Proposal: Establishing a YouTube Channel?


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Hi Blog. There has been discussion within a previous blog entry about establishing a YouTube channel that can screen information videos/vlogs/etc. on topics is concerned about. This is not unusual, as many advocacy groups have their own YouTube channels (such as Sakura TV, dedicated to disseminating far-rightist and historically revisionist views).

My vision for a would be information that NJ in Japan could use for improving their lives in Japan, such as What to do if… a cop stops you for an ID check — filming some Shokumu Shitsumon proceedings as has happened with Japanese citizens here, here, and here (my favorite). As submitter MJ wrote in to me privately (he has taken videos of cops who have backed off from harassing him once they realized they were being filmed):

– I’ve never had to follow through on threat to upload to youtube because they backed off without me showing ID.
– uploading video is relatively straightforward; a youtube/vimeo/etc. account will come with instructions
– edited versions are best, the shorter the better while leaving in the salient action
btw, you could make a youtube Debito channel…
(yes, a dedicated, Debito-supporting, internet-techie volunteer would be a nice thing ;-))

In other words, filming these proceedings in action may act as at least a primary information source, at best a deterrent.  The threat of accountability stops many a bureaucratic abuse.

For the record, my level of commitment to this project is lending the brand to support pre-screened videos. But I sadly have neither have the time nor the expertise to establish or maintain a Channel (maintaining by itself is a full load). Sorry. So let me open this blog entry up to comments about interest, expertise, and commitment, and if people wish for me to get them in touch with one another off list, let me know. (If you wish to maintain your privacy, please use a pseudonym when communicating with each other, and please use a dedicated email address for this project.)

Alright, what say everyone? I personally think it’s a great idea and I’ll do what I can to help. Arudou Debito

27 comments on “Proposal: Establishing a YouTube Channel?

  • Highly highly support this idea. If anything the biggest problem with in regards to activism is the lack of coverage and the isolated nature of the website.

    Or maybe you’re visiting the wrong website? 🙂

  • This may sound sarcastic, but does the theme of “information that NJ in Japan could use for improving their lives in Japan” also cover opinions like “don’t even try to live in Japan unless you’re a masochist?”. If I had known what I knew today, I’d never have agreed to spend two years here, and that would have improved my life more than anything else. This is not to disrespect anyone who thinks they can change this country, but the “Eric C.” school of thought should find a bigger audience.

  • What kills me about the vids linked to in this post is how strongly Japanese people are against them. From looking at the comments, they mostly seem fine with random harassment from the police. I had no idea they were so subservient when it came to this matter.

  • I think what it seems we’re looking at here is not one but two separate “channels”:

    – One aimed at foreigners coming to Japan (which, I imagine, would be a primarily English language affair – not through any bias or “cultural imperialism” as critics will no doubt say, but because it’s the lingua franca of and the language that will get us the widest international audience). This will follow Debito’s aims as above (the two prongs of “What to expect” for people planning on coming to Japan, and “What to do if…” for those already here).

    – The second in Japanese and aimed primary at Japanese nationals, SPRs and long-term NJs. This fits more with what other people have been suggesting for the channel, and will run first and foremost as an awareness-raising exercise and also to run as a counterpoint to the likes of Sakura TV and similar (offering an alternative point of view, or rebuttals and refutations when possible/appropriate).

    The question will remain as to how closely linked these two channels will be. If will run them together as a single channel we risk alienating some of our audience, or at worst losing credibility.

    Maybe I’m over-thinking this. Comments?

  • @ Markus #3

    I don’t think it sounds sarcastic.
    Just my opinion, but why shouldn’t people make and post vids that discuss how to deal with things in order to get by (e.g. responses to micro-aggression), as well as vids that out-right shame Japan for being such a recidivist nation re: racial discrimination and fascism denial?

    Speaking of Eric C…..?

    I love that second police video! The cop hears a crash, but then blames the NJ for preventing him from rushing off to assist! Logic of idiots.
    In the third police vid, I ultimately count eight cops looking pretty sheepish at the end. I can’t imagine they would have any reservations about dragging me to the koban if I spoke to them the way the guy who made the vid did.

  • I would imagine that most Japanese would be reacting to the demeanour of the filmers – really, could they not state their case without the constant snickering, bad language and yakuza-poi behaviour?

  • I think to create a Youtube Channel it could be interesting because it is a graphic-media document and perhaps it is more useful for to understand your cause. I share you another youtube channel about another activist Simon Reeve but his activism is not about japanese society, but perhaps it help you for get inspiration how to show with video your own cause.

