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Do you think foreign journalists based in Japan sometimes misrepresent Japan, and if so, in what way?

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I think foreign journalists are forced to walk a thin line between what they can and cannot say about Japan and the Abe regime. Whether or not that misrepresents Japan remains to be seen. I do think that the foreign correspondant's club in Tokyo tries to get it right, though.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Yeah, it is mostly about how wonderful or how bizarre Japan is. Never about just how banal it is because that, by definition, is not interesting.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

By and large Japan is treated with kid gloves by foreign journalists, and mainstream Japanese journalists alike, and do very little true investigative journalism. So in that respect, they misrepresent Japan by presenting a government-approved, sugar-coated view of this country to the rest of the world.

When Kyung Lah was assigned to CNN's Japan desk she asked somewhat more probing questions, but she was reassigned I believe to Los Angeles.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Journalists EVERYWHERE misrepresent. That's what they do.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

They report what other foreign people think Japan is and not what it actually is. Japan is projected as a hard working peaceful country. If any of these reporters actually understood the language and culture and not live in their gaijin bubble they might get it. Japanese press don't want to report the hard truth because the JP public has their head in the sand and won't buy their newspapers.

The only foreign press that I have ever seen get it right about Japan was Vice.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Agree with all of the above statements 100%

6 ( +7 / -1 )

If it's news which Japan doesn't like or puts them in a bad light, then it's 'misrepresented' or 'fake news'. Perhaps we can have the 'alternative facts'.

BTW I do miss Waiwai.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Despite normal tendency for journalists to write with readers in mind, I find lots of journalists from outside Japan naive, to the extent of pronunciation wreckage regarding place names and so on.

Also, tendencies to generalize.

Longer-term journalists tend to be better, though I don't wish to generalize about that.

One other point is the cultures from which the journalists come from: for example tendencies to be critical out of various western cultures to sometimes grovelling homage from some non-western cultures.

Don't think it is going to change in a hurry though.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Most of the foreign correspondents cannot speak Japanese.

They stay in Japan only for 3 or 4 years and then transferred to another country. They do not bother to learn the language or build their network in this country.

Their reports are base on release by advocacy groups. They do not listen to the people on the other side of the story.

Even if the report is untrue, they do not correct their article because the readers are not in this country.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

CH3 -

" Their reports are base on release by advocacy groups. They do not listen to the people on the other side of the story."

Sounds a lot like the domestic news gathering scene. You know, spoon-fed data via kisha-club from selective groups.

And journalists the world over have their own individual bents - as all humans do - so finding 100% faithful to reality stories will always be a little difficult.

But I suspect, that because many (not all) foreign journalists in Japan are not under the same subordination as their local peers, they can report more often "Without Fear or Favor", hence the storylines may be uncomfortable for many of the domestic audience. Lies and not-commonly-known-truths are 2 different things.

It seems only the weeklies / journals here do any real investigative reporting eg Shukan Kinyobi & Shukan Bunshun, and in retaliation the mainstream media / govt. / J-Inc et al, ostracizes them and treats them with disdain.

There may be mistakes made in international reporting on Japan - even often at times - but believing a guarantee of truth exists in the Kisha system here, equates to belief in the Blue Fairy.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

browny1JAN. 25, 2017 - 04:41PM JST

Lies and not-commonly-known-truths are 2 different things.

Here is a link to an article "Territorial Disputes Involving Japan" by New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/09/20/world/asia/Territorial-Disputes-Involving-Japan.html

What they mislabel "Dokdo/Takeshima" is actually a different island called "Ul-Leung Do". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulleungdo

NYT keeps this misinformation despite numerous requests for correction from Japan and maybe from Korea.

Here is a link to an article "Why Japanese people are wrapping themselves up in cloth" by BBC.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38441166

You must read this. Is this "a lie or a not-commonly-known-truth"? I think it is a lie aka a fake news.

Here is another news by CNN. Actually, it is a criticism against a CNN news article. https://www.facebook.com/YutaAokiOfficial/photos/a.549553365107466.1073741828.505032566226213/1323519044377557/?type=3&theater

CNN Lies about Japan's Virginity

CNN misrepresents the data by saying "almost half of Japan's millennials still virgins."

If you read the source, the numbers only include "unmarried" people between 18 and 34. Many people get married in their late 20s and early 30s and they are probably not virgins, but those people are excluded from the statistics.

Here is a link to "Only around 8.4 children were born for every 1,000 Japanese people over last five years" by Independent (UK).

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/japanese-sex-problem-so-bad-people-giving-up-dating-a7458461.html#commentsDiv

Let us check the reality.

