WP on Japanese blogs: total mischaracterisation, some crucial details left out

Despite efforts to gather expert opinions (such as Joi Ito) and connect with Japanese bloggers, the recent Washington Post article on the Japanese blogosphere “Japan’s Bloggers: Humble Giants of the Web” contains serious mis-characterisations and inaccuracies. It seems the author falls into the trap of starting with a dazzling premise and getting carried away without bothering to step back and wonder if he’s starting from the right premise or back up his statements (or even read the day’s news before submitting his story).

The article aims to give an overview of the Japanese blogosphere, which is supposedly relevant since it is apparently the most active blogging language on earth (more on that later). The overview is essentially a series of variations on the theme “Unlike Americans, who often times blog to stand out, the Japanese blog to fit in.” A quick look at the beginning:

Compared to the English-speaking world, the Japanese have gone blog wild. They write Web logs at per capita rates that are off the global charts.

Although English speakers outnumber Japanese speakers by more than 5-1, slightly more blog postings are written in Japanese than in English, according to Technorati, the Internet search engine that monitors the blogosphere.

By some estimates, as much as 40 percent of Japanese blogging is done on mobile phones, often by commuters staring cross-eyed at tiny screens for hours as they ride the world’s most extensive network of subways and commuter trains.

Blogging in Japan, though, is a far tamer beast than in the United States and the rest of the English-speaking world. Japan’s conformist culture has embraced a technology that Americans often use for abrasive self-promotion and refashioned it as a soothingly nonconfrontational medium for getting along.

Bloggers here shy away from politics and barbed language. They rarely trumpet their expertise. While Americans blog to stand out, the Japanese do it to fit in, blogging about small stuff: cats and flowers, bicycles and breakfast, gadgets and TV stars. Compared with Americans, they write at less length, they write anonymously, and they write a whole lot more often.

First and foremost, it should be self-evident that this dichotomy of Japan as meek navel gazers and Americans as gung-ho self-branding showoffs is totally false. Has he ever heard of something called Livejournal? Case closed! Anyone who thinks about it for two seconds and spends any amount of time on the Internet should realize how strikingly personal and specific US blogs can be.

The next issue that the author simply gets wrong is the characterization of blogging as a “tame beast” – some kind of dainty, “nonconfrontational” extension of summer diaries. I barely know where to begin addressing this, but the author could have at least taken a look at the news on Japan:

1. Some part-timers at Yoshinoya were suspended after posting a video of themselves set to the Megaman music making a phony “terra-donburi” to compete against Sukiya’s “Mega-don.” The reason they were suspended was because the video generated massive negative comments from anonymous commenters, an example of “enjo” or Net bullying that is extremely common here and a phenomenon that I have documented here and there before.

2. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has announced once again that it plans to submit legislation that will massively change the regulatory foundation of the Internet by treating it as a broadcast medium no different from TV stations. Why the need for such an overhaul? All the malicious, anonymous posting!

Just from those two examples alone, you can see that the bigger picture is nowhere near as clear-cut as the Post would have you believe.

What has been crucially left out of this article is the vast amount of Internet activity in Japan that goes on outside of what can be defined as “blogging” – message boards such as 2-channel are rampant, social networking sites such as Mixi are all the rage, Youtube is huge. And as with any country that has embraced the Internet (it’s got to be just about all of them by now I guess), there’s a diverse array of content. Additionally, there’s little talk of the development of an actual blog culture that’s much different from journaling – alpha bloggers, celebrity bloggers, etc.

It is almost insulting to the thousands of Amazon reviewers and cynical 2channelers for the WP to claim with no basis whatsoever that there is no critical content on Japanese blogs (and by implication the rest of the Japanese Internet). As for the idea that blog posts tend to be shorter, I wish he’d look at Kikko’s blog, probably one of the most popular around (though it’s dropped to the 40s in Technorati rankings). Kikko’s posts are always long and take a while to get to the point, but that hardly deters the readers.

Finally, let’s look at the statistics mentioned. That Technorati figure about Japanese as the dominant blog language got a lot of attention when it was released in April, and it’s clearly gotten the WP writer’s attention. Nevertheless, declaring Japanese the dominant blog language is likely difficuly, and the survey is less than conclusive in its tallying. Someone took a good critical look at the figures, but I can’t find it now. The best I can do is this look at Japanese bloggers’ reactions. Basically, the report counted the number of submissions, so dead blogs don’t count, and since it is Technorati, I am sure lots of spam blogs ended up being counted (seriously, go try a blog search on Technorati Japan right now!).

