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Schadenfreude, a word of German derivation, is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people.” A more succinct definition would be “malicious glee.”

“Malicious glee” aptly describes Yukan Fuji’s coverage of the MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) outbreak in South Korea. Yukan Fuji, a nationally circulated evening tabloid published by the conservative Sankei Shimbun, has adopted a strongly adversarial tone toward Japan’s neighbor. From June 9 to 14, 5 out of 6 of its front page headlines concerned MERS, choosing to disregard (or downplay) such major domestic and foreign news as the worrisome uptick in volcanic activity, the FIFA scandal, hacking into Japan’s national pension system, the sinking of a Chinese ferry with great loss of life and the publication of teenage serial killer Seito Sakakibara’s autobiography.

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