Tag Archives: troll

A couple of letters Japan Times have not (yet) published

The first was posted via their response form to the Managing Director, with a request that they afford me the right of reply to their article:

I would first like to thank Japan Times for giving my little blog far more attention than it deserves. More seriously, however, the article from Stuart Braun regarding "Trolls or media watchdogs" is not much more than a character assassination by innuendo.

The headline presented a false dichotomy – I’m just another nobody with opinions and a blog to express them on. If Mr Braun had chosen, as his opening paragraph promised, to focus on the question of whether the foreign media has it in for Japan, he could have produced a rather interesting article, I would guess, but instead the conclusion appears to have been written first, and then an article of epic length wrapped around it.

The article goes off the rails from the first words in the second paragraph: "Though right-wing Japanese apologists"; the article craftily sneaks in an "also" later in the sentence to avoid directly associating me and others mentioned with the right-wingers, but the underlying theme throughout the article is that we are no better that, indeed no different from, the rabid netouyo. There then comes a direct accusation:

the pro-Japaners have employed an effective counter-attack strategy: Banded behind a small but deafening band of bloggers, YouTubers and citizen journalists of sorts, this informal alliance generate legion online comments, blog posts and video channel chat-fests that systematically seek to discredit media they say are bent on fear-mongering about the country."

(I’m a bit confused how an informal alliance can be systematic, but we’ll let that pass.) "Legion online comments"? Where? Mr Braun only offers one thread on The Economist and my and Japan Probe’s blogs as evidence. Indeed, talking of The Economist, when I first wrote about the Gaijin Gulag story I said "This rather impressive (in a bad way) tale of incarceration […] takes the sting off fully-documented cases from Amnesty by telling a story so full of holes that it quite frankly stinks." Hardly the words of a Japan-loving wrong-doing-denying apologist!

Later on, when talking about the Miki Dezaki case, Mr Braun says "In ways, these foreign-born cyber-warriors parallel the infamous netouyo (‘Internet right’)", but if Mr Braun had actually taken the time to talk with me he would have learnt that I had posted in support of Mr Dezaki against his tormentors. Another fact that Mr Braun would have learnt if he had chosen to email me questions instead of just second-guessing from blog posts is that Hikosaemon did not inspire Japologism, but instead spurred me to shut down Tepido.org, for reasons that I shall not bore your readers with.

The part of the article I did enjoy the most, however, was when the focus turned fully to the soft apologist (what is the difference between and "apologist", a "soft apologist" and a "neo-apologist" anyway?) Hikosaemon and his cute hat collection. There I learnt about a "sophisticat[ed] multi-faceted campaign" (another one of these informal affairs) where Hikosaemon in his cuddly headgear grooms innocent listeners and leads them astray into the evils of neo-apologiphilia. All of us in the secret cabal (which doesn’t exist, of course) had a good laugh at that theory.

Finally, to deal with a concluding remark:

Are foreign bureaus in Japan actually spooked, and has open debate been stifled? (A number of journalists approached for this article did not want to comment.)

One journalist, Pulitzer Prize-winning Hiroko Tabuchi of the New York Times, said on Twitter about the article "I smell something fishy about this piece." amongst other comments; if she was one of the journalists approached and, as she hints, she recognised the man behind the curtain, I am not surprised she did not want to comment.

The second was posted just yesterday in reply to this comment (in reply to G.Mainwaring) by the Community editor of the Japan Times:

Mr Yasumoto-Nicolson, for the sake of accuracy, please: "as a real writer put it recently in a tweet that was retracted very soon afterward, "the page that gives JT a bad name." "

I now notice that Ben Stubbings has edited his comment to start "Capt. Mainwaring,". As further evidence of how he appears to have bought into the sock-puppet troll theory, he said this on Twitter:

@eidoinoue Ah, I actually thought I was replying to the "Ken Y-N" guise, must’ve done it without thinking. Silly me

My reply was this (and appears to have been rejected by the censors):

You appear not to be respecting Captain Mainwaring’s desire for privacy, a rather unprofessional action for a journalist, I feel. However, given the recent rather fanciful articles in the Community that have featured me, I do not find your action in the least surprising.

Perhaps you should be more worried about your own accuracy and making your own retractions?

Trolls or media watchdogs? Nope, neither

The spiralling of the Japan Times down the drain and into the gutter occupied by Japan Today and Rocket News continues apace, with this hack job from an author who seems to be channelling our favourite reporter.

Have the foreign media got it in for Japan? Do they unduly focus on, and sensationalize, Fukushima radiation leaks, alleged racial intolerance and the self-aggrandizing policy pronouncements of the reborn Liberal Democratic Party? Worse still, are non-Japanese journalists prejudicing perceptions of Japan in the wider world, further eroding the nation’s global significance?

