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Number 1 Shimbun

NUMBER 1 SHIMBUN 2018

NUMBER 1 SHIMBUN 2018 (59)

Children categories

Associate Members

Associate Members:

Amy Jackson, Pharmaceutical Research And Manufacturers Of America (PhRMA)
Masayo Endo, Freelance Koho
Kohkichi Fujiki, Fujiki Transportation & Stevedoring Co., Ltd.
Hiroshi Hayashi, Hayashi Jimusho
Yuko Kanamaru, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
Yuto Matsumura, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
Reiko Sugioka, Rei Co., Ltd
Masatake Yone, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

New in the Library (June 2018)

New in the Library

Another Asia: Rabindranath Tagore & Okakura Tenshin
Rustom Bharucha
Oxford University Press

Communicating: A Guide to PR in Japan 2018
Dentsu Public Relations
Wiley Publishing Japan
Gift from Dentsu Public Relations Inc.

60 Years of Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition: A News Agency As Eyewitness
Japan Press Research Institute (ed.); Kyodo News (ed.)
Japan Press Research Institute
Gift from Kyodo News

The Naked World
Eli K. P. William
Talos Press
Gift from Eli K. P. William

Echoes: Writers in Kyoto Anthology 2017
John Dougill (ed.); Amy Chaves (ed.); Mark Richardson (ed.); Alex Kerr (preface)
Writers in Kyoto
Gift from Eric Johnston

Photo Exhibition: Days of Light

No1-2018-06 08

Associates Make Their Voices Heard at Candidate Speak-Out

Associates Make Their Voices Heard at Candidate Speak-Out
by Anthony Rowley

What are the key challenges facing the FCCJ in the coming Board year, as seen through the eyes of candidates for election to the positions of Associate Member Directors and that of Associate Kanji? At a recent Speak-Out session at the Club, candidates cited a series of concerns to which they intend to address their talents and energies if elected.

Improving Club governance was high on the list of candidates' concerns, as was the issue of giving Associates a stronger voice in FCCJ affairs. The need for improved food and beverage services at the Club, and the question of who should provide these, was an issue in debate, as were matters relating to the role of the Club Kanjis.

Current FCCJ Treasurer Willem Kortekaas suggested that “the Club’s governance should be further improved. The statutory requirement of planning has been neglected in the past. It is necessary to develop a mission statement and business plan that will form the basis of making the club relevant again, for journalists in the first place but also for associate members. Communication with the membership and external communications should be improved.”

The financial situation of the club, said Kortekaas “will be severely impacted by the move. We now have to work at increasing our revenues, especially by attracting more members. We also need to continue our efforts to negotiate better terms and conditions with Mitsubishi. We have started soliciting donations from members to build up our financial strength. We now need to start looking for financial donations as well as donations in kind from corporations and other external sources.” He added, “We make poor use of the business knowledge and experience of Associate Members.”

Club Secretary Mary Corbett said, “We are currently standing at a vortex of unprecedented changes: the move to a new facility coinciding with the implementation of a new food and beverage operation model. While there is enormous opportunity to enhance the Club experience for members, there are elements which until recently had proceeded without benefit of stakeholders’ knowledge and stand to damage the wellbeing of the club.

“Management and membership need unprecedented collaboration to secure our future. Governance and, in particular, transparency need to be thoroughly revamped. Checks and balances must be implemented to address a community in flux and flagging institutional memory It may be too late to be questioning the wisdom of the pre-lease which was signed over three years ago, but neither should we accept the vagaries of decisions which have not been approved [but were] arbitrarily incorporated into the terms after the fact. The FCCJ should not accept the closing of the ground floor main entrance at 9 p.m. Nor should it pay for corrections to deeply flawed design elements, which did not meet Health Ministry and industry guidelines. The 20 percent increase in rent was reported to us as an increase of 20 percent floor space, when the new design all but eliminates any increase in usable space.”

Candidate Mehdi Bassiri proposed that the Club “go back to its own in-house operation of food and beverage.” He explained that “past Boards of Directors of the club, by signing at least two faulty contracts, first with Mitsubishi to move the Club to the new Fuji building and, second, to outsource the club’s food and beverage operation, have made enormous mistakes.”

The new Fuji Building into which the FCCJ is due to move has, Bassiri argued, an “irreparably faulty design and layout, which would make the Club's food and beverage operations very difficult. Outsourcing not only has made some of the Club’s original items disappear [but also] most of the time, foods are uneatable. I believe if someone as experienced as myself in food and beverage [had been] a member of the BOD in the past, [he or she] would have convinced other BOD members of [such] problems, and therefore not only would the Board have insisted on having a perfect space [but also] we would not have experienced this big problem with food and beverage operations. My goal is to convince new BOD members to go back to our own in-house operation of food and beverage, and in future [the F&B] contract [should] be more transparent to Associate members.”

Current Board member Milton Isa noted that the Club “has gone through tumultuous times during these four years with six presidents, much finger pointing and the usual complaints. This year was the fourth year for Associates/Professional Associates to have been able to serve on the Board. With so many things that are happening at the FCCJ, continuity is certainly an advantage for any incumbent Director. Koeki Hojin status will hopefully bring us more prestige and donations but it will also mean that our responsibility for public service and proper governances in operating the club will be under more scrutiny. The plan to relocate the FCCJ in few months would need a very concerted effort by all to include financial as well as volunteers and, recruiting new members.”

He added: I am still concerned with the politics surrounding how the club is managed today and would definitely try to bring some sense of reality in its covenants and operations. The Professional and Associate members have different needs, but the ultimate objective is the long-term existence of the FCCJ.”

Makoto Honjo, the current Associate member Kanji and a candidate for the same position on the new Board, noted, “Kanji and its corporate equivalent kansayaku are required under Japanese corporate law to, among others, independently check and report on the workings of BOD members. Honjo said that over the past two years, his work along with that of Regular member Kanji Yoshisuke Iinuma had “especially focused on providing a balanced account to the BOD and the General Membership on the following two fronts: understanding the discussions pertaining to the move to the Marunouchi Nijubashi Building and communicating our findings on where we stand and why, and promoting the understanding of the governance standards required of FCCJ as a Public Interest Incorporated Association (Koeki Shadan Hojin) under Japanese Law."

