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soc.culture.japan FAQ [Monthly Posting] [1/3]
Section - (3.6) Why are there so few Japanese posters in SCJ?

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Last update: 11/95
From: Michiaki Masuda (

    Some netters visit SCJ expecting that they may be able to find a
number of Japanese netters to communicate with.  However, they
usually find that their expectation is rather betrayed.  It would be
safe to say that Japanese netters have never been a majority in this
group despite its name.  In 1991, when I started to read this group, there
were only a couple of Japanese netters who post articles once in a while.
Even though the number of Japanese SCJers has apparently increased since
then, their number would be still too small for the group to live up to some
netters' expectation.
   Since SCJ appears to have been initiated by some netters in the US as a
mailing list for them to exchange information on Japan, its existence might 
not be known to many Japanese at first.  However, this should no longer be
the case.  Today, a significantly large number of Japanese have USENET 
access, and quite a few of them are said to read SCJ.  A number of Japanese
are also actively communicating with each other in Japanese domestic
groups, such as those under the "fj" hierarchy.

    There are probably three major reasons why they are not interested in
actively speaking up in SCJ.
[1] English problem
    Most of Japanese netters, like other netters, are under the impression that
they have to use English in SCJ although there is no such restriction.  In
general, Japanese feel uncomfortable when they have to express themselves in
English whether their English skills are actually passable or not.

[2] Uninteresting topics
    Some of the topics often discussed in SCJ are not major interests or
concerns of the Japanese netters, especially those living in Japan.  They
can find somewhere else to go to (e.g., fj groups) to talk about current
issues more closely related to their life.  It seems also true that some 
netters use SCJ to deliver their anti-Japan(ense) sentiment in a rather
revealing manner.  Whether those pieces of message are to the point or not,
many Japanese may feel like staying away from them as a natural response.
[3] Different argument styles
    Due to the larger number of American or European netters, it appears
that the Western style of debate or argument is accepted as a general standard
in SCJ.  Although the Western style has its own virtue and merits, it may
come out as something too straightforward, too explicit, too aggressive, or
even too impolite to the eyes of Japanese netters.  Obvioulsy, not many
Japanese netters are willing to adapt themselves to a different standard.
   Since we cannot really hear from those Japanese netters who decide not to
speak up in SCJ, we can only speculate about the reasons.  However, those
listed above seem to give us the most plausible explanation.  Whether SCJ
should encourage more Japanese netters to participate or not may be a
controversial issue.  If it should, however, netters -- both Japanese and
non-Japanse -- may want to keep these factors in mind when they post an
article or respond to others.

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Top Document: soc.culture.japan FAQ [Monthly Posting] [1/3]
Previous Document: (3.5.2) Is "Gaijin" a derogatory term?
Next Document: (4.0) Bibliography

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