  • The problem with YouTube is that the comments must be either switched off, or you need to set them open for only specific users in order to prevent spam or abusive comments. If you set them open for everyone, they won’t just wait for moderation like on the blog-you’ll have to go often and delete stuff, which is quite time consuming. Another problem will be that the posters must edit their videos according to the Japanese laws-with faces and sometimes surroundings blurred. Since there won’t be some fun vids of kids playing and people partying, Japanese and NJ will do their best to take them down, so the videos posted must be legally clean.

  • I think you should put your handbook for free at all major airports, and start a youtube channel, and maybe a manga series on immigrant rights.

    — And wave a magic wand so it all comes true. It’s so easy to say “you should”. Where are you in all this?

  • Bitter Valley says:

    Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

    First of all, doing these things is never easy as it seems.
    It will whittle down to a few people willing to do it pretty quickly. When viewing figures don’t hit ego driven targets, people
    will give up.
    –Counterpoints? What am I not seeing here?

    Then there is privacy. I have plenty to say. But in the interests of my career and the stalkers, it’s best I stay hidden. What am I supposed to do, file a story with a bag over my head? Or speak off camera. Once someone hears my voice that will help identify me.
    Yet having contributors incognito; how does this look?
    –Counterpoints? Feedback, What am I not seeing here?

    Then doesn’t someone have to take charge of it. To stop stuff appearing outrageously amateur or silly, there should be some basic rules?
    Who is going to police it? And how?
    –Counterpoints? Feedback, What am I not seeing here?

    Unless Debito is willing to invest the time and effort to manage video uploads himself or to some other trusted person, then the whole thing could be some amateurish disaster, IMO.

    It’s only what I think, and I hope I am proved incorrect 🙂

  • Bitter Valley says:

    There you go- I don’t doubt Tom R’s heart is in the right place; someone else I just noticed has a great idea to help Debito.

    I can’t think of a more efficient and manageable way that what Debito is already doing.
    But that’s probably a failure of imagination on my part.

  • “Another problem will be that the posters must edit their videos according to the Japanese laws-with faces and sometimes surroundings blurred.”

    What if it is posted from outside Japan? Surely Japanese “laws” do not have jurisdiction.

  • I’m not sure there actually is a law about blurring people’s faces, particularly if they are in a public place. Look at the CCTV cameras everywhere. Common sense says that if you are in a public place you have no right to privacy. Japanese TV stations just do it so willingly and so regularly in order to stave off any complaints from the public, not because of any particular legal obligation to do so.

  • @Flyjin (#30) YouTube would still be liable for everything that can be accessed in Japan, regardless from “where” it is posted (“where from” being a bit of an outdated category on the web anyway). It wouldn’t take much to have YouTube at least make the video inaccessible from within Japan if it breaks any Japanese laws.

  • @flyjin

    If the account belongs to a Japanese citizen, like Debito-san, no matter where he posts from, he needs to comply with the Japanese laws and manage his channel according to them. An option would be problematic videos to be posted from another channel, belonging to an NJ user living abroad, like JDG for example, and only linked and discussed on Debito Channel. BTW, I think it’s OK to show koumuin’s faces while they are at work, but not so sure…

    — Comments are getting tediously worrisome and speculative, everyone. Let’s not comment on legalities unless we have some definitive answers, please.

  • Flyjin> I hear YouTube now blocks videos on a country by country basis, so if a video violates Japanese laws then Japan can ask for the video to be blocked within its borders. A video is only taken down if it violates Google’s T&C (but, in most cases, if it breaks the law somewhere, then the chances are it is also breaking those T&C, too).

    But anyway, why are we now talking about breaking the law anyway? Surely breaking a law should be an absolute last resort for any activist (that is often when activism crosses over into extremism). We should be able to work within the law, even in cases where we might disagree with it (a wonderful example from 2006-7 is the UK activist Mark Thomas managed to successfully protest against a new law by steadfastly and pedantically following that law to the letter and forcing the government and the police to do the same!).

    Basically, what’s being said is that people might try to use the law against us, so we have to do our damnedest to avoid giving them any ammunition at all. I think we’re going to need more than one editor on these projects: one to edit to make it watchable and understandable, and another to focus purely on the legal issues (of course, one person could do both jobs, but that’s a lot to ask of one person).

    Also, I think we need to avoid being provocative as much as possible, which means to try to avoid being confrontational.

    Bitter Valley> Some good points, if a bit defeatist in tone. I can’t repudiate all of them (or any of them completely), but I will try my best at a few counterpoints for you:

    1 – Anybody who is “in it” for egotistical reasons won’t be “more harm than good” as it were, but probably won’t be missed too much when they eventually leave.
    People will come and go, that’s inevitable in any voluntary work (this project will never, and probably should never, be the most important thing in a person’s life, and other things will get in the way, of which “ego” is but one). We need the project not to rely too much on any one person but instead be built from a large group of transient volunteers – many of whom may only ever contribute one part of one video.
    The people at the centre, meanwhile, should be involved solely in curating and not in creating, thus having a reasonable division of labour.

    2 – Privacy should be respected. Someone said that we should focus on data and facts, as such I don’t think we need a “front-person”, just voice-overs (which don’t need to be named and don’t need to be the same voice from video to video).
    Everyone should only do as much as they’re comfortable with. And the rest of us need to be their to support them if there =is= any trouble.

    3 – Who can/should do what is exactly what we’re discussing, now.

    This is most definitely not a “if you’re not with us then you’re against us” proposition. It’s an interesting project that might well fall at the first hurdle – or might not even make it that far – but it’s definitely interesting enough to discuss as much as possible before writing it off.

  • just post it from overseas- from orbit, as Corporal Hicks in Alien 2 said,”its the only way to be sure”

    If it gets taken down, blur the faces and report or open another youtube account.

    The truth will out!

  • “I think you should put your handbook for free at all major airports”

    Point of publishing a book is to make a profit, as well to inform. A pamphlet, giving a bare bones intro to Japan would be enough, with info on how to by the book on the back or something. Id never publish something then put it out for free.

    It is a subject thats unexplored, and a good business opportunity. There are legions of people out there who are misinformed about Japan.

  • I think a good book to have on Amazon would be something like “what everyone should know before moving to Japan; Stories from long term residents and business persons in Japan”

    A collaborative effort from all of us with only the real scoop. Sure to piss allot off, and that always sells.

  • The problem I see with the blog is its isolated nature, as somebody else already mentioned in the comments above, so a Youtube channel could actually give some exposure to the problems discussed here. I would like to discuss these things not only here but also in the comments section of the individual videos, especially with people who would normally not visit

  • For Mike (comment 21): I’d gladly volunteer the story of myself and my husband for that book. We both came to Japan with high hopes and we both left with a bitter taste.

    For Debito: I think setting up a Youtube account would be a great idea. Someone else said to make two channels (one for foreigners in Japan and one for foreigners planning to visit) but you could just add the videos to the same account and make separate playlists. The point is, a lot of the information on this website is useful for people just coming to Japan; they should know to expect good stuff and also bad stuff, and how to prepare for the latter. The more means you use to disperse that information, the better. As for Youtube comments, you can just turn them off and keep the discussion to your moderated blog, some of the people posting there are just vicious.

  • #18 Odorikakeru: With an eye on safety, I believe several posts may have focused too much on laws, privacy, etc.
    Usually, if a video is challenged, only the single video will be removed, blocked, whatever.
    They will tell you why when they block it.
    If it is editable, and an edit will fix the problem, then it could be back up (with only the Japanese faces blurred, or whatever Japanese law says this week) in days.
    In the meantime I think a little common sense, and following youtube’s guidelines are a great place to start. IMHO.

    The whole point (or part of the point?) of expanding to video is;
    1) To reach a different audience. Perhaps not as core, and not as intellectual?
    2) Video has power that words alone do not.
    3) Get in front of up-to-now controlled discussions which have been dominated by Japanese media (like NHK). Get the truth out, w/o corporate or racial bias/spin.
    4) Who knows, it could even foster a debate?

    In other news, in anticipation of Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic campaign being successful, I have partially divested my portfolio of Japanese investments (I sold my Japanese car, and bought a Ford). But I digress.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    It’s really great to extend our audience through online/visual media technology. I think the main issue is the ownership of YouTube account–i.e. ,is it gonna be organized personally or co-sponsored with fellow researchers, activists or via the third party? This totally depends on how we/debito see (i.e., personal or official; some academic researchers/activists have both) in general, as well as his ordinary workload and opportunities to present his work (both academic and social) to the public. If debito already has enough people in his current place to organize the project, I think it’s the matter of project’s direction.

  • Go for it, even if you get harassment and nasty comments for sharing your opinion, every interaction with the video brings more people to it. Also you can monetize your videos by letting YouTube place ads. Your videos will no doubt be constantly flagged but if you’re not using anyone’s intellectual property they can be contested and back into service.

  • How is the youtube project going? This will be a hit for sure, maybe so much that this site might be viewed as old school…)

    The only problem might be that the haters will put up their own videos to disqualify what Debito has done, and we all know the image of Japan that the world now has- the fake one. The haters will exploit this ignorance and sensitivity about Japan. The goal is to dismantle the veil and show whats real. I think it must be a collaborative effort; that is we all stand behind, or the hate wave might be overwhelming. I seldom if ever see any right wing J types posting here, but you can surely see them on youtube and they will be just as annoying as the apologist once they know something “bad” about Japan is on youtube.

    — Well, nobody has as yet stepped forward to create the channel…


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