It takes a foreign journalist in Tokyo to report the salacious news because Japanese journalists aren’t up to the task

It is appalling that it has to be a foreign journalist in Tokyo to do the investigations needed to expose the nasty under belly of Japan’s darker side including brutal murders, suicides, gangsters, host and hostess clubs (brothels), sex trade, human trafficking, teenage girl adult entertainment, police corruption and much more salacious news.  Is crime increasing in Japan or has it actually reduced in recent years? That is hard information to come by depending on the sources that are used. Car theft in Japan is way up with thousands of automobiles stolen every year. The sales of security devices used in homes and in cars is also way up in Japan as evidenced by sales through Tokyu Hands store. What is also becoming more prevalent is crime being perpetrated by the elderly in Japan as compared to the youth.

It is apparent Japanese investigative journalists (are there any or do they just dig out dirt on well known Japanese to profit off?) don’t have the guts or the temerity to report the increasing amount of crime taking place on the dark streets of Tokyo. Probably because they don’t want to tarnish Japan’s protective corporate image of being the “safest country in the world”. Although that may be true in some respects, the fact is these crimes are not being reported in the media outside of a casual mention of them in the news which more often them not very few pay any attention to. Currently, Japan’s prison capacity is at about 70 percent and is apparently slowly increasing where prisons are being converted into nursing homes.
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Source: Washington Post

Californian engineer Brett Bull Californian engineer Brett Bull in the Tokyo district of Kabukicho. After moving to Tokyo 17 years ago, Bull soon realized that big parts of ordinary Japanese life were not being covered in English. (Anna Fifield/The Washington Post)

By Anna Fifield

April 23, 2016

TOKYO — Gangsters, the sex trade, gruesome murders, adult videos, body discoveries, suicides, police up to no good. These are the core things Brett Bull looks for after hours.

Not to participate, of course, but to write them up.

The 47-year-old Californian is an engineer in Tokyo by day, Tokyo Reporter by night. Bull has created a site that, as its tagline says, delivers “salacious news on crime and culture.” Think of a hybrid of the National Enquirer, the New York Post and Penthouse. Online. In Japan.

There is the recent story about the Buddhist monk charged with murdering a nail artist. And the one about the playboy antics of a limbless author who was being considered as a political candidate by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party. Not to mention the piece about the husband who used garden shears to cut off the penis of a man he suspected was fooling around with his wife (and then flushed it down the toilet).

“Japan is supposed to be a safe country. But based on what I read, I really don’t know that’s true,” said Bull, sitting in a bar in Kabukicho, the heart of seedy Tokyo, not far from his office.

Bull arrived in Tokyo 17 years ago, speaking no Japanese, on a short visit. But then he saw a job ad from a construction company and, well, the rest is history. He began taking some Japanese lessons and he started going out after work with his colleagues from the engineering firm to “hostess bars.”

Hostess bars — and their newer, much rarer cousin, the host bar — are a unique part of Japanese nightlife. Often viewed in the West as tantamount to brothels, for the most part they are just bars where men pay to chat with and be served high-priced drinks by young, attractive women.

“Back in the day, my office was taking me to these hostess clubs,” Bull said. “The everyday experience was not being touched upon in the regular media. Going to hostess clubs was a very average thing to be doing and was not seen as over-the-top or nasty or dirty.”

So he started turning his conversations with hostesses into interviews and contributing them to a friend’s website, along with other pieces on film and culture.

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6 thoughts on “It takes a foreign journalist in Tokyo to report the salacious news because Japanese journalists aren’t up to the task

  1. With no disrespect to Brent Bull and any other foreign journalists who are reporting on the underbelly, I disagree with your statement that no Japanese are covering the same stuff. It might not be getting written up in English, but it is being thoroughly covered in a plethora of broadsheets and weekly magazines. In fact, I can’t think of one story that was actually broken by a foreigner. Can you?

    • Won’t be “news” until it goes mainstream on nightly television programs. Until then the Japanese journalists, investigative or not, can do all the writing they want for broadsheets. It’s not about breaking stories, who cares about that, it’s getting the news and in right balance out to the general public to force responsible journalism in Japan to hang out this dirty laundry. They continue to ignore this news as if it didn’t exist.

  2. Most of this sleazy stuff gets plenty of airtime during the day on TV and in the tabloids. Bored houswives eat it up. It is not on at night or on the front page of the major rags because the Japanese public is just not interested in it. The guy who got his dick cut off recently – that got some play at night on the variety shows. But the normal murders, rapes etc. are not being covered up, it is just that nobody really finds it interesting. Your thrust that the foreigners are somehow shining a light on something that the Japanese media is trying to hide is, as usual, you seeing a conspiracy where there is none. And that’s the Truth Ruth.

    • You know as well as do that unless Japanese themselves don’t report this news in the media in English it will stay basically “unknown” in Japan. Either they do it themselves or have their investigations translated for foreign media both abroad and in Japan. Explains why the Japanese public aren’t interested in it: let someone else take care of the news.

      Who mentioned anything about being covered up? It’s reported and then swept away as empty corporate media news. Your infatuation with conspiracy accusations is rather stupid and inappropriate. If it takes a foreign reporter to report this news and keep it in the attention of the public then good. It reinforces the immediacy.

  3. The sleazy and the ugly is reported in Japanese language by many, many outlets. Why does it need to be in English to be ‘known”? Local news in any country almost always never makes the English language press. How is this a problem for you?

    And yes you did suggested a cover up, I quote:

    Probably because they don’t want to tarnish Japan’s protective corporate image of being the “safest country in the world”.

    Sometimes I mistakenly suspect you have a valid point. I read and reread your tortured syntax trying to understand what you are trying to say. But then I realize that your writing is an accurate representation of your very approximate thinking. Your point, if there is one, is always confused and off target.

    • You’re a peculiar kind of Japanophile eccentric aren’t you? If you have a hangup on my writing and interpretations then get fucking lost will you? Either that or get a blog you can bitch and moan on of your own.

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