Uichiro Kinoshita, who is also running for office as Associate member Kanji, was absent from Tokyo and unable to make an oral presentation at the Speak-Out. In a subsequent statement, he said that “the Kanji is expected to execute tasks stipulated in the Public Interest Incorporated Association Law. I also would like to stress that we may have to seriously consider the way we restore the club-like atmosphere of FCCJ.As an associate member for a period of a bit less than 30 years, I witnessed the obvious loss of FCCJ’s unique and unrivaled circumstances [that had] been carefully fostered and accumulated by members and staff highly aware of its importance. Let’s restore it to be enjoyed and appreciated by all members.”

I Dislike Kim and Trump But Hope They Succeed in Their Summitry

I Dislike Kim and Trump But Hope They Succeed in Their Summitry
by Bradley K. Martin

In the interest of full disclosure, let me come right out and acknowledge holding serious grudges against a couple of newsmakers I often write about.

One is Donald J. Trump. My disapproval of him is generic, shared by over half of my fellow Americans and much of the rest of the world’s population.

With the other guy, Kim Jong-un, it’s more personal. Besides all Kim’s other bad deeds, I blame him for interfering with my plans to morph from workaday Pyongyang watcher to world-renowned and fabulously wealthy bestselling novelist.

Several years ago I sent my New York agent a draft of a first novel, Nuclear Blues, in which I imagined the downfall of the Kim dynasty. His verdict was: “Deserves to be published.” Before he could follow through, though, he fell ill and died.

To make a sale to one of the major publishing houses you generally need an agent, so I started searching for a replacement.

I’d failed to anticipate Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s 2014 announcement of a Sony Pictures movie, The Interview, whose plot bore a slight resemblance to mine. (I’d say theirs is Animal House to my Fargo.)

The Interview didn’t show in Pyongyang theaters. The chief scheduler there, Kim Jong-un, felt offended that he’d been made a buffoon in a farce featuring a couple of doltish American assassins.

Hackers retaliated with a massive cyber attack, capturing and distributing Sony’s unreleased movies and internal emails. Facing hacker threats of violence, major American theater chains declined to show The Interview.

Estimates of the damage to Sony ranged up to US$100 million. Although North Korea denied involvement, American officials fingered Kim’s cyber commandos.

The Sony caper didn’t scare me. I don’t have tens of millions to lose, for one thing. And since then, I’ve grown accustomed to being the target of hack attacks. I even had a visit from a pair of US Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to warn that, apparently related to my work, “state-sponsored” hackers “in the Far East” were trying to break into my email. I invested in protective measures.

The book publishing industry, on the other hand, had a lot more to lose and could hardly avoid taking note of what had happened to Sony. My project for fictional regime change in North Korea turned toxic. If literary agents responded to my queries at all, they wrote something vague like “Not for me.”

Finally giving up my quest to find an agent and a traditional publisher, I went ahead and self-published Nuclear Blues.

I knew my choice was a recipe for likely obscurity. After all, few brick-and-mortar bookstores stock self-published books. The largest mainstream publications typically have rules against reviewing them.

Sure enough, Nuclear Blues is not flying off the shelves. For this I say, my voice dripping with bitter sarcasm, “Thanks, Kim Jong-un.”

And now those two fellows I dislike plan to sit down together and talk about an end to a state of war that’s lasted for nearly seven decades. As if they were rubbing it in, their success would deal another blow to Nuclear Blues by creating credibility problems for its near-future plot.

So I want them to fail, right? Wrong. As someone who’s spent four decades hoping to make sense of North Korea before the peninsula explodes, I’m cheering for their success.

In my youth I ushered for two years at professional wrestling matches in my hometown, Marietta, Georgia. The good guy always occupied a fixed corner of the ring (southeast), while the opposite corner was always reserved for the bad guy – an extra clue to any fan in need of help deciding whom to boo and whom to cheer.

One of the tasks of my boss, the promoter, was making sure an equal number of good guys and bad guys showed up for work. Occasionally there were gaps in the lineup caused by budget problems or no-shows.

One night the promoter himself, long since retired from wrestling, had to don a pair of trunks to fill out a card. He was popular among regular fans as their genial Saturday night host Elmo Chappell, but when he showed up in the northwest – bad guy’s – corner under his old ring name of Red Dugan they showered him with verbal abuse.

My point in relating this anecdote is, if Kim and Trump want to form a tag team, take off their meanie masks and be good guys for a change that’s just fine with me.

Anyhow, I have an ace up my sleeve. Self-publishing software has developed to the point an author-publisher can prepare a new edition with the push of a button.

If Trump and Kim defy all odds and come up with a sound agreement I’ll shout “Huzzah!” even as I’m modifying my novel’s plot so that it’s NOT overtaken by events.

-------------------
Longtime correspondent and Club member Bradley K. Martin’s other book is nonfiction: Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty. A version of this story was published by Asia Times.

 

Self-publish Your Book! Say Sayonara to Rejection and Hello to Self-Publishing

Self-publish Your Book!
Say Sayonara to Rejection and Hello to Self-Publishing
by John Boyd

Back in 1859 Charles Dickens penned a cutting-edge tale that began, “It was the best of
times, it was the worst of times.” When he wrote those famous words, he had a different
revolution in mind than the one disrupting today’s book-publishing industry, but they
describe perfectly the transformation that’s changing how books are now published, bought
and read.

Driving this change are self-publishing or indie (independent) authors who are exploiting the
technologies of e-books, e-reader devices and online bookstores. As a consequence, the
means of publishing is shifting inexorably from the publishing houses to those who actually
create the novels and non-fiction we read – the writers.

Yet until recently, the efforts of the vast majority of authors to get published never produced
so much as a flicker of light – unless it was the burning of an automated rejection slip. Their
attempts were extinguished from the get-go by the industry’s gatekeepers: the literary
agencies with their slush-pile junior readers, then their mentors the literary agents. The
fortunate few works that were accepted for representation went on to face the toughest hurdle
of all: the acquisition editors of publishing houses who mostly say nay rather than yea to
agents’ pitches.

In some cases, the gatekeepers toss manuscripts because the writing or content doesn’t pass
muster. But as often as not, reasons for rejection include the reading tastes of individuals,
agents’ workloads, the publishing needs of the moment or season, market trends, distribution-
channel capacities and marketing budgets of publishers.

Examples? Top selling author J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame and fortune told fans on
Twitter she had been turned down by agents “loads” of times. Stephen King had his first
novel, Carrie, rejected over and over. John le Carré when he first shopped around The Spy
Who Came in From the Cold was informed he didn’t have a future in writing.

To the joy of millions of readers, these authors did not give up. However, we can only
imagine how many great stories have been lost to us because so many rejected writers
became discouraged and quit after trying in vain to get published.

