Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Racists protest things at Fuji TV

If you don't do well with bluntness, excessive and necessary cursing, or the fact that the oxymoron I just presented must make complete sense OR ELSE, keep surfing for the good faps. There will be no good faps here. Sry luvurz.

From Yonhap News Agency:

"Japanese demonstrators held a rally in downtown Tokyo to demand less broadcast time for Korean dramas and music videos by a local television station.

According to Japanese Internet news outlets such as J-CAST, roughly 6,000 people gathered outside Fuji Television Network to protest what they believed was too much time allotted to 'Korean Wave' content on TV.

'We [do] not want to watch Korean TV dramas,' protesters chanted, adding that Fuji TV should not force people to watch programs they did not want to see.

They added that the Japanese people desired more homegrown programs on TV."
This large protest was preceded by a smaller gathering of about 500-2,500 people (most sources are quoting VASTLY different numbers) on August 7, the nature of which was, to put it mildly, less than moderate:

"The protest had a noticeable [right-wing] flavor. Some demonstrators unfurled the old Imperial Japanese flag and marched around the TV station singing the national anthem. Others shouted "Long live the emperor!" The protesters accused Fuji TV of airing too many Korean TV dramas and demanded the government to cancel the company's broadcast license." [source]
On the 21st, the vibe hadn't changed one iota:

"Waving Japanese flags, the protesters chanted slogans demanding the broadcaster to stop airing Korean programs and carried signs saying 'No More Korean Wave' or 'No More K-pop' and 'Stop Biased Programming.' The protest lasted around four hours." [source]
So yeah, you get the idea. Tons of racist assholes like Takaoka Sosuke wasting a perfectly lovely day spreading hate all over the damn place WAIT I TOTALLY JUST SAID WHAT NOW?!?!?!

Now where have we seen this before...?

Holy shit, I'm seeing double!

On the left is an image from the protest held outside Fuji TV on August 21st. On the right is an image from a Tea Party rally held on tax day 2010 in White Plains, NY, in the good ol' US of fuckin' A.

How many differences, aside from the language on the signs, the sunglasses, and the physical shape of the participants can you spot? If your answer is zero, you'd be 100% correct. If your answer was "well, but, like, the teaparty is protesting, like, health care and taxes and illegal mexican muslins and stuff," (sic) you're missing the fucking point.

This anti-Korean (read: anti-multicultural) movement is nothing new in Japan, or in the US, or anywhere else in the world, but it is something that needs to be watched and called nothing but what it is: racism.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I totally di'id.

Now, racism is a term that has sparked many wars of words, so I will now answer a series of frequently asked questions/flames that come up when the term is used--snark not omitted and Godwin's Law not broken.

Racism is such a strong word. Why use it?

Because people are lashing out at a different culture not just because it is becoming more visible in their country, but because they fear it is encroaching on their own. The fear is that it will erase everything that is uniquely Japanese about music and theater (TV and movies, too), the Japanese "race" will die out and the eschaton will come blazing down and puppies will be gay and your dad will marry your sister, etc etc ad nauseum.

Where else do we see these kinds of racist arguments?

  • Glenn Beck (remember that shiny, pasty dunderhead who was too crazy even for FOX?) making things up about a certain president in saying he has a "hatred of white culture." (USA)
  • Mr. Beck (oh yeah, did I mention he's basically the father of the Teabaggers?) subsequently refusing to define what he meant by "white culture" when confronted by his egregious lack of brain. (USA)
  • Anders Behring Breivik, mass murderer and rabid white separatist/nationalist, in his manifesto (and action, and speech, and lifestyle) talks about how his pastiness and that of his peers is dying out or some shit. Sound familiar? (Norway)
  • Every "elected" Iranian leader since the revolution in 1979 (the current being the oh-so-lovely Mahmoud Ahmedinijad) fearing the collapse of their culture due to Western influence. (Iran/Persia)
These are just a few notable examples from around the world which illustrate that though some of the material is different, it is the same stupid, irrational fear driving the protests against Fuji TV. And it all comes back to racism, no matter how intellectual they make it look.

But Takaoka Sosuke? Why him? He just stated his opinion.

Takaoka is the one many protesters credit for inspiring the protests. I highly doubt he didn't want this to happen. While he may not have out and said "Take to the streets, ye dogs!", his super-inspirational rantings (here) speak for themselves.

Contrary to popular rhetoric, opinions do not have to be respected simply because they are opinions. This one needs to be torn down just as much as every other harmful opinion over the ages. Opinions don't kill people, but people who are able to go unpunished for harboring them do. I personally hope Takaoka has a long, hard think while he's flying under the radar.

Plus, he's a Mishima Yukio fan.

Whookio Whatima?

While Mishima Yukio is mostly known for the dramatic way he ended his life, his writing had a cult following when he was still kicking. Mishima was a very conservative patriot writing in the Post-WWII reconstruction era of the 1940s-1960s. His famous short story, "Patriotism" (1966), chronicles the story of a young lieutenant who, after a long mental and emotional wrestling match with a) the knowledge that some of his close colleagues were planning to overthrow the Empire, and b) the fact that he had almost considered joining them, commits seppuku. His wife, Reiko, joins him. That's literally the whole story.

