Tag Archives: sexual harassment

HodoBuzz: New York-based Japanese Filmmakers Tackle Japan’s Sexism and Press Freedom With Crowdfunding

As Japan spiral downs the gender equality rankings each year with impressive speed(114th out of 144 countries), progress, on the other hand is being made at a snail’s pace in every corner of society.

But Japan’s death spiral towards the bottom isn’t just the status of women, it’s also with freedom of the press. Japan ranked 11th in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) annual world press freedom survey in 2010, this year (2018) it came in at 67.  The only reason it wasn’t lower was that under the influence of President Donald Trump, press freedom has taken a punch in the gut all over the world—Japan remains essentially just awful.  The media here has never been much of a watchdog, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has turned much of the press into simpering lapdogs. NHK has become Abe TV thanks to political appointments.  Japan’s few investigative news programs have been cancelled or so neutered they no longer have bark or bite.

But what if….there were still some journalists, fighting the good fight. and what if, it was a woman?

A crowdfunded Japanese drama “Hodo Buzz” depicts a female reporter trying to get real news out while battling all the obstacles inherent in Japan’s media machine.

A new show “HodoBuzz” made by Japanese filmmakers based in New York City takes on these very topics and JSRC is excited to support and watch a show about Japanese people who aren’t afraid to speak the truth and champions a tenacious and outspoken woman(!) who will not be silenced.

Read on to learn more and support their fundraiser campaign!

Derrrrruq!!!, a New York-based Japanese filmmaking team, launched a Kickstarter campaign last month for its new journalism drama HodoBuzz. The campaign seeks to raise $30,000 by September 4th to complete post-production, release, and promote the show.

HodoBuzz Kickstarter Page


The project will only be funded if it reaches its goal of $30,000 by Tue, September 4 2018 11:59 PM EDT.

The creators have a good reason as to why they had to turn to crowdfunding. The show focuses on issues that the Japanese entertainment industry tends to avoid discussing: media sexism and press freedom in Japan. You can check out the series trailer made for the Kickstarter campaign. Don’t forget to turn on the subtitles!

Link: https://youtu.be/TxRQt5vA83g

HodoBuzz is a story about Asuka Wada, a Japanese female reporter. Tired of sexism and objectification in Japan’s TV industry, Asuka quits her job as a game show host in Tokyo to pursue her long-time dream: becoming a news anchor. 

A Japanese version of The Newsroom would be a thrill to watch.

Asuka moves to New York City, the world’s leading journalism center, to work for HodoBuzz, a digital news company.

The first sensitive issue HodoBuzz deals with is the rampant sexism in the Japanese media. In Japan, female TV reporters are constantly objectified. They are often referred to as “joshi ana”, or “girl announcers,” whereas male reporters are called simply, “announcers”. Female reporters have to dress up in a way that entertains the male audience. It is not uncommon for some female reporters to be assigned sexually charged assignments, such as reporting from a beach in a bikini. However, the most obvious point regarding the sexism female journalists face in Japan is that hard news or more “serious” topics are almost exclusively reported by male journalists.

Even at HodoBuzz, which is based in New York, Asuka’s boss, colleagues, and several viewers underrate her skills, because of her past as a game show host. Asuka will experience intense online harassment and bullying, due to the belief that she was hired for her looks, not her abilities.

The second issue the show uncovers is the constant breach of ethical journalism standards in Japan. In HodoBuzz, characters discuss real news, cite actual political commentary, and refer to known false reports by existing Japanese TV networks and newspapers. This has never been done on a Japanese TV drama, due to the strong and complicated codependent relationships among the news industry, political parties, TV stations, sponsor companies, and major talent agencies.

The nature of HodoBuzz has made it very challenging for the creators to get enough investment and distribution support. And it’s safe to assume that HodoBuzz won’t get good coverage from Japanese legacy media, either. Due to the time-sensitive topics discussed, Derrrrruq!!! decided to turn to Kickstarter.

