NHK World: Japan’s social media “rife” with fake rumors after recent Osaka quake, including foreigner “thefts and burglaries”, “looting convenience stores”. Again.


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Hi Blog. Here’s NHK reporting on the spread of false information on Japan’s social media about foreigners committing crimes in the wake of June 18’s Osaka earthquake. Comment follows the article:


Post-quake social media rife with fake news
NHK World, Tuesday, June 18, 2018. Courtesy of JDG.

Osaka prefectural officials are urging people to keep calm and refrain from sharing unsubstantiated information on social media after Monday’s earthquake.

One widely shared tweet claimed the roof of the Kyocera Dome Osaka stadium is cracked. The operator denies this.

Other cases of false information include a train derailment and a zebra escaping from a zoo.

Messages inciting discrimination against foreigners living in Japan are also spreading.

One post advises people to watch out for thefts and burglaries by foreign residents. Another says foreigners are not accustomed to quakes, so they will start looting convenience stores or rushing to airports.

Social media users are posting messages to counter the discriminatory ones.

One user says people should be aware that racists use major disasters to spread false information.

Another says fake news spreads during disasters, and that people need to improve their media literacy so they can detect false information.

COMMENT:  It seems like earthquakes in Japan (although depicted as orderly, stoic affairs in Western media) are for some internet denizens a call to create a live-action version of the movie “The Purge“. has reported numerous times in the past on how false rumors of NJ residents have spread through Japan’s social media — to the point where even the generally “hands-off-because-it’s-free-speech-and-besides-it-only-affects-foreigners” Japanese government has had to intervene to tamp down on it (since, according to a 2017 Mainichi poll, 80% of people surveyed believed the rumors!).  I’m glad to see the Osaka government is intervening here too.

By the way, if you think I’m exaggerating by making a connection to movie “The Purge” in this blog, recall your history:  The massacre of Korean Residents in the wake of the 1923 Kantou Earthquake was precisely “The Purge”.  And what happened in the aftermath of the Fukushima Multiple Disasters of March 11, 2011 (where foreigners were being blamed online for all manner of unconnected events, including the earthquake itself) was similarly redolent (albeit less deadly, thank heavens).  As were mudslides in Hiroshima back in 2014.  And that’s before we get to then-newly-elected racist Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro’s famous call in the year 2000 for a priori roundups of “evil foreigners committing heinous crimes” in the event of a natural disaster.  So much for the stoicism. Dr. Debito Arudou

12 comments on “NHK World: Japan’s social media “rife” with fake rumors after recent Osaka quake, including foreigner “thefts and burglaries”, “looting convenience stores”. Again.

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Ah, c’mon, Japanese earthquakes are surely ‘unique’ and totally unlike earthquakes in other countries…

  • — Looks like Japan Times also took up this story (and uses much of the same information presented here on

    Different disaster, same story: Osaka quake prompts online hate speech targeting foreigners

    Monday’s deadly quake in Osaka Prefecture has led to the resurgence of what has become a familiar — if disconcerting — post-disaster trend on the internet: a slew of hate speech-driven tweets warning of “crimes” committed by foreign residents.

    In the aftermath of the magnitude 6.1 earthquake, which left at least three dead and hundreds injured, scores of tweets were seen labeling ethnic non-Japanese — particularly ethnic Koreans and Chinese — as criminals who may take advantage of post-quake confusion to rob banks and convenience stores, and commit other dangerous crimes.

    Authorities warned against the propagation of groundless rumors on the internet, and urged people not to spread hate speech and false information.

    “When a quake happens in the Kansai region, there is a strong possibility of Chinese and Koreans engaging in wrongdoing. It’s possible they will go after ATMs in banks and convenience stores,” one Twitter user wrote.

    “Who are those Koreans poisoning water in the wells every time a quake happens?” wrote another.

    This is by no means the first time online rumors vilifying those of Korean descent and other foreign residents have emerged after a disaster. Similar online slurs were seen in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and the 2016 quakes that ravaged Kumamoto Prefecture, as well as the floods and landslides that devastated Hiroshima Prefecture in 2014….

    Rest at

  • Anonymous says:

    Dear Tomohiro Ōsaki, fellow Sophia alumnus:

    We are grateful you disseminated your important article (probably partially inspired by Debito Arudō’s well-sourced well-linked two-paragraph comment above) to an even wider audience, and thankful you even got Koichi Yasuda to remind the Japan Times readers about Japan’s unforgivable massacre of peaceful innocent long-term Japan-Residing “Foreigners” in the wake of the 1923 Kantō Earthquake.

    Perhaps you can kindly add a specific link to Debito’s well-sourced well-linked two-paragraph comment above ( Ctrl+F COMMENT:) or at the very least add a general link to Debito’s top ( page? Hopefully you can add a friendly link this time (and/or next time) to give respectful attribution to (and kindly increase the readership of) your probable source of inspiration?

    Again, heartfelt gratitude for your courageous timely event-relevant vital article, your dissemination of important facts literally helps save lives Tomohiro, thank you sir.

    By the way, is it possible you might decide to enjoy the synergistic positive mutual benefit (namely, a well-deserved increase in your next article’s readership numbers) by obtaining a new up-to-date event-relevant interview of Debito Arudō for your next Japan Times highly-viewed article by Tomohiro Ōsaki?

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    Do you know what I’d really like to see?
    A pushy journalist getting in Ishihara’s face after EVERY large earthquake of other natural disaster and quizzing him about the foreign hordes running riot. (Or, more accurately, not running riot)

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Yeah, I sat at home and watched the news. I guess the rest of you guys were out smashing shop windows and getting yourselves new TVs and sneakers? No? I thought not.

    • Baudrillard says:

      He’d probably just ask them if they were a real Japanese. Example:
      angrily stating Coleman was ‘Just a foreigner, it does not matter’. Then, on continued questioning by investigative journalist Hajime Yokata, he stated ‘Minamiyama is a Devil’s Mountain that eats children.’ Then he went on to explain how unmanaged forests ‘eat children’ and implied that Yokota, a Japanese national, was betraying his nation by saying ‘What nationality are you anyway?’ This was recorded on film.

      Its all about nationality with him, isnt it? BTW Deng Xiaoping of Communist China used to insultingly ask Chinese speaking journalists of Asian background if they were Vietnamese.

      I am sure Ishihara would welcome the comparison.

    • Baudrillard says:

      addendum to my previous reply, Ishihara has always been a one trick pony, it seems; vote for me, I’m a real Japanese “In 1983 his campaign manager put up stickers throughout Tokyo stating that Ishihara’s political opponent was an immigrant from North Korea. Ishihara denied that this was discrimination, saying that the public had a right to know.[14]” wiki

  • “rushing to airports”- is this a crime? Anyone can leave anytime, J Inc. And as Njs don’t have the same rights, don’t expect the same loyalty to the Japanese Empire!
    Japan reaps what it sows.

  • A recently-revealed first-hand account of the earthquake of 1923 recorded in handwritten notes:

    Woman’s notes on 1923 Kanto quake damage, false rumors uncovered in east Japan

    「噂は数限りない」デマの記述も 関東大震災時の手記発見 専門家「現代につながる」

    From the article:

    In the wake of the earthquake, many Koreans were slaughtered by residents in various areas who believed false rumors. In her notes, Ikuyo said she heard from her elder brother that several men were beaten with a rod and bound to the exercising bars on the grounds of her school on the third day after the quake. She wrote that rumors about Koreans had been circulating the same day. “The rumors said that Koreans were going around poisoning the wells — so the rice we ate before was sour because … It chilled me,” she wrote.


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