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July 21, 2010


Coffin Jon

Excellent call. HP's article is a good example of, when working with languages and their nuances, people sometimes translating what they want to see.


Oog. Looking forward to this story getting a thousand times more attention in the English web-reading world than any reliable explanation like yours. The boneheads commenting on those stories have already tied it all together with their "crazy Japanese are marrying pillows and DS game characters" worldview, I see.


There is a real hunger for "crazy Japan" coverage out there, facts be damned, even among some otherwise very reputable news sources. There were the NYT's articles on the "ninja fashion" and
pillow-marrying trends, and the BBC's hyperfocus on the company that supposedly rents friends.

The vast majority of this stuff crumbles under even the most superficial investigation -- "All the President's Men" this post ain't. It's fascinating to me less for the fact that it gets reported than for the fact that people seem ready to believe nearly anything about Japan.


It's obviously done on purpose. Most of those surveys stack the deck like that.


Sweet dicks alive.

It just got worse.

Huffington got the news from Geekosystem, who got the news from Kotaku, who got the news from... ... ... ...

Sankaku Complex. Who obviously got the news from that one Livedoor post/poll, mistranslated to fit their nefarious needs.

Which basically means the bloody source was YELLOW JOURNALISM. Mistranslation my ass, it was done on PURPOSE.


Yeah, HuffPo has not historically had great coverage in anime-related news. When the Levasseur story broke, they came out 72 hours behind most anime news sites, and with much less info.


dude, you should post their mistranslations and errors... Importantly 47% DO feel they could beat the fake thing, EVEN IF their boyfriend is obsessed with dating sims... and that's to the good.

Shay Guy

Though I think the poll still says something, even if not QUITE what people are thinking it does.

Leonardo Boiko

Perhaps you guys (you know, the Japan-afficionados-with-a-clue guys) should make a blog specialized in debunking those Wacky Japan stories. Something like Bad Astronomy, but for Japan.


>>debunking those Wacky Japan stories

We try....



>>it was done on PURPOSE.

I have no idea what Sankaku Complex's agenda is, but this is precisely how mistranslations/misinterpretations snowball. One site breaks the story, and then others pile on using the translation rather than the original story as a source. In this day and age, I really think at least a rudimentary grasp of Japanese should be mandatory for anyone trying to break news about the country.

Leonardo Boiko

Oh, I know you do, I read everything you write :) But I was thinking of a multi-author blog/page/whatever with the specific goal of debunking bad Japan-related journalism. With luck, perhaps it would get noticeable enough that “reliable” news agencies would at least check it before forwarding baseless gossip… ok who am I kidding.

Steve Harrison

Might I dare to suggest that those who are outraged consider the obvious fact that this methodology is common, nay, encouraged in the news in every facet?

It's called the 'action line'. Consider the little kerflufle over the supposedly flawed iPhone 4. "OH NOZE! JOBS BLEW IT! iPHONE 4 COMPLERE FAILURE!!!" and that line was hammered over and over, even echoed by radio computer guru Kim Kommando- yet the reality is the 'dropped calls if you touch the phone' thing is not a crisis. People aren't returning their phones in droves, there are no massive lines of outraged users lining up at the Apple stores waving torches and pitchforks and those pointy Frankenstein rake thingies. I suspect the truth is that in one production line at one factory someone used a little less wire or something and under some uses yes, the phone cuts out. It's not product-wide. It's likely, if anything, a manufacturing defect that affects a very limited number of phones.

But according to the news it was an actual crisis! Senators were actually calling for Jobs to fix it or risk an investigation! Apple stock plummeted.

Now this happened about the same time Microsoft announced they were cancelling their social networking phone after only 6 months. Seems they sold like 400 nationally. This got one slice of a news cycle.

Hmmm. Agenda? hmmm. How you liking your Zune? HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAH


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