Award-winning author exposes mountain of prejudice in Japanese media
Tokyo, 30th December 2023 – Published as an article in the Japanese newspaper Sekai Nippo. Republished with permission. Translated from Japanese. Original article
Conveying the Voice of Believers Without Being Prepared to Talk Behind Their Back
Part 2 of an interview with Masaki Kubota (窪田順生), author of “Infiltrating the Former Unification Church”
by Seisaku Morita (森田 清策)
– Even if you do not intend to defend a religious organisation that is denounced as an “anti-social” and “anti-Japanese cult”, you can expect criticism just for posting its perspective on a website.
In fact, I have been told so (laughs). When I interviewed Masayoshi Kajikuri (梶栗正義), chairman of the International Federation for Victory over Communism, I was told by a media person that it was meaningless to listen to such people as they would only tell you lies anyway.
However, I was interested in what the people taking the side of the religious organisation would say. I thought it was only natural to include their perspective for the sake of fair reporting.
President [Japanese business management magazine] also understood this. However, after the interview article was published, there was a lot of criticism on the internet, such as “What is the point of including the arguments of these problematic people?” and “President has fallen to the ground by including the arguments of such people.”
Even after that, I suggested to various media outlets that they include articles by lawyers who defend the religious organisation, its affiliated organisations, and its followers, but I was refused with a “No way!” The reason given was that including such articles would “benefit the problematic religious group” and “It would be impossible to consider the feelings of the victims”. Instead, I was often criticized with comments behind my back like, “Kubota is brainwashed,” and “He is being paid”.
I’m not a reputable person in the first place, so I don’t care too much about it (laughs). Because we live in a media world like this, I am used to people coming with various comments that is different from my own thoughts, principles, and beliefs. Media people tend to criticize more than ordinary people because media persons don’t write what they themselves have researched.
Of course, there are rational people who say, “It’s necessary.” However, they evaluate it as “impossible for us to do”. They acknowledge that what Kubota is doing is very meaningful. They think it’s strange for the media not to report the other side’s arguments. However, in the end, they just conclude by saying, “We support you”.
I feel like saying, “Won’t you like to work with me?” (laughs).
Everyone belongs to a media organization, so even if you think it’s good [what you have produced], you are rejected by your superiors. The publishing plans were also rejected by various publishers. The responsible editors and close editors were enthusiastic, saying, “We should do it. If our publishing house doesn’t do it, who will?” However, when we met after about a week, they hung their head and said, “I’m sorry. My boss is still […].”.
Oddly enough, it was the same with publishers who published yakuza [Japanese mafia] autobiographies and criminal confession books. Although I think that is a problem, this time around it’s the former Unification Church that is having such an experience and strange things happening.
– You were prepared for an attack when the book was published.
I thought that some people might spread stories that would discredit my credibility in the media or tell them, “Don’t use that person!”
However, the book I published expresses my opinion based on thorough research and having listened to the opinions of members of the religious organisation. Even if someone points at you or insults you behind your back, you have something you can show them, in the form of a book, and say, “If you think so, please read this book and see if that’s true.”
If it is just an article on the internet or a YouTube documentary, people will think that a dubious writer is claiming whatever he wants. Therefore, it makes sense to put it together in the form of a book. It is expected to be criticised by lawyers going after the former Unification Church. They may criticize it as PR for the religious organisation, but I can also tell them, “Please read the book all the way to the end! Is it PR for them?”
The book also contains stories of believers who are critical of the religious organization. I think that I, as an atheist, can argue with them, saying, “I just wrote it after interviewing them in the usual way.” (Interviewer, Seisaku Morita)
Featured image above: From a Stop Asian Hate demonstration in Columbus, Ohio, USA 21st March 2021. Photo: Paul Becker, Becker1999 / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC Attr 2.0 Gen The photo is purely for illustrative purposes, and the persons featured are, as far as we know, not related to the Family Federation / Unification Church.
Text “A One-sided, Prejudiced, Unfair Japanese Media” – Seisaku Morita (森田 清策)
Masaki Kubota (窪田順生) is a non-fiction writer who has contributed to weekly and monthly magazines. He has also worked first as a producer, then as an advisor for TV-documentaries. He is journalist for a weekly magazine and a newspaper, and editor of a monthly magazine. In addition, he works as a media consultant, having conducted over 200 public relations consultations and media training sessions (training on how to handle interviews).
His books include
- “Spin Doctor – Techniques of Information Manipulation Used by Professionals Who ‘Hush up Bad Information’” (Kodansha Alpha Bunko – 2009), which deals with Japan’s political and corporate public relations strategies, and
- “14 Stairs – Reportage on the Niigata Girl’s 9 Years and 2 Months Confinement Case” (Shogakukan – 2006), which won the 12th Shogakukan Non-fiction Award for Excellence.
- His new book, “Infiltrating the Former Unification Church – the Complete Story of the Request for a Dissolution Order and the Deepest Secrets of the ‘No Good Coverage’”, is currently on sale.
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