2-Ch and Anti-Korean Schadenfreude

韓国人留学生がホームステイ先の白人家庭で6歳の女児と4歳の男児をレイプ …アメリカ

Having grown up with at least one foot in the nerd world — old GURPS books, 20-sided die, and TMBG bootlegs still in my closet at home — I would expect myself to feel a general sympathy towards the Japanese otaku-zoku. I do not, however, and after Patrick Macias shot down my own pet theories in a conversation a few weeks ago, I am not sure if I can explain my instincts.

But since Japanese Net Culture is pretty much a bastion for nerds, much like American Net Culture circa 1997 or so, maybe I tend to associate the central BBS 2-Ch with the collective otaku id. And one of the things I find massively unpalatable on 2-Ch is the extremely common anti-Korean and anti-Chinese sentiment.

Although I rarely agree with the conservative arguments, I can at least understand the desire to defend Japanese history and honor against entrenched Korean and Chinese attacks. I don’t find this particularly excessive. What I see a lot of, however, is collections of news stories — with zero relevance to Japan — where the wrongdoer or criminal happens to be Chinese or Korean. For example, no one is more happy to tell you that the killer of Lucie Blackman — Obara Joji — is actually Japanese-Korean. I guess the idea is that this lets Japan off the hook for the crime, although Obara Kim Sung Jong lived in Japan his whole life. Here today, we have another example of this phenomenon: Itai News has selected to feature a story about a Korean man studying in the United States who allegedly raped his host-family’s two (white!) young children. The crime is indefensible and gruesome, but the obsession with the crime seems also bizarre: why is this particular piece of news on Japan’s closest thing to a BoingBoing-esque news aggregator 2-Ch Itai News? Is there any explanation other than the fact that this particular audience wants to indulge in schadenfreude towards their Asian neighbors?

W. David MARX
February 6, 2008

54 Responses

  1. M-Bone Says:

    I think that it is necessary to differentiate between otaku and “netto uyo”. Go to an otaku shop like “Animate” or a store that sells dojinshi art supplies. You will see a very large number of (nerdy) young female otaku. These are certainly not the 2ch racist abusers. The otaku community is a very diverse one and I would not be surprised if many of the more vile online racist types have little interest in the anime, manga, and light novels that are typically associated with “otaku”. I really wouldn’t be surprised if some of them were bitter 50 year old male virgins, come to think of it.

    I don’t think that the phenomenon of online bashing is really that complex. More circulation of information means more awareness of others. This has had some wonderful impacts – embracing pluralism, more knowledge of other cultures, etc. It has also, however, made people more aware of what others are saying about them. This creates a vicious cycle of lash and backlash. It doesn’t even matter who “started it” any more. The sad thing is that recent polls show that Chinese and Koreans hate EACH OTHER more than Japan now….

    On an interesting side-note, the same type of thing actually exists between Canada and the USA. It is very common to see casual put-downs of Canada on US forums. These are usually followed in turn by posts from Canadians about Americans murdering children in the third world and being completely out of control, etc. The rhetoric just continues to escalate.

  2. W. David MARX Says:

    As an American, I would be very surprised to learn that there are sites where Americans collect stories about gruesome Canadian crimes to make themselves feel better. The stereotype of Canadians that I am familiar with is that they are Americans without all the problems.

    I think that it is necessary to differentiate between otaku and “netto uyo”.

    Yes, this is an important point. But I would argue that the taste culture intersection is very high here. Itai News is always posting polls of “Your Most Emotional Video Game Experience” or “Best Anime These Song,” not news about the opening of the new hip Hankyu Men’s fashion building in Osaka. Itai News should not incriminate all otaku, but it’s not “non-otaku,” if that makes sense.

  3. M-Bone Says:

    “gruesome Canadian crimes to make themselves feel better.”

    No, its the other way around. Canadians feeling better by gloatingly referencing American “social collapse” (or how stupid Americans are supposed to be). We don’t need sites obsessed with American dirt. In Canada, we call them “newspapers”. We also have whole TV programs devoted to interviewing Americans (in humiliating fashion to show how much better Canadians are).

    There is an Aussie site that knocks Korea in much the same way that Itai does – occidentalism.org

    “but it’s not “non-otaku,” if that makes sense.”

    Agreed. However, you seem to be implying that hipsters are not as pissed at Korea…. Quantifying that could be a lot of fun.

