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welcome to the newest discussion forum for things japanese, I'll try to post a more detailed thing later with more links and some quotes that will definitely provoke discussion. I've lived in the Tokyo area for nearly seven years now, still don't really speak the language but can offer info on historical and cultural stuff, the english-teaching racket in Japan and pop culture phenomena HOWEVER I would like to try to keep things more centered on current political and cultural issues.
By the way, I work here:
and other english language japanese media can be found here:
Actually I think the 'foreign devils' thing is a translation of the Chinese term 'Gwailo'
on another tack - Japanese politicians seem to suffer from foot in mouth disease more than most, but don't seem to be taken to task for it in the same way:
"Those who gang rape are better off because they have virility. They are closer to normal," Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Seiichi Ota discussing the arrest last week of five university students for allegedly gang raping a 20-year-old female student after a party.
and a few more enlightened comments from the same political dinosaurs that run Japan
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda "Maybe Mr. Ota doesn't know that gang rape is a crime,but some women really dress as if to say, 'Please do it,' don't they?"
During the same seminar at which Ota made his remarks, former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori reportedly asked why women who have not given birth should be eligible for government welfare benefits.
I can recall the time when Canadian politician's were just about as "enlightened".... (like last week?)
Some gems from Stockwell Day:
"Women who become pregnant through rape or incest should not qualify for government-funded abortions unless their pregnancy is life- threatening."
"Alberta Treasurer Stockwell Day wants the Red Deer Museum to return $10,000 in lotteries money because it is doing a study on gays."
"There is a growing body of literature suggesting that, as sex education becomes more comprehensive, there is a corresponding increase in sexual activity."
"I want to know how many women in Alberta are physically battered and not just insulted by their husbands... If we talk insulted by their husbands, then I’m afraid that I’m guilty from time to time of abusing my wife."
On what he considers the inevitable result of allowing sexual orientation into human rights laws: "What about the next step--those who lobby for sex with children? These are very large and active national interests."
Of course, a couple of months ago when the leader of the Parti Quebecois (now, thankfully, drifting towards senility out of the public eye for the most part) suggested that "tiny-brained birds were better parents than humans who couldn't afford to feed their children before sending them to school. At least the birds managed to find regular meals for their offspring, he said."....
Ah good old Doris, he was a source of constant amusement to me,
nearly as much as Parson Manning
I am surprised to see you posting at this time of the day (or night?) by my "world time server" it is nearly 2:30 am..... shouldn't you be tucked into your futon for the night?
I often hop online when I get home from a night shift - which is most thursdays - just so I can wind down and relax a bit and let the deadline adrenaline drain off and have a few
Well, having said that, I, having always been a night person, am often up until 2 or 3 am..... Then I wonder why I am tired at work. Go figure.
I noted what you said about having lived in Japan for nearly 7 years but still don't really speak the language. Is it simply that you don't have to or that it is so hard a language to learn?
Many years ago, I decided to learn to speak Japanese. I started with "Teach Yourself Japanese" and made it a couple of chapters in before I had to set it aside and I never got back to it.
its a bit of both really. I used to teach english all day and didn't really feel like studying a language when I got home. Now I have two kids and don't have the time (well I could make the time but I'm basically just lazy)
learning to speak japanese is not really that hard. Learning to read and write it is extremely difficult. There are three different ways of writing things. Hiragana is a phonetic alphabet used for Japanese words. Katakana is a phonetic alphabet of the same sounds but different symbols used for writing word borrowed from foreign languages. Kanji, chinese pictographs, are also used extensively, though with totally different pronunciations than the Chinese use. Most native japanese struggle to read a newspaper without a kanji dictionary until the late high school years.
well I almost had a bit of a dust up at the office last night. For a branch of the world's largest newspaper our editors seem to have a funny idea of what constitutes journalism.
A couple of examples:
I think most of us will have heard of the 5 Ws (Who what where when why) Well where I work "who" is usually a well guarded secret, even when the name is in the public domain. The above story has two main actors in it, one who is on trial for accessory to murder after the fact(destruction of evidence). His name is therefore a matter of public record, but the oiks at the parent paper won't use it because they think it might identify the other main actor in the story - a police lt. who has been accused of accepting a bribe. Said Lt. was interviewed and testified at the trial and his name is also therefor a matter of public record, but we don't run it because he might not like it.
example two shows us how accurate stats can be used to twist the truth
this one concerns the number of foreigners arrested in the first half of the year. The police say the number is up by 20 percent from last year to just over 9,000 and that about 240 of those were arrested for "murder and other violent crimes". Sounds like a massive crime wave committed by those pernicious foreign devils doesn't it? Spot the logical/statistical fallacy yet?
9,000 arrests out of how many? 10,000? 100,000? 1,000,000?
five minutes of web cruising later we find out that in 2002 2,735,612 crimes were reported to police, including 1,340 murders and that in all, 542,115 arrests were made
Current year stat are not yet readily available in english, but would have been included in the report the DY story was based on. When I mentioned this I was told that because it wasn't in the original japanese story, we could not add it to our story.
It is the classic propagandists big lie. "Our country is in peril, the communists have receive triple the number of votes in this latest election compared to last election." says the red baiter, not telling us that last time they got 20 of 200,000 votes cast and this time they got 60 out of 300,000 votes cast.
