Tag Archives: Marxy

ABC's Efforts to 'Laugh With' an Imaginary Version of Japan

The things I miss living outside the United States. New last week from ABC, I Survived a Japanese Game Show, has gone to work reinforcing the “odd Japanese” trope with laughter directed at the unsuspecting nation. David Marx writes at Néojaponisme:

ABC producers went all the way to Japan to make their own TV program, vaguely based on silly segments from Japanese variety shows. And after completely rewiring the original program formula to fit their own needs, the producers had the gall to blame the final product on the Japanese. “I survived a Japanese game show“? This is like placing the onus of Guantanamo Bay on the Cubans. American rented the space, borrowed the know-how, and made it all happen, but in the end, the Americans maintain: hey, we were just “following orders” to this crazy Japanese aesthetic.

The national propaganda effort fortunately backs up their premise. According to the New York Times, “The Japanese originals [on which the show is based] are known as batsu games, or punishment and humiliation games.” There is either fundamental confusion or willful truth-bending here: Japanese “game shows” tend to punish talento (celebrities or aspiring celebrities), and for the most part, extremely-unfunny comedians. While game shows in the past have sadistically meted out punishment to normal contestants, this has become relatively rare in recent days. Yes, even the Japanese race thinks it’s kind of sad and depressing to see everyday people humiliated on television.

I share Marxy’s distaste. He’s issued a well-argued rant. Read it.

Abe, the Politics of Being Korean, and the NYT

From a conversation I had last week with David Marx and some snooping around on Japan’s popular 2ch message board comes Marxy’s essay on “Abe and the Politics of Being Korean.” The particular 2ch thread, which is now unavailable, got on Marxy’s back for being a vicious foreigner and also included unfriendly comments about New York Times reporter Norimitsu Onishi, whom the 2ch-ites say is a Korean Japanese. Part of Marxy’s take:

Much more moral clarity over on the thread, however, as posters want to know about this Japan-bashing writer Onishi. Apparently he is Korean-Japanese with Canadian citizenship. Comment 572 states 「大西は日本在住の、日本→カナダ国籍取った朝鮮人だよな。マジで殺されろ。」using a questionably-racist term for Koreans (朝鮮人) and then adding a cherry on top: “Seriously, he should be killed.” The logic is clear: of course, he is bashing Japan, because he is #1 – not actually Japanese – and #2 – the Korean-Japanese live their whole life to bash Japan. Racial purity determines political outlook.