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?

    • Revelation

      This is not an issue of failed language proficiency but anti-Korean sentiment. It’s rather ironic though, considering Fuji was one of the places where Japanese demonstrators gathered to protest the station’s broadcasting of Korean dramas years ago, and now Fuji’s aim seems to be tarnishing the image of Koreans instead of helping it. Shame on them.

    • ケイリーたん

      Are you really that dumb? You totally misunderstood this article.

    • Toolonggone

      You obviously don’t know what you are talking about. The incident is not about mistranslation of subtitles–which Fuji TV and apologists make you believe it is ‘accidental.’ It is everything about this right-wing media’s blatant fabrication about anti-Japanese sentiment. Same as Bungeishunjyu, WILL, and Shukan Shincho going to any length to spread demagoguery to feed the general public.

  • wrle

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

    • Revelation

      To stoke the flames of anti-Korean sentiment, not unlike how Korea’s media is also heavy in criticizing the Japanese, though not to the extent that they would totally warp their dialogue. It’s sad and pathetic.

      • Francis7458

        If you are searching for extra profit from 50-300 bucks on daily basis for doing easy work at your home for 3-4 hrs a day then try this…

      • josq

        Yes. The Japanese media’s obsession with K-pop and Korean drama is so totally designed to stoke the flames of anti-Korean sentiment…

    • JSS00

      Media and the administration taken over by the far right.

    • isat2015

      Fuji-tv labs, which did buy Gplus Media on last April, is currently putting more censorship pressure now on Japanese english news media website like Japantoday. This is not uncommon now to see the moderator asking readers to stop criticize the administration and tons of comments are deleted if you question the reason. An alarming sign indeed :(

  • Edu Rico


  • 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.

    • josq

      it is an issue that concerns people in Japan though, especially considering the current generation in Japan and how much many of them tend to be rather fond of Korea.

      • chucky3176

        There is no mistake here. Fuji claims that the girl really did say she “hated Japan”, it just that they put the wrong clips during the subtitle. Yet the station doesn’t (or can’t?) publish the correct clip where she really says that. And they also mistranslated another Korean as well where a man supposedly said he hated Japan (what he really said was he didn’t like Japanese revisionism of history). Why isn’t the TV station showing the proper clips where these people said they hated Japan, if those clips really exist? I’ll tell you why, because they are liars and have problems telling the truth – something the entire Japanese government and media have a hard time doing.

      • josq

        and a THIRD post where you make a reply to me which is utterly irrelevant to my post!
        Are you ill?

      • Agniel

        It’s not “utterly” irrelevant.

  • 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?

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        Not only read the article, I saw the television program in question. I don’t know Korean but I somehow suspected the subtitles were not related to what the girl was saying.

        And, I deal with high-school age girls in my work. Kirai is hardly at the top of their range of terms for expressing dislike.

        Even if the subtitles for the video clips were totally bogus, rendering kirai as hate does not convey properly to English only readers the nature of the fabrication. For example, kirai is not the “hate” of the Zaitokukai “hate speech” thugs.

        Further, if the television station actually presents clips in which the Koreans are shown expressing dislike for Japan, there is not much of a story here. I’ve certainly heard Koreans express very visceral dislike for Japanese and do this both in English and Japanese.

      • JusenkyoGuide

        So now you’re a college professor teaching birthing history and war time history to high school girls?

        And I thought I had a lot of hats!

        Funnily enough, I’m also aware of just how ‘hate’ can be used in English to describe mild dislike to, well, hate. JT isn’t being dubious, you however…

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        Don’t teach birthing. Don’t teach war time history to high school girls. I do teach a course about childcare systems to 1st semester 1st year students. They come in at high school graduation age plus about two months. They don’t instantly change just because they are in college.

      • JusenkyoGuide

        That is not what you have claimed elsewhere.

        Nor is your attempt to change the subject all that well done either.

      • Jonathan Fields

        Don’t bother with JBF. He’s clearly a character.

      • Toolonggone

        Sounds like you are pretending not to know where the problem lies. Your insinuation to the JT over subtitle incident not only misses the whole point but also reveals your intention, as well.

      • Hendrix

        this jp bullfighter guy is a paid up troll dont feed him

    • JSS00

      Stop spreading BS.

      • Hendrix

        Its his hobby, spreading BS on Japan times and elswhere, this is a guy who turned his back on the UK and opted for a JP passport..

    • 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

    • josq

      Come on. Any idiot knows there are enough Korean speakers in Japan to spot this right away. No way they would have thought they could get away with it if it was intentional.

      • chucky3176

        Fuji TV is owned by the Sankei News – famously right wing Japanese media which prints anti-Korean stories everyday – many of them fabricated stories. One famous fabricated story that this embarrassing newspaper printed last year was the “Japanese hunting” in Korea story, in which Japanese in Korean streets were supposedly being hunted down by Koreans and being beaten. That fabrication story went viral in Japan. That’s just one example out of many.

        Also, this incident is just one of many fabrications the right wing media in Japan have created. The host of the show is a respected Japanese social commentator, but this is the second time he’s been caught with this “accident” in totally mistranslating Korean, into what Japanese want to hear.

      • josq

        …err….yeah. Another reply to me which has absolutely F.A to do with my post. :s
        And the point you are making here…its an ad hom upon an ad hom.

      • Hendrix

        take your medication son…

      • Agniel

        Are you ill? His response was totally relevant.

      • Hendrix

        You really are living on another planet, the koreans in Japan have no leverage and if they complained it would be seen as just some kind of ” usual misbehaving of koreans who hate japan” this was intentional and yes they ( Fuji TV and JP right wingers) are so arrogant they think they can get away with it and usually they do!

  • 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.

    • chucky3176

      The host of the show says about Korea: “Koreans never had to fight for its independence. It’s a country that came out of nowhere like an ugly pumpkin just because Japan lost the war”.

      The show claims that it wants to examine the inferiority complex of Korea.

      Yeah, sure, it wasn’t anti-Korean hate inciting show at all. No sir.

      Only in Japan.

      • josq

        1: Err, what the hell has any of that got to do with my post?
        2: Do you have proof of him saying this? Interesting if so.

  • 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.