In order, too open a question, most certainly, what’s "self-aggrandizing policy pronouncements"?, perhaps. Furthmore, it would be nice if the article actually answered these questions.

Though right-wing Japanese apologists

Apologism is not an exclusive trait of the right-wing, and indeed Level3, for example, used to get frequently booed for his right-wing libertarian stance here and elsewhere!

Banded behind a small but deafening band of bloggers, YouTubers and citizen journalists of sorts, this informal alliance generate legion online comments, blog posts and video channel chat-fests that systematically seek to discredit media they say are bent on fear-mongering about the country.

:facepalm: What utter, utter nonsense!

But the fact that this damning account of Japanese immigration procedure was covered in such an internationally significant publication

I need a :stiflelaugh: or :snort: emoticon here!

The publication claimed that it fact-checked Johnson’s story as much as possible

That’s stretching it a bit: they actually said "It must be considered as unverified, despite The Economist’s attempts to check relevant facts with the Japanese and Canadian governments".

VKay, a typically anonymous pro-Japan voice

VK, please! And how can you be "typically anonymous"?

The Canadian, who says he had never heard of these blogs before the Gaijin Gulag episode

Just like many of us hadn’t heard of the Canadian before his gulagging.

In ways, these foreign-born cyber-warriors parallel the infamous netouyo ("Internet right") — nationalistic Net trolls who hunt Japan’s critics online. When Miki Dezaki

Funnily enough, I supported him (although I cannot find the story again), and I find equating apologists with the netouyo bordering on defamation.

This band of non-native Japan apologists often stress that they are not mouthpieces of the Japanese right.


Nevertheless, some contend that pro-Japan blogs such as Japan Probe and Japologism, which Inoue posts on, push a highly circumscribed agenda.

Ahh, the good old "some"!


Yes, it’s an anonymous commenter. :facepalm:

@Kamo quoted another foreign blogger in Japan, Our Man in Abiko, real name Patrick Sherriff, who called Japan Probe "the self-appointed lapdog of the Japanese establishment."

Anyone familiar with Ourmani would recognise that as sarcasm, I would guess. Indeed, Ourmani admits to having written it a few sheets to the wind.

But reasonable "soft" apologists such as Hikosaemon

Aww, Hiko-chan is a cuddly-wuddly twoll!

‘BS’ is a term often employed in these pro-Japan forums as the truest marker of Japan-related media bias and negativity.

:roll:   :headdesk:

For the neo-apologists

Now we have "neo-apologists". :roll:

The view that the neo-apologists rely on anonymous "embittered trolls" to bully journalists online

Whose view? Whose quote?

YouTube shows and sundry blogs also expose netizens to the pro-Japan narrative via predominantly light-hearted entertainment. On YouTube channels such as 2.5 Oyajis, the expat presenters wear funny hats and discuss human interest curiosities in Japan.

Oh not, it’s cuddly-wuddly Hiko-chan again up to his old tricks as a gateway drug to neo-apologism!

Are foreign bureaus in Japan actually spooked, and has open debate been stifled? (A number of journalists approached for this article did not want to comment.)

I suspect they too noticed the all-too familiar tone of Japan’s greatest journalist and decided not to get involved. :roll:

UPDATE: Indeed, after I wrote the above sentence, but before publishing the story, I saw this Twitter thread. In it, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hiroko Tabuchi says:

I can’t believe JT printed it. Standards?

And this:

@jtben @stevenshayman IMHO, your page gives such a bad name to @JapanTimes & tramples on hard work of paper’s other reporters & editors.

Furthermore, here is a reddit thread on it.

Oh, and I liked this comment:


It will be interesting when this hits 2ch…

Japan Times hits a new low!

I have highlighted previously how some of Mr Arudou’s previous articles have been insinuating that Japan deserves to get its arse kicked by China, but now a letter gets printed that disposes of all these niceties. It is from a Chinese citizen (or naturalised Chinese, etc) in America, judging by the name, who first brings up whatever the Pacific War equivalent of Godwin’s Law is.

It is disgusting that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda talked about honoring international law. Did Japan care about international law when its soldiers massacred millions of Chinese civilians during its occupation of much of my beloved motherland during the Pacific War?

He/she then goes completely hatstand with:

we Chinese are no longer under the communist yoke.

I suppose he means "we Chinese who have emigrated".

Now the meat:

For ordinary Chinese, the second anti-Japanese war has begun and will end up with full independence for our friends, the people of Okinawa.

I don’t think they are your friends…

We will make sure that this time all elements of military expansionism are eliminated from Japanese society.

Surely Japan Times cannot be that desperate for traffic that they are reduced to printing such incitement to racial hatred?