History of Nara Newspaper (Company Timeline)

October 1946 Founded as the Yamato Times. Mr. Joji Imanishi appointed as first president.
November 1947 First issue of Nara Prefecture Annual.
December 1951 Restructured as a joint-stock company. Started printing in-house.
November 1952 Main plant and main office burned to the ground. With the cooperation of the Tenri Jiho Co. and the Asahi Shimbun Osaka Head Office, continued newspaper production without missing a day.
April 1953 New head office building completed.
January 1955 Mr. Jiro Tanaka appointed as second president.
August 1961 Who’s Who of Nara Prefecture published.
November 1964 Mr. Yoshikata Hiroshiba appointed as third president.
September 1965 Company Creed established by Vice-President Hyojiro Harada.
November 1965 President and Mrs. Hiroshiba invited to the Autumn Garden Party hosted by the Emperor.
February 1969 New plant completed, with high-speed rotary presses.
January 1972 Political & Economic Forum launched. First lecturer: Shintaro Fukushima, president of Kyodo News.
April 1972 “Friends of the Yamato Times Company” launched.
April 1973 President and Mrs. Hiroshiba invited to the Spring Garden Party hosted by the Emperor.
August 1973 Formal contract signed with Kyodo News, start receiving information.
June 1974 10,000th issue printed.
November 1974 Upon the recommendation of Kyoto Shimbun Co. and Kobe Shimbun Co., formally joins Kyodo News.
December 1974 Increased numbers of high-speed rotary presses, allowing printing of 16 pages at once.
June 1975 Name changed from Yamato Times to Nara Newspaper; company name also changed to Nara Newspaper Co.
October 1975 Mr. Yoshikata Hiroshiba becomes chairman; Mr. Yukinobu Joie becomes fourth president.
November 1975 First issue of Nara Living, a lifestyle information magazine.
April 1976 Nara Newspaper Printing Inc. established.
May 1976 Mr. Yoshikata Hiroshiba appointed as fifth president.
April 1977 The Tokyo branch relocates to the Japan Press Center building.
September 1978 First Nara Shiba-Noh (Lawn Noh) held at Tobihino, Nara Park, sponsored by Nara Newspaper Co.
March 1981 Nara Newspaper Planning Inc. established.
December 1981 First Nara Kasuga/Daibutsu Marathon held, sponsored by Nara Newspaper Co.
April 1982 Nara Grand Sumo Basho held at the Prefectural Kashihara Gymnasium, sponsored by Nara Newspaper Co.
July 1983 Contemporary Nara Research Society launched for open, frank discussion of Nara’s politics, economy, culture, etc.
April 1984 Editorial Office established.
August 1984 Osaka-Nara Politics, Economy & Culture Discussion Society launched.
July 1985 Nara Newspaper Articles Screening Committee launched.
April 1988 Color offset rotary presses introduced.
July 1988 Prince Takamado visits Nara Prefecture to attend the Osaka-Nara Contemporary Japanese Music Concert, and visits Nara Newspaper Co.
August 1989 First Prefectural Citizens’ Karaoke Song Contest held, sponsored by Nara Newspaper Co.
January 1990 New Year’s Day edition reaches 132 pages, the most nationwide.
June 1990 Mr. Yoshikata Hiroshiba becomes chairman; Mr. Tadao Watanabe appointed as sixth president.
September 1991 First Nara Prefecture Silver Karaoke Song Contest held, sponsored by Nara Newspaper Co.
March 1993 Mr. Tadao Watanabe appointed as representative director.
June 1993 Mr. Kinji Nishijima appointed as Director Owner (CEO), and carries out sweeping reforms with the aim of breaking out of the paper’s chronic state of deficit.
July 1993 Reform Committee established under the leadership of Mr. Nishijima. Office functions strengthened at the Kashihara branch, the Ikoma branch closed, the Tokyo branch relocated, local news given priority, and other major system reforms carried out strengthen the management department and improve management.
April 1994 Nara 21 Club launched to promote exchange with local businesses and local branches of listed companies, comprising 15 companies: Sumitomo Life Insurance Company, Nomura Securities, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Company, Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company, Kirin Brewery Marketing, DoCoMo CS Kansai, General Insurance Japan Nipponkoa, Mitsui Sumitomo Marine & Fire Insurance, Yamato Transport, Nippon Life Insurance Company, Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance, Teisan Kanko Bus, Daiwa House Industry, Muramoto Road, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance.
June 1994 Mr. Nishijima’s systemic reforms for strengthening the management department result in an operating profit of 38 million yen at the March fiscal settlement. This brings the paper out of its deficit.
September 1994 Nara Newspaper Senior Club founded to help the elderly live meaningful lives and to act as local monitors. Successfully broke the news of a political scandal.