The situation began to change in 2007 when Amazon released its Kindle electronic books
reader. Despite the $399 price tag and low-resolution (800 x 600 pixels) screen, it sold out in
less than six hours, and would-be buyers had to wait five months before more became
available.

Yet Amazon was not the first with such a device. Three years earlier in 2004, Sony unveiled
its LIBRIé e-reader in Japan and began selling it overseas a year later —albeit to little
fanfare. In 2014, acknowledging the dominance of the Kindle e-reader, Sony said sayonara to
the market.

Why? Well, Amazon began life as an online bookseller. It understood from the start that the
reading device was the razor while the books it sold were the blades. So alongside its e-
reader, (which has been regularly upgraded, refined and reduced in price), Amazon opened its
complementary Kindle eBooks store.

Authors found it relatively easy to self-publish their works through the store. And because
there were no costs for paper, warehousing or distribution, Amazon paid the creators
handsome royalties compared with those from traditional publishers. Amazon also made it
super easy for readers to buy books: literally with one click. What’s more, the books came
without the limiting digital rights management software attached. DRM is supposed to stop
pirating but ends up turning frustrated customers into pirates – as Sony found out to its cost.

In addition, Amazon added what has become its signature ingredient, neatly summed up here
by Indie author and industry guru David Gaughran in his Let’s Get Digital book on self-
publishing, now in its third edition.

Amazon … show[s] you the book you are most likely to purchase, not what the [traditional]
store manager thinks you should read, or what that big publisher is paying to push, or what
critics think is “most important.” Amazon looks at your purchase history, browsing history and
reading activity, and then suggests books it thinks you will like…. And Amazon is completely
agnostic not just to the type of book or who published it, but also the price. Amazon’s
recommendation engine will recommend a book by someone like me over one published by
Simon & Schuster if it thinks a reader is more likely to purchase my book, even if my book is
significantly cheaper.

As a result of these moves, Amazon is now the largest online bookstore in the world, and its
Kindle arm accounts for a guesstimated 70 percent of the indie market in English, with
Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Google Play vying for the remainder.

This change is proving to be a bonanza for many mid-list authors – sellers but not bestsellers
– who are frustrated with the poor terms offered by the traditional publishers. And it presents
an enticing new opportunity for previously unpublished writers. The result? A publishing
revolution is underway.

According to the latest Author Earnings market report, US online sales of print and e-books
for the last three quarters of 2017 totaled $4.4 billion. Indie-published books accounted for
roughly $1 billion of these sales and their share is growing.

Hence, even successful traditionally published authors are choosing to self-publish. One
example: Barry Eisler, author of the Japanese-American John Rain assassin series, made
headlines in 2011 when he turned down a $500,000 deal with St. Martin’s Press for two
books. Instead, he preferred to self-publish. He cited creative control of his works (titles,
book covers and book descriptions) and the belief he could earn more as his reasons.

With the bona fides of indie publishing now established, we’ll take a look at how you go
about self-publishing based on the experiences of three FCCJ members: Charles Pomeroy,
Bradley Martin, and yours truly.

• Charles Pomeroy had written Tsunami Reflections – Otsuchi Remembered, a memoir on the
devastation caused in the town of Otsuchi by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in
March 2011. Otsuchi is the hometown of his wife and the place where they had built their
retirement home.

Pomeroy turned to self-publishing after “finding it almost impossible to attract the attention
of a traditional publisher without a literary agent.”

Upon investigating indie publishing and e-books on the Internet in 2012, he found
Telemachus Press, a publishing services company. It took care of the editing, cover design
and book layout that included a number of photographs. “So I became a micro-publisher
operating under its imprint,” Pomeroy explains. He receives 70 percent of the sales price:
$5.99 for an e-book and $14.99 for the print-on-demand (PoD) paperback version.

“Not offered, however, are marketing and promotion services, a major drawback,” he says.
“The author is stuck with that responsibility.”

Telemachus uses Amazon and Smashwords to distribute the e-books, and Ingram Content
Group to produce and distribute the PoD books, which are available in North America, the
UK and Australia. As the micro-publisher, he had to arrange things with these companies
himself, something of a headache until Telemachus helped guided him through the process.
In total, Telemachus’s fees came to just under $4,000.

• Bradley Martin actually got his foot in the door that bars the way to traditional publishing
when the agent for his nonfiction book took on his Nuclear Blues, a suspense thriller. “But
before he could make a sale, he fell ill and died,” says Martin.

After querying other agents without success, Martin decided last year to self-publish. Upon
researching the subject, he chose BookBaby, a publishing services company like Telemachus.
He found they had a good reputation for producing quality PoD books.

“And I was also attracted by the percentage of the book’s price that BookBaby promised,
especially those sold through its own store,” says Martin. “I also liked the idea of leaving the
company to handle my digital distribution, first with Amazon for a 90-day exclusive, and
then also with Barnes & Noble, Apple and the other online stores.”

Martin did not avail himself of all of BookBaby’s services. He found a Seoul-based
cartoonist to produce his book cover, and he took care of the interior design and editing. “I
also did all the promotion myself,” says Martin. “So I had quite a feeling of accomplishment
when the thing came out. Publishing was a lot easier and a lot more fun than I had imagined.”

BookBaby did the digital formatting and distribution to the online stores. And as part of the
$3,600 deal, it shipped 100 PoD books to Martin in Japan. He recently ordered 25 additional
copies sent to his US address for book signings. The bill including shipping was $354.29.

• In my case, I turned to self-publishing after my suspense thriller Killing Time in Tokyo was
rejected by over fifty agents. My first simple query letters frankly deserved to be rejected, but
as I honed my presentation skills and refined the novel, the automatic rejection letters became
personal and encouraging with words like, “This is not for me at the moment but you should
try a different agent.”

Still, after 50 such efforts …

Not having the financial means or desire to use a service company, I did everything
myself—except for designing the book cover. For the latter, I went to Pinterest, an online
social network pinboard site focused on collecting images, photos and the like. I searched for
“Asian book covers” and found a premade cover that appealed. However, the background
was of a Chinese city, so I paid the designer extra to change it to a Tokyo cityscape. Total
cost, a very reasonable $100 in 2016.

I worked with the same designer, BeetifulBookCovers.com, to custom design the cover for
my second suspense crime novel, The Girl Who Danced Her Tears Away. It took five
attempts to produce the cover I wanted. Cost: $300.

As for layout, I use Scrivener for word processing. This has a feature that converts content
into Mobi files used by Amazon, and ePub files used by all other online stores including
Apple, the second largest store after Amazon. This feature does have a steep learning curve,
however.

