The Language of Your Media Bubble

A friend shared this thoughtful article by Hiroki Mochitsuki tonight on Facebook and I thought to share it on this blog.

Basically, Mochitsuki says that Japanese people are trapped in a Japanese language media environment.

人口の少ない小国ではメディア産業は成立せず彼らは英語その他のグローバル言語のメディアを読む。繰り返すが、日本人はそこから隔絶している。

The number of people around the world who speak Japanese is actually quite small. Thus, Mochitsuki reasons that the amount of information out that that is not in the Japanese language is quite substantial. When the Japanese media makes so much effort to gather information about the world and turn that information in the Japanese, dissected into colorful subtitles and digestible snippets of information repeated in the morning, evening, and late night news, just what are those consumers of information missing out?

At the same time, that language determines the boundaries for any media bubble is not a uniquely Japanese-language problem. There’s some, but not a lot, of critical analysis about Japan in English but the bestselling book on Japan on Amazon US is this godawful volume about discovering the land of geeks and zen. Can the average person on the street really be blamed for being ignorant because he doesn’t know and can’t read in another language?