Monday, March 14, 2011

An Otaku's Apology to Japan

As more and more news rolls in about our friends in Japan, one has to be very grateful that the Japanese were well prepared. Yes, this is still a great tragedy, but imagine if Japan were a mere third world country with a poor infrastructure and absolutely no preparation on their part-- the already very high death toll would increase ten-fold, if not a hundred times. Even now,  Japan is still in danger; workers are scrambling to cool down the nuclear plants and there could still be an aftershock coming.

It's at times like these you can count on the selflessness of your fellow man, right?

While there are some pleasant surprises with this tragedy (China giving a sizable amount of aid, for one), there are some... horrifying ones.

A place I frequent to advertise for my blog (read: goof around) is the Anime/Manga/Comics section of Gaia's forums. The very same day of the incident, there were many threads asking, "Is this going to delay x's airing?!" or "My show is being delayed! Why?!" and the even more horrifying, "UGH I mean I know what happened in Japan is really bad, but do they REALLY need to delay airing anything?!"

These are not your average otaku. These are the ultra rare shiny (mostly because they haven't washed their face in years and the oil is just dripping) otaku! Note their angry demeanor -- anime, after all, is the only thing they have to look forward to in their miserable lives, so of course that's their main worry.

All childish insults aside, how dare they. Alright, I can understand the first part. It's human nature to move on after an incident if it doesn't directly affect you; plus, it's completely practical. If we were so shaken to the core after every incident we see, we wouldn't be able to continue on or be productive. We need to keep being productive members of society to help provide the aid Japan needs. We continue on with our daily lives. And perhaps, watching a simulcast of One Piece or some other show is part of their weekly routine, so I suppose they can be forgiven. Still, it's pretty insensitive. The second part? Okay. Some people just do not turn on the news or pay attention to anything global. I personally hate that, but what can you do? At least now they'll know and hopefully it'll open their eyes to something bigger than them.

What I cannot forgive, on the other hand, is the last part. Japan's main centers were hit-- it'd be like if both Washington DC and NYC were hit by a quake. To top it off, Japan is a small island with lots of people on it all compacted together; a hit like an earthquake must've rippled to everyone in the country. So even if you're lucky enough to survive, your attention turns to everyone else: your family and friends. Many Japanese don't even know if their families are dead or alive. Thousands of bodies have washed up from the tsunami alone, and god knows how many were carried away. So don't they think that maybe they'd be distracted by finding out if everyone they know and love is alive first?

Beyond that, millions of people are without power and water. A large portion of people they're broadcasting to will simply not be able to watch what they air, if they could. That makes absolutely no economic sense, and if I were a heartless CEO running a TV corporation, I would say air reruns for the remaining few who care enough to sit down in front of a TV at this point. Even then, I'm still remember what was happening after 9/11. Weeks after the attack, people still felt bad about trying to make people laugh after that incident. They felt like they were dishonoring all the fallen on that day if they tried to move on with their lives and entertain. So it's easy to understand why maybe, not even a week after, they'd want to not air something like that.

With some otaku acting this way, it is no wonder that the Japanese people absolutely despise American tourists. I've always thought of it as remnants of xenophobia. Hell, maybe a random few still hated us for WWII. But with so many blog and forum posts focusing on the delay of anime, it's no longer surprising. This is how the Japanese people feel the majority of us are. If we try to speak their language, it's us trying to fit in and blend in with their culture, not something reasonable like, I don't know, get from Point A to B. It's a strange thought considering so many Americans feel like if someone visits our country, or moves here, they should immediately abandon all cultural and "ethnic" hints of their previous home and embrace everything American, from baseball to horrifying rates of diabetes.

So for all of that, I'm sorry. If you have relatives in Japan and have to read all of the "concerns" people have, I'm sorry too. I am filled with rage that I'd even be associated with them. If you remember nothing else about this post, at least remember this part:

We are not all like those people. Many of us have genuine concerns. Many of us have donated what we can. We are not so close-minded that we only value you for your entertainment industry. We value you as people. You're not corporate slaves meant to entertain us, you're people. And our hearts go out to you.


  1. The things that Japan are dealing with are very tragic, the earthquake made 8 to 9 foot waves on the West coast of the US, i cant even begin to imagine how it terrorized the people of Japan.

  2. Oh my god, are you even serious? Do the crazed otaku really act like that?
    Speaking of insane people, have you seen all those posts from some insane americans saying stuff like "I'm not praying for the Japanese, maybe you all forgot about PEARL HARBOUR! Pay backs a bitch"

    Like what the fuck is wrong with people.

  3. I'm disgusted that people are able to think like that. Either they really don't pay attention to the news or they're just completely heartless. I, like you, feel terrible that I'm in any way associated with these people.

    It's like the plethora of people on facebook with all the "Yeah, payback for Pearl Harbor's finally been served" and "Japan deserved it, remember Pearl Harbor?".

    It makes me sick.

  4. I absolutely 100% applaud and support this post. And I have seen such loathsome behavior from Americans about this incident that I find myself clenching my fists and thanking God that I live outside the US right now.

    And what sucks is Americans are the first people to lose their cool when even slightly inconvenienced, let alone suffer a tragedy. 9/11 was 10 years ago and people just won't shut up about it still.

    This was a very thoughtful and righteous post, you definitely deserve the following you have!

  5. Nice to see China helping, I'm sure this will help sino-japanese relations

  6. I'm happy for this post. Thank you for making it clear that there ARE some people that care.

  7. Well said my friend. Reminds me of that girl who was upset with the "Asians in the library".

    Makes me sick really.

  8. Los angeles (where I live) is next. ><

  9. i just hope this ends better than expected, the media panic its driving me crazy

  10. Everyone's a bit racist inside, that's why you don't see racism banned, but the majority of the people hates child pornography, that's why it's banned. It's called tyranny of the majority, and if no one is allowed to be racist towards the Japanese now, that would be forcing a certain value upon the majority, which undermines the first amendment.

    So yeah, assholes will always exist, let the haters hate, by law they are allowed to hate and of course there are haters like us who hate those haters, anyway it's called democracy, enjoy the endless cycle of hate lol

  11. Well, the USA is a big country and as such there is room for all kind of reactions, sadly.

  12. My prayers go out to the Japanese people. I hope the nuclear disaster can be avoided (even though there's no much hope if you can believe the news).
    Interesting read, following now.

  13. Yeah, I can't even imagine the devastation if Japan were a third-world country. At least they likely would not have nuclear power if that were the case.