Historical Backgrounds | Music in "JAPAN, Our Homeland"
The 31st year of the Showa Era (1956)

In the thirties of the Showa Era (late fifties), Japan celebrated several short-term economic upturns such as "Jinmu Keiki" and "Iwato Keiki," which were said to be some of the most impressive periods of Japan's high economic growth. The thirties of the Showa era is symbolized by the emergence of "three sacred treasures" ? television, washing machine and refrigerator. We are told that these treasures rapidly enhanced the living standards of the late fifties, but the truth is that it was only after the early sixties that these sacred treasures ? television, washing machine and refrigerator ? actually started to spread among the general household.

1956 was a turning point for Japan. It was when the nation took its first step into post-war reconstruction to rapidly develop its economic potential. In the end of the year, Japan was allowed to participate in the United Nations again. Despite all these positive changes, however, the scars of the Pacific War were still evident.

Many vacant lots were left unused in the neighborhoods. There were a lot of people who lost their families in the war. Japan suffered from severe poverty, especially in terms of material resources such as consumer durables and living necessities. Nonetheless, people were helping each other and sharing the spirit of give-and-take. In 1956, such kindness was typical of the Japanese, even in big cities.




Jan 15 A mob of Hibari Misora fans rushed toward her concert. The crush killed one person and injured nine people.   Jan 1 Sudan gained independence from Britain.
Jan 23 At the age of 23, Shintaro Ishihara won the 34th Akutagawa Prize for his novel "Season of the Sun."   Jan 28 U.S. President Eisenhower rejected Soviet Premier Bulganin's friendly offer.
Feb 1 Kon Ichikawa released his film "The Murmese Harp" It won the San Giorgio Award in the 17th Venice International Film Festival in Sep.      
Feb 19 The first issue of "Weekly Shincho" was published, leading to the big weekly-magazine boom in Japan.      
Feb 25 Asahi Newspaper launched the Parents Hunting Movement (the movement to search missing parents)   Feb 26 In the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Khrushchev made a speech to criticize Stalin.
Mar 10 The Civil Aviation Bureau of the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport took over the air traffic control of the Haneda and Itami Airports along with 2 other airports from the U.S. Army.   Mar 2 Morocco became independent from France.
      Mar 15 The Broadway Musical "My Fair Lady" was released.
      Mar 20 Tunisia attained independence from France.
         
Apr 2 The bond market re-opens for the first time after the war.      
         
Apr 21 Minamata disease was officially discovered      
May 9 Japan signed the reparations treaty with the Philippines (valid from July 23, 1956)
The climbing expedition led by the leader Yuko Maki became the first Japanese team to conquer the Mt. Manaslu (8125m) of the Himalayas.
     
May 17 The movie "Season of the Sun" written by Shintaro Ishihara was released. His brother Yujiro Ishihara appears in the film.      
May 31 Giants' baseball player Tetsuharu Kawamai set the Japanese record of 200 hits.      
      Jun 13 The British army withdrew from the Suez Canal, putting an end to the British reign of the area.
July 17 The Economic Planning Agency announced "The development and modernization of Japanese economy" in the economic newspaper "Keizai Hakusho." Japan pledged to strengthen its growth with technological inventions. The popular phrase of the time was "the post-war is already over."   Jul 26 The Egyptian president Nasser declared that the Suez Canal was now the public property of the nation.
      Sep 20 The inaugural general meeting of IAEA took place in New York.
Oct 5 The Consulate of Greece was founded.      
Oct 12 Japan enforced the land measurement of Sunagawa-cho (city) in order to expand the U.S. Air Base in Tachikawa. The angry local opponents, supporting labor unions and students clashed with the police.      
Oct 19 The Russo-Japanese Joint Declaration was concluded.   Oct 23 The 1956 Hungarian Revolution erupted.
         
Nov 4 NHK (TV station) expanded its air time to 6 hours a day.      
Nov 6 The NHK radio show "Owarai Sanningumi (the comedian trio)" made the transition to the TV screen. The show had lasted for 9 years ever since.      
Nov 14 The JR Line between Yonehara and Kyoto stations were fully electrified, which completed the entire electrification of the whole JR Tokaido Lines.   Nov 22 The 16th Olympics was launched in Melbourne.
Dec 12 Russia and Japan exchanged instruments of ratification to restore the diplomatic relation between the two nations.   Dec 4 Due to the Hungarian Revolution, the number of the refugees who escaped Hungary and moved to Austria reached 110,000.
Dec 18 Japan joined the United Nations      
Dec 20 NHK opened the Experimental Tokyo TV Station for Colorcast. Over 300,000 Japanese households were receiving the TV airwaves.      
Dec 23 Tanzan Ishibashi formed a new cabinet.
Osaka TV Broadcasting (the current Asahi TV) and CBC started their services.
The movie "Oklahoma" (RKO) shot on a 70mm print was released in both Shinjuku and Umeda Koma Theaters.