    In any case, I think that there has also been something of an anti-netto uyo backlash on 2ch in the past year or so. There have been a number of massive threads devoted to making fun of these guys. I seem to come across these things as often as I do the c%$^*&ro types of slurs (and I tend to go in through the anime/manga/Japanese movie path). Of course, if you go to the Korea section, you are just asking for it.

    It is also interesting to note that there have been no otaku products (ie. fictional narratives in the usual media) bashing Korea or China to the best of my knowledge (Kenkan is non-fiction, there is a military simulation manga about China but it is pretty lame, not particularly racist and was published in a niche format). Can anyone here think of anything?

  4. W. David MARX Says:

    However, you seem to be implying that hipsters are not as pissed at Korea…

    Whether individual hipsters hate Koreans or not, I don’t see the fashion bloggers I read or Honeyee.com writing about how Koreans around the world are “trash” or whatever. It’s not part of the taste-culture the way it is for both Net 2-Ch stuff and Weekly Playboy.

    t is also interesting to note that there have been no otaku products (ie. fictional narratives in the usual media) bashing Korea or China to the best of my knowledge

    I think going as far to finance and make projects that bash Koreans or Chinese is a much bigger step than just linking to articles. But because the blog can link to almost anything out there, I think it says something more about instincts that they would choose to put this one up.

  5. M-Bone Says:

    Maybe we should imagine a Venn diagram of “losers” with the otaku circle and racist twit circle intersecting rather than “otaku” and “racist twit” being pretty much the same circle.

  6. Ian Says:

    “No, its the other way around. Canadians feeling better by gloatingly referencing American “social collapse” (or how stupid Americans are supposed to be). We don’t need sites obsessed with American dirt. In Canada, we call them “newspapers”. We also have whole TV programs devoted to interviewing Americans (in humiliating fashion to show how much better Canadians are).”

    I think you’re making a stretch with this comparison. You paint the picture that Canadian newspapers are tailored to highlight the misfortunes of Americans solely for the purpose of our enjoyment. – In order for us to feel superior.

    In Marxy’s post, he’s clear in pointing out that the news stories about Koreans or Chinese have zero relevance to Japan. And as result, the reporting and obsession over these stories, among the Otaku in particular, appears to be an act of schadenfreude.

    Canadian coverage of American news is extensive, and that’s due to a variety of reasons, the most obvious is that American politics, society and culture is relevant to Canadian lives. When it is not directly relevant, say for example tragic crimes stories like that of Seung-Hui Cho, Canadians don’t pick up the paper to gloat. That’s not one of the reasons for our American news coverage. Newspaper editors don’t choose these stories because they’re obsessed with American dirt. They choose it because it resonates with us. We are shocked, saddened and angered when we read these stories. These emotions are born out of concern for our neighbours, because we feel like we’re apart of the same community.

    I assume that when you speak of “whole TV programs devoted to interviewing Americans”, you are referring to Rick Mercer’s satirical comedy segment on the fake news program This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Yes, at times it is fairly humiliating. When you have President Bush calling our Prime Minister Jean POUTINE or when Mike Huckabee congratulates Canada on preserving our parliamentary building, the National Igloo from global warming, you can’t help but feel incredulous, whether you’re American or Canadian. It is important to note that it is done in good nature. The segment was never intended to show that Canadians are better than Americans. Mercer would never deny that if he were to ask the same sort of ridiculous questions to Canadians about America, Canadians would be just as silly.

    One of the defining characteristics of Canadian comedy is self-deprecating humour. We don’t take ourselves seriously, we make fun of our stereotypes constantly. As a naturally extension, the stereotypes of Americans being dumb in this segment is not to be taken seriously. It’s not meant as a real expose of American stupidity, half the time, the people being interviewed look like there are going along with the joke.

    I suck at being concise.

  7. M-Bone Says:

    Ian, you may think that it is all good natured and a sign of legitimate concern, but many people don’t think so.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A15638-2004Nov26.html

    This article really hit home for me. It is extremely common to see examples of US crime, health-care failings, etc. cited in the Canadian media as examples of our moral high ground – why Canada is better. The examples cited in the Washington Post piece don’t even skim the surface.

    There are plenty of books on Canadian anti-Americanism as well.

