Closure of WaiWai
I understand the news service's response to criticism that challenged the news service's integrity.
Nevertheless, I would like to commend the journalistic spirit of reporting the sordid Japanese weeklies. This act was pure translation of a culture that exists in Japan. While perhaps basing selection of stories based on the level of sordiness and shock value, it opened a window to a culture that non-readers of such weeklies would not encounter. This is the true spirit of translation: being able to communicate a side of life that the other culture cannot see.
The unfortunate consequence of this was that the newspaper, through mirroring the language used by the weeklies, was seen as a voice of such language and condemmed for its vulgarity.
02:22 June 28, 2008
Discontinuation of WaiWai
After reading your explanation for the discontinuation of WaiWai I was reminded of what I was told the first year I resided in Japan, a residence that coontinued for 14 years. What was that? That Japan does not want "outsiders" (gaijin) to know the full story about Japan and are overly sensitive about the realities of Japanese society. As a reader of English Mainichi on the web I felt that I ws receiving the kind of coverage I would have read when I lived there and read the vernacular press and tabloids. While I understand the decision it also shows how mistakenly sensitive to outsiders opinions many Japanese seem to be. This does a lot to confirm stereotypes about Japan - hide the realities so outsiders will always be outside. I'm sorry that you felt the discontinuation ws necessary. I thought that the press was more mature. RL
R Lunak, Minnesota, USA
09:12 June 25, 2008
WaiWai Notice and Apology
I am the editor of an English publication focusing on Japanese food and culture based in Singapore and I am writing to express my disappointment for the discontinuation of the Waiwai column.
As much as I respect the corporate directive to cease Waiwai column in Mainichi, I want your editorial team to know that these articles have given the outside world an intimate look into Japanese culture and lifestyle. Seldom has the outside world had any access into these areas and I think these writings helped foster a better and deeper understanding of the Japanese lifestyle and culture.
I'd like to believe there are more readers like myself who read with an open mind. Needless to say, tn this digital age, we have unprecedented access to information and I think vast majority of readers appreciates what you have done to bring us a better understanding of Japanese lifestyle and culture.
Reading and learning about a foreign culture enriches all our life and what other way can we achieve that without good writers who can write and inform the rest of us things that are happening within each of our little world.
Writing and reading alike can be a extremely fulfiling and enriching experience and I like to commend the writers of these articles I have seen and read on Waiwai and I know together with many of my colleagues and friends, we have been intellectually challenged, motivated and moved by what we have read in Waiwai.
I regret your management's decision and I'd like to take the opportunity to once again applaud the good editorial work you have done thus far.
23:01 June 24, 2008
WAI WAI requiem
I do not understand why some critics (maybe from the government and from the most conservative sectors of Japanese society) have the right and the power to force you to close one of the most interesting columns about life (aspects of Japanese life), aspects that are better to understand from a magazine than to try to guess and sometimes misunderstand them due to a not complete knowledge of Japan.
I don't think Wai Wai was vulgar. I don't think Wai Wai was innapropiate. I think that not to publish Wai Wai is a complete pervertion against the freedom of speech and right to get the information we want. It gives the opposite sensation.. that the Japanese culture is so sordid that is better to keep its secrets only for kanji readers.. not for foreigners that can not read Japanese... (racism or exclusion?)
21:39 June 24, 2008
WaiWai Notice and Apology
As a regular reader of Mainichi Daily News, I find it disappointing to find out the the WaiWai corner has been taken down due to the concern that readers might be "misinformed" about Japan. I read all sections of MDN, from the news to the..yes, the at-times low-brow articles on WaiWai. And though I don't always enjoy or agree with the articles in the section, I've always felt that it gives readers a glimpse at another aspect of Japan, an aspect behind the facade of normalcy and straight-laced professionalism that the Japanese are so careful to project.
I suppose all societies prefer to whitewash their "deficiencies" and not air their dirty laundry in the open. But I find it ironic that detractors of the WaiWai section object to it because of its accessibility to the very large English-speaking community outside Japan, yet do not object to the fact that what was compiled in WaiWai is readily avaiable in Japanese tabloids... in Japanese of course.
Misunderstanding? I think most readers of MDN and of WaiWai are more than well aware that the risque happenings reported in WaiWai do not necessarily represent the norms of Japanese society. It's much easier to misunderstand the intentions of the so-called concerned citizens - are they really concerned about readers being misinformed, or are they simply embarrassed about one aspect of their own society?
18:27 June 24, 2008
I would sorely miss the WaiWai columns. While low-brow content, it did give insight into the Weekly magazines from Japan. Some may say it was inappropriate, but I felt it reflected the culture of Japan. For good or bad. WaWai will be sorely missed
17:44 June 24, 2008
waiwai is gone ...
It's a shame the WaiWai is gone. I always looked at it as a journal of whats going on that isn't headlines. Sometimes edgy, it gave the paper depth that otherwise didn't exist. Plus a broader view of Japan, good or bad, on a more personal level than just headlines could. It showed the differenc es in culture and I learned quite a lot so I could understand the differences and the viewpoints that go with them. It may have been vulgar to some but it showed your paper and your country to be more human with many of the same issues as the rest of us. It also helped us by covering subjects that aren't covered locally, that's those culture and viewpoint differences again. If knowledge leads to understanding than WaiWai did a pretty good job of helping the rest of us see a more personal view of Japan and better understand the views of it's(her) people.
15:40 June 24, 2008