Satchi, the media, and the Tokyo film festival

Peter Durfee durfee
Thu Jul 22 01:15:05 EDT 1999

At 00:15 -0400 99.7.22, GavinRees at wrote:
>I hope I am not the only person out there who holds these views. I am not
>trying to burden other list members with a solipsistic rant.

No, I don't think these are your views alone, and even if this was a rant,
at least it was a fun one to read : ). I did want to comment on the
following, though:

>Anybody who needs accurate information about developments in foreign countries
>?or indeed Japan itself, must be reading the Tokyo edition of the FT. And if
>anybody who doesnot read Japanese wants to know more about pop culture, well
>tough! (However, most of the gaijin here which the newspapers seem to be
>aimed at, are financial types who probably have no interest in contemporay
>Japan anyway!)

First of all, I think that anyone relying on overseas papers for news on
Japan will have their information limited to sparse, spotty stories; often
sensationalistic (not to the extent that Zipangu would have us believe, but
certainly less than balanced) and all too often reported by people who
cannot read or speak the language. I get the sense that Japan is a plum
assignment on the foreign correspondents' circuit, and the people who get
posted here are quite accomplished as reporters, but this has little to do
with their familiarity with Japan's language or culture. Nicholas Kristof at
the New York Times is one example.

I do think many of your comments on the nature of newspapers in this country
were spot-on, but I would recommend against giving up on them as a source of
information. Whether or not they adhere to the same journalistic standards
as the top papers in the West, they are realistically the only game in town
if you need to keep up with a broad range of domestic issues--as well as the
Japanese take on foreign affairs. An inability to read Japanese will cause a
Japan observer to miss out on much more than just pop culture.

I am unsure about the "gaijin whom the papers are aimed at" statement--does
this refer to international papers like the FT and IHT, or the domestic
English rags? I have heard (rumor alert) that the Japan Times has more
Japanese subscribers than non-Japanese. And I know plenty of people--myself
included--who read the English dailies for information to be put to use in
communications or education, not the financial sector. (I also know that any
worker in the financial field with "no interest in contemporary Japan" will
very quickly be out of the know, and thus out of a job.)

Peter Durfee

P.S. All I know about Satchii is that some angry, noisy men in gray buses
are unhappy with NTV's treatment of her story . . . My ears are still
ringing from my walk this afternoon in Kojimachi.

More information about the KineJapan mailing list