    Jack L. Granatstein, Yankee Go Home? Canadians and Anti-Americanism (Toronto: HarperCollins, 1996) is still a classic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1RrncVgLFY
    This type of thing is not only mainstream in Canada, this particular ad became a sort of cultural touchstone. Is there really anything self-deprecating, witty or good natured about this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuyfmvnwoG8
    Here is a “Talking With Americans” clip. These specials frequently become some of the highest rated TV programs in Canada. “As a naturally extension, the stereotypes of Americans being dumb in this segment is not to be taken seriously.” I absolutely don’t agree with this. The object is to mock (with some self-deprecating humor mixed in) and Canadians DO take this seriously. I’ve heard it in conversation dozens of times and many of the comments on these youtube clips, for example, are from Canadians talking about how dumb Americans are. Educated Canadians see the clever editing but there is also a background smugness and an idea of Canadian superiority.

    Or check this out -
    http://www.discovervancouver.com/forum/american-bashing-gots-stop-t118128.html

    Look at the responses from Canadians. “Oh, its not only a Canadian problem.”, “Quebec is not really a part of Canada anyway”, etc. This thread really is a typical orgy of Canadian America bashing that comes up all of the time – including in the mainstream press where the USA becomes the “big Other” to make Canada look good in all sorts of contexts.

    I think that self critical Canadians really need to be aware of the extent of the problem and the way that these antics can leave an individual like the author of the Washington Post article feeling humiliated.

  8. Aceface Says:

    I suspend my comments until this thread gets heat up some more…

  9. W. David MARX Says:

    Maybe we should imagine a Venn diagram of “losers” with the otaku circle and racist twit circle intersecting rather than “otaku” and “racist twit” being pretty much the same circle.

    But in order for the “benevolent” anime/otaku side to really create distance, they’d have to more proactively swear off racism and not want to read these kinds of stories on the central nerd-culture sites. I don’t know how the editing, submission process works on Itai News, but I don’t think that the “racist twits” are their own subculture. They seem to be the vocal id of larger communities including Shukanshi readers etc.

    The other problem with the Canada metaphor is that Japan sees itself as clearly superior to Korea and China, whereas Canada is knows that the U.S. is a much more powerful state. Itai News coverage of wayward Koreans is like if an American site pointed out every time some French guys did something bad in other countries.

  10. M-Bone Says:

    “The other problem with the Canada metaphor is that Japan sees itself as clearly superior to Korea and China, whereas Canada is knows that the U.S. is a much more powerful state.”

    Canada’s assumptions of superiority are moral, ethical, etc. I’m not aware of any polls on this but my gut feeling is that a very, very high percentage of Canadians would say that Canada is “better” than the United States (this comes out in Michael Moore’s interviews in various projects if you need a quickie example). Lots of research on this. (My earlier Canada post is still awaiting moderation, probably because of links).

    “But in order for the “benevolent” anime/otaku side to really create distance, they’d have to more proactively swear off racism and not want to read these kinds of stories on the central nerd-culture sites.”

    I’m really not getting why you seem to think that 2ch is somehow representative of otaku. For starters, a large chunk of otaku are female (not the 2ch target), many are not interested in online debate (didn’t we hear lately that Japanese kids don’t go online anymore?), and there are still more who DO attack “netto-uyo” when they get a chance. Some “netto-uyo” views get shouted down in 2ch anime threads – people keep calling for them to keep that crap out of the GUNDAM talk or whatever. I’m not sure how much of this stuff that you are reading but it is a BIG stretch to assume that 2ch racism is part of an otaku zeitgeist when you don’t seem to be giving us a real idea of who otaku are or just how diverse the group is. Who are otaku for you?

  11. W. David MARX Says:

    I thought the whole Densha Otoko thing pretty much crystalized 2-Ch as a central site of otaku-fandom. Maybe it’s broader than that, but I’ve never been of the impression that 2-ch exists outside of the plane of otakudom. Maybe there are common areas where otaku, young uyoku, Akihabara, and 2-ch co-exist: for example, all of these have been very big advocates of the “low teen idol” 13 year-old girls in cameltoe bikini form of infantile sexuality. Weekly Playboy promoted Saaya Irie formally, while her books sold up a storm in Akihabara. I have always seen the anti-Koreanism as the political version of infantile porn, since it shows up all the time in 2-Ch and Playboy (not an “otaku” magazine, clearly, though).

    Re: Canada. It’s much easier for an underdog country to criticize Goliath. Japan is not the underdog when it comes to Korea or China.

  12. M-Bone Says:

    Would you mind passing on the problems that Macias had with your idea of otaku?

  13. W. David MARX Says:

    I was under the impression that Japanese nerds usually stayed within their otaku subculture for the long-term without “penetrating” normal cultural industries, and therefore, were not “productive” outside of their own fields. He made a good case that a lot of the fashion business/magazine people he knew were ex-otaku.

