The term “netouyo” has become widespread in East Asia over the past few years to describe the right-wing shift apparent in comments left on certain message boards and websites.
This J-CAST article is a response to a recent Chinese article in which an anonymous scholar estimated that the true number of netouyo among Japanese internet users was around 3,000,000, which attempts to test the credibility of such claims.
Is China’s People’s Daily Claim That “There Are 3,000,000 Netouyo” Credible?: “People Only Post Abuse On Articles Related To China Or Korea”
“There Are As Many As 3,000,000 Netouyo” — So said an article that was recently published in The People’s Daily, the organ of the Chinese Communist Party.
It was an alarmist piece, that claimed that there were this many anti-foreign Japanese internet users, but among Japanese internet users themselves there are voices that both doubt and reject this claim.
■ “Anti-China, Anti-Korea”, “Support For Yasukuni Visits”, “Online They Can Speak Frankly”
The article that stated “There are 3,000,000 netouyo” is an article from the August 16 2013 digital edition of The People’s Daily.
“A certain scholar” listed the characteristics of the netouyo as: (1) Anti China, hate Korea; (2) Support politician’s visits to Yasukuni, constitutional revision, expansion of military, patriotic education; (3) Speak frankly about these things online. This “scholar” also stated that according to a survey, there were up to 3,000,000 internet users in Japan who fulfilled these criteria.
The article gave the example that the Yahoo! Japan News comment sections on articles related to China or Korea were filled with abusive comments, and complained that “‘Netouyo’ are steadily taking the lead in online public opinions in Japan”, further warning that “We are surely not far from the day when we will be confronted with a Japan that is infested with anti-foreign thought, so much so that online patriotism [nationalism], which lacks the correct kinds of guidance, will ruin foreign relations”.
The number “3,000,000” is assumed to have been based on the results of a survey entitled “An Experimental Study On The Phenomenon Of The Internet ‘Right Wing Shift'” published in 2008 by Tsuji Daisuke, an associate professor at the Osaka University Human Sciences Research Institute.
That survey was a web-based survey carried out among approximately 1000 men and women, the results of which showed that 3.1% of people “responded that they felt ‘not much’ or ‘no’ affinity toward either ‘Korea’ or ‘China'”, “responded “I agree” or “I agree somewhat” with three out of the following five statements:’The Prime Minister and ministers officially visiting the Yasukuni Shrine’; ