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Google to digitally archive Mainichi Shimbun's prewar, WWII-era papers

This image shows the first edition of the Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun, the Mainichi Shimbun's predecessor, from Feb. 21, 1872, one of many to be digitized. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Google Inc. will work alongside The Mainichi Newspapers Co. and other newspapers in Japan to digitally archive years of articles, the internet giant announced during an online news conference on Nov. 9.

    Yusuke Tomoda, Google Japan's head of news partnerships in northeast Asia, stated during the conference with news organizations, "The creation of quality information is the backbone of journalism. We hope to help media outlets continue sustainably as a business."

    The work is part of Google's News Initiative, a project aiming to support journalism by partnering with thousands of news organizations worldwide.

    In total, about 230,000 pages of the Mainichi Shimbun's morning and evening editions from 1872 to 1945 will be digitally archived. The content of these pages will be analyzed and their text will become searchable.

    The partnership comes 150 years after the Mainichi Shimbun was first published. Google aims to complete the project by the fall of 2023. The digitized articles may eventually be added to the Mainichi Shimbun's database for libraries and universities known as Maisaku.

    Google will also partner in the digitization of photographs and accompanying captions in the archives of the Iwate Nippo and Oita Godo Shimbun newspapers, among others.

    (Japanese original by Tetsuo Matsuda, Archive Center, Intellectual Property Business Headquarters)

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