Yudan Taiteki wrote:
sunzoltar wrote:Perhaps we should have a Purity Squad to decide which Japanese articles are appropriate to translate for a Western audience?
Part of the job of a journalist is to decide which articles to publish. As Doinkies said, you cannot have it both ways -- you cannot try to make yourself out to be a reliable publisher of secondary/alternative news while simultaenously running articles about mothers giving oral sex to sons that Journalism 101 professors would give you an F on. Not only is the subject ridiculous, but the articles are poorly sourced, obviously false, and highly exaggerated (i.e. you can see Doinkies example where a satirical article in Japanese about a bestiality restaurant was hyped by the English "translator" as if it were not only one restaurant, but a current trend in Japanese culture.)
This is not about censorship. It's about reliable journalism.
Mainichi and the other major Japanese newspapers offer only the most noncontroversial and banal take on the news. You would be hard pressed to find any articles which would offend anybody. However, every other major Japanese news outlet, including those owned by the newspapers, offers a wide variety. Sports papers include nude photo spreads next to game stats, weekly magazines offer reviews of sex services next to literary articles, and fluff-tabloid magazines sometimes break political scandals that the larger newspapers are afraid to tackle.
Japanese media offers an amalgam of the high, middle, and low-brow, yet the only articles which filter back to English tend to be the boring and the benign. Mainichi opened a window, albeit a small one, into the vast world of Japanese news that is not shown to the outside world. Most educated people in Japan consider the weeklies indispensible reading for staying up on current events, even if some of the articles are sensational.
"Sunday," the first Japanese weekly newsmagazine was published in 1908 and continues to this day. In the hundred years since, it has variously been accused of being too sensational, too right-wing, too left-wing, too scandal-oriented, and too sexually explicit. The one thing it has not been accused of is being uninteresting or irrelevant. With the wide variety of weeklies published in Japan today, some articles are bound to offend. However, the non-Japanese reader would be in a much better position to make sense of all this if he/she were able to view the entirety of media available, instead of just a narrow section of "acceptable" articles as dictated by a group of self-appointed censors.
I applaud Mainichi for trying to open the world of Japanese weeklies to the Western reader. If anything, I wish they would have gone further.