Soon after its launch, issue No. 6 of Shashin Shuho ran an advertisement for the Broadcasting Corporation of Japan (present-day NHK) that read “Follow the current situation through the radio.” Later in issue No. 13, the journal featured another advertisement for the Broadcasting Corporation of Japan that said “Stay in shape with radio gymnastic exercises.” In addition, issue No. 24 continued an advertisement that stated “Entire nation does radio gymnastic exercises” as part of the campaign to promote the idea of “healthy citizens serving the nation.”

Radio broadcasting in Japan began in 1925, and from 1926 it was exclusively managed by the Broadcasting Corporation of Japan (present-day NHK). As the Broadcasting Corporation of Japan advertisement in issue No. 30 of Shashin Shuho illustrates, the popularity of radio receivers for tuning into radio broadcasts continued to grow after the start of the Showa Period (1926-1989). This trend really took off when the Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937. As radio broadcasting became increasingly widespread across Japan, it came to hold a special position within the government’s policies, as can be seen in Document 1 “Nation and Radio Broadcasting” issued in 1940.

Radio gymnastic exercises started in 1928. On July 1, 1937, the decision was made to establish the National Physical and Mental Training Campaign Program, which is described in Document 2. One important part of this program was to “promote the popular practice of radio gymnastic exercises.” It also sought to achieve the “objectives of enhancing physical training and strengthening the psychological unity of the nation” through the popular practice of these exercises. To realize these goals, the performance of “radio gymnastic exercise sessions,” which had previously been held every summer, was made a part of the program. It also set forth policies for conducting these exercises, such as “Performing radio gymnastic exercises at all primary schools” and “Mandatory participation of all primary school students.”

Radio gymnastic exercises were actively promoted by the government. This fact is reflected in the impressive photo below that appeared in the first issue of Shashin Shuho, which was published on  February 12, 1938.


Japan Center for Asian Historical Records, National Archives of Japan