Nichi Bei Times Closes: Letter from the Board of Directors, Nichi Bei Times Company

Dear Readers,

It is with great sadness that we, the Board of Directors of Nichi Bei Times and its many shareholders, have decided to close the newspaper. The Nichi Bei Times will cease publication of its newspapers with the final edition on September 10, 2009.

This decision was not taken lightly. Many hours of consideration and discussion were involved in this decision. Since 1990 the Nichi Bei Times experienced a steady decline in circulation as well as declining advertising revenue. Over the recent years, alternative plans of action and ideas were considered to gain new subscriptions and advertisers. Community service has been the primary consideration of the Nichi Bei Times. We felt the traditional bilingual daily did not serve today’s Japanese American community.

New Ideas to Survive

In January 2006, Nichi Bei Times changed the bilingual daily format with the launch of the new English Weekly in an attempt to regain circulation. At the same time, as a cost-cutting measure, the Japanese/bilingual edition was relaunched as a thrice weekly newspaper.

During three years of this new approach we saw a modest increase in subscribers. Unfortunately, even with the improved look and availability of the English and Japanese newspaper, the number of subscribers and regular advertisers did not increase to a level that was needed to sustain operations.

The Changing Community and Media Landscape

Throughout its more than 60 years since its founding in 1946, the Nichi Bei Times has achieved its purpose to help revitalize the Japanese American community of Northern California. A look back at any edition of the newspaper forty years ago would find many stories of local people and events with advertisements for local businesses reflecting an active commercial community. Today, Japantown has more community-based organizations reflecting an active cultural and service-oriented community.

Perhaps the times were not on our side with this evolving nature of the community and changes in the commercial marketplace. As with mainstream newspapers, advertisers found many other options to reach our community. Preceding this trend, the Japanese American times have changed such that support for the traditional commercial newspaper declined.

There will always be a news organization if the community wants it. We encourage you to support any and all available Japanese American news outlets be it newspapers, magazines or Internet sites. We understand Kenji G. Taguma, our English Edition Editor, is forming a new organization with community members to start a new publication in the mold of the Nichi Bei Times Weekly. We will keep you informed of any such new publication before our closing issue.

Final Words of Goodbye

We would like to thank the community for its vibrancy and success throughout the years. We would also like to thank the many local businesses that have supported the newspaper. But most of all, thanks to the employees of the company – editors, reporters, printers, office staff, delivery boys (remember them?). Particular thanks goes to President and Japanese Editor Mikio Okada and Vice President and English Editor Kenji G. Taguma for keeping the company together over the past several difficult years and creating a dynamic and engaging newspaper.

We hope that you the readers will agree that the Nichi Bei Times was one of the best Japanese American newspapers in America. We’re glad that we are able to leave you while publishing a newspaper of superior visual and informational interest. We hope we made a difference in your life. Thank you for your loyalty and readership.

Sincerely,
Board of Directors of the
Nichi Bei Times Company
August 19, 2009

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