March 1995 Mr. Nishijima’s intimate knowledge of the real estate tax issue leads him to serialize “Why the Anger over the Real Estate Tax” which was awarded the 2nd Sakata Prize (Overseas Training) and the 38th Japan Congress of Journalists Incentive Award.
May 1995 Special Reporting Squad for Political Reform launched to deal with politicians’ scandals.
June 1995 Mr. Nishijima appointed Chairman of the Board CEO.
August 1995 From an idea by Mr. Nishijima, as part of the paper’s services to its readers, Nara Newspaper Tourist Inc. established to carry advertising by travel agencies below articles. At the same time, a special contract signed with JTB, Japan’s largest travel agency.
December 1995 New Multimedia Department launched. Nara Newspaper becomes the first general-interest newspaper in Nara prefecture to offer an online newspaper.
May 1996 On the 500th day after the Great Hanshin Earthquake, Mr. Nishijima donates, as an individual, 30 million yen in cash to the Hyogo Branch of the Japanese Red Cross Society.
November 1996 About a thousand people invited to a grand party to celebrate the paper’s 50th anniversary. Guests include House of Representatives members Sanae Takaichi, Makoto Taki, Takeshi Maeda, Dai’ichi Tsuji, House of Councilors members Yukihisa Yoshida and Minao Hattori, Nara Governor Yoshiya Kakimoto, and others of the political, economic, and cultural elite. At the same time, three people are presented with the 1st Nara Newspaper Culture Award for their contributions to the local area.
June 1997 Mr. Nishijima’s management reforms continue to show results, with a sales total at the end of the March settlement period of 2,270 million yen, the highest in the paper’s history, and an operating profit of 77 million yen.
February 1998 The Mainichi Shimbun reports on the Nara Newspaper’s donation of disaster relief funds to our Public Welfare & Culture Federation. This leads to corrective measures for accounting and publicizing of Mr. Nishijima’s having donated 30 million yen to the affected area as a private individual. Mr. Nishijima resigns to take responsibility for misleading the public, and Mr. Watanabe, the president, resigns as representative director. The new representative director: Mr. Haruo Amari. The Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association (chairman: Tadao Koike; Mainichi Shimbun Chairman) expels the Nara Newspaper.
June 1998 Five new directors appointed, including a former Dentsu manager as well as in-house appointments. Mr. Watanabe resigns and becomes a director at an affiliate.
July 1998 Relocation of the Tokyo Branch as planned by Mr. Nishijima completed with its move to Ginza.
October 1998 Nara Newspaper readmitted to the Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association upon recommendations from the Asahi Shimbun Co., the Kyoto Shimbun Co., and Kyodo News.
March 1999 Former chairman Mr. Nishijima donates 7 million yen in cash to the Hyogo Prefecture Taskforce Headquarters through Nara Governor Yoshiya Kakimoto, Chairman of the Japanese Red Cross Nara Branch. Mr. Nishijima’s private donations now reach 37 million yen.
October 1999 Nara Newspaper Communications Inc. established to act as a proper website production company at Mr. Nishijima’s suggestion.
November 1999 Mr. Amari invited to the Kyoto Tea Ceremony Party to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Emperor’s enthronement.
January 2000 Mr. Amari invited to the Utakai Hajime ceremony at the Imperial Palace.
November 2001 Mr. Amari invited to the Autumn Garden Party hosted by the Emperor.
April 2002 Prefectural Police Problems Reporting Squad awarded the 9th Sakata Award (Overseas Training).
July 2002 Ceremony to commemorate the 20,000th issue.
April 2003 Company receives the Postmaster-General Award, and Mr. Amari has an audience with the Emperor at the Imperial Palace.
October 2003 Bureau system abolished through structural reforms following name change.
January 2004 Hosted “Photograph Exhibition Showing the Harm from Abductions” with the assistance of the Fukui Shimbun Co.
June 2005 Reporting on the scandal around Nara Mayor Chubei Kagita leads to the city council passing a vote of no confidence. Mr. Kagita runs again in the mayoral race, but loses.
April 2006 Publicity campaign for 60th anniversary (created by Mr. Tomohiro Nishijima of Dentsu) awarded the TCC Newcomer’s Prize.
June 2006 Move from in-house printing to outsourcing after 60 years. Logo changes to one drawn by the female calligraphic artist Shisyu, with the company crest designed by Dentsu. Number of color pages increases, together with other sweeping changes.
April 2007 Advertisement created by Mr. Tomohiro Nishijima of Dentsu as part of the publicity campaign for the Nara Newspaper’s 60th anniversary awarded both the TCC Prize (3rd) and OCC Prize.
June 2007 Mr. Tomohiro Nishijima and two others appointed as new directors.
November 2007 Series of publicity campaign ads (created by Mr. Tomohiro Nishijima) awarded Third Place nationwide for the Regional Publicity Prize at the 47th Consumer-Friendly Advertising Awards held by the Japan Advertisers Association.
