Author with savvy from the media world reveals its huge bias when covering the Unification Church / Family Federation
Tokyo, 29th December 2023 – Published as an article in the Japanese newspaper Sekai Nippo. Republished with permission. Translated from Japanese. Original article
Journalists relying on biased information sources
Part 1 of an interview with Masaki Kubota (窪田順生), author of “Infiltrating the Former Unification Church”
Feeling uneasy about the expression “dark relationship” with Shinzo Abe
by 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.
Since the shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, there have continuously been reports critical of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (formerly the Unification Church). There are many books with “Former Unification Church” in their title on the bookstore shelves, but they are all critical. In such a landscape, a book that conveys a true image of the religious organization and the voices of current members was published at the end of November – “Infiltrating the Former Unification Church”. Why did the author, non-fiction writer Masaki Kubota, infiltrate an organization that has been requested to be dissolved? I asked him about it. (Interviewer: Seisaku Morita).
– It has been about a month since the publication of “Infiltrating the Former Unification Church”.
Fortunately, sales are going well. At Amazon, it was temporarily out of stock and had to be reprinted in a hurry.
– What made you interested in the former Unification Church?
The reason was that I was interested in the International Federation for Victory over Communism (IFVOC – a political organization that is friendly with the Unification Church and is anti-communist). Since I had also covered politics, I naturally knew that the IFVOC had worked with conservative politicians in the Liberal Democratic Party for a long time. There was nothing shady about it.
The media had been talking about the relationship between Shinzo Abe and the former Unification Church, saying, “There exists something like that.” Journalist Eito Suzuki (鈴木エイト), who continuously has criticized the organization, has pursued this on the net and elsewhere. However, I felt really uneasy after the shooting incident when the media made a lot of noise reporting that the relationship was “shady”, and as if it were a “new fact”.
There is an episode that symbolizes the fact that the information that is being published is too biased. It happened right after the publication of an article I wrote where I interviewed Masayoshi Kajikuri (梶栗正義), chairman of the International Federation for Victory over Communism. It was published on President Online in August last year.
I have been in the media industry for a long time, so I have many acquaintances who work in newspapers and television. At a dinner party, there was a famous journalist from a major media outlet, whom I respect for his interviewing skills. That senior colleague said, “I saw the article. They do mind-control! That organization is outrageous!”
When I asked him how much he had covered the former Unification Church, he said, “I’ve read Eito Suzuki’s book” (Kubota laughs).
I was surprised what was going on.
– Is the media’s reporting biased because there is only one source of information?
That journalist, who has a career and has been pursuing political corruption, did not do the interview himself, but picked up a biased book. Because he believed what was written in it, he got all worked up with a sense of justice, saying, “Those guys are outrageous, and I can’t tolerate them.”
Too many media people make judgments that “that religious organization is a problem” without conducting any interviews, and despite having no acquaintances who are believers. That might be fine for ordinary people, but it is something really frightening.
At the time of Aum Shinrikyo (オウム真理教), there were interviews with spokesperson Fumihiro Jyoju (上祐史浩), and believers appeared on TV to debate “Your doctrine is strange”. This time, people who have never met or seen a believer all criticize the religious organisation.
So, the source of information is the claims of some five or six persons, including lawyers who represent people claiming to be victims, and Eito Suzuki. Therefore, it is called “reporting on the former Unification Church”, but it has become “victim reporting”. This situation is not only unfair; it is abnormal. I wanted to make a difference by writing a book against this. Therefore, biased media coverage has become the theme of the book.
The book starts with a report on “sacred sites” in South Korea. The aim was to highlight the fact that Eito Suzuki and Seiji Miyane (宮根誠司 – the host of Yomiuri TV’s “Miyane-ya”) reported on the religious facilities from a distance. Of course, they could only go so far, but that scene was very symbolic [not getting to the depth of the matter].
Whether you say it’s about “spiritual sales” or “mind control”, you should ask current believers, not former ones. Suzuki and Miyane are saying, “Please look at that gorgeous facility” from the outside. The current media coverage is not asking insiders, so my book starts with a report from the inside of the sacred site to symbolize that fact [the insider view].
Featured image above: Masaki Kubota. Photo: Sekai Nippo
Text “Author from Media World Exposes Its Huge Bias” – Seisaku Morita
Published 2nd January 2024 at 1:16 pm (CET), updated 3:04 pm.
More about huge bias: Lawyer Slams Government over Blatant Bias
Even more about huge bias: Disinformation Dispelled at Press Conference
Still more about huge bias: Horrendous Persecution in Japan
Yet more about huge bias: Media-Created Public Opinion Is Boss
And even more about huge bias: Japan Urged to Make U-Turn