Street interview with Tokyoites about the Capitol Riot

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“In short, people think that some weird guy became the president.”



They seem so thoughtful, I was really impressed with a lot of their answers. What a culture that really respects simplicity yet analyzes with a very keen eye.


I only have one friend in Japan I stay in contact with and I don’t really talk politics with him, but he knows I detest Trump.

These measured answers are very typical of individual Japanese I’ve spoken with about world politics, people with direct intense views aren’t common there on most topics the way they are in America, though it does depend what you ask them about.

Whenever I lived there during W and later Obama’s first years, I saw a general distaste for W and admiration for Obama. The Japanese really seemed to like Obama when I spoke with them on it.


My takeaway from this is that they really don’t have much of an idea about what happened. They don’t seem to have gotten much beyond the initial reporting of a riot with colorful characters. Which makes sense.


American news in Japan isn’t as full featured as I would like- they miss a lot of details about our reporting, but they generally understand what’s happening pretty well.

It seems they are informed enough from their commentary to discuss the issues at length, I’m actually surprised at the depth they went to on some issues. Hearing Japanese bring up topics like racism is really uncommon. They don’t like to discuss that one in my experience, many have no depth to it when they do.

It was interesting for me to hear that intelligently brought up, as well as the acknowledgement of gender equality issues.


Seems like their understanding of the Capitol assault was “some crazy-looking people smashed into the Capitol building” which is reasonable, as that was the early coverage here, too, rather than “there was a murderous attempted coup.” The breaking news obviously didn’t get a whole lot of follow-up (that people cared about, anyways), which is reasonable given they’re focused on their own serious news.

But yeah, they were generally pretty well informed - many light years ahead of Americans, especially about Japanese news. (I read some interviews with Trump supporters who thought Trump’s tariff trade war might be with Japan, not China, for example…)


There is a shocking number of QAnon followers in Japan and they are everywhere on Japanese message boards. A lot of them appear to have been indoctrinated into QAnon by the Epoch Times.

Japanese message boards don’t really do content moderation as long as you don’t say a swear, so even once legitimate and respected boards on news sites are flooded with QAnon content.


Fascinating. So… How are THEY taking the events of this week?


Their main schtick is this idea that Biden is a sleeper agent for the CCP (Japanese nationalists HATE the CCP with a passion that normal people usually reserve for mosquitoes), so the consensus seems to be that the CCP has won and there is now nothing that can stop Chinese world domination. They say that the invasion of Taiwan is imminent and that Japan is next.

I should note that there are also many prominent journalists and other public figures who have bought into this idea in Japan, including the renowned author Naoki Hyakuta, who was so sure that Trump would end up being declared president in the end, he swore that he would never write again if that did not turn out to be the case (and this was after the Capitol Riot).


Their news sources may be, how shall I put this… less US biased/filtered than ours (in the US)…

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