Note, though, you may not need anything more that Microsoft’s Word. Amazon has become
more flexible of late and now accepts a variety of file types it will automatically convert
including docx files. So if you have everything laid out as desired, Word will suffice.

Publishing your book on Amazon’s Kindle store is straightforward. You fill out a typical
online form and are given a Your Books page where you are invited to Create a New Title.
Simply upload your book cover and content file to get started.

Next, choose from a list two categories you want the book to appear in when readers search
on Amazon for book genres. I’ve checked Fiction > Mystery & Detective > International
Mystery & Crime; and Fiction > Thriller > Suspense.

You are also given a choice of adding seven keywords to optimize the chances of your book
being found. Choose words or phrases readers may use to narrow down their search. For
example, three of my choices are Japan and Asian crime fiction, sexual seduction and
blackmail, and revenge and retribution.

Next, you choose what territories you want to sell your book in, and then add the sales price.
Between $2.99 and $9.99 Amazon pays 70 percent royalties. Below and above that range,
you receive just 35 percent of the sales price.
Then you hit the Publish button and that’s it!

I began this article saying these are the best of times and the worst of times for the publishing
industry: for as we’ve seen, Indie authors now have a way to bypass the gatekeepers, while
traditional publishers wring their hands as their control over distribution withers away.

Nevertheless, it’s by no means happiness and high-on-the-hog living for all published
authors. While tens of thousands are making a living from self-publishing, hundreds of
thousands are struggling. The bad news is that, given anyone can now publish, zillions of
authors are doing so. But after family and friends have bought copies of your masterpiece,
how do you get anyone else to even see it?

The answer is to put on your marketing hat. Begin by making sure your cover is professional
and tells the reader at a glance what you book is about; ditto the title and book description.
Search Amazon Best Sellers to see what’s successful.

Consider advertising. Targeted Facebook and Amazon ads are popular, but you need to study
how to make these effective. Google such subjects and do the necessary research. There are
also a number of online sites that will charge fees to advertise your book to their subscribers.

For more help search for online sites catering to indie authors. Do searches for “20 books to
50K,” “Kboards” and “Reedsy” to get started and to stay clear of scammy “service
providers.” Podcasts are another rich source of information. Check out my Medium review of
best podcasts for authors: http://bit.ly/2I0bvmx. You can also email me at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have a question.

Good luck!

 

Mr. Smith Goes to Tokyo (Part III)

Mr. Smith Goes to Tokyo (Part III)
by Charles Smith

--

When Charles Smith arrived in Tokyo in 1973 as Financial Times bureau chief, he had no idea he would end up spending most of the rest of his life here. Reaching 80 and having been diagnosed with malignant lymphoma, he set about writing his memoirs. When he finished the project recently Charles – still an enthusiastic FCCJ member – consented to share with us some memories from a long and interesting career. The series began running in the April issue while he was still alive. On May 18 Charles died, at age 82, of respiratory failure. We are continuing to run installments. Here is the third.

--

Officials of what was then called the Ministry of International Trade and Industry could get on the wrong side of the law. I may have suggested in my last installment that MITI had answers for everything, but I remember one case from early in the post-oil crisis era in which Vice Minister Eimei Yamashita seemed to be lost for words. This involved the question of whether the allegedly infallible ministry had forced the 21-member oil refining industry to retract product price increases.

I later realized that I was seeing an institutional conflict between the (not quite) unchallenged leadership of blue ribbon bureaucrats whose power could be traced back to wartime Japan, on the one hand, and a single agency with postwar American roots, the Fair Trade Commission. The FTC, established in 1947, was a creation of the Occupation with a mission of policing the US-ordained 1945 Anti-Monopoly Act.

In May of 1974 the FTC accused the oil refiners of having violated the Anti-Monopoly Act six months earlier by conspiring to raise oil product prices. The companies, among them affiliates of American and European oil majors, mounted vigorous defenses. What was more serious was that, behind its assault on the companies, the FTC seemed be attacking MITI for its practice of giving extra-legal advice to industry on prices.

Without identifying him by name or title, I used a quote from Vice Minister Yamashita admitting that MITI had given administrative guidance to the refining industry to restrain price increases in 1973. But Yamashita argued that “advice” was different from price enforcement and was not something covered by the Anti-Monopoly Act. Nevertheless, lower down in the same FT story I had MITI confessing that its practice of advising private companies on prices “might need some overhauling.”

I came across the MITI-FTC interface just once more in my later reporting career. When researching the background to planned production cut in the petrochemicals industry in the 1980s, I learned that MITI officials planning the cuts had taken the trouble to join a petrochemicals export mission outside Japan so as to be able to break the law without confronting the FTC. Did MITI deserve points for ingenuity?

Incomes Policy, Japan

Alongside this example I can recall one case, in the months after the oil shock, in which things came badly unstuck – although this didn’t directly involve bureaucrats. It was a problem with what some western countries would probably call incomes policy. That wasn’t what it was called in Tokyo, because the Japanese authorities, unlike some hapless UK counterparts, knew better than to lose face by being seen trying to interfere directly in private sector pay levels.

During the 1970s the wages of permanent employees in a dozen major Japanese industries were settled once a year in the impressively named Shunki Toso (Shunto) or Spring Wage Struggle.

The way Shunto worked was that companies in one major industry, often the five big steel makers, agreed (apparently independently) on a percentage base-up for their workers as an example to the rest. The government looked on without comment, but the employers’ leaders, especially in steel, often included men who held top positions at Keizai Dantai Rengokai (Keidanren), the Federation of Employers’ Organisations. This was industry’s mouthpiece for exchanging views with Kasumigaseki bureaucrats and receiving guidance on a wide range of policy issues.

Over five years up to 1974 Shunto wage awards had climbed sharply every year, reflecting the growth of the economy and accelerating rates of inflation – but, most importantly, not overtaking gains in productivity. That year things were different. The base-up settlement for major industries came in at 32 per cent, more than double productivity gains and a whopping 13 per cent over the 1973 awards.

On the evening when I had to write about this disaster I remember walking the streets near my office in something close to a funk as I wondered what to write. How could such a thing have happened? Did it point toward the collapse of the admired Japan system for informally regulating nearly everything?

The story that I wrote later that night was a patched up job. It was headlined “Why Japan’s latest wage settlement has a European air.” But it had nothing to do with Europe. Producers, I later discovered, could actually afford the extravagant settlements because they had taken advantage of supply bottlenecks (not just in toilet paper) to gouge panicky consumers with sharply higher prices in the second half of 1973.