The problem is when I complain about these things, the editors look at me like I've grown an extra head. "We Japanese don't like to use too many names, we like to keep thing anonymous" said one editor (good of her to speak for the entire population of 128 million) and of course as all Japanese know (and as we keep telling them) "Foreigners are responsible for most of the crime in Japan"
Honestly, if I didn't have kids to feed, I'd have gone postal down there by now. Someday I might.
I can understand your frustration.
Reading the first story is like listening to one of the characters from "Mad TV", Miss Swan...
Policeman: "Miss Swan. Can you describe the man who robbed you?"
Miss Swan: "Of course! He.... Ohhh... He look like a... You know... He look like a man! He was wearing... you know... a thing...."
As for using percentages to illustrate a story, with no figures to give you a scale is useless.
If you had no crime last year committed by foreigners, and had one crime this year, you could say crime by foreigners had risen by 100%... If you have three foreigners, and one of them commits a crime, you COULD say that 33.3% of foreigners commit crimes. Frightening, isn't it?....
I notice that the crime had risen in most parts of Japan "except Tokyo and Kyushu". Seems kind of odd, as one would expect Tokyo, at least, to have a larger share of the frenzied foreign criminals, wouldn't you?
I like the wording, too... "Number of foreigners accused of crimes jumps". "Accused" rather than "convicted"... it all depends on who is doing the accusing. Certainly, the press appears to be doing a lot of accusing....
It just gets worse.
I checked the other two main english language dailies for the same day and found out that while we at the Daily Anonymous didn't have the essential background info to put the crime stats in context, our rivals did.
The international Herald-Tribune/Asahi:
"Crimes allegedly committed by foreigners accounted for only 1.39 percent of all criminal cases in the half-year."
The Japan Times:
"Crime allegedly committed by foreigners, a popular media scapegoat, accounted for a scant 1.39 percent of all cases in the half-year period. The total number of arrests and papers sent to prosecutors, including those involving Japanese, reached 1.34 million in the first six months of this year."
Now obviously if both rival papers had the information it was readily available, probably contained in the same report from the NPA. Therefore it seems reasonable to conclude that the writer for the Yomiuri Shimbun intentionally left out the information.
Could there be an agenda at work here?
You bet your (insert off-colour colloquial expression here) there is.
A quick search of our database turned up a half dozen similar stories, all with the same information missing. It also turned up four editorials that followed the stories, calling for measures to be taken to halt the rising flood of criminal foreigners.
conclusion: I work for facists here at Partoftheproblem, Inc.
Is the ministry of truth taking job applications?
Are either The international Herald-Tribune/Asahi or The Japan Times taking applications for honest English-speaking journalists?
I was at a potluck dinner last nigt and met a lovely lady from Japan who is studying English here(?). She is here for some months at Ottawa U. and what a lively woman she is. She was the life of the party, which surprised me, as most of the Japanese people that I have met, especially 40+ women, tend to be VERY reserved.
We had a terrific conversation about Japanese television, amongst other things.
Japanese tv is so weird when one is used to North American standards of political correctness etc. The sexy idol shows that are on here after midnight such as 'miniskirt police' would have the international sisterhood firebombing tv stations in North America.
The pop music shows are funny too, since the lipsynching isn't usually done and most of omnipresent teen idols can't sing to save their lives.
some excellent research pulling together a variety of information and an overview of Japanese denials of WW2 atrocities
and an excellent first hand account of the extreme right here in Japan, how they function and why they get away with it.
and this site is great for review of books about Japan
Regarding culture (specifically pop culture), is there are reference sites in english about what Anime series are currently airing in Japan? I am an anime addict and would love to move closer to the cutting edge and become an otaku.
The Japanese culture facinates me a great deal. I have read quite a lot about Miyamoto Musashi, as well as his book Go Rin No Sho. I deeply admire some aspects of the culture, but cannot understand it all. For instance, the comments you made opening the conversation regarding the gang rape etc are appaling, but by no means rare. There seems to be quite a lot of institutionalized sexism in that country. Or am I missing something here? It really seems odd that the culture is so biased towards the male. Friends of mine who spent time in Japan come back with the same views, it seems. They cannot understand the hentai manga that people read in open on the trains, as an example. Is this really widespread?
Absolutely. Very rare that I'm on the train and there isn't at least one skeevy looking salary man reading something involving rope, schoolgirls and something with tentacles. The standards of censorship are very different here. You can rent videos of simulated rapes in almost every video shop, bare breasts are show morning noon and night on television without comment, oral sex brothels (known as fashion health salons) and massage parlors are ubiquitous.
Yet public displays of affection are frowned on. You almost never see couples snogging in public, not even a civilized peck on the cheek at the station at the end of a date - even if they've just come from a love hotel (a hotel that rents rooms to couples in three hour blocks of time - a shag palace) and it has only just become legal to show pubic hair in magazines. Depictions of genitalia are strictly forbidden, even in manga. Homosexuality and transexuality are as common here as anywhere, maybe even moreso, but virtually never acknowledged or discussed, though there doesn't seem to be a great deal of social prejudice.
I imagine that one of the reasons for the addiction to the pron magazines is that, while the subject of the magazines is very extreme (or what we would consider extreme), you don't actually see very much. Therefor, they are desperately hoping to "see something", like the hint of certain body-parts.
Sort of like the fascination that some men have with watching "Fashion File" on the CBC, gagging for the mere site of a boobie. I know men who don't know or care the first thing about fashion who are addicted to "Fashion File". Sad, really....
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