Mainichi Shimbun vs Japanese women

On June 21, the Mainichi Daily News decided to cease publishing the infamous WaiWai articles, responding to the criticism from Japanese people. Many of the articles in the WaiWai column had been taken from fictional stories from tabloids and skin mags published in Japan. Complaint from Japanese people was that, whereas many of the original Japanese articles were fictional stories, the MDN did not mention in their WaiWai articles the nature of the original articles. Since foreign readers do not know the nature of the magazines, they might think that the stories in the WaiWai articles were based on fact.

Foreigners who have enough knowledge on Japan also seemed concerned about the circulation of wrong knowledge derived from WaiWai articles. For example, Yudan Taiteki wrote in a thread on The Japanese Page,

by Yudan Taiteki on Tue 05.01.2007 5:12 pm
The one that I'm tired of seeing over and over again is this idea that it's normal for Japanese moms to give their sons oral sex during exam study time to decrease their stress. This concept is so absurd that you would think nobody could possibly take it seriously, and yet it seems like every few months I see someone bring it up as an example of how "messed up" Japanese people are. It apparently originated from a Waiwai article that was taken at face value despite a complete lack of sourcing (and plausibility), but because it fit in with this idea of Japan being a bizarre place, it was accepted without question.

Responding to this comment, doinkies and two_heads_talking wrote,

by doinkies on Wed 05.02.2007 1:30 am
I find it preposterous that there are actually doinks out there who think everything in WaiWai is real... :@ But since Mainichi never says that the WaiWai articles really come from tabloids, I suppose people think they are real news articles. -_-

Another thing WaiWai often does is post articles about some odd, weird or gross item or business and say that said item or business is "wildly popular" in Japan, but never actually give the numerical data to prove this claim. I suppose it's because if they did, then people would instantly see that their stories are nothing but exaggerations.


by two_heads_talking on Wed 05.02.2007 9:40 am
I had never heard that as Japanese, but I had heard it from nearly every other asian country.. mainly china, thailand and vietnam. I never much believed it, but figured it was one of the "urban legends" that just gets a face life depending on which race is used to fuel it..

One doink who thought that what was written in the WaiWai article was true was an Australian writer, Ben Hills. In his book, “Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysthanthemum Throne”, he mentioned the oral sex thing as a fact that was reported in the Mainichi Shimbun. Also there are tons of articles in Wikipedia that cite WaiWai articles.

The MDN issued an apology to readers for publishing "vulgar" articles, but it did not clarify the nature of the magazines that they used when they wrote the WaiWai articles, even though the latter was what had been requested by people.

Also made Japanese people upset was that, although the Mainichi announced punitive measures for people who had been responsible for the publication of the WaiWai articles, the Digital Media Division President was promoted the head of the Mainichi Shimbun Corporation on June 25, despite the fact that he had been the most responsible person for the WaiWai issue.

The most angry people against the Mainichi are Japanese women . They are trying to spread the information on how Mainichi had been making fun of Japanese women on the Mainichi's English-language Website. Also, they are making phone calls to the sponsors of the Mainichi, requesting to cease to provide on-line ad on the Mainichi's Website. Their effort seems to be successful right now. In the ad spaces on the Mainichi's site, I can find only internal links to Mainichi's own pages since last night. Also, even Japanese tabloids that WaiWai had been referring have started to make fun of Mainichi.

The Mainichi Shimbun is known among Japanese netizens to be the most active newspaper company in promoting the legislation of Internet censorship. Result of this "battle" may affect the fate of the Internet culture in Japan.

Update: It seems some doinks are actually doing that. Even this may become wildly popular among them in the near future.


Anonymous said...

Its amazing that people would honestly believe such grotesque stories. The mother-son one was absolutely disgusting.

The sad thing is that people outside of Japan have very little knowledge about the country and love to hear about how "crazy" and "wacky" Japan is. In general, people will believe almost anything you tell them nowadays.

Its sad, but I have come to expect it. Its good that Mainichi is getting rid of this column though. Leave the trash in the tabloids.