The oil industry, probably the biggest short term gainer from crude shortages, had paid what, according to my story, were “secret” bonuses to its management level staff in January.

It sounded like, but wasn’t, the dawn of supremacy for organized labor. A year later the Shunto awards came in at around 15 per cent, still above price rises but below the growth rate of productivity. The bureaucrat-employer combine seemed to have restored order. But perhaps they didn’t do it alone.

This time, I believed, politicians had indirectly involved themselves because they had locked the economy into its worst recession for 20 years through interest rate increases and restrictions on bank lending imposed via the Bank of Japan. This was almost the first time that I had seen politicians helping bureaucrats out of a seriously awkward patch by manipulating the economy for political ends.

Of course the Ministry of Finance was involved. But the initiative lay with Takeo Fukuda, at the Economic Planning Agency, who had become the patron saint (my phrase) of post-oil shock austerity. As I’ve previously mentioned, Fukuda was one of the Liberal Democratic Party’s top faction leaders.

Some time in 1976 I scored a minor hit with the FT foreign desk in London by admitting belatedly that Japan wasn’t always run by a two-way partnership (see the second entry in this series). I suggested it could also be viewed as a game of Scissors, Paper and Stone among bureaucrats, business people and politicians.

The idea was that bureaucrats influenced companies in ways already described, but politicians had an edge over bureaucrats because they enacted the laws that the men in the ministries needed to do their jobs. The third side of the triangle was that business exercised control over politicians by providing much of the cash needed for one (always the same) party to win elections, and for individual MPs to manage their constituencies.

At the top of the system corporate money went directly to the ruling party to pay for election campaigns. At the bottom the flow was via factions and was indirect. Individual MPs struggled for survival in multi-seat constituencies where the sharpest conflicts were between members of different LDP factions, not between the LDP and opposition parties. What counted in these fights was an MP’s ability to help voters with anything from job offers to patronizing baseball clubs.

It cost a lot. MPs had government salaries, but travel costs to and from Tokyo mounted up. Constituency MPs eked out money from factions by selling to companies expensive party tickets.

When I first became aware of how the ruling LDP ran its affairs it seemed to me to be not so much a party as an ad hoc system for distributing favours at various levels – money and jobs to individual voters at the constituency level and chunks of power and privilege to factional bosses at the top.

The LDP itself had its origins in ad hoc-ism It had been created in 1955 through a merger of the Nihon Minshuto (Japan Democratic Party), led by Ichiro Hatoyama, and the Jiyuto (Liberal Party), led by Shigeru Yoshida. The main purpose for the merger was to block the road to power of the still powerful forces of socialism and communism. The LDP is said to have been born with financial help from the US Central Intelligence Agency. But when CIA funding dried up in the early 1970s the party survived and flourished, while leftwing groups retreated to the fringe.

In later years the Liberal Democrats’ hold on power occasionally seemed to be threatened, and once it lapsed altogether. But the party survived, or struggled back to office, through its ability to co-opt others. By the time I reached Tokyo in 1973 the Komeito or Spirit of Fairness Party – the offshoot of a Buddhist sect, aggressively radical at the outset – had become a tame junior member in a series of LDP-led coalitions.

By then there were two keys to what seemed to have become a permanent LDP hold on power. One was wheeling and dealing with the opposition. The other – paradoxically – was the faction fighting that in those days seemed to be a permanent feature of life in the LDP. Factional battles drew headlines while the real tensions in Japanese society often found expression behind closed doors.

You could call this Japanese-style democracy, but the effect was to keep one party semi-permanently in power.

In 1955 when the LDP was created two of Japan’s closest neighbors, Taiwan and South Korea, were being run by authoritarian single-party governments that grossly lacked democratic credentials. It was only thanks to East Asian politeness that they sometimes were not called dictatorships. By the late 1980s both countries had reached a point where two or more parties were competing for power in what seemed to be democratic elections. Meanwhile, in Japan, the LDP reigned in (almost) solitary glory.

Japan’s political system had come to seem like a fly in amber: the spirit of democracy permanently trapped by the realities of power.

 

Tributes to Charles Smith

TRIBUTES TO CHARLES SMITH


AN UPSTANDING MAN

An upstanding man whose intelligence and civility were excelled only by his honesty. We first met in 1973, were colleagues for the next twenty years, and were always in touch in the years that followed. A lunch with Katsuko and Charles at their home last July provides a delightful memory of our last meeting, not to forget Charles’ subsequent enlightening comments on a manuscript I had sent him. A fond farewell.

-PHILIP BOWRING, Financial Times and Far Eastern Economic Review



CALM JUDGEMENT

Someone I always respected for his calm judgment and kindness.

-HUGH SANDEMAN, The Economist



A TRUE GENTLEMAN

It must have been in the early 1970s when I first met Charles, in the Nikkei Building “Gaijin Ghetto,” where quite a few news organizations had their Tokyo bureaus. My first impression of him was of a quiet, wise man with dignity and patience, sitting in the corner with a gentle smile on his face. Over more than four decades, Charles remained the same. This is hard to explain, but I felt good to know that Charles Smith, who knew Japan so well, was always there with us. With his departure, we lost such a dear and important friend. He was a true gentleman and a great journalist. We will miss him.

-HIDEKO TAKAYAMA, The Baltimore Sun, Newsweek, Bloomberg News



A GENTLE MAN

A gentle man. I miss him.

-MASAHIKO ISHIZUKA, Nihon Keizai Shimbun



FRIEND AND MENTOR

He was a friend and mentor. From the moment I set foot in Japan as his colleague in 1987 to the time I left in 1990 he was a wonderful guide. I learnt a lot from him. not least a philosophy of life I would call resilient kindness.

-NIGEL HOLLOWAY, FEER



RESILIENT KINDNESS

"Resilient kindness" is a wonderful expression, and much what Charles was and meant for so many of his friends and colleagues.

-ROBERT DELFS, FEER



REGRETS

Regrets, I've had a few, and one of mine is not having gotten to know Charles Smith better. He was a congenial colleague -- the guy down the hall I always enjoyed talking to. He and I were regulars together at the monthly salons of Shijuro Ogata of the Bank of Japan, and as much as I was charmed by Ogata-san I often learned as much about the Japanese political economy from Charles’s questions and observations as from the urbane central banker. Charles was a civilizing force in the wilds of the Gaijin Ghetto. He enjoyed a good time as much as anyone but he never stopped being a cellist. I always looked up to him.