The PR executive mentioned in the story backs up the claim that Japanese blogs are apolitical and “conformist” by claiming that Japanese bloggers are far less likely to “act” as a result of their blog reading. In the accompanying video, he notes that in the survey his company conducted, Japanese bloggers were “less likely to sign a petition or attend a meeting” as a result of blogging or blog reading. In the Japanese context, those two activities don’t strike me as representative of the nature of Japanese online activism. Without leaving their homes (or their seat in the train), people in Japan can engage in enjo when they’re angered by what they see, and as in the case of Yoshinoya it can provoke a reaction.

Another example in which online protesting resulted in changes in the policy of the target was the PSE Law scandal – when the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry attempted to ban the sale of most used electronics in a misguided attempt at consumer safety that originated in a bad interpretation of a sloppily written law. Yellow Magic Orchestra legend Ryuichi Sakamoto led an online campaign to stop it, and in the end a series of stopgap measures were put into place to help the ministry save face while keeping the used goods dealers in business and the used electronics on the shelves (though the change did end up hurting sales).

Why does this story get it so wrong? Perhaps it is always troublesome to write about Internet culture as it is constantly changing. I am not even caught up on it myself since I am not interested in a lot of the new technology (Twitter and Digg seem like wastes of time!). Maybe the author fell into the trap of going too far in trying to compare Japan and the US, another common mistake that I am occasionally guilty of myself (I’ve heard the “Japanese children are better behaved” line from more than one visiting Westerner, even though it’s not true at all).

Why the fixation on blogs? To examine the Japanese language version of the Internet, it might have been more insightful to see a treatment of other issues that might provide some better comparison between the US and Japan – why is anonymity so much more prevalent on the Japanese web? What is inspiring the Internet bullying phenomenon? Where are all the Japanese Internet superstars? Who’s getting rich off the growing online ad market? More than blogs, I feel like a good place to start would be 2-channel and the enigmatic Hiroyuki.

I can appreciate that this “Tokyo Stories” feature is an attempt to provide easy-to-understand vignettes about Japanese culture for an American audience. There is a lot of misunderstanding about Japan, so for readers and visitors to the Washington Post to take an interest in what’s going on on the other side of the world is extremely important. Unfortunately, the blanket generalizations and shallow analysis in this piece undermine that mission.

45 thoughts on “WP on Japanese blogs: total mischaracterisation, some crucial details left out”

  1. Excellent points. It was not long ago that books like “The Japanese Mind” were pointing out that Japanese avoid debate and argument in all circumstances. Personal attacks are, of course, unheard of. Tell that to the 2ch people….

  2. The article gets it wrong because it relies on so-called “experts” like Joi Ito. He’s an investor in Technorati, so he has an incentive to shill his product. I just don’t understand how Ito came to be regarded as an expert in anything, he seems to jump on any popular internet bandwagon that comes by, without any clear idea of what he’s doing.

  3. Excellent piece. (Of course Momus wrote a glowing review of this story since it fit into his vision of Japan.)

    I too think this “criticism in West / no criticism in Japan” makes no sense when you look at all the 2-ch / Amazon stuff as well as traditional top-down sempai-kohai-type criticism. It’s clear that down-up criticism has always been a risky procedure in Japan and that anonymity on the net has done a lot for a more free expression of negative feelings. Obviously this is a mixed bag and lots of people are getting e-lynched for pretty minor offenses. (It’s hard to get worked up about that Yoshinoya video unless afflicted with some kind of odd food puritanism.)

    There’s also the fact that like most Japanese blogs have only four readers.

    And are we so lexically impoverished that we have to call things like The Huffington Post or even Mutant Frog “blogs”? Yes, Sesame Street and Hee Haw are both “TV shows” but is there worth anything saying about them as “TV shows” in general? The story seems to be not that Japan has lots of diary-blogs, but that it lacks a large number of centralized web commentators in the Kikko vein. The fact that Kikko is so popular kinda suggests how undeveloped this field is.

