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Japan AM Radio Dial 1941 – Radio Heritage Media Release

Media Release
Radio Heritage Foundation

Japan AM Radio Dial 1941
Listening on the Eve of WWII

“The dramatic story by a lady was broadcast at that time’ wrote JOFK Radio in Hiroshima, Japan when confirming reception of its broadcasts at the other end of the Pacific during the 1930’s.

This postcard is one of many rare images forming part of a new feature exploring the Japanese AM Radio Dial in December 1941 and recently released by the Radio Heritage Foundation at

In fact, many Japanese radio stations carefully cultivated foreign listeners through this period, at the same time as the Japan Travel Bureau advertised in America’s National Geographic Magazine ‘More for your dollars…thanks to the yen’ and encouraged readers to travel by the mail liners of NYK to visit the modernising Japan.

On the eve of war, some 73 million Japanese enjoyed entertainment from almost 50 local radio stations, including English language lessons and physical exercise sessions.

The Radio Heritage Foundation details all of the stations on air, including photos of studios, radio personalities and technical facilities in this new feature at

So why did some Japanese radio stations include the exact geographic co-ordinates of their transmitters and towers in correspondence to foreign listeners? Whilst this question remains unanswered, it is a fact that American occupation forces were able to take over many undamaged and substantial radio station facilities.

The feature even includes a previously unknown image of the joint signage outside the undamaged JOBK and WVTQ studios in downtown Osaka.

For students of social history and those interested in radio heritage, ‘Japan AM Radio Dial 1941’ presents a fascinating glimpse into what ordinary Japanese people listened to on the radio on the eve of WWII.

This is the second in a series examining the radio broadcasting situation and its context in Asia in 1941 – the other being ‘Shanghai Radio Dial 1941’ also found at

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