Last summer, for the first time in a couple of decades, we met again at the FCCJ and had some good conversations and to my delight, he offered to share early drafts of his memoirs with me. Through them I got to know Charles better, which only made me wish all the more that we had crossed over the line from colleagues to friends back then. If, like me, you wish you had known Charles better, I suggest you read his memoirs in Number 1 Shimbun. As modest and self-deprecating as these memoirs will remind you Charles always was, what will impress you most in them is what a complex, sophisticated and interesting man he was. I am terribly sad that he is no longer with us. Charles was the kind of guy you had to respect and be fond of. I am grateful I got a chance to see him again last summer during the Ghetto Rats reunion and especially grateful to have read his very interesting memoirs. May he rest in peace.

-URBAN LEHNER, Wall Street Journal

 

WIT AND CHARM

Charles had been through such a lot in recent years, yet he emerged with his trademark wit and quiet charm very much intact. I admired his resilience and was happy to be back in touch with him in the last year or so. We traded emails about his memoir and the odd reminiscence, and I was reminded of his gentle manner and incisive mind. With respect and admiration for a valued colleague and friend, with deepest condolences to Katsuko, and with gratitude for the memories,

-TRACY DAHLBY, FEER, The Washington Post, Newsweek



THE CHUCK SMITH BAND

Charles Smith and I stood at a corner in Tokyo's Otemachi business district. (At six feet four inches (193 cm.), Charles was one Japan correspondent I literally had to look up to. As we dutifully stood to wait for the WALK signal, Charles raised his big head as if sniffing the air. “What's a bond? Do you know what a bond is, Mike?” I was flummoxed. This was the Financial Times's bureau chief. In my view, he was the best foreign correspondent in Japan. And he was asking me for the meaning of “bond”? I stuttered drivel. We resumed walking to a briefing at the Industrial Bank of Japan.

Charles and I were neighbors in the Gaijin Ghetto, a corner of the 8th floor of the Nihon Kezai Shimbun building. I spent seven years in his orbit there. We also fraternized at the Press Club and at Geoff Tudor and Richard Hanson's getaway on the Miura Peninsula. When Richard married Keiko-san, I gave one of the toasts. After the mass kampai, I introduced Charles, the next speaker, as the best foreign correspondent in Japan. This was in a room filled with foreign correspondents. Richard, who was Robin to Charles's Batman, in a typical Brockton, Massachusetts irreverence then referred to the three-person chamber ensemble in which Charles played cello as the “Chuck Smith Band.” With typical good-natured aplomb, Charles gave it one of his soft brays.

That suggests one of Charles’s many admirable traits. He kicked ass and took names but never took himself too seriously. He was like a killer whale in a cloud of krill, sifting through facts and stats and briefs, emerging on the other side with what Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein calls “the best obtainable version of the truth.” Charles wrote with elegance and without artifice. This, for example, from his memoir: “For a couple of months after the news from the Middle East turned ominous, the consumption super-truck stayed in overdrive. It was good that the truck eventually turned out to have brakes.”

The best gift I could ever give the Far Eastern Economic Review came in 1984 when I finished a three-year tour as FEER's Tokyo bureau chief. I was headed to The Wall Street Journal’s San Francisco office. Derek Davies and Philip Bowring were FEER's top editors, and both were ready to lambaste me – until I gave them Charles. He was leaving the FT and wanted to stay in Japan. FEER suddenly had an opening in Tokyo. An arranged marriage! They might well have said, OK, Buck, don't let the doa hit you in the arse on your way out.

Charles’s legacies? A million well-chosen words over nearly a half-century explaining Japan. Cello recordings. Dozens of friends unanimous in their view of you as a gentle man. And, Chuck, a bond is an instrument of indebtedness of the bond issuer to the holder. Got it? Me neither. Cheers, Chuck.

-MIKE THARP, WSJ, FEER, U.S. News & World Report, Club President 1989-90



THE MESSIAH AT THE FCCJ

Charles was a dear friend. Among our great adventures, I think our biggest was organizing a December holiday-season sing-along of Handel's Messiah at the Press Club. Charles did most of the work, including recruiting members of the Chuck Smith Band to serve as the orchestra and bringing in professionals as conductor and vocal soloists. This was such fun we did it for several years.

I was pleased that he entrusted me with the task of editing his memoirs – and I'm even more pleased that he finished them. Current readers of Number 1 Shimbun are beneficiaries. There we can read in detail about how one of the great reporters dealt with the Japan story in its heyday. Rest in peace, Charles.

-BRADLEY MARTIN, Baltimore Sun, Asian WSJ, Newsweek, Asia Times, Bloomberg



SMITH-SAN TURNED THE PAGE

Smith-san and I worked together on FCCJ’s Music Committee in 2006 and both of us worked as hard as professional producers. We scheduled a concert every month. Because our membership had little interest in classical music, both of us had to sell tickets month by month for a year to our outside non-member friends as well as negotiating with musicians and arranging the concerts. Fortunately, we were able to invite really world-class musicians despite the tiny reward we were able to offer for their performance.

When Smith-san was a boy he wanted to be a professional pianist, but his father insisted it would be impossible for him to live on music. Following his father’s advice he found another talent in journalism. But he really loved music and was himself a good cello player. Since I also played cello once, as a member of an orchestra, we had similar tastes in music. That made working together a lot of fun.

Perhaps the most exasperating experience we had was the sudden cancellation of a brass music concert that Smith-san organized. We sold all the tickets – over a hundred – to our friends, we made programs, and the wind players themselves had been practicing hard to play for “the foreign correspondents.” Then, out of blue, we were told to cancel the concert only a few days before the scheduled date. A European foreign minister was going to visit the club, and journalism takes priority here. As it turned out, the foreign minister didn’t show up at all, and we received no apology.

Despite such problems, Smith-san fully enjoyed the concerts. Sometimes he turned the music pages for a pianist who was accompanying a violinist, and we all enjoyed watching a foreign correspondent turning pages on the stage. Smith-san was particularly exuberant when he shared dinner with a musician after a concert. He was the perfect host for such occasions.

-MAKI WAKIYAMA, Professional Associate Member



CHARLES THE PROFESSIONAL

When Charles Smith moved to the Far Eastern Economic Review from the Financial Times’s Tokyo Bureau – which in 1984 was two doors away on the same floor in the Nikkei Building – I was at the Review. We often went together to interview many famous people and some not so famous. It always impressed me that when interviewees referred to past incidents, history or cultural matters, Charles could respond knowledgably to almost all of them. I felt so proud of him, and often said to myself, “See our correspondent! What a professional he is!”

