Friday, August 8, 2008


There has been a lot of talk about the WaiWai incident (see here for a summary of the matter) and here for the explanations offered by the Mainichi Shimbun.

I will get into the incident more in my book as it is an excellent example of reporting in Japan, but I read a very noteworthy blog post on it here which I wanted to share. Mr Okumura has done an excellent job providing a fair and balanced portrayal of the real issues.

Further information may be gleaned from a Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ) Number One Shimbun article on the subject here, but I found the piece far more valuable for this statement:

Links to WaiWai stories began to appear on Web sites, forums and blogs around the world, some of whose readers, judging by many of their responses and posts, were seemingly unable or unwilling to recognize that these stories were often nothing more than the product of a tabloid journo’s overactive imagination.

No matter how much of a diet of “those wacky Japanese” stories someone has been weaned on, no matter how much of a Japan-hater someone may be, no matter how detached from reality someone is, could anybody truly believe that Japanese fisherman get oral relief from razor-toothed moray eels? Evidently, some did.
Since I know, personally, just how willing too many members of the FCCJ were (and in some cases still are are) to believe the ravings of overactive imaginations (and to add to them themselves, apparently) I find these paragraphs all too relevant. They have definitely found themselves a place in Spinbound.

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