Headline, April 28 2021/ ''' '' JAPAN'S -QAnon- JOURNAL '' '''

''' '' JAPAN'S -QAnon-

 JOURNAL '' '''

WHY QAnon FLOPPED IN JAPAN. SIMPLY because it failed the test for conspiracy connoisseurs and, of course, the public.

For over 40 years, Japan's leading purveyor of shadowy phenomena, Mu magazine, has pedelled Bigfoot, U.F.O.'s and the occult to a ravenous fan base. Alien civilizations and the biology of the Loch Ness Monster have been popular cover stories. A conspiracy theory doesn't quite arrive in the country without a nod from the monthly publication.

Yet Mu, with almost 60,000 readers and devotees including a former prime minister, a celebrated anime director and J-Pop idols, held back from publishing the obvious feature on the era's biggest conspiracy theory : QAnon.

The movement hit peak notoriety with the storming of the U.S .Capital in January, and its baseless core narrative became widely familiar during the coronavirus pandemic. Its followers are convinced that a cabal of Saran-worshipping, child molesting elites controls the world, unleashing Covid-19 and 5G technology as part of its plot.

QAnon has found believers in more than 70 countries, from British mums against child trafficking to anti-lockdown marchers in Germany and even an Australian Wellness guru.

But it flopped in Japan, a country that's no stranger to conspiracy theories. Even as Western media has portrayed otherwise, there are hardly any Q followers among the Japanese and it has failed the test for the nation's conspiracy connoisseurs.

''It's too naive for our readership,'' Takeharu Mikami, the editor of Mu since 2005, told the Ashai Shimbun newspaper last month.

Bemused Japanese netizens dubbed the new disciples ''J-Anon,'' a catchball phrase for the hodgepodge of disparate adopters and their preferred Q spinoff theories, mostly without overlap.

One group translated Q's prophecies into Japanese, uniting almost exclusively online around a Twitter account and hashtag [#QArmyJapanFlynn]. It was started by Eri Okabayashi], who localized QAnoncontent ; her account actually appeared to generate tens of thousands of followers.

A significant number of Japanese may share the conspiracists' negative views of China, but they are rooted in verifiable issues such as territorial disputes and historical grievances.

And most Japanese would never embrace J-Anon's bizarre theories - for instance, that the imperial family was replaced by body doubles, or that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were inside jobs.

Digital forensic analysis has established that most of Ms. Okabayashi's followers were probably fake. Twitter removed her account in January as part of a global QAnon purge.

Much of Japanese culture takes pains to avoid conflict, leaving little room for ideological combat favored by QAnon supporters. ''The Japanese don't talk about politics openly. It's almost taboo, because of the possibility of contentious confrontation,'' says Prof. Kaori Hayashi, who teaches media and journalism studies at the University of Tokyo.

When surveyed, roughly half of Japanese voters claim no political affiliation. Without the accelerant of identity politics, QAnon's polarizing memes just can't grip the Japanese psyche.

Another defense against misinformation is the dominance of Japan's legacy print and broadcast media, an unintended effect of its gate-keeping. Backed by its fairness doctrine in national broadcast law, programming must avoid distorting facts, stay politically fair and not harm public safety.

Yet parts of Japanese society are vulnerable. Pessimism in the future abounds, according to the Pew Research Center, which found most Japanese expect that their children will be financially worse off than they are.

More than half believe their politicians are corrupt and don't care about them. And people are deeply skeptical about Covid-19 vaccines, doubting not the science but their leaders' management of vaccine campaigns.

''The mainstream media is not paying sufficient attention to their voices,'' says Prof. Hayashi. ''They are turning to the Internet to make their opinions heard -- and sometimes even turning hostile to traditional media.'' It's an ominous sign that ''fake news'' has now entered the Japanese lexicon.

Mu magazine has read the tea leaves. Responding to requests, it will devote an upcoming issue to the QAnon movement. But it won't be the victory that conspiracists crave : Mr Mikami, its editor, has promised not to promote Q's tenets but to illuminate readers with ''conspiracy literacy.''

The Japanese have managed to resist QAnon so far, but who doesn't enjoy a sensational read?

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Conspiracies, Movements and the World, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Matt Alt, a Japan-based writer, translator and localizer.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Japan and then the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

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