  4. Thanks for this excellent piece. I have to say that, as someone who spends many hours every week reading and translating Japanese blogs, this article quite frankly pissed me off. A lot. The author consulted only a few sources, and especially with the Joi Ito stuff I think extrapolated way too far.

    The Internet censorship issue is a good case in point. My co-editor Hanako Tokita wrote about this story when it was still up for public debate, although it wasn’t picked up again (in English) until just recently. The blogger tokyodo-2005 who’s posts she translated in that article is anything but the “tame beast” described by Mr. Harden: the author is a former journalist, now lawyer who writes about every controversial topic under the sun.

    There are a lot of others like him. Just search for blogs about Okinawa, you get plenty of fiery prose. Kikko is not without her political side either. Or politicians like Hosaka Nobuto’s Doko Doko Nikki is another one. There are tons of them. One of the things many people point out about Japanese blogs is the degree to which the political left-right split is so extreme. Not a positive feature I think, but definitely not a “tame beast” either.

    I feel particularly pissed off about this since we just went to a blogging event (Alpha Bloggers) which showcased a whole slew of different blogs and bloggers, really amazing and so unlike the stereotypes in this article.

    The organizers of the event made a point of admitting how they had until recently been only looking at a small portion of the entire Japanese “blogosphere”, i.e. the household names like Kikko — this year they tried to showcase a lot of less well-known bloggers. If this Japanese group has until recently only been covering a small part of the Japanese web, then no surprise I guess that WP gets it so horribly wrong.

    [grumble grumble]

    Anyway, we’re planning on writing a short post at Global Voices where we’ll see if we can find some Japanese reactions to this article. I’m really interested to see what Japanese bloggers think of the characterization.

    Great great blog by the way.

  5. Yoshino-ya is kinda by-gone topic now.

    “an example of “enjo” or Net bullying that is extremely common here and a phenomenon that I have documented here and there before.”
    Last week the site called 炎ジョイthat gives you the latest update of the info on 炎上
    (the name is a pun for enjoying the 炎上 in other people’s HP) had decided to closed down.

    I’ve been thinking all these foreign journalists spending half of their times net-surfing on internets to look for Japan stories.But judging from all these events happened in the blogsphere past two weeks are not reflecting in the article strongly suggests that they don’t even do that.

    This week’s issue of Newsweek has cover story called “How Japan lost it’s groove”and story basically revolve around why Japan couldn’t make i pod. I wouldn’t call this article as totaly misrepresenting the situation because i-pod episode is widely discussed as an episode that Japan failed to adopt the digital age,even though 40%of i-pod is made in Japan. Problem in the article is the writer goes on saying as”Japan hasn’t invent any electronic gadget since WALKMAN”. He obviously choose to ignore the SONY’s PLAYSTATION and NINTENDO DS/Wii successes to save his angle of the story.Thus making it another typical Japan report from American press. The conclusion always comes first and back up logic and data comes second.

  6. I agree with the majority of comments above. Appalled by the Washington Post articles on so many levels. Great critique!

    Looking forward to your researched response to this article Chris for Global Voices.

  7. Don’t worry about Newsweek, Ace – they have already done DS /Wii revolution bits and they will probably end up with a cover story about how Japan has revolutionized video games again before long. No need for consistency. They will also likely be running “Why did Apple screw the pooch after I-Pod” articles in 10 years or so.

  8. Also, why are we suddenly surprised that crackers are suddenly (wrongly) saying that there is no critical discourse on Japanese blogs when the same types have been (wrongly) saying that there is no critical discourse in Japanese academia / press / non-fiction, etc. for decades?

  9. “but that it lacks a large number of centralized web commentators in the Kikko vein. The fact that Kikko is so popular kinda suggests how undeveloped this field is.”

    And Kikko is said to be multi authored(one of them is rumoured as this book’s author.)
    He is a Syukanshi editor and writer.So I can’t call him genuine blogger coming out from internet.

    I was asked from a western blogger to introduce good Japanese political/social blogs,but couldn’t find something like Huffington Post,partially because we have anything-goes world of Shyukanshi journalism that actually influence public opinion from gossip and conspiracy perspective,your desire of sociall criticism gets satsfied there.
    Where as in America,weekly magazines like TIME and Newsweek are more straight Jacketed journalism and people wants more harsher criticism from talkradios and blogs instead.

