It’s the start of a new year and what many of us hope will be a better year. My political leanings not withstanding (Trump already tweeted out two long rambling terrible tweets today) I want to talk about something that has been making the rounds of the internet.
I follow a number of people on YouTube. Many of them make videos about Japan, anime and Japanese culture. I’ve been getting a lot of notifications lately about something named Logan. I knew it wasn’t good but I was like what does the movie Logan have to do with Japan and why is it suddenly offensive?
I watched two videos today, one from a guy named Gajin Goomba (who I don’t follow) and one from a guy named Joey aka The Anime Man (who I do follow.) They were both reacting to the whole Logan thing. Turns out Logan refers to Logan Paul. He’s a young white American kid who makes videos about Japan.
Unlike the people I follow a lot of his videos are about making fun of the Japanese people and their culture. From what I’ve seen today they seem plain offensive, I’ll post some below so you can judge for yourself. Sure The Anime Man and Akidearest poke fun at these things too, but they also educate me about what Japan is actually like.
This brings me to the point of this post. How would you react if someone posted a video of a dead body? How would you feel if they used the dead body in the thumbnail of their YouTube video? Would you be upset or angry if you learned this dead body was the result of suicide? The gist of what Logan Paul did is this. He went to a forest in Japan that’s often called the suicide forest. He filmed a video with him and his friends. While in the suicide forest they found a dead body and they filmed it. They joked about it, and tried (and from what I’ve seen in the reaction videos) and failed to be serious about the subject of suicide and death. They filmed the body (though they blurred out the face) and used this in the thumbnail along with some stupid catchy phrase in order to get more people to watch their video (aka click bait.)
The Japanese people are very shy and wary about being photographed. Gajin Goomba who I mentioned earlier, went into great detail about how hard it was to get people in Japan to even talk to him, let alone ask for a photograph with them or to sign something. They also have great respect for the dead and the customs around burial and funerals. For someone like Logan Paul to film a dead body and use that as click bait is disrespectful to the Japanese people and Japan in general.
Even if this wasn’t in Japan, say it was someone who went to Mt. Everest and posed for a selfie with one of the frozen bodies, and then put it on YouTube, it would still be lacking common sense. It would have people protesting, CNN, Fox and MSNBC would be talking about it all day long. They would have panels of people arguing about what should be done with this little idiot who doesn’t know how to be sensitive to families of people who lost someone on Mt. Everest. But it didn’t happen in America, it happened in Japan, so we won’t hear about it. Instead we get an hour about Orrin Hatch retiring and will Mitt Romney replace him, or maybe Trump will campaign for whoever will replace Hatch.
Until I watched the reactions from other people, I’d never heard of Logan and now I wish I hadn’t. All of this happened over New Year’s weekend. YouTube did take the video down but only after it got 6 million views. Wrap your brain around that number for a minute. The video was only up for about a day but it was a day too long in my opinion. It’s time for YouTube to step up and do their job. I don’t care if you don’t have enough people to comb through your videos for violations or if you need time to figure out how to program your robots to do that for you. Make time, please. I shouldn’t have to wake up to hear how someone made a video of a dead body and thought it would be okay to blur out their face and use it to get more views on their YouTube channel.
I know I sound like a broken record and that I’m ranting. But this video is not okay. I can guarantee this whole controversy was all over NHK today. That’s Japan’s main news channel. Thanks to Logan anyone who is white and wants to have some sort of cultural exchange with anyone in Japan will have a much harder time. The sad thing is I want to visit Japan someday, preferably with my white boyfriend in tow. I’m glad we weren’t trying to go this year because it would have been awkward, weird and not enjoyable. Not that it won’t be awkward because there’s always an adjustment when you’re dealing with a language barrier and a culture that’s vastly different from your own. But at least I could have counted on people to be nice and possibly helpful. I’m hoping that people won’t see David (my boyfriend) and think, oh hey, he looks just like that idiot who disrespected us and our culture, we shouldn’t help him, because he doesn’t deserve our kindness or our trust.
There was an article on Kotaku (a site that posts about games and Japanese culture) talking about how Logan apologized after his video caused so much controversy. I read the transcript and it was pretty standard. At the end he somehow found time to promote his new Pokemon Go stuff. Which was stupid because that negates your whole apology dumbass. He then posted another apology video which I didn’t bother to look at. You know you’ve failed when even your apology doesn’t work.
All I can say is that if this is how 2018 is going to start, we’re off to a great year. *insert sarcasm here.* On a serious note I will say that I’m encouraged by everyone condemning this idiot and what he did. The people who I follow on YouTube have been angered and hurt by what Logan did and how he handled it. At the same time they have been quick to say we are not like this guy. We are so much better than him. We want to understand Japan and it’s people and portray them in a positive manner. We didn’t want the year to start off this way but we have to react to this so something good can come out it.
*Here are all the videos that I talked about in this post*
This one is from The Anime Man
This is the response from Gajin Goomba I mentioned
Weirdly I couldn’t find the other offensive video that I wanted to post that Logan Paul was in. He’s dressed in a kimono and a straw hat being an idiot. Probably for the best I couldn’t find it, I’ve given this guy enough negative attention as it is.