  14. M-Bone Says:

    “Re: Canada. It’s much easier for an underdog country to criticize Goliath. Japan is not the underdog when it comes to Korea or China.”

    Two points on my Canada stuff.
    - When you are here, being an underdog does not make the often visceral anti-Americanism any less easy to stomach.
    - My earlier point was that on an essential level (if we want to draw meaningful comparisons between post-industrial societies here) the Canadian and Itai News stuff are different in form but they come from the same place – a feeling that the “other” does not take one seriously, a feeling of being insulted (ie. by Jean Poutine or whatever), and a desire to assert superiority. I really think that net discourse has empowered this bigtime. More awareness of what the other is saying, unrestricted anonymous opportunities for slander, etc.

    The biggest dif between the Canadian and Japanese things is that the Canadian bit is cultural essentialism while the Itai bit borders on racist (or jumps straight over the line).

  15. M-Bone Says:

    “He made a good case that a lot of the fashion business/magazine people he knew were ex-otaku.”

    Lots of Japanese academics (not cultural studies stuff) and private sector researchers that I know are ex-otaku, come to think of it. I consider these academics to be a side of the “cultural industries” because many of them publish mainstream non-fiction.

  16. LS Says:

    This post reminded me of discussions I’ve seen on stormfront.org … they constantly talk about black crime and trade photos of murdered whites in SA and elsewhere (“spreading truth outside of the media filter,” no doubt).

    It really is the most frightening Web site I have ever seen.

  17. W. David MARX Says:

    Stormfront’s coverage of anime and video game stuff is pretty poor, though.

  18. LS Says:

    Also it seems important to point out that race is what’s at work here, not nationalism … in Japan, race, nationality, and native language ability are all conflated; blaming US crime on black people is much closer to what’s described in the post than the whole Canadian thing.

  19. LS Says:

    Stormfront’s coverage of anime and video game stuff is pretty poor, though.

    Right, so apparently in Japan the Stormfront- and BoingBoing-equivalent audiences overlap, which is pretty insane.

  20. M-Bone Says:

    “Right, so apparently in Japan the Stormfront- and BoingBoing-equivalent audiences overlap, which is pretty insane.”

    I think that you guys are going a bit over the top with this. Clicking on their Kankoku Kitachosen tab reveals that they have only had 7 articles in that category in the past 6 months. They’ve nearly been as prolific with quirky animal news.

    While it is still disgusting, I only spotted two or three randomass Korean crime articles (in the Itai section, some don’t get filed under Korea).

    Is this really enough to start generalizing about the otaku id?

  21. W. David MARX Says:

    I’m not ready to call Itai News “Stormfront.jp” but I am combining this link’s existence with the other “Suspicious Foreigner” threads I have seen on 2-ch in the past (the ones that said that I “look like an Arab.”) I would have happily dismissed the more hardcore thread as a fringe thing, but here the same kind of story pops up on this pretty central blog and gets a lot of supporting comments.

    I agree with you though that we may need to try to break down where the otaku and the 2-Ch uyoku align and where they differ.

  22. Aceface Says:

    “apparently in Japan the Stormfront- and BoingBoing-equivalent audiences overlap, which is pretty insane.”

    Oh,there’s definitly more on 2ch than that,LS.
    Stormfront dudes probably have no interest in 13 years old in thong bikinis….

  23. Aceface Says:

    Meanwhile over at The Marmot’s hole,a korea blog.

    Check what this poster “cm” with Canadian flag on his/her avatar.

    http://www.rjkoehler.com/2008/02/06/ban-ki-moon-in-the-chosun-ilbo/#comments

  24. M-Bone Says:

    “I agree with you though that we may need to try to break down where the otaku and the 2-Ch uyoku align and where they differ.”

    This sounds like a fantastic project. I’m sure that Aceface will be all over this one as well.

    I’ll give things a try for starters -

    There are about 2,000,000 Sankei readers. Polls of Japanese on war memory issues (the biggest touchstone for uyoku) suggest that only about 2% of the population go with ‘absolutely no reason to reflect or apologize’ (Asahi, Jan. 25, 2007, poll included under 20s) – about the same as the 2,000,000 Sankei readers when you break it down by population. Sankei is the “grayest” of the major dailies with almost 70% of its readers being over 50. It also tends to have an overwhelmingly male readership. It seems like Japan has a hard core of 2,000,000 hard conservatives with probably another < 100,000 that would consider the Sankei to be too liberal. This is Japan’s ultra-conservative base and it intersects with 2ch in some ways. I’d say that some of the more abrasive 2ch posters and news twits are floating outside of this newspaper reading group. They would likely have been grabbed by the Asahi poll, however, so I really don’t think that they are that prolific.