New born babies in Japan http://www.ipss.go.jp/syoushika/tohkei/Popular/P_Detail2016.asp?fname=T04-01.htm

2010 1,071,304

2011 1,050,806

2012 1,037,231

2013 1,029,816

2014 1,003,539, five-year total 5,192 696

The population of Japan was around 127,000,000. So, dividing the numbers, one can say "40.9 children were born for every 1,000 Japanese people over last five years". What is this big difference?

I am talking about the lack of basic fact checking by the foreign "journalists."

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Do you think foreign journalists based in Japan sometimes misrepresent Japan, and if so, in what way?

Not NEAR as much as the Japanese English media misrepresent Japan to the world, I read the ""Japan News"" and it can be truly atrocious the propaganda they spew at times!!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

It's fun to read again and again as newbie jounalists discover Japan and write incisive pieces on Japanese English, the ever popular toilets and cute characters.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

CH3 - thanks for the links.

These examples are almost embarrassingly trivial.

A very general map shows a speck in the vicinity where an island is, with no dteriment to hte story and you cry foul.

A story about therapeutic wrapping and you say "I think it is a lie". Good real life stat that one. And it's not a serious story it's a throw-away piece.

A CNN article - well - don't you know CNN's rep is not overly credible no matter who, what, when ,where or why. Not Japan specific.

And re new born babies - I just did a 60sec search and the official World Bank data of birth rate / 1,000 for Japan was 17 / 1,000 in 1960 and 8 / 1,000 in 2015. Could be wrong or they could be "faking it." I'll let you find out.

And as I said your examples are hardly news items at all.

When we (I) are talking about misrepresentations, I for one mean real news - political, social, economic, environmental, scientific articles etc that affects our daily lives. Not fluff bits to titilate or entertain. Those can be found all over the world about all manner of people in all manner of countries and serious readers / listeners are discerning enough to sift the straw from the dung.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

browny1JAN. 25, 2017 - 10:42PM JST

World Bank data of birth rate / 1,000 for Japan was 17 / 1,000 in 1960 and 8 / 1,000 in 2015. Could be wrong or they could be "faking it." I'll let you find out.

You can say,

"8 children were born for every 1,000 Japanese people in 2015" or

"8 children were born every year for every 1,000 Japanese people over last five years"

but you cannot say

"8 children were born for every 1,000 Japanese people over last five years" as Independent (UK) did.

If they cannot fix basic trivia, how can they manage complicated issues like politics?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

CH3 - thanks.

Your complaint makes trivial look trivial.

For reasons I posted above, I don't think their is any more misrepresentation of Japanese news by foreign press, than anywhere in the world.Nothing you have shown convinces me otherwise.

News Media sources / outlets range from poor to great, with any number of biases thrown in. In fact I think Japan and the current Govt Inc. gets off pretty lightly. No real mainstream nitty-gritty reporting on the comings and goings of issues that are really important for society.. If Japan had the same scrutiny placed upon it, say as compared to the focus on US or China - then you'd have something to raise the brows about - maybe.

And while we're on misrepresenting - how about acknowledging your own mistakes?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

browny1JAN. 26, 2017 - 09:15AM JST

For reasons I posted above, I don't think their is any more misrepresentation of Japanese news by foreign press, than anywhere in the world.Nothing you have shown convinces me otherwise.

It seems you live in post-truth society.

how about acknowledging your own mistakes?

I am happy to acknowledge my mistakes IF there are any.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Ch3 -

Post -Truth - got it.

And your calculated birth statistics were a mistake. If someone read them they could be interpreted as fake news.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

browny1JAN. 26, 2017 - 09:42AM JST

And your calculated birth statistics were a mistake

Do I need to mention 8 * 5 =40?

To spell it out, one can say,

"8 children were born for every 1,000 Japanese people in 2015,"

"8 children were born every year for every 1,000 Japanese people over last five years," OR

"40 children were born for every 1,000 Japanese people over last five years,"

but one cannot say

"8 children were born for every 1,000 Japanese people over last five years" as Independent (UK) did.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

CH3 - thank you, but you didn't spot it, did you?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What do you mean by "spot it"? I did spot the misinformation by Independent (UK). What did I not spot?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Do they misrepresent it intentionally as much as j-journalists do? That's the real question.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think they make an easy target. Attempts to discredit them are usually aimed at furthering the goals of Japan's extreme right and left wings.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am talking about the lack of basic fact checking by the foreign "journalists."

Take your pick:

A: Journalists who occasionally fail to fact check

B: Journalists who wouldn't dare fact check

0 ( +0 / -0 )

SenseNotSoCommonJAN. 27, 2017 - 10:26AM JST

C: Self-claimed "journalists" who do not care about facts as long as their stories are sold in their home country

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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