One of Mishima's more famous novels, Temple of the Golden Pavillion (1956), chronicles the life story of a right and proper twisted little boy living in a village near Kyoto who goes on to become a monk at the nearby Buddhist Temple of the Golden Pavillion. The boy commits a number of despicable acts throughout his lifetime, including smiling upon a girl's death (she was killed by her boyfriend who deserted the military), stomping on a pregnant woman's stomach, lauding the start of the Korean War as some kind of divine providence, and, ultimately, through a series of convoluted events involving prostitutes, money and mini-espionage, (HOLY CRAP SPOILER ALERT) burns down the temple.

All of Mishima's post-war writings spoke of similar themes: preservation of culture, values and Japanese-ness through bushido (which, in itself, isn't that bad, but when you look at the ways it is interpreted (including its degradation of women), is fucking scary). He's like the Japanese Ayn Rand, except with more respect for governors and a slightly less retarded following.

I've read both the aforementioned titles, and I must say, it's hard to respect his fans.

Well, okay, so he's not a nice guy. But the rest of them couldn't possibly be like that! I mean, I have friends...

As we have seen demonstrated in this country on a number of occasions: just because you say you have Black (Korean) friends and you let them use your bathroom doesn't mean that you do, and it doesn't mean you're not racist.

But can't you like Koreans and not like Kpop or hallyu?

Absolutely! Just like it's possible to have many close Black or Caucasian or Mexican friends and not like BET, Jersey Shore, or mariachi music. However, judging by the public outcry and the childish display of irrational fear, these douchecanoes clearly do not even want to tolerate the Korean people.

Waiiit a minute, why can't you just say "white?" It's easier!

It fucking bothers me, that's why.

Why yes, yes I am. Thanks for asking!

The protests against Fuji TV break my heart, honestly. Fuji TV is home to many, many beloved programs like "Waratte Iitomo!," "Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ," "Music Fair," and "Ikemen desu ne" (which, while it started out strong in the ratings, is likely to continue decline thanks to the angry mob). Korean programming makes a very small percentage of Fuji TV's overall lineup over its 4+ channels. This is not cause for protests unless you're overcome by fear and have turned your brain off.

Of course, there are a number of solutions for the non-problem of people pissed off about the "Korean wave." Naturally the first is to change the channel or the radio station if you don't like the music. Pretty simple, you'd think. But I think the best solution is for the many, many fans of Kpop and Korean dramas in Japan to keep on listening. There are few things that work better against hatred than not choosing to be a part of the hype.

The mistake that all of the media sources writing about the protest made is the most common mistake made by modern media in this "age of outrage": failing to mention the positive.

There is a common saying in journalism: If it bleeds, it leads. We have become accustomed to sensationalism, and the negative framing of the news forces our minds to shut out any other possibilities. This is also the fault of our news being presented to us in shorter and shorter bites--the scrolling across the bottom of cable news channels, the shortening of news videos and articles (your average honest-to-jeebus news piece on TV is half as long as it was 15-20 years ago), and Twitter are all contributing to our collective TL;DR syndrome, making us short-sighted and pessimistic.

The reality is that these racists are vastly outnumbered by people who like/don't mind Korean music and TV. And this reality will overpower the protests if people choose it to be so.


tommyvd said...

Wonderful post.Completely agree

What scares me is that when this news hit on Tokyohive and other sites, I saw lots of people in the comments actually agreeing with these people.

It's racism no matter how they want to justify it.

Mara said...

Thanks!! :)

Yeah, I was actually surprised at how many bad Tokyohive there were when the news broke (with the exception of one notable commenting yutz). It's usually so much more civil.

Le sigh.

Anonymous said...

Anti Korean wave in Japan...?

Anonymous said...

before that, I think you should know it prohibited J-pop etc in Korean tv.
recently they permitted japanese things only in BS and CS programs tv

Mara said...

I'm sure they did. That's not the point.

Anonymous said...

The Fuji TV protests are not racist. Korean media is trying to spin it that way.

Mara said...

Most of the sources in this post I used were from Korean sources, but I did far more research than that.

It isn't just a spin. It is very real, no matter how hot or mild it may be. Tomato tomato.

Mara said...

Keep in mind, i did emphasize that the majority of the population doesn't feel this way. The loud ones make them look bad, just like the Tea Party for Americans.

Anonymous said...

I was there 8/21 and talked to many participants. It was not racist at all. If you don't read Japanese language blogs it's impossible to understand what's really going on.

Mara said...

I know, and that's one thing I really wish I could do.

Anonymous said...

"Korean media is trying to spin it that way."

Sure, first the showing of Korean programs on Japanese TV, then the reaction against the showing of Korean programs on Japanese TV, and now the reaction to the reaction... everything's the dang Koreans' fault. If only the evil Koreans were suddenly to disappear, Japan would be so much better off and the world would be a crime-free paradise filled only with kawaii things, LOL