued activism in the 21st century ------
1991 2/12 The type size of the main text in the newspaper was enlarged, resulting in a format of 12 characters per column.
1992 8/22 The newspaper broke the story that Shin Kanemaru, vice president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), received a dubious 500 million yen donation from Tokyo Sagawa Kyubin. The Asahi Shimbun received a Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association Award for this major scoop.
1994 9/22 The Asahi Shimbun Publications Division published the book Isho by Hitoshi Matsumoto, which became a best-seller, with total sales of 2.3 million.
1995 1/17 The Great Hanshin Earthquake occurred, devastating the Kobe area. Following the disaster, The Asahi Shimbun issued a weekly tabloid paper in the region with a wide range of information relevant to residents of the affected areas.
1999 1/25 The Asahi Shimbun celebrated the 120th anniversary of its inception.
1999 10/15 The Asahi Shimbun received a Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association Award for its report on the Wakayama poison-laced curry case.
2000 4/2 Renewed efforts to improve the pages by establishing “Kurashi” column, etc.
2001 1/1 Press and Human Rights Committee inaugurated.
2001 4/1 The type size was enlarged to 11 characters per column.
2001 4/2 The publication of an English-language daily, International Herald Tribune/The Asahi Shimbun, started.
2002 4/6 Weekend newspaper “be”launched.
2004 1/25 Many people visit the Tokyo exhibition “Treasures from the World’s Cultures: The British Museum after 250 Years,” which was part of The Asahi Shimbun’s 125th anniversary celebrations. The Asahi Shimbun celebrates the 125th anniversary of its inception. (Pix caption:Many people visit the Tokyo exhibition “Treasures from the World’s Cultures: The British Museum after 250 Years,” which was part of The Asahi Shimbun’s 125th anniversary celebrations.)
2004 2/1 Lifestyle and Welfare News Department was established.
2004 10/1 “Aspara Club” inaugurated.
2005 4/3 Sunday version of “be” started.
2005 4/16 A new system of editing pages was launched.
2006 10/1 Institute of Journalism was established.
2007 6/26 Editor-in-Chief Position Revived after 30 Years.

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