  10. Most Japanese magazines (including Shukanshi) have been super slow to move any material online in Japan, but maybe this is because their target audience (of older men) doesn’t want to read the articles on a computer. I get a sense that the number of people who have fully integrated the computer into their lives in Japan is still lower than the Western expectation. But if this changes and some of these popular political/gossip publications “go online”(and we still call every single essay/story site on the web “a blog”) you’ll see a quick increase in Japanese “political” blogs, no?

    Momus is claiming over in his domain that people like “Kikko” and 2-ch are just “exceptions” to the rule, but seeing that they are the “popular” media sources with aggregated readers, they can’t be so easily dismissed. Most of those diary blogs read by four people are essentially hobbies – trees falling in the forest. Thousands of people could be making their own newspapers at home, but we’d hardly think they set the tone for “Japanese media” more than the actual mainstream newspapers that people read. How much critical political coverage does your local weekly community newspaper offer?

  11. The Washington Post has sunk to new lows with this one. I’ve written on how bad a few of their pieces on Japan have been in the past year, and when I watched this video last night I just felt sick. I figured I’d write something about it today, but you’ve already covered it pretty well, I think.

    With the regards to the whole nonsense of ‘blogging to stand out’ versus ‘blogging to fit in’, I instantly thought of LiveJournal as well.

    At any rate, anyone who reads Japanese or pays attention to Japanese blogs knows this report is way, way off. I just don’t really see what the benefit is in perpetuating these false dichotomies instead of producing honest journalistic work.

  12. “But if this changes and some of these popular political/gossip publications “go online”(and we still call every single essay/story site on the web “a blog”) you’ll see a quick increase in Japanese “political” blogs, no?”

    They still have to sell their magazines too,you know.Most of these political gossips are coming out from the chattering class that nests around Nagata-cho kisha clubs.
    Politicians too use them to spread rumors to spin the infos. The great power about shukanshi is their ads. It’s in the major daily and public transportations like trains and subways. People can read the headline there and see what’s going on even without buying a copy. That kind of spreading effect to all social,age and gender classes can’t be expected in internets.2ch is read by otaksu and 20~30 somethings dominated by mostly males. Internets may start to have their own realms of opinion makers only if mass circulated papers and magazines start to decline more rapidly.

  13. Great post,

    But “American journalist gets excited about Japan and writes something that is full of it” is hardly news. I’d be suprised to see a foreign journalistic article about some aspect of Japan that isn’t full of mistakes.

    I remember reading something somewhere about a year back about the whole blogging phenomenon and how the Japanese simply didn’t have the mindset to pick up on it. Some “Japan expert” claiming that the Americans ruled the web and the Chinese were catching up while dowdy old Japan just couldn’t deal with fast and loose world of Internet information flows. Something like that. Whoever wrote that must be hoping no one will ever read his book again.

  14. Adamu:

    The Post article cited stats from Technorati for this; yet Technorati does not pick up pings from many of the blogging systems used in Chinese language areas. As far as I know it does not find blogs from Xanga, Wretch, or other popular platforms in Taiwan. I don’t think it picks up Chinese platforms either. Does it really give a good indication of the relative stance of blogging in China, Japan, and the US? I doubt it.


  15. Technorati also apparently doesn’t pick up on many Korean blogging systems.

    In a slightly unrelated note, the new versions of Word Press link to Google Blog search rather than Technorati on their admin pages. Is something afoot?

  16. Marxy wrote: “Most of those diary blogs read by four people are essentially hobbies – trees falling in the forest. Thousands of people could be making their own newspapers at home, but we’d hardly think they set the tone for “Japanese media” more than the actual mainstream newspapers that people read.”

    I think it’s to the great credit of the Washington Post that they failed to fall into the two traps Marxy fell into right there:

    1. Comparing blogging to old media like newspapers.

    2. Focusing on the spike rather than the long tail.

    Imagine an article about everyday Japanese blogging which said that the huge majority of the content that goes up online daily was “trees falling in the forest”!

  17. If you are going to define the national character of an entire nation (with the implication that this character as “more humble and less argumentative” than the rest of the world), it seems a bit dishonest/ignorant to ignore the massively popular blog-like things on the Japanese internet that completely tell a different story about “criticism” and “expressing opinions.” This article did not even mention the “spike” (aka, famous/popular blogs and internet new media) in relation to the “long tail” (hobby/diary blogs that are hardly read).