March 2008 Obtain through Mr. Nishijima’s efforts 2,590 square meters of land in Hokkeji-cho, Nara, and 1,900 m² of steel-frame buildings (3 floors and 4 floors) for the new company head office.
July 2008 Head office relocated from Sanjo-cho, Nara, to the new building in Hokkeji-cho. Grand party held at the Nara Royal Hotel to celebrate.
August 2009 Demolition of old head office building completed. Site starts operation as a pay-for parking lot.
October 2009 Affiliates (Nara Newspaper Planning, Nara Newspaper Communications, etc.) also relocate to new head office.
July 2010 Business merger with the Nara Nichi-Nichi Shimbun.
December 2010 First Nara Marathon held jointly with the Nara Kasuga/Daibutsu Marathon, to commemorate 1300th anniversary of Nara being made the capital, through Mr. Nishijima’s efforts. The prefecture’s first full marathon, it attracts some 18,000 runners from all over the country. Event chairman: Nara Governor Shogo Arai; vice-chairmen include Mr. Haruo Amari.
September 2011 Scoop of vote-buying operation of former Nara City Councilor Mr. Kiyoshi Yamamoto. Mr. Yamamoto resigned from the council.
October 2011 Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Takeshi Maeda, House of Representatives members Masashige Yoshikawa, Akanori Onishi, Sanae Takaichi, and Kiyoshige Maekawa, and Nara Governor Shogo Arai attend a grand party held to commemorate the company’s 65th anniversary. Formal hand-written message of congratulations from Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
October 2012 Nara Newspaper Real estate Inc., another of Mr. Nishijima’s projects, established to buy, sell, and act as agent for, real estate.
November 2012 First History Festival held in the Nara Prefectural Kashihara Park.
October 2013 Living Cloth and Quilting Festival, with 73 booths.
March 2014 First issue of Shogakusei Shimbun, for publication before spring, and other, extended school vacations, distributed to every elementary school pupil with the help of local municipalities. Later led to the first issue of Nara Chu-Kosei Shimbun.
June 2015 First issue of Nara Living Coupon, a coupon advertising-based publication.
June 2015 Guests such as Yasutaka Nakata and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu invited by the Nara Newspaper to perform at a major event held at Kashihara Shrine, attended by over 5,000 people, as part of the prefecture’s Nara Musik Festa.
June 2015 Nara Newspaper Real estate acquires 1,300 m² of land to the west of the head office and enlarges the carpark to accommodate 40 extra cars.
September 2015 Major reforms to the paper, with the title characters for “Nara Newspaper” added to the last page as well, and prefectural news enhanced, in addition to carrying world and national news provided by Kyodo News.
June 2016 Chunanwa branch relocates from rented space in Kashihara City to a new office in the town of Tawaramoto, in the first purpose-built building in the company’s history. Everything, from land purchase to the office construction, arranged by Mr. Nishijima.
October 2016 Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi, House of Representatives members Shinsuke Okuno and Sumio Mabuchi, House of Councilors members Iwao Horii and Kei Sato, Nara Governor Shingo Arai, Kyodo News President Masaki Fukuyama and other guests invited to a grand party to celebrate the company’s 70th anniversary. To commemorate, the “Nara Heritage 70” project announced, for Nara fans from around the country to spread the word about overlooked gems of Nara (screening committee chairman: Nara-born Mr. Shigeru Joshima, leader of the rock band Tokio).
April 2017 “Stylish Nara Handicrafts” exhibition, featuring traditional Nara handicrafts by Mr. Shosai Kitamura, a Living National Treasure, and other masters, held at Cultural Hall in Former Daijoin Temple Garden of Nara Hotel.
June 2017 Mr. Kensuke Suzuki, former executive at Kirin Brewery Co, Ltd., appointed as new director. Mr. Suzuki, appointed as Head of the Management Strategy Office, begins reform of the company.
September 2017 Nara Newspaper Real estate obtains around 1,200 m² of land west of head office, expanding the carpark still further. Total amount of land held by the Nara Newspaper Group reaches 5,146.27 m².
November 2017 Manyo Roman Festival in Fujiwara Palace Site held as part of the Nara Arts Festival, attended by around 20,000 people.
June 2018 Online registration for the full marathon part of the 9th Nara Marathon, to be held in December, reaches capacity in just 29 minutes, demonstrating its popularity.
June 2018 Nara Newspaper-hosted “Follow in the Imperial Family’s Footsteps Photo Contest” held. Winning works exhibited at Tokyo Station, Osaka Abeno Harukas, and department stores around Nara Prefecture.
October 2018 Nara Newspaper Real Estate obtains about 616.99 m² of land west of head office, as further space for carparking. Total amount of land held by Nara Newspaper Group reaches 5,763.26 m².