Note: The author has traveled to southeast Asia on numerous occasions, including Japan.
A feature on Kotaku written by Tim Rogers has been trending lately. It is a piece titled “Japan: It’s Not Funny Anymore,” and it’s probably one of the most unapologetically racist articles I’ve ever read. I was actually amazed this tripe managed to make it past the editor—then I remembered it was Kotaku.
Before I begin the very easy task of writing a rebuttal based on my experience and common sense, let’s first take a look at Tim Rogers.
Mr. Rogers’ whites-only neighborhood
Tim Rogers is primarily a gaming journalist, and has written for several publications, including the aforementioned Kotaku and Next Generation, among other, lesser known, publications. He is also one of the founders of Action Button Entertainment, a small, four-person studio. He is a vegetarian, plays in a band called Large Prime Numbers, and started his own gaming review website, ActionButton.Net.
If the specificity of the information I just wrote seems strange to you, you’re not alone. Tim Rogers’ WIkipedia article is bizarrely long for someone of so little consequence—in fact, there are some who believe he wrote his own (and his company’s) articles. The only thing of consequence I managed to glean from reading about him was that “he has written that Mother 2 made him a vegetarian.” I’ll just file that under “I” for “Impressionable Idiot.”
In response to his article
The first thing he hates about Japan is that “anime sucks.”
It used to be okay. Now, it’s not. It’s inbred trailer-trash in entertainment form: Every season’s new Japanese animation places one-upmanship of every single aspect of the last season higher on their list of priorities than even “make something entertaining.” The same can perhaps be said of all Japanese entertainment, though it’s not relevant anywhere else as much as it is in anime. Anime used to answer the questions of kids’ dreams: “How awesome would it be to be a world-class assassin / kung-fu master / robot pilot / baseball hero?” Now it’s just a bunch of shit pandering to perverts and pedophiles.
What really happened here? The taste of the average Japanese anime watcher grew up. This is not unlike how video games have evolved into a more mature form of entertainment. Originally anime in Japan was focused on entertaining children. When those children grew up, they still liked anime, so anime grew up in demand for their new adult audience. Now anime is just as likely to be about every day life as it is to be about ninja. And that’s not bad. I mean, I loved youth-oriented platformers growing up, and part of me always will, but I like something with a little more grit and complexity now. Tim’s complaint about anime just illustrates that his tastes have not matured over time.
His second complaint is that “so many people smoke.”
Like many impressionable idiots, Tim is still under the impression that second-hand smoke is harmful. Except it isn’t—even in the study most used to create anti-smoking laws. That study, “Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking,” published by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1992, was so laughably and largely debunked that by 1998, a federal judge ordered that it be vacated. Further research published by the British Medical Journal in 2003 confirmed that there is no correlation between second-hand smoke and any known disease or malady. Continuing in the grand tradition of social justice warriors, Tim fails to do the research and asserts that the second-hand smoke is terrible because reasons.
His next complaint is probably my favorite. Being the vegetarian he is, his complaint is that everything in Japan has meat in it.
This dipshit moved to a largely mountainous collection of islands with very little arable land. A land so desperate for greens they developed the use of kelp and algae to sustain themselves. A place where largely fish is consumed, because, you know, it’s a fucking collection of islands. And somehow, he doesn’t know why vegetarianism is virtually unknown there?!?
Throughout Japan’s history, you typically had two dietary options:
A) Eat fish.
This complaint makes as much sense as moving to the moon and complaining about the lack of naturally occurring oxygen.
It gets worse from here
Virtually every single complaint from there onward is about Japan’s culture. From “Some Japanese Office Traditions Are Genuinely Terrifying” to “Stop Apologizing To Me,” Tim seems intent on insulting virtually everything that distinguishes Japanese culture from our own, often on the basis that he doesn’t get it. I swear to God, this is a direct quote:
When I first came to Japan, and learned that “irasshaimase” meant “come [into the store]!” I expressed a certain amount of confusion to the dude who was playing the part of my tour guide. We were in a Jeansmate — a Japanese jeans store that is inexplicably open twenty-four hours a day, even in towns where (as in ours) the only god damn supermarket closes at eight in the PM. I was looking at jeans, and an employee, standing nearby, was repeatedly yelling “Irrashaimase” at my roommate and I…
My problem is that “irasshaimase” actually means something in both ancient and modern Japanese. Like, we have the word “Hello” in English, right? “Hello” doesn’t mean anything. You look it up in a dictionary, and it’ll say “Word used to greet someone in a friendly manner”.
His problem here is that “hello” is virtually meaningless, but “irrasshaimase” means something but is commonly used differently nowadays due to language evolution. This is a bone to pick with Japanese culture? There are numerous examples of word meaning and usage discrepancies in English.
Here’s the thing. Every time I get on a plane headed for a foreign country, I know that I will inevitably see something inexplicable to me, that even when explained I still may not fully understand. Cultures develop in wildly different ways across the globe, and you know what? That’s great. I would loathe going to a foreign country if there were no nuance or uniqueness to it. What would be the point of travelling if every place was the same?
In the end, Tim Rogers inadvertently reveals himself for who he is: an ignorant, intolerant simpleton who hates things he can’t understand. In other words, he’s a model social justice warrior.