Fuji TV apologizes for subtitles inaccurately quoting South Koreans


Staff Writer

Fuji TV apologized Monday for running subtitles during a show earlier this month that inaccurately described South Koreans interviewed on the street as saying they “hate” Japan.

The apology came after online criticism mounted over the weekend, with people saying the major broadcaster may have fabricated the subtitles to breed anti-Korea sentiment among the Japanese public.

When contacted by The Japan Times on Monday, Fuji TV denied such an allegation, explaining that the subtitles were simply a result of human error during the editing process and that there was absolutely no malice intended.

The show, “Akira Ikegami Kinkyu Special,” which translates as “Akira Ikegami Emergency (or Urgent) Special,” aired on June 5, a few weeks ahead of the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and South Korea.

Moderated by popular freelance journalist Akira Ikegami, the program featured a segment about “why Koreans hate the Japanese so much.”

Among people interviewed on the streets of Seoul was a high school girl, who, according to the subtitles, said, “I hate Japan because it tormented Korea.”

However, she can be heard saying in Korean: “(South Korea) has a rich culture. I think that’s why many foreigners visit us.”

Another, a man in his 30s, was also misrepresented. According to the subtitles, he expressed “hatred” for this country, when in fact he was only criticizing what he called Japan’s lack of remorse for its wartime atrocities.

Fuji TV explained that both of them indeed spoke of their dislike of Japan during the interviews, but it accidentally ran clips that didn’t contain that message.

“We aired these inaccurate clips because of a mix-up during the editing process as well as our failure to check the final footage sufficiently,” the broadcaster said.

In an online petition started Saturday on Change.org to demand a public apology from Fuji TV, campaigners blasted the erroneous subtitles as an “intolerable” fabrication that undermines public trust in journalism.

By mid-afternoon Monday, the petition had more than 2,000 signatures.

  • keratomileusis

    Well, add Korean to the list of failed language proficiencies along with English. Not sure where the blame is on this, but many businesses and organizations get translations wrong, even Tokyo Metro. Remember those outrageous warnings on the “anti jumper” doors 2 years ago?

  • wrle

    what is it with the japanese media’s bizarre fixation on everything negative related to south korea?

  • Edu Rico


  • http://registeredalien.weebly.com gpiper

    The mistake is not just a mix-up in editing. It’s a mix-up in management to allow a question like “why do Koreans hate the Japanese so much?” to be posed as a segment title, or as a direct question in a street survey. Maybe what Koreans are unhappy about is stupidity. I’m unhappy about it, too. Not in the least surprised about it, though.

  • Japanese Bull Fighter

    The Japan Times is also guilty of dubious translation. The illustration shows the young woman saying “Kirai desu yo.” “Kirai” is a very generic term basically meaning dislike. It does not express hate of the Dylann Roof variety. Basic “kirai” by itself is rather weak, it is often used with an intensifier as in “dai-kirai” to indicate intense dislike. Kids quarreling will often have one saying to the other “Omae ha dai-kirai” and then a few minutes later they are happily playing together. In other words, if “kirai” is going to be translated as “hate,” it should be made clear that just as with the English word, the meaning of “kirai” varies by context.

    • ケイリーたん

      Yeah, no. “Kirai” is pretty intense, in high-school girl terms. She would’ve just said something like “suki janai”. Also, SHE DIDN’T SAY THAT AT ALL. Did you even read the article? Why write such a long comment about something that didn’t happen at all, and was totally fabricated?

    • JSS00

      Stop spreading BS.

    • Sacha Salvatore Morgese

      Nope, Kirai is basically hate. It might be used as a joke, like “I hate you” told to a friend who just ate the last donut, but people don’t use it in a light way when it comes to different nations or important matters. Plus, I don’t really see the difference between “why do you hate japan?” and “why do you dislike japan?”. The degree might change but the feeling is pretty much the same. “They hate Japan” is one of the most common answers to the question “what stereotypes about Koreans do you know”, something that, incredibly, doesn’t happen for China. Japanese media live l

    • Boogiepop987

      The strength of the word “Kirai” is completely based on context in Japanese. If you’re joking with your friends whom you feel comfortable with then sure that can be fine. For example, you’re eating lunch and your friend asks if you want some natto and you say: “Eh! natto!? Iya sonna mono dai-kirai!” As long as the person you’re talking to isn’t a natto farmer or someone who really takes pride in their daily natto you’re probably ok.

      However if you were to say “NIhon-jin wa kirai”, and you were serious, that would be very strong language and people would just think you are a bigot. I’ve actually had someone get really angry at me when I used “Kirai” in talking about the boy band SMAP. One lesson I’ve learned from 8 years in Japan is you don’t go dropping words like “Kirai” unless you’re a smooth joker or you really mean it.

  • Hendrix

    This is not a mistake, Fuji TV are clearly trying to sow seeds of hate against Korea… and they did this in a very amateur fashion too.. this clearly shows how the far right in Japan have taken over the media as well as politics… disgusting

  • Shady Shita

    This is one of the things I hate about Japan , the righties. It’s really disgusting to see such hate toward S.Korea and China , I’m following S.Korean and Chinese media and they don’t mention Japan as much as Japanese media , and when they do it’s never to this extent.

  • tisho

    What Fuji TV did pretty much answers their own question.

  • josq

    Pretty obviously a mistake. If you seriously think they thought they could manufacture comments and get away with it then you’re a total idiot.
    That being said though they really ought to apologise.

  • roghernissen

    Is Fuji TV the Fox News of Japan? One hand spread Anti-Korean and another air K-Pop and Kdramas.Screw integrity. Viewership all the way! :)

  • Tim Johnston

    That’s terrible and Fuji TV made a blatant error that shouldn’t have been overlooked. nothing worse than spreading racism through the media. The Journalist or however responsible needs to be reprimanded.
    you know how fast news travels in Japan (kuchi komi) (Uwasa)

  • bumfromkorea

    Incidentally, the answer to the program’s initial question is actually very simple. Korean people’s dislike of Japan stems from her voters’ active and tacit consent towards the wanton historical revisionist policies and statements of the current Japanese government, of which the Koreans generally find despicable and unforgivable.

  • Hiwamata

    A lot of interesting analysis here. Although Mr.Ikegami, a moderator of the show, has a good reputation as an authentic journalist, the TV broadcast station is Fuji TV, which is famous for entertainment programs only?, I think it explains a lot.
    People who really want to know accurate information will choose other TV station, I think.