    If blogs are “media,” their success and failure should be partially measured through the number of readers who actually use the service. This is similar to a newspaper, for better or worse. I don’t think this article is wrong about all those food blogs, but it’s unfair to see that be a larger pronouncement on the nature of Japanese use of the internet. Relegating things like 2-ch just to “the long tail” is like saying Pitchfork and “Rex’s Totally Awesome Crunk Music Blogg” equally say something about the state of music criticism in the United States.

  18. Momus, if the Washington Post article really set out to describe the “long tail” of Japanese blogs then surely it wouldn’t be contrasting them with the tone of high profile American bloggers. It would be fairer to compare them with the “long tail” of US blogs in which case you would also find diaries and personal narratives but these don’t get a mention in the article. Not to do so makes the mistake of looking at averages by comparing a mode with a mean. So, either the article is deliberately misleading or, more likely, it is just wrong because it mischaracterizes how the internet is used in Japan.

    Incidentally, you can find 2ch doesn’t exist in a separate world away from blogs. You can find major 2ch topics on the Atsui News blog:


    That’s a blog by any definition and you can see that entries regularly attract around a thousand comments and often over two thousand. The current top article is the one that Aceface first linked to above showing that 20% of Japanese find that the internet has become a scarier place compared with a year ago. One of the reasons mention is the problem of enjo which has been mentioned here and also in the comments over on your blog.

  19. “It seems the author falls into the trap of starting with a dazzling premise and getting carried away without bothering to step back and wonder if he’s starting from the right premise or back up his statements.”

    Or as Rumsfeld would say: “You’re beginning with an illogical premise, and proceeding perfectly logically to an illogical conclusion”

    I think you’re being overly critical — the piece is generally correct, no? Japanese blogs are typically diaries, English blogs are heart-on-sleave political. The blogs are generally tame, its the 2ch and bbs posts that are regularly vicious beyond description.

  20. Yes, but it is the arbitrary distinction between “blogs” and “2ch” that is hurting the article. 2ch acts out a lot of the functions in Japan that “blogs” do in the United States. So ignoring that and saying, “Blogs never criticize” is intentionally and arbitrarily limiting your view of “new media” to the point of no longer talking about “Japanese internet behavior” in general. The main point relies upon selective categorization. If you don’t know that 2ch even exists (or that older, established people do blog political topics under their own names with critical content), you are likely to come to the main point of the story: “Bloggers here shy away from politics and barbed language. They rarely trumpet their expertise.”

    For example, the food blogger who will never criticize a restaurant. Sure this is different from similar people in the West (or even Western bloggers in Japan), but this is less of a function of individual intention and more of a society-wide taboo against bottom-up criticism. When anonymity relieves the Japanese individual of these social restrictions, he/she is usually equally (if not more) critical.

  21. But the absolute vast majority of blogs in the US are also lame diaries, indistinguishable from the Japanese ones. It’s just that for some reason they don’t count blogs on Myspace, Facebook, Xanga, Livejournal (do they count LJ?) as “blogs.” What about a comparison of the top 100 blogs in the US and Japan, as Adam did once a year or two ago?

    I’d like to second the notion that the most reprehensible aspect of the piece was the uncritical quoting of Joi Ito. I have nothing against Ito, but as an investor in Technocrati he should be quoted as a company spokesman, not as if he were an independent analyst of some sort.

  22. On Curzon’s point that the basic thrust of the piece is correct:

    It’s sort of true, at least in the sense that the cultural connotation of “blog” in either country does basically reflect the characterization in the piece.

    I mean, on CNN people just say “the blogs” to refer to the Daily Kos/Instapundit type sites that have grown into a political force, but when people mention the word “blog” in Japanese (especially on the news) it tends to imply either Livejournal style food photography (or the journal that a girl keeps to document the poisoning of her mother) or an entertainer/politician’s personal site. 2ch etc. always gets the credit for spreading enjo, rumors, and breaking news because that’s just how the Japanese internet works. But while it’s interesting that the term is used that way to reflect the reality in both countries, it’s not necessarily a key to unlocking the differences.

    I considered going through the Technorati lists again for this post (they’re still there for anyone to check) but it would have been a little time consuming. You can see that in Japan all the political sites that were ranked high about a year ago have been pushed way down in favor of more tech blogs, celebrities, “Co-op Q&A guy” style fads, and 2ch aggregators. I haven’t checked the US side but something tells me it isn’t all that different at least in the types of blogs.

