Saturday, January 20, 2007

"The Japanese Are Funny" Journalism

The latest installment of "The Japanese Are Funny" journalism, a riff on the natto diet mania, has been superceded on the same day by a Japanese language story in the Asahi that shows that the data that were used on the Kansai TV program to support the claims for the natto diet was completely false, conjured out of thin air. There also are no data to support the contention that the fact that TV Asahi happens to belong to the same media group as Asahi the newspaper and that Kansai TV belongs to the Fuji-Sankei Group, which publishes among other things Sankei Shinbun (the only major daily that has dispensed with the evening edition), has anything to do with the fact that the news was breached in the Asahi and not the Sankei.

Competition: works every time. Makes it hard to maintain cartels, except where institutional support is available.

PS: Sankei Sports did write up the bad news. As has Mainichi. And Kansai TV has issued a real, honest-to-goodness apology.

PPS: Apology to Fuji-Sankei Group: In fact, Sankei did report the matter on its website yesterday, after Kansai TV made its public apology. I am sorry, folks, though I do hope that you have more in the hardcopy version than a brief summary of the facts, because the other websites are doing much more. The Asahi website now carries four separate articles on the issue. The Yomiuri site carries three articles, two of which are summaries of the hard copy version. (One of the two stories in the hard copy Yomiuri has two sidebars.) Mainichi has four independent articles on the issue. Yomiuri and Mainichi also offer an indictment of sorts of the entire TV industry, i.e. cost-cutting pressures and lack of controls that led to this incident. Mainichi digs into the background of the offending indpendent production company to unearth similar deception behavior two years ago working for TV Tokyo. Everyone except Sankei makes it clear that Kansai TV belongs to the national Fuji-Sankei network and that the program was broadcast on that network.

Mainichi, incidentally, has the weakeset ties to the TV industries among the major dailies. (Jan. 21, 15:14)

Speaking of “The Japanese Are Funny" journalism, TIME weighs in on the butler café. The article identifies their clientele as otome, which it identifies as the feminine analog of the masculine (actually more gender-free; but I quibble) otaku. But why does the article leave out the fourth dimension of this neck of the cultural woods? It certainly would have given the article more depth.

Anthony Faiola weighed in a week ago with a "Funny" cum "Charisma-Man", trans-genre piece on US stars slumming in Japanese ads. I'll leave that for another day though. The problem here is chronological, and will require some 'splainin'. On a date to be announced.

A source says that Mr. Faiola's problem is that Norimitsu Ohnishi has more assistants and knows the language. Is that right?

So I guess my question is, why don't they just point you to this, and this?

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