-KAZUMI MIYAZAWA, FEER

 


FINANCIAL TIMES OBITUARY

Charles Smith, who raised the profile of this newspaper’s coverage of Japan in the 1970s and ‘80s, has died in Tokyo at the age of 82. He was the second FT bureau chief in the Japanese capital, arriving in 1973 six years after the first office had been closed down, and serving until 1984. Born in London on June 13, 1935, his mother was Dame Annis Gillie, a pioneer in Britain among female doctors. It was an uncle, Darsie Gillie, a Paris correspondent for the Guardian, who inspired his interest in journalism and he first joined the FT as a graduate trainee in 1959, having graduated from Magdalen College, Oxford, with a degree in classics. But he left the newspaper to work for an English language newspaper in Buenos Aires before returning as the FT’s Latin America and, later, Far East Asia editor.

His specialty was detailed reporting on Japanese business and the wider economy. That fit the times as the country consolidated its remarkable recovery from the devastation of World War Two but remained reticent on the international stage. It’s politics were then considered too opaque to be worthy of much attention. Prime ministers, all from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, came and went every two years without apparently materially influencing policies.

It was not an easy beat for a foreign correspondent in Tokyo. Japanese institutions, including government and corporations, remained mostly closed to international reporters. The Japanese “press club” system, which controlled access to ministries and companies alike, specifically excluded non-natives. This only began to break down in the 1980s, mostly because of the initiatives of reform-minded Japanese bureaucrats, led, ironically, by the Bank of Japan, previously notoriously close-mouthed like most central banks. Charles pecked away diligently at such morsels as were available and dug out some that were never designed to see the light of day. He developed a particularly sharp understanding of the workings of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), widely seen as the powerful architect of the Japanese economic miracle.

David Pilling, a successor in Tokyo a quarter of a century later, remembers him as “the sort of person who puts the ‘gentle’ into gentleman. He was never one to flaunt his deep knowledge of Japan or his intellect” and was always willing to listen to “people half his age.”

But as he dug his claws into Japan, so did the country into him. Like several other foreign correspondents of his generation, he never wanted to leave Japan, so when the FT decided his time was up after ten years, he left the paper and became Tokyo bureau chief of the Far Eastern Economic Review. Apart from two years as an editor for the magazine in Hong Kong he remained in Tokyo for the rest of his life. Personally shy, even ascetic, his great indulgence was his cello, which he played with Tokyo ensembles he put together. He is survived by his wife Katsuko, their two daughters and three older children from an earlier marriage.

-JUREK MARTIN, FT, Club President 1985-86



CALMING AND ERUDITE

I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Charles. I will always remember him as a calming and erudite influence on the FCCJ and I was honored to have him serve as Secretary on the board during my presidency. He was one of our most talented members, and my time at the Club and in journalism has been greatly enriched by knowing him.

-STEVEN HERMAN, Voice of America; Club President 1997-98



A GREAT ROLE MODEL

When I arrived in Tokyo in 1983 as an enthusiastic but essentially ignorant young foreign correspondent for The Economist, to have Charles Smith in the next-door office in the then Nikkei building’s “Gaijin Ghetto” was a joy and a great bonus. He was not just welcoming but very supportive in an utterly un-condescending way, offering guidance and suggestions freely and patiently but without ever trying to impose them. Then, and in his next career at the FEER and beyond, I found Charles to be the essence of what a good journalist should be: painstaking in his research, fair in his judgments and always interested in the story rather than the byline. He was a great role model for us all.”

-BILL EMMOTT, The Economist



ENTERTAINING AND INCISIVE

Charles was an old-fashioned figure of an Englishman at the FT office, along the corridor in Nikkei’s Gaijin Ghetto, but took the nickname “Chuck” from younger American denizens like Richard Hanson and Mike Tharp in good spirits. We both jumped respective ships to the FEER in the 1980s. When on the desk in Hong Kong I had the pleasure of editing his understated but always entertaining and incisive copy from Tokyo, including a wonderful cover story on the Japanese farm lobby Nokyo.
Later he followed me as regional editor in Hong Kong and was diplomatic in protecting us from some of the crazier inputs from the ideologues imposed into the magazine by Dow Jones after they began their ill-conceived makeover, including at one memorable re-education camp when we were all summoned to Hong Kong to be told how to write.
Then and in recent visits to Tokyo, I enjoyed his company and the way his reserved mien often broke up in a bray of sudden laughter when he saw a humorous side. I never got to hear Charles and Katsuko play their music. I wish I had. We will all miss him.

-HAMISH McDONALD, Sydney Morning Herald, FEER



A GOOD COMPANION
Among FCCJ Regular members I must be one of few who neither worked with nor competed against Charles at any time in the many decades that we were both members of the FCCJ. I knew Charles only as a dinner companion at the Main Bar but I shall miss his company very much. Dining with Charles was a real pleasure. It meant a good hour of completely civilized conversation. The topics ranged from vegetarian cuisine to classical music. Talk of vegetarian dishes was usually short because the club offered very few choices. Charles invariably chose the grilled cheese sandwich. His knowledge of music, however, was vast. I had played the French horn but had given up long before. Charles kept on with the cello and played it very well. We rarely if ever discussed club politics.

Charles never raised his voice, rarely criticized another member, and if he disapproved of something it would be by means of a shift in the intonation of a word or perhaps a meaningful pause. Others may remember Charles as a first-rate journalist but for me he was a model of conviviality and camaraderie, the much talked-about but rarely achieved goals of our Club. I shall miss him very much.

-ANDREW HORVAT, Associated Press, Southam News, Los Angeles Times,
The Independent, American Public Radio; Club President 1988-89



GLADLY WOULD HE LEARN AND WOULD HE TEACH

One of my first tasks on taking up my new job in JAL's public relations department in the autumn of 1974 was to write a speech for my boss, Tonao Senda, on the future of transpacific trade, which he was to deliver at a conference in Vancouver.

Clueless, I sought the help of Charles Smith, who happily spent time giving me a thorough briefing from which I was able to put together a fairly respectable text. For the next 44 years he continued to be the same friendly, helpful mentor - always ready to spare time to give a helping hand or an opinion.

-GEOFFREY TUDOR, Former International PR director, Japan Airlines

 

A Fond Farewell to Charles Smith

A Fond Farewell to Charles Smith
by Anthony Rowley

No1-2018-06 02

Charles Smith was not just a gifted journalist; he was truly a gentleman and a scholar – always courteous in manner and scholarly in his approach to work. A classics graduate from Magdalen College, Oxford, Charles might have been at home in academe but instead he chose journalism – and journalism was fortunate for that.

