Media Mix, Feb. 5, 2017

Yukihiro Hasegawa

Yukihiro Hasegawa

Here’s this week’s Media Mix, which is about that infamous Tokyo MXTV program, “News Joshi,” and its Jan. 2 segment slamming the anti-helipad protests in Okinawa. At the end of the piece I mentioned Yukihiro Hasegawa, the emcee of the show who is also a deputy editorial writer at the liberal-leaning Tokyo Shimbun, even though Hasegawa’s own sentiments tend to scan rightward. At the time I wrote the column, several media commentators had complained of Hasegawa’s complicity in the program’s pushing of false information, including two people writing in Tokyo Shimbun itself. (Jiro Yamaguchi’s column didn’t mention Hasegawa by name, but it was obvious who he was talking about.) On Friday, the newspaper itself ran an editorial despairing of Hasegawa’s participation in the broadcast, but as of this morning Hasegawa himself has still not responded to any of the complaints.

It’s hard to understand why a journalist as experienced as Hasegawa would lend his name to something as obviously flawed as “News Joshi,” regardless of his political and ideological preferences, but an article in the online journal Litera–which, by the way, was the first media to go in depth on the “News Joshi” segment–helps shed some light on Hasegawa’s career choices. Apparently, his background is in financial writing, and ten years ago or so he became quite tight with bureaucrats in the Ministry of Finance. His main position has always been pro-consumption tax. He wrote a famous article advocating it be set at 25 percent, which made him even more popular in the MoF, which, in turn, made him popular among LDP stalwarts in general. His gig at Tokyo Shimbun, which wasn’t always the beacon of leftist rigor it is now, was always that–a gig, meaning he went in to do his work, mainly putting into written form the opinions of others, and he did it well enough that he was able to keep it as a job. And in Japanese media, as in most Japanese corporate situations, title and position are everything, and Hasegawa has been able to spin that title into other lucrative endeavors, including “News Joshi,” which gives him an opportunity to show off his face and his biting wit on the air. In Litera’s view, “News Joshi” is not a betrayal of his professional principles because he doesn’t really have any. He wants to be famous and will achieve notoriety by any means necessary.

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5 Responses to Media Mix, Feb. 5, 2017

  1. Takayuki Nishi says:

    Mr. Brasor, the article’s misattribution of Kazuhiko Inouye’s deplorable words and deeds to the reputable military analyst Kazuhisa Ogawa requires an immediate correction. Apart from it being the right thing to do, Mr. Ogawa is an important source of news for the Japan Times.

    • philipbrasor says:

      Thank you very much for the correction. It has been corrected on the website and I will print a correction in the column next week.

      • John Cassidy says:

        Unfortunate mistake. How did it happen?

      • philipbrasor says:

        In a search for the full name of the person on the TV show several other names of “military journalists” (軍事ジャーナリスト) came out and somehow Ogawa’s ended up in the piece and was never corrected in the proof. Early onset senility I suppose.

  2. John Cassidy says:

    They say “to err is human…” and that “we learn from our mistakes.” No doubt there’s a good lesson here for anybody who is human (but I suppose senility could make it easy to forget).

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