Japan: Special Report

What's the most sensational thing to have happened in Japanese media over the past few months? Forget mega-mergers, people moves between agencies and the rise of digital.

The biggest story in Tokyo has been one of fraud allegations, faltering witnesses and a sobbing, tracksuit-wearing media mogul who single-handedly sent a shockwave through Japan's advertising and media old school with his gung-ho ascent to the top of the business. Only to find himself in the dock a few years later, centre stage in a trial that has gripped the entire nation.

The man in question is Takafumi Horie and you can find out more about him, and the demise of his internet portal Livedoor, over the page, in our list of top Japanese media contacts.

His world is a far cry from the image of smartly dressed, understated businessmen silently nodding as they exchange business cards. And it illustrates the point that Japan's media and advertising industry can be surprising, as well as vast and intricate. The breadth and colour of the Japanese media world shouldn't be underestimated, and the guided tour around its key people and media properties across the next three pages demonstrates that point.

The analysis of the two agency giants - Hakuhodu and Dentsu - in the following feature shows, however, that tradition and history still play an enormous part in making Japan's advertising and media world go round. But, in domestic terms at least, this doesn't seem to be to its detriment. In fact, Japan remains firmly on the cutting edge of technology when it comes to connecting brands with consumers.