This article is from the American misconceptions about Japan FAQ, by Tanaka Tomoyuki firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
when I was in Japan this summer, I was shocked by the favorable
way Japanese media covers the USA. more than anything else, I
was overwhelmed by the volume of it. a person with no
knowledge of Japanese society but with a good knowledge of the
Japanese language, looking at Japanese TV and newspapers may
conclude that Japan is a part of the United States, and that
Clinton is the head of state of Japan.
I kept seeing more and more examples.
--- NHK's coverage of World Cup Soccer 1994.
the coverage and interest was huge, because it took place
in Japan's favorite country, the USA. but Japan didn't
have a contingent, so NHK did the obvious and treated the
US team as if it was representing Japan. (more coverage
than the other teams, etc.) the most striking example was
when the US team lost to Brazil. the announcer kept saying
things like, "the American team did a wonderful job, but we
all know that the Brazilian team is an excellent team with
a long history. we must give the American team a big
hand." all the while giving very little attention to the
winners, the Brazilian team.
--- NYC streetside misc help. (like Lucy's in the "Peanuts" cartoon)
in a TV show there was a story about a group of 3 white
American women in NYC, offering misc. help and advice on a
streetside. (advice on romance, jobs, what to get as a gift,
etc.) they are working on a book about their experience.
--- for the last 5,6 years, every Sunday night around midnight
TBS airs a 1-hour long show entitled "CBS document". it
usually consists of three segments from CBS programs such
as "20/20" or "60 minutes"(?). Japanese and English sound
tracks are available. understanding of and interest for
American society among the general Japanese public is so
great that this is commercially feasible.
these things really made me gasp. except for the few recent
articles on Sugihara, I have NEVER seen an US coverage of
Japan that is positive (newspaper, magazine, TV, ...),
and comparable to these above.
but again, the articles on Sugihara are not comparable at all.
in order for a Japanese to get any kind of good publicity in the
USA he must risk his life, save 8000 Jews, get imprisoned in
Russia, and die in obscurity. for an American to get good
publicity in Japan is very easy.
(any American person who goes to Japan to teach English
can easily become a local celebrity, through articles in
the local newspaper, etc.)
since Japanese people are generally so favorable toward the USA
and Americans, they little suspect the negative ways Japan is
covered in the media and the way Japanese people are treated in
(this reminds me of the Arawaks and Columbus, as well as
the white Americans and many native American tribes.
having good intentions, not doubting the goodness of
others proved deadly for the naive peoples. see Howard
Zinn's book, "A people's history of the United States")
when I tell my friends in Japan that I've been called "Jap",
"Nip", "Nipponese", "Tanaka-san" (in a derisive way), etc. by
white Americans, many of them can't believe it.
(this morning an American friend of mine used the
phrase "I know you `Tojo's!" in a conversation. he
didn't mean any harm, and I wasn't offended. still,
the fact that such a phrase is alive and well must be
unbelievable to most Japanese.)
in general, Japanese media coverage of the USA and European
countries are unfairly positive, while Japanese media coverage
of Korea and other Asian countries are unfairly negative.