    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2005-10-10/1.72-million-otaku-in-japan

    This breakdown of the otaku “group” really shows why it is difficult to generalize about them. Looking it over would suggest that there are several hundred thousand anime and manga otaku kicking around online (many of whom would be women and unlikely 2ch culprits). Many of these individuals may be just prolific manga consumers – we don’t get a sense that they are all Suzumiya Haruhi fans. There is certainly a type of anime being pimped on Itai news – the very hardcore fan stuff. The things that I prefer don’t come up at all, nor do the bestselling manga (Hagaren, etc.). It is not only the hardcore stuff that is considered “otaku” but perhaps there is a connection between the gravitation to more extreme moe titles (lolitas, maids, etc.) and aggressive anti-Koreanism. I don’t want to play psychologist but it certainly could have something to do with self esteem and general social ability.

    There is also the possibility that Itai News is reporting anime, etc. as part of a cross section of Japanese pop concerns. Geino and TV is higher than anime and manga. Sports and Kakutogi is almost on the same level, generic net stuff, food, politics, etc. are also on comparable levels. While Itai is including the Korean crap where a reputable news portal like Yahoo would not, Yahoo ALSO has the same prolific anime reporting (very often on the front page and often including “hardcore” titles because they double as ‘news of the weird’). This could very well be reflecting a “general” interest that takes it outside of the otaku discussion in the first place.

  25. W. David MARX Says:

    2-Ch, however, still has a huge role in the Densha Otoko myth. This was where otaku were getting together to help a fellow otaku. Not saying that means the demographics still line up that way, but people put 2 + 2 together a while back.

  26. LS Says:

    Casual racism was a big part of US pop culture before the civil rights movement — e.g. there’s a lot of Looney Tunes they don’t show anymore for that reason. The US purged that kind of material in a specific historical moment.

    Without much knowledge on the subject of Japanese media, my hypothesis would be that Japan has simply never had that moment. Major news outlets, perhaps because they are sensitive to Western values, suppress this sort of material; 2ch does not. It’s the hidden baseline.

    What would BoingBoing look like if it had come into existence in the 1920s?

  27. M-Bone Says:

    “The US purged that kind of material in a specific historical moment.”

    Did that movement happen to be before Aladdin?

    Oh, I come from a land
    From a faraway place
    Where the caravan camels roam
    Where they cut off your ear
    If they don’t like your face
    It’s barbaric, but, hey, it’s home.

    “2-Ch, however, still has a huge role in the Densha Otoko myth.”

    Isn’t the key word there “myth”? Aren’t you kinda playing an “I’m judging otaku because I saw it on Densha Otoko” game?

    2ちゃんねらは990万人 30代と40代で過半数を占める 年齢別ユーザー分析結果
    日本広告主協会Web広告研究会が11月28日発表した、
    2005年9月定点の「消費者メディア調査」を
    当ブログで勝手に分析した結果によると、
    2ちゃんねるユーザーの過半数は、
    30代と40代で構成されている事が分りました。
    ※利用者定義がよく分からんが

    ティーンエージャー(所謂:厨)がメインかと思ったけど、結構違うんだな・・

    年齢別上位順です。

    30歳代=30,7%
    40歳代=21,9%
    13歳~19歳層と20歳代が同着=15,0%/各
    50歳代=8,6%
    12歳以下=5,0%
    60歳以上=3,9%

    Does this look like Densha Otoko to you? Looks like Sankei readers to me.

  28. LS Says:

    I should say, it purged what it purged in that moment. Arabs, as anyone can see even in mainstream US sources, are still fair game.

  29. W. David MARX Says:

    “Saw it” in Densha Otoko. It’s where Densha Otoko came from!

  30. M-Bone Says:

    ““Saw it” in Densha Otoko.”

    Oh, you mean the book – I was assuming that you saw it “on” TV.

    In any case, don’t these numbers really tear the hell out of what the lot of us were assuming about 2ch?

  31. W. David MARX Says:

    Book!? The very first medium of Densha Otoko – the phenomena – was 2-Ch.

  32. M-Bone Says:

    “Book!? The very first medium of Densha Otoko – the phenomena – was 2-Ch.”

    Oh yeah, oh yeah. Did you really see it back then? I only bothered when the drama came on. Also, can we really say that Densha Otoko was ever popular with otaku? The manga kinda tanked.

