Author: Jeremiah Fajardo

LOS ANGELES: Raunchy, Racist Music Video Goes Viral

JEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES – Sex often sells, but not when it’s mixed with the stark insensitivity of misogyny and racism. Los Angeles based band Day Above Ground provoked a torrent of controversy earlier this month following the release of a music video for their song “Asian Girlz.” The video featured Levy Tran, a San Jose model, strip teasing and bathing while the band serenaded her with a melody composed solely of Asian stereotypes and sexually violent lyrics. Released the weekend of July 28, the vulgar attempt at comedy garnered more than 325,000 views by August 1 and was soon taken down. The social media outrage over the band’s idea of entertainment was unrelenting. From The Huffington Post to blogs such as Angry Asian Man, many have decried the work, even going so far as to call it “the worst thing ever made.” These reactions are not surprising, considering the song contains lines praising “creamy yellow thighs” and “slanted eyes,” among others. The band has spoken to several news outlets, defending the video’s content, albeit weakly. Lead singer Joe Anselm, in an interview with The Huffington Post, asserted that the song was not racist “because no one in the band is racist.” Further, he described the work as “tongue-in-cheek” and meant to “[worship] the Asian woman,” with the lyrics themselves being “satirical.” Such claims are hard to swallow when the...

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JAPAN: Who Needs Real “Likes” When You Have Cash?

JEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES – Can you call yourself popular when most of your fans are fake? As more businesses and politicians are seeking attention via social media, services selling Facebook “Likes” and Twitter followers are appearing. The Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japan’s leading dailies, interviewed one purveyor of Internet fame, a 28-year-old Osakan man. According to the paper, he offers two bundles, 5,000 “Likes” for 37,980 yen and 5,000 followers for 29,980. Orders are then fulfilled by a U.S. company with access to “fake accounts” which become the client’s latest “fans.” When asked whether this was misleading the man said, “Maybe. But it’s not illegal.” Some would disagree. A representative from Twitter Japan’s PR responded to the issue saying, “”Buying and selling followers goes against our policy. We check for it, but it is a game of cat and mouse, where even if we toughen the rules, businesses continue looking for new loopholes.” For now, their efforts are indeed futile and the sales will continue. The effect of said sales were present during July’s Upper House Elections. One candidate, Zenjiro Kaneko, had Twitter and Facebook accounts whose followers and “Likes” were predominantly foreign. What lasting impact this may have on the nation’s political realm is uncertain, as the previous campaign’s social media angle was a flop.  (see, below, the article JAPAN: Abe But No Lincoln) For more information, please...

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JAPAN: Abe But No Lincoln

JEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES – After two decades and a plethora of Prime Ministers, has political stability finally come to Japan with its united Diet?  With the July 21 Upper House elections, Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) seized the second, upper half of the Diet in an acclaimed landslide victory. For some, the triumph signifies a move toward a secure, unfaltering government. The incumbent Abe may even prov the first Prime Minister since Junichiro Koizumi to endure a full term. But, a largely indifferent populace puts in some doubt unthinking media praise for the win. According to the Mainichi Shimbun, only 52.61 percent of those eligible voted, a 5-point drop from the 2010 elections, though among some voters there was a reported inclination to simply trust in the LDP. Tokyoites interviewed by The Japan Times, the country’s influential English-language daily, asserted that “they were putting their faith in the [LDP]” and Abe’s economic plans. It seemed like old politics all over again. The much-heralded use of social media during the campaign proved an insignificant factor. Exit polls revealed that only a scant 10 percent of voters used the online services for campaign info. Initially touted as a historic change in Japanese politics, social media usage was a distraction from the campaign’s reality: it was as a model of the past. Despite the media’s applause, Japan’s nigh perpetual struggle for...

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JAPAN: ‘Retweets’ Herald Surge in LDP Influence

JEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES- Political tension in Japan is high with the upcoming Upper House elections, but has the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) already won over the Twittersphere? The LDP and Japanese Communist Party (JCP) currently have the most influence from a social media standpoint, according to researcher Ryosuke Nishida of Ritsumeikan University. As reported in Mainichi Shimbun, the study analyzed Twitter accounts of Upper House contenders and their number of “retweets” before June 13. The LDP’s 34 accounts boasted 836,000 retweets, while the JCP had 43 and 909,000 respectively. Together, both parties had tweeted 33,000 times, meaning their posts averaged 30 retweets. In comparison, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) rendered a paltry 98,000 retweets from their 24 accounts. This month’s elections are the first to allow online campaigning. Yet, while the initial findings are impressive, Nishida remained hesitant on whether Japanese politics would experience a critical paradigm shift. For now, he’d “like to watch the data to see how things change in the mid- to long-term.” Upper House elections are set for July 21 and may pave the way to a united Diet led by the LDP and its coalition partner, New Komeito. For more information, please visit:

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JAPAN: The Dangers of Distasteful Tweeting

JEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES – Government use of social media to engage with citizens has boomed. Japan is a great example, with many bureaucrats and politicians tweeting about their views or upcoming campaigns. Disappointingly, Yasuhisa Mizuno, a 45-year-old official, managed to tweet his way out of a job. According to the Japan Times, the nation’s leading English daily, Mizuno was a senior Reconstruction Agency official who’d been in charge of helping victims of the 2011 Fukushima disasters. Following a meeting this March on the effects of nuclear fallout, he criticized citizens’ groups and Diet members, referring to some as “sh-thead leftists.” Until this June the comments were not known, as the agency was unaware of the twitter account. Nor surprisingly, Mizuno’s actions led to a ‘fallout’ of his own, with many victims saying they’d lost trust in both him and the Reconstruction Agency. According to Fukushima evacuee Katsumi Hasegawa, the agency has assured victims that “Mizuno was doing his best and taking care of the details.” While the meaning of this is still unclear, Mizuno was definitively fired June 13. For more information please visit:...

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Asia Media International Staff

ASIA MEDIA INTERNATIONAL is a student-driven publication of Loyola Marymount University’s Asia Media Center – a vital part of LMU’s Department of Asian and Asian American Studies (AAAS), in an alliance with the university's award-winning Dept.of Political Science, and with the influential Pacific Century Institute.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR and Executive Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief:
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Aashna Malpani, Yi Ning Wong

Savannah Nunez

Katrina Crosby

Staff Writers [Beat]:
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Kate Barkley [Australia]
Murad Basrawi
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Truman Daly
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Ephiphany Hulburd
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Rachel Oakes
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= Sabrina Verduzco
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Kelcey Lorenzo

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Robert Dylan Fields
Eriko Lee Katayama
Ryan Lippert
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Lamiya Shabir [Pakistan & Islam]
Yunfei Suo [China]
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Brian Chris Canave
Peyton Cross

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Gareth C.C. Chang, Tom Plate, Jennifer Ramos, Kal Raustiala, Jeremiah Fajardo, Ben Sullivan, Greg Treverton