Japan and South Korean Press: some Sex and Radiation

Conventional wisdom has it that there’s a lot of distrust between China and Japan. There’s also a lot of distrust between Japan and Korea (North and South). And there are Chinese-Korean relations (North and South) which aren’t that easy to characterize.

For ordinary people, there seem to be two worlds. There’s the real world, where you meet people – when travelling for work, and when travelling for fun.

And there’s the internet world.

The difference between these two worlds: the internet is highly politicized. That has been true for the printed press, too, but it never seemed to influence people as much as does the online world. Maybe the internet gives people the feeling that they play a role of their own in shaping it. This may actually be true. But the internet is shaping them in turn. When experienced, skilled propagandists and agenda sellers appear on the scene, frequently unrecognized and unrecognizable, chances are that they will manufacture consent or dissent, according to their goals, commercial or political.

Newspaper articles have always angered people, even in pre-digital times. Once in a while, someone would actually put pen or typewriter to paper and write a letter to the editor – in the evening, or whenever he or she found the time. But more frequently, the anger would evaporate within minutes or hours. There would be no visible reader’s reaction.

The internet is quite different. Once people have joined a discussion (which is easy to do), they will stay involved for quite a while, at least mentally.

A dumb headline is enough to create a shitstorm. Try How to date Japanese women who haven’t been exposed to radiation, published by the South Korean publication „Maxim“. According to this report by the Global Post, Korean readers were quick to point [that headline] out as inappropriate given the sensitive nature of Japan’s continuing recovery after the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima disaster. But obviously, once someone is offended, this isn’t good enough, and the offended themselves need to speak out, too.

In no uncertain terms

I thought I’d better depict a Caucasian.

But there were messages from the real world, too:

I’m amazed that the mass media is able to link any article to anti-Japanese sentiment, regardless of what the incident is.

What a spoilsport.

Some statistics: the Maxim editor-in-chief reportedly apologized twice. The first apology was – reportedly – widely read as another attack on Japanese dignity, rather than a real apology.

Therefore, a second apology from the editor-in-chief was needed. It still didn’t seem to read like a sincere apology. Hence, it caught more than 130 Japanese comments in one day.

Is that a lot, or is it marginal? The Japanese who wrote those over 130 comments didn’t need to speak or write Korean. Their debate was hosted by the electronic version and the Japanese-language version of the JoonAng Ilbo, one of South Korea’s top three influential newspapers, Japan Today reported on Wednesday.

Was this a worthwhile story? And how many of the Japanese who commented there were actually Japanese women?

Thanks for your time, dear reader.

8 Comments to “Japan and South Korean Press: some Sex and Radiation”

  1. Here is a story by a Japanese reporter and her Japan tour with a Chinese media consultant



  2. What do you make of it?


  3. Not a big deal. Haining Liu is just a patriotic, self-righteous media consultant who keeps asking questions about Japan, and who will never ask accusing questions about her bosses in HER country. Despite the fact that it would be how many Chinese people feel, too.

    Mariko Ois approach is no good, either. She makes the story convenient for herself AND convenient for China-haters at the BBC and/or audience. OH, ALL PEOPLE IN ASIA LIKE US JAPANESE, EXCEPT CHINA! ITS ONLY THE CHINESE PROPAGANDA. Thats not unfair to Liu, but means to “educate” the audience. Especially that sentence, “Had I grown up watching them, I would probably conclude that Japan was a horrible nation.”

    It WAS a horrible nation at the time, wasn’t it? What would be wrong about this conclusion?


  4. As long as one can bring himself to saying that Germany was a horrible nation at the time, ic nothing wrong with this conclusion about Japan.

    I came across this post earlier today, which isn’t that much about the past, but more about the future, and the decisions Washington faces. I tried to comment there, but found that you seem to need an account with Google to do so. No way.

    The post is pretty wary about Japan and its diplomacy, even though the author points out that he’s not blaming Tokyo for pursuing what they see as their national interest. It’s just a theory, though, if I read it correctly, without too much “evidence” besides cui bono arguments.

    The post is » there.


  5. Nothing against your conclusion about Germany. I think thats what I said myself in your interview last year.

    However I dont agree with the Chinamatters blog about Japan. It makes a big fuss of Japans role AND plays it down. Similar to what JoonAng Ilbo did with the sex/radiation advisory.

    A “fine hand” “reinforcing” but not necessarily “directing” the anti-Obama grumblings? Japan either reinforces or counters them, doesnt it? Sure they rather reinforce them. No big deal, but long article.

    PS: lets hope that Google will never buy WordPress, or you can bury your blog.


  6. Commenting has become rather cumbersome, if not impossible, on many blogs. Unless you have a “facebook” account, or something similar, that is. Kind of funny how people allow some enterprise to monopolize big chunks of the internet. (I guess they don’t even realize it, though.)

    I agree that the blog doesn’t go straight to the matter. But to think that there are Japanese interests, and thinking about what they may look like should be worth quite a number of words.

    One more thing: if Washington can handle an East-Asian NATO, they should probably go for it – in the American interest, too. Just wondering if they can. That’s a worthwile question, too.

    But if it worked, it would be more of a partnership than what the current status is, and less hegemonism.


  7. Sort of related from BBC last night (in addition to a great Arsenal win).

    A California statue stirs passions in South Korea and ire in Japan.



  8. Thanks for the link, KT. I think the PRI story is right about the power play at the highest level. But I suppose Yoshiko Matsuura is either lacking intelligence, or aspiring for a top job at the central government level.

    Whatever – there are at least two petitions, and there should be no way that the memorials would get removed. Whoever opposes them will have to get used to them, or at least to tolerate them.

    Arsenal? Been to Highbury Stadium decades ago. Closed and demolished in 2006/2007.


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