Charles spent a lifetime in the profession. After a stint on a newspaper in Argentina, he joined the Financial Times in the early 1970's, from which he moved to the Far Eastern Economic Review. He passed away on May 18 at the age of 82 after suffering – gallantly and uncomplainingly, as befitted his character – from malignant lymphoma since early 2015.

"An upstanding man whose intelligence and civility was excelled only by his honesty," said colleague and former Far Eastern Economic Review editor Philip Bowring in one of a wealth of tributes to Charles that have flowed in.

Charles helped "raise the profile" of the Financial Times during his time there, wrote Jurek Martin, a former foreign editor of the paper. He was, in the words of former colleague Tracy Dahlby, a "complex, sophisticated and interesting man." Charles was a "dear friend and great reporter," as the FCCJ's Bradley Martin put it. A man of "many admirable traits" who "wrote with elegance and without artifice," added veteran journalist Mike Tharp.

And, as FCCJ president Khaldon Azhari wrote in the Club's official obituary notice, Charles "was superb at his craft and widely respected by his peers and by the many Japanese he encountered in his reporting activities." During his long reporting career, Charles focused mainly on politics, business and economy. After leaving the Review, he wrote for several publications including Institutional Investor magazine.

Lofty in height at around 193cm, Charles also stood tall in many other senses of the word. "I always looked up to him," said former Tokyo bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal Urban Lehner.

There was something almost schoolmasterly in his bearing, but something almost boyish in his frequent delighted chuckle and his equally frequent warm and genuine smile. Modesty and authority existed side by side within Charles, and while he was kind and good humored, he was an exacting taskmaster who could command respect from those working with him.

After joining the Financial Times, he worked for a while in London covering Asian affairs before being posted in Tokyo in 1973 as bureau chief. When his assignment in Japan came to an end, he joined the Far Eastern Economic Review as its Tokyo bureau chief in order to stay in Japan, which he loved.

The FT was, and is, a somewhat dour and austere institution that is well regarded within the international financial community while the Review was a more rumbustious and often inspired publication that was well regarded within the Asian political and diplomatic community.

The fact Charles was successful in both worlds was testament to his ability to see many sides of a story and adapt to different environments and people. He was well respected among the Japanese in Japan and the Chinese in Hong Kong with whom he worked, as well as among his foreign colleagues.

Charles was a respected figure among the many Japanese government and other officials whom he frequently met and interviewed. In particular, former senior Bank of Japan official and FCCJ Associate member Shijuro Ogata, for whom Charles organized frequent lunches at the Club, was a close friend and admirer – a sentiment that was fully reciprocated.

Charles was a well-known presence within the FCCJ. Whether serving on the Board of Directors, asking polite but incisive questions of guest speakers at professional luncheons and briefings, taking charge of various musical events or simply socializing in his invariably good-humored way in the bar, everyone respected him.

Music was one of his true passions. A gifted musician and accomplished cello player himself, Charles often performed with family and friends, including at the FCCJ where he repeatedly served on the Music Committee. Despite his illness, he maintained his playing, to the delight of his many musical friends.

Charles' funeral service at Scott Hall on the Waseda University campus was deeply moving, with his widow Katsuko-san and their daughters Sara and Yumi comporting themselves with great dignity. It is hard to forget Yumi-san playing a violin tribute to her father there despite her tears. Charles was proud of them and they of him. He also had three children by his first marriage.

Katsuko-san aided Charles greatly in the latter stages of his career in journalism, helping for example to compile "league tables" of investment analysts for the Institutional Investor among other things. She was also a charming presence by the side of Charles on numerous professional and social engagements at the Club.

Charles had only recently finished writing his memoirs, which began serialization in the April and May issues of the Number 1 Shimbun under the title "Mr. Smith goes to Tokyo." A memorial get-together is planned at the Club in the near future. Charles will be sorely missed by the very many, including myself who held him in very great and affectionate regard. God bless him.

From the Archives: Walter Cronkite – Trusted Anchorman

From the Archives:
Walter Cronkite – Trusted Anchorman
by Charles Pomeroy


No1-2018-06 01


Walter Cronkite, long-time anchor of CBS Evening News who was known as “the most trusted man in America,” spoke at the Club on May 22, 1981, some two months after his retirement. Seated to his left is Jack Russell (NBC), FCCJ president, and to his right is Terry Anderson (AP), both noted journalists of the time. Terry himself would make the news four years later when he was abducted in Lebanon by Muslim terrorists and held captive for almost seven years.

Cronkite was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri, on November 4, 1916, but lived in Houston, Texas, from age 10 after his family moved there. He dropped out of university in 1935 during his junior year to concentrate on journalism, and then worked as a radio announcer before joining the United Press (UP) in 1937. After making a name for himself covering major battles as a war correspondent during World War II, he joined CBS in 1950 and covered news ranging from political conventions and elections to the 1960 Winter Olympics. As host of other popular programs, he also narrated historical re-enactments and documentaries.

Cronkite’s reputation for trust further strengthened after 1962, when he took over as anchorman for CBS’s nightly newscast – soon expanded from 15 to 30 minutes and in 1963 re-named CBS Evening News. Highlights included his coverage of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in November of 1963; Viet Nam, (he commented editorially in 1968 on the futility of that war); the Apollo moon missions of 1969 and 1970; Watergate in 1972; and the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1981. Accuracy and depth of coverage got the credit when his newscast surpassed NBC’s long-time Huntley-Brinkley Report viewer ratings in 1970. Thereafter it reigned as the top-rated program until his retirement in 1981.

Excepting nights when he concluded with commentary, Cronkite ended his broadcasts by intoning “… And that’s the way it is,” which became his hallmark. Early in the Iran crisis he added to this a count of the days U.S. citizens had been kept hostage. He displayed it until the end of their 444-day captivity. Indeed, the man knew how to retain the attention of viewers.

Although Cronkite’s long career on CBS ended with his retirement on March 6, 1981, he remained active as a special correspondent covering political and cultural events, and even John Glenn’s second space flight in 1998, as well as narrating documentaries and taking part in panel discussions. In addition to his many other awards and honors, the journalism school at Arizona State University was named after Cronkite.

Walter Cronkite died on July 17, 2009, at the age of 92. A further honor was extensive documentation of his life now preserved at the University of Texas at Austin.

And that’s the way it was.

Charles Pomeroy

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