  33. LS Says:

    Participants on Internet discussion boards and blogs are in general older than assumed (by many). For instance, the highest-conversion cohort of participants in online advocacy campaigns / clickthroughs on e-mail lists for the organization I work for is over 60.

  34. Aceface Says:

    “my hypothesis would be that Japan has simply never had that moment. Major news outlets, perhaps because they are sensitive to Western values, suppress this sort of material; 2ch does not. It’s the hidden baseline.”

    LS:

    The specific moment had reached Japan in August 15,1945.
    Not so sure about what exactly you mean by “Western values”,however the major news outlets
    have become more concious on human rights and their past behavior over Asian neighbors.It reached to the new heights in the late 60′s that literary any criticism over China and Korea have dissapeared from mainstream media.

    But what you have said about 2ch is right.There are many suppresed opinion about Korean there.

  35. Mulboyne Says:

    Itai News itself wants to draw traffic so it’s not so surprising that they would pick up news stories that have generated discussion on 2ch. Consequently, there will always be a bias towards posting those which have drawn the net uyoku because they are particularly prolific. Similarly the site’s commercial links are primarily for anime-related figurines, game software and the like so it makes sense to link to popular discussions on those topics. There must be some overlap between the interests of the two groups but it’s probably not correct to align them too closely.

    Itai News readers themselves I would guess are drawn to see the hot topics of the day aren’t necessarily interested in every discussion.

  36. Aceface Says:

    “so apparently in Japan the Stormfront- and BoingBoing-equivalent audiences overlap, which is pretty insane.”

    Before I present you my grand theory on Anti-Koreanism on 2ch,just take a look at this.

    http://sass.buttes.org/forum/viewtopic.php?id=15544&p=1

    and America’s answer to 2ch.Asia Finese Discussion Forum.

    http://www.asiafinest.com/forum/index.php?s=3bcae777dae175fd4bc03575aca9f2e6&showforum=5

    http://www.asiafinest.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=132493

  37. nate Says:

    1) Aside from Sankei, I think the relationship to print media like Shokun!, Seiron, Sapio, Kobayashi Yoshinori et al, and the net-uyoku blogs, Mixi, and the message boards for Channel Sakura, etc, is worth considering. I do agree that a good deal of it is an older demographic, but I know for a fact there are quite a lot of 20 and 30-somethings who otherwise overlap with general otaku-dom involved in this stuff too. The same threads run through most of the media I mentioned above.

    2) So of course the 2Ch anti-Korean sentiment is not rare by any means. The 2Ch version of it strikes me as “MTV’s Jackass”-style–simplified, dumbed down name calling to get a rise out of an imaginary PC-someone. If you look at the discussions that happen in ‘stricter,’ less anonymous settings like Mixi, I think you’ll find less self congratulatory fart joke style anti-Koreanism. If that made any sense, I am glad.

    Same goes for Chinese stuff to a certain extent.

    3) I’ll also say that I am interested by the degree that ese-uyoku (エセ右翼) or stand-ins like zainichi or buraku (more often zainichi) is used as a derogation toward ‘real’ uyoku (see, for example, the threads on the recent LDP red-paint guy or the Gaimusho seppuku-wannabe). The net-uyoku redeem their political views by using racist epithets to denigrate the people generally thought to hold those views. It lets them become the “necessary voices of reason and clarity” (echoing Kobayashi) if only in a virtual way.

    Aside from the blatantly offensive/racist qualities of a lot of the comments, I also think in some ways functionally it is about ‘redeeming’ ideology and claiming a broader space for participation in arrogant (and domestic, not really about the Korean or Chinese per se), self-assuring, and comforting nationalism. They are virtually reorienting their 同胞.

    That said, there are a good deal of people engaged in real-world uyoku activism who are also active online (maybe even half?). Every activist with any kind of name recognition has a blog, and most people have at least a Mixi account. You find in some of the 2Ch threads on uyoku topics that ‘real’ uyoku come in to regulate the net-uyoku sometimes. Those threads are less about the knee-jerk fart-joke racism that david is talking about, but I digress……

  38. W. David MARX Says:

    Thank you Nate for those comments. I almost feel bad calling the 2-Ch crowd “uyoku” since uyoku seem to have actual political views and theories for their ideas on Japanese dominance. The 2-Ch guys just have some kind of pathological problem with Koreans and Chinese and want to see them kept “in their place.” Also with so many zainichi Koreans involved in at least the yakuza-side of uyoku politics, things can’t get too explicitly about providing the universal criminality of Koreans.