    Remember, the law and court system have essentially determined the rules for anonymity on the Internet in the US, and the verdict seems to be that there’s no hiding behind irresponsible activity. As a result, I think people have as a whole essentially given up on the idea that they’ll never get caught for net harassment. In Japan, meanwhile, Hiroyuki remains a wealthy scofflaw thanks to a toothless and slow court system (and actually enforced anonymity thanks to the Komeito-sponsored Personal Information Protection Law – for reasons including the public’s general preference for it) and 2ch has never really had to answer for its harmful effects. I am dead certain the blogosphere would be “more Japanese” in the US if there were a similar cesspool available.

  23. Just let me intervene in Marxy vs Momus debate just one more time.
    Momus has this great piece on TIME’s “Death of French Culture” in his Click Opera which is somewhat related with the topic. You all might want go over and read it.

    “Time thinks that national character — some sort of innate stubbornness — plays its part in holding France back.”

    “Basically, Morrison(writer of the TIME article) wants badly to prove that cultural protectionism, exceptionalism and subsidy don’t work. “The French government spends 1.5% of GDP supporting a wide array of cultural and recreational activities (vs. only 0.7% for Germany, 0.5% for the U.K. and 0.3% for the U.S.),” the article tells us. “The government provides special tax breaks for freelance workers in the performing arts. Painters and sculptors [sic!] can get subsidized studio space.” Time doesn’t seem to approve of this, and sees it as all part of France’s “decline” (pumping more money in, getting less American-pleasing art out).”

    “Time wants the private sector more involved and cultural institutions given more autonomy. Time likes Sarkozy. “If the private sector got more involved and cultural institutions got more autonomy, France could undergo a major artistic revival,”


  24. That thread is pretty quality. I just read only the first two entries, and they’re already chock full of misinformation.

  25. I just watched the video all the way through, and I have to say that in fact the most reprehensible thing about it is the jerky editing and lame electronic soundtrack. I’m getting flashbacks to 1997-era Internet boosting, and that’s before I even consider the content.

  26. Thanks for this post because when I saw that video report and because I have never been to Japan or thought of looking up Japanese blogs.. I was going to fall in the trap of believing what was being said.. I did think that there was only very few examples of blogs placed in that report.. but this gets me thinking that in this day and age a new stereotyping is emerging and its in the Blog community which supposedly should be to open the communication between land different cultures and having the opportunity to get an idea of the minds of people from other countries through their blogging and through the blogsphere.. but I guess there will always be in the media some people try to push a certain ideas about certain cultures just because they are different or it might serve as bad publicity..

  27. こういうのもあるんだよな。困ったことに



  28. Thanks Tomojiro- I saw that piece earlier and was going to put a link in somewhere. I have to say, everyone should stop saying “enjo” in English discussions IMMEDIATELY. As this linked piece reminds us, “enjo” is nothing but a direct translation of the long established English term “flame” and on reflection, going around using a random foreign language term that was originally translated from English is really beyond absurd.

  29. Roy, I agree with you – inserting Japanese terms unnecessarily is inappropriate, and I avoid it whenever possible.

    But enjo is substantially different from everyday flaming – specifically it refers to “massive flame attacks on blog comment sections” or similar activity. It may have originated as a translation of “flaming” but in the Japanese context it is used differently.

  30. Then call it “mass flaming” or something- it’s still just a slightly different kind of flaming, and it’s also basically the same thing you see in Korea (except you see it WAY more in Korea from what I understand) and I’ve never seen English commentary using whatever the hell the Korean translation of “flaming” is.

  31. ”I’ve never seen English commentary using whatever the hell the Korean translation of “flaming” is.”

    I don’t think it is used in the original Korean language,but 2ch call it,”Hwabyung”
    You see a lot of these in The Marmot hole.

    RECRUIT’s free-paper,R25 has article on “blogs in Japanese” in July.
    Take this Marxy,



    So the upcoming national bestseller wold be entitled as “The Dignity of Blog”?

  32. Ya know, the more I compare the link selection for Clast in English and Clast in Japanese, the more I realize that 75% of our Japanese links are spam blogs. I am starting to question whether these are harder to filter out for foreign search companies/ranking softwares.

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