I got a ton of hits off the Chris Johnson story today, and apparently it’s due to some developments on Twitter between CJ and others in the extended Tokyo writer community.
To let you know specifically, my recent praise for Johnson’s article was indeed for the article, which, as regular readers know, brings a very important issue—of petty “tortfeasing” and lawlessness by expats in Japan–more into the light.
There is a certain amount of continued bickering, and I do not “take sides” with that sort of thing. If you followed commentary here when I hosted the various Left Behind Fathers around New Year’s Day, you see that I try to be fair. But I don’t want to be a platform.
I am less interested in so-called shocking new developments in the CJ matter than I am in this long-running Schaufele-Johnson feud, and whatever occurred at NHK in 2007. Secondarily, on how open or closed Japan is to independent reporting. If I don’t know more about that material, then this later, “shocking” stuff makes me—and any other casual observer—into a gullible, passing dupe.
[Update 4/17/12: My sense of what is going on, is that there is a spat right now between CJ and a fellow named Jake Adelstein, who I happen to follow on Twitter as well. If I read the situation right, Adelstein is a novelist who writes, say, reality-based fiction about Japanese organized crime---the "yakuza". Adelstein is not a journalist, but uses the trappings of journalism to enhance his story-telling about the yaks. Jake is basically selling a reality-based fictional book. Meanwhile, CJ is evidently a journalist who is having to hustle for assignments in Japan, because he is not sei sha'in there. This is its own story going back to 2007 and someone named David Schaufele, who is allegedly all over the internet as "Greji" (and other handles), but whom so few people really know about.
Around the time that there was the brouhaha about the "Gulag for Gaijin" article, Adelstein raised the point, that many had also raised, about the visa status. Whatever the exact exchange was, it has this week come down to CJ tweeting to Adelstein, and Adelstein posting about items that people say are sourced to David Schaufele from the NHK "exchange" in 2007. There is also some recent e-mail, from 2011, about an assignment with France24, a news company I don't know much about. It isn't clear if what happened in 2007 affected the 2011 thing, or how much of this is really authenticated, and how much is this pull-out-just-enough-so-called-facts to make one party or the other look bad. If you really, really, try to figure it out, you realize that you just wasted a lot of time--even if it's 30 minutes--and you'll never have that time back.
So this is a freelance journalist sniping with a novelist, and the novelist taking some canned attack material, and flaunting it some more on the net.]
[Update 4/18/12: I got a comment on this general thread, in my Akismet spam filter, from someone using Tor anonymizing software, through cl-t090-370cl.104ar.info . So, you know, my rule is your comment can't show on the site if I catch you. I do want to respond, though, to some of your confusion.
I call Adelstein a novelist, because I know him to be a novelist. The reason I don't say "journalist", is because I do not know him to be a journalist. In fact, from looking at the overall situation, he looks like a novelist using the trappings of journalism to promote the novel, Tokyo Vice. Sorry, that's my view. Quite often, there is the explanation of "sorry I can't say more about this because the yakuza are dangerous people". Well, that's more like a book promoter than a journalist. It does three things:
1) deflect questions,
2) make the questioner seem like a boob for even asking, and
3) prevent a telling of who and what really is organized crime in Japan.
The minute I read anything about "yakuza" and "international", I know that someone is not talking straight, because the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security track terrorist organizations "with international reach". So D of D and Homeland would both know who the dangerous yaks are, and, probably where they are. If they are threatening Americans, D of D and Homeland would know. It would be more of a bilateral issue between the two countries than somebody writing books about it and not being able to say.
Secondly, in the District of Columbia courts, there was a lawsuit filed by Joshua Adelstein (Jake Adelstein) against National Geographic. See Joshua Laurence Adelstein Vs. NGHT, LLC, 2011 CA 002960 (D.C. 2011). The short story is that Adelstein promised certain "access" to the National Geographic reporters, and could not deliver the access. Then, alleged there was a breach by National Geographic, and several other claims. He brought action against the National Geographic unit, and, shortly thereafter, the matter was dropped.
This is why I say novelist.]
[Update 4/20/12: I received a message from the Tor Commenter, which, as readers should know by now, disqualifies it from appearing in the comment section below. (How do I know it's the same commenter? Well . . . )
Without addressing the various points, one did stick out. Let me assure the readership that, no, I did not provide Chris Johnson with anything that I have written about above. From the depth of my online research, I thought this was all out there, especially, on Big Daikon dot com.
I had an e-mail exchange with CJ, as I said, back in February. We do not do "backchannel" discussions.]
[Update 4/21/12: To my Tor commentor, your comment ended up in the Akismet filter. But you do stuff that gives you away a bit.
The National Geographic story and the case was commented about by a few people stateside, in spring 2011, around the time it was dropped. Many solid writers did, in fact, including Courthouse News. The complaint was even out there since May 2011.
This is one hit, SEO page one stuff. Don't tell me you missed it?]
[Update 4/21/12 #2: Oh, hello. I didn't think you'd get back to me so soon. Pumping out five other questions doesn't absolve you from the fact you made an accusation that was way off base, that somehow I was "feeding" CJ things that have been posted by others, on the net, for months and months.]
[Update 12/16/13: Johnson has subsequently pointed to another Japan-side expat as commenter "Greji".]