Kickstarter video Link: https://youtu.be/AuhIUjyFGUk

Their team name, “Derrrrruq!!!,” was inspired by the Japanese expression “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down”, which describes the conformist nature of Japanese society. Derrrrruq!!! aspires to be the nail that sticks out, a “disruptive” voice in the industry.

For the readers of Japan Subculture Research Center, Derrrrruq!!!’s three creators, Mari Kawade, Maho Honda, and Tsukasa Kondo, might look familiar. Their previous work, 2nd Avenue, was also a bicultural show set in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The entire series of 2nd Avenue is available on YouTube to watch.

Link: https://youtu.be/9jbXtOYNS1w

Like 2nd Avenue, Derrrrruq!!!’s aim with HodoBuzz is to create a show that is hard to find in the Japanese entertainment industry. To learn more about HodoBuzz and to make a donation to the crowdfunding campaign by the September 4th deadline, please visit http://kck.st/2u8rx8o.

HodoBuzz Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/derrrrruq/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/derrrrruq

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/derrrrruq/

Website: https://www.derrrrruq.com/


Top 10 “Trendy” Words To Understand 30 Years Of Modern Japan

This week Jiyu Kokumin Shupansha known for publishing the beloved Japanese language lexicon Basic Knowledge Of Modern Lingo (現代用語の基礎用語), in celebration of their 30th year of awarding the annual The New and Trendy Words Of The Year (新語・流行語大賞) announced the most enduring top ten trendy words for the last three decades. The company surveyed three hundred people and had them rank the words in order of importance and impact. It’s a nice window into social change and social  consciousness in Japan. It also shows that Japan’s love for flirty attractive women who pour drinks at a bar remains solid no matter how much time passes. (When Japanese men learn to pour their own drinks, it’ll practically be a revolution.)


Life is a cabaret, old chum. In Japan, the most popular trendy word to understand three decades of change remains the ubiquitous  "Cabaret Club" . Ladies, pour those drinks. Gentlemen, get drunk. It's how it works in the "unequal society" (格差社会)
Life is a cabaret, old chum. In Japan, the most popular trendy word to understand three decades of change remains the ubiquitous “Cabaret Club” . Ladies, pour those drinks. Gentlemen, get drunk. It’s how it works in the “unequal society” (格差社会)

① Cabaret Club/キャバクラ (1985)

② It’s best to have a healthy husband, who is rarely home/亭主元気で留守がいい (1986)

③Sexual Harassment/セクシュアル・ハラスメント 同義語 セクハラ (1988)

④Old guy girl/オヤジギャル (1990)

⑤Supporter/サポーター (1993)

⑥If you really sympathise, give me money/同情するならカネをくれ (1994)

⑦The Safety Myth/安全神話 (1995)

⑧Good luck, Kobe! がんばろうKOBE (1995)

⑨I want to praise myself/自分で自分を褒めたい (1996)

⑩Unequal society/格差社会 (2006)

The trendy words fit together oddly in a way. The healthy husband is never home because he’s at the Cabaret Club sexually harassing the hostesses―not that they complain because Japan is an unequal society and part of the paycheck includes putting up with these guys.  The nice guy healthy husbands dragged to the bar by their bosses may even express their support for the Cabaret Club girls who have to put up with them, at which point, the smarter girls will use the line from the hit TV series about a homeless little girl (家無き子)and say, “If you really sympathize, give me money.”

If the man can not afford to pay the money, he may be able to hang out with the old guy girl who plays golf, drinks a lot, and is just like one of the guys except she’s a woman. Maybe she can be his supporter, even if he isn’t a sportsman.

In the worst case scenario, if his wife doesn’t want him around and all the available woman in his life ignore him, he can always praise himself.

The Safety Myth vanished with rising crime in Japan and the terrible  Kobe earthquake―which showed how poorly Japan dealt with disaster. Of course, the myth of safety, is a word that may never really go out of style as the triple meltdown at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant showed us all. However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apparently isn’t a a fan of trendy words because he’s pushing the safety myth envelope as he tries to export Japan’s nuclear technology and convince the Nuclear Regulatory Authority to start up Japan’s decrepit nuclear power plants once again.

There is nothing really new under the rising sun.