  39. W. David MARX Says:

    Also, while those links above may appear “like” the American version of 2-Ch, I don’t think they have the centrality. Maybe Something Awful is close: anyone have an opinion on that?

  40. nate Says:

    That’s what I was getting at with the ‘MTV’s Jackass’-style. Something Awful is probably a better comparison.

    Does this kind of stuff happen on 4Ch?

  41. Aceface Says:

    Re:Sankei

    Sankei has actually been pro-South Korea for decades for their anti-communist stance.Their senior Seoul correspondent,Kuroda Katsuhiro is in noway anti-Korean(he is,however has been very critical toward Roh administration and Korean left,but then again almost every single Korea watcher I know are the same). Kuroda was ex-Kyodo(a very liberal institution in the late 70′s) correspondent and has been living in Seoul for almost three decades now.

    Sankei has been pro-Taiwan for years.And the only major Japanese paper that did not have Beijing bureau for 31 years.PRC government ensured the Japanese correspondents to
    “report under the principles of One China policy and the spirit of Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty”based on communique for exchanging media correspondents made in 1974.This restricts the numbers of the Japanese correspondents stationing in China and the quotas are negotiated between GoJ and PRC.And ofcourse,NHK gets the most.And in return NHK VERY RARELY criticize China.
    Sankei and the communist daily, Akahata were the only J-media that were against with this communique and I salute them for that.
    (Sankei reopened Beijing bureaus in 1997,When PRC government allowed major Japanese media to open.)

    So if there is any anti-Chinese articles in Sankei, it is based either on nationalism or decent principle.

    SAPIO,SHOKUN!,SEIRON and Kobayashi Yoshinori are all highly critical over Japan-Korea relation(especially over history and national security) and certain Zainichi groups demand.Those criticisms are certainly based on anti-leftism.But not exactly based on racial discrimination toward Koreans like you see on 2ch.

    Re 2ch:
    2ch does have moderator of a sort.But the system is not working as the way it should be.

    The owner of 2ch,Hiroyuki has been sued numbers of times for the lack of proper moderation on 2ch,yet he seems not minded about it at all,presumably he thinks 2ch’s source of power comes from free-for-all atomosphere unlike any other place in Japanese media.And Korea-bushing,or to be more precise,Zainichi-bashing is a huge taboo in Japanese society.Seeing that abundant on 2ch will give you the sense that you are in the forbidden zone more than anything.

    While I have more to say about the difference between Japanese percepetion of Korean and Chinese images and why I think 2ch is obbsessed far more over hostility toward South Korea and not to North Korea,I got a go.I have meetings.

  42. Aceface Says:

    “When PRC government allowed major Japanese media to open.”

    To open bureau in Taipei.

  43. slow panda Says:

    i didn’t read all the comments. to many.. seriously.
    big on pissing match happening…

  44. this is the new sound Says:

    I would say that due to 2ch being an unfiltered, unmoderated message board which anyone can access, while also being famous in the media (due to Densha Otoko) and providing a shroud of anonymity under which anyone can feasibly say anything, racist diarrhea (among any of a lovely rainbow of topics), you should not be surprised nor implicate all otaku in Japan for this existing.

    Even on 4ch and its many derivatives you can find ridiculous racist bile. The only difference is that those sites do not have as much notoriety.

    I bet if you dig enough you can find racist links on del.icio.us or digg or anywhere else which allows user submitted content.

  45. W. David MARX Says:

    I didn’t have to “digg” into 2-Ch to get this “delicious”-ly awful racist stuff. And Itai (DQN) News is not unfiltered or unmoderated – somebody is picking specific stories to feature.

  46. Aceface Says:

    According to the survey by Ministry of Foreign Affairs,the least popular nation to Japanese is unsurprinsingly North Korea and Russia.

    http://www8.cao.go.jp/survey/h19/h19-gaiko/index.html

    54.8% answered for”have sympathy”to South Korea.
    Those who feel sympathy belong mostly to 20′s and 30′s and those who do not belong to 60′s.

    This is higher than China,which 34% had answered for “have sympahty”(63.5% do not) and the age group for having positive idea belongs to 50′s and 60′s,while younger generation have negative opinion.

    But contrary to the conventional wisdom,Itai news has 136 threads on “North and South Korea”while there’s only 50 for “China”.There is no independent category on supposed to be the least popular nation of “Russia”.
    “North and South Korea”threads have very few post related on North of the 38th parallel and the topic is predominantly on South Korea-Japan relation.
    So the trend seen on Itai news is not exactly parallel to conventional wisdom on our neighbors.

    This ia probably because Itai news only picks up story that have link to mainstream media.And most korean media had started online Japanese version from the late 90′s.

    When I started netsurfing in the mid 90′s,there were almost no Korea hate sites on the web.But the numbers of Anti-Korea sites had dramatically increased after Korean dailies such as Chosun,Joongang and Donga had started after the FIFA decision of co-hosting 2002 world Cup between Japan and Korea.

    Itai news blogger also has very strong hostility toward mainstream media.
    You can find many criticism on Russia and North Korea(and the U.S)on J-media and though the amount is greatly reduced,but nonetheless you can also see the same on China as seen on the recent poisoned dumpling fiasco.
    But on South Korea-Japan issues,J-media is being criticized by 2channellers,as distorting the news and endlessly circulating feel good news on the country for the fears of criticism from the focus groups and Korean angst.
    That probably has something to do with Itai news’s obsession for the relentless Korea bashing.

  47. W. David MARX Says:

    I think we get to a deeper question: what is so scary about South Korea to this group of Japanese? Is it just the idea that they need to be “kept” in their places (beneath the Japanese)? There’s a lot of history here, of course, but seems to echo the way that poor whites feel about blacks in the Southern U.S. rather than more paranoid discrimination against latino immigrants in the U.S. for example? The 2-Ch people appear to be obsessed with making sure everyone knows that the entire Korean race are guilty of some crime.

  48. M-Bone Says:

    I think that the Korea hate comes from an awareness of what Koreans are saying about Japanese. This is the central subject of most right-leaning Japanese books about South Korea (media, education, etc.). It is also the central thread that runs through Kenkanryu. For China, however, the focus tends to be on Chinese problems (human rights, pollution, etc.) and why these problems make China fundamentally inferior.

    Rightwing writings about China really go out of their way to articulate a sense of place (things like Kobunyu and Watanabe Shoichi’s books) but I find that the Korea ones are really oriented along the same lines as the 2ch discussion = Koreans say that WE are criminals, but the TRUTH is that Koreans do this, that, and whatnot. I guess you could say that it is a desperate attempt to maintain a sense of hierarchy.

    When Korea was on the rise in the 1980s and 1990s, there was not really much in the way of hate writing in Japan. Ironically, I think that the increasing awareness of both media spheres to what is going on in the other has dramatically increased hard feelings on both sides.

  49. Aceface Says:

    Breaking news.
    Seoul’s Nandemun gate,Korean National treasure No.1 had burned down last night.

    And ofcourse,Itai news picked up live coverage by the 2ch denizens along with war of words via auto translation between Korea and Japan in ENJOY KOREA pages.

    Korean poster accuses that “man in 50′s with a shopping bag with RISING SUN printed sighted at the scene.”
    http://bbs.enjoykorea.jp/tbbs/read.php?board_id=ttalk&page=5&nid=973058

    Perfect sample case to back up M-Bone’s thesis…..

  50. M-Bone Says:

    From AP -

    Newspapers and residents noted that it survived Japanese invasions and occupation and the 1950-53 Korean War. “But it was ruined in six hours due to our lack of care and attention,” said JoongAng Ilbo in an editorial entitled “A profound sense of loss.”

    “With our history of 5,000 years, the spirit of Koreans and part of ourselves was destroyed,” the paper said.

    >> This is what I assume Marxy meant when he said that he has a (little) bit of sympathy for Japanese rightists – if I understand correctly, it was the Japanese forces who first made efforts to cut the gate off from traffic and ensure its preservation. Enough bad $^#& went on during the Japanese occupation of Korea – no need to make it look like they went in with guns blazing and that it is a miracle that they didn’t burn everything down. Let’s not even get started on that 5000 years stuff….

  51. Aceface Says:

    I think 2ch denizens are much more cool headed about 2ch’s influence.
    Google the word ”嫌韓厨”
    http://d.hatena.ne.jp/keyword/%B7%F9%B4%DA%BF%DF

    http://love6.2ch.net/test/read.cgi/nida/1191697540/

    http://blog.livedoor.jp/dqnplus/archives/971523.html

  52. M-Bone Says:

    I’ve often wondered if all of the チXX死ね posts on 2ch are just a couple of guys who have it permanently on their right click and spread it all over.

  53. Aceface Says:

    Looks like there many thing we have in common in East Asia.”Peking Duck”is reporting Chinese netizen’s response to the affair of the Nandemun

    http://www.pekingduck.org/archives/004843.php

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