The Japanese news media operates in much the same way as in other countries, reporting news events to consumers on television and in printed form. Unlike other countries, Japanese still get most of their news from the newspapers — my father-in-law somehow manages to read four different ones a day while waiting for customers in his rural liquor shop — and the top five newspapers in the world by circulation are all here. While the mainstream Japanese media does a good job of reporting the news, there are some problems, such as their willingness to self-censor on delicate issues, like the time Google inadvertently published historical maps which showed the regions where Japan’s old “untouchable” classes lived (a big taboo), which was widely discussed online yet ignored by the media. One aspect of news programs on television I like a lot are shows in which hard-hitting issues are publicly debated. Recently I caught a show that tried to tackle one of Japan’s biggest problems, the lack of competent leadership in politics, overseen by Ota of the comedy team Bakusho Mondai (his IQ is about 250), and various ideas were presented from a wide range of intriguing guests in a way that I’ve not seen on news in the U.S.
Ota (left) doesn’t look like much but he’s got a a sharp mind to cut through problems.