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OhmyNews Japan Ready to Launch
Despite cultural challenges OhmyNews Japan is hopeful
David Michael Weber (crossfire)     Print Article 
Published 2006-07-15 14:40 (KST)   
VODVideo of Session 8 / OhmyNews

Next month OhmyNews Japan will be ready launch. Its staff look forward to this event with both high hopes and some trepidation.

OhmyNews Japan hopes to copy the successful model of OhmyNews in Korea which has virtually create a media revolution of sorts. Citizen journalism has taken South Korea practically by storm.

"Can it be done in Japan?" is one of the major issues facing OhmyNews Japan

Shuntaro Torigoe who has been named chief editor of OhmyNews Japan is eager to accept the challenge before him. Shuntaro Torigoe unfortunately could not attend the conference this year but in his stead was Hirano Hideki.

Hirano Hideki gives a speech on behalf of Shuntaro Torigoe, July 14.
©2006 Nam S.Y.
Some difficulties he will face he mentioned in his speech read by Hideki at Session 8 of the 2006 OhMyNews Conference, Shuntaro summed in three points.

1) Attitude to Politics

  • In Korea, many citizens are very involved in politics often voicing their opinions and protests.
  • In Japan politics is often seen as a horse race. Many people are content with current Prime Koizumi. Those who are not are not very vocal.

    2) Perception Towards Mainstream Media

  • Many Koreans mistrust the mainstream media whereas many Japanese regard the Japanese mainstream media quite highly.

    3) Cultural Differences

  • Many Japanese are not comfortable expressing themselves or getting into heated confrontational discussions.

    One of the target groups OhmyNews Japan hopes to attract is the youth among whom blogging is a widespread activity.

    OhmyNews Japan hopes to recruit a number of citizen journalists from this young group in order to get a fresh and vibrant sound.

    One concern brought up at the conference was the presence on OhmyNews Japan of foreigners living and working in Japan. There are many sites for foreigners in Japan but they are often in English and not read by many Japanese.

    OhmyNews Japan has the potential to be a meeting ground for both Japanese and resident foreigners to hear other points of view and bridge certain cultural boundaries.

    Another item of concern addressed was the level of outspokenness in social and political issues citizen journalists in Japan will reach. What topics will be too controversial to be covered? Will OhmyNews Japan simply become a celebrity gossip center of citizen journalism or a growing force of media awareness among the people?

    Hideki stated he was particularly interested in the storytelling aspect of citizen journalism and hoped to develop that within Japan.

    Will be OhmyNews Japan be a success? Shuntaro and his staff are optimistic.

    Ganbatte Ne!
  • ©2006 OhmyNews
    A native Tennesseean, David M. Weber is currently at the grammatical grindstone cranking out gerunds, dangling modifiers and perfecting tenses as an English teacher in Japan. In his travels, he has hiked the Inca Trail, been mugged in Mexico City, broke his leg in Switzerland, attempted to bike through Mexico and failed, climbed Pyramids in Egypt and Mexico, drank great quantities of beer at Oktoberfest and gambled at Monte Carlo.
    Other articles by reporter David Michael Weber

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