Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on May 23rd, 2008
Hi Blog. Here’s an excellent article on the Japanese internet, particularly 2-Channel and Nico Nico Douga. But as far as the Debito.org Blog is concerned, here is the pertinent section to excerpt:
WIRED MAGAZINE: 16.06
TECH BIZ : PEOPLE
Meet Hiroyuki Nishimura, the Bad Boy of the Japanese Internet
By Lisa Katayama 05.19.08
Courtesy of the Author, Gene van Troyer, and Tim Hornyak
…His online fans may adore him, but 2channel is becoming increasingly controversial. There have been stalking incidents and suicide pacts supposedly planned through the site. (Nico Nico Douga is more supervised: Users must log in, there’s a six-page agreement, and Dwango responds to takedown notices.) Nishimura’s nonchalant response to complaints and libel suits probably doesn’t help. “I used to show up in court,” he says. “Then one day I overslept, and nothing happened. So I stopped going.”
Nishimura has lost about 50 lawsuits and owes millions of dollars in penalties, which he has no intention of paying. “If the verdict mandates deleting things, I’ll do it,” he says. “I just haven’t complied with demands to pay money. Would a cell phone carrier feel responsible when somebody receives a threatening phone call?”
Japan is just now having the debate about free speech online that roiled America a decade ago, but it seems to be reaching different conclusions. A government panel recently proposed to start regulating “influential widely read news-related sites in the same way that newspapers and broadcasting are regulated.” Many believe this move was triggered by outrage over 2channel.
Nishimura giggles at the prospect of a government crackdown. “Our lawmakers aren’t that dumb,” he says. “Besides, 2channel’s servers are in San Francisco.”…
While the article focusses on quirky iconoclasm (Nishimura’s success despite being an indecorous “slacker”, especially in Japan), two things must be mentioned:
One is the fact that Nishimura is once again lying. Do a Google Search for “2ch”, アルドウィンクル (my former last name in katakana, which is how I was rendered in the problematic copy-pasted text), and イラク (the topic which I was alleged to have commented about), page down to the bottom to click and see duplicate results, and you’ll see that you get 1130 hits (as of May 23, 2008).
This is a larger number than ever before, and you’ll see that most of the web addresses are “2ch” for 2-Channel. More than two years after the verdict was handed down, mandating that things be deleted, they clearly still haven’t. Sorry, folks, the slacker is a liar.
Not to mention a deadbeat. Like it or not, iconoclast or not, internet hero or pioneer or whatever, Nishimura must abide by this country’s laws (and their judicial interpretations). He has been ordered fifty times to pay damages (he is the sole public owner of the media, and a telephone call between two individuals is not the same kind of media in public scope or impact). He won’t. Simply taking advantage of the Japanese judiciary’s inability to convert civil suits into criminal ones through Contempt of Court does not further justify or lionize this person’s negligence. In the end, it’ll be easier to pass laws to hinder freedom of internet speech, the lynchpin of Nishimura’s existence, than to reform the judiciary–and that is precisely what looks to happen.
“Our lawmakers aren’t that dumb,” he might claim. Oh yes they are. And at the end of the day when the damage is done, the question will remain, “How could Nishimura have been that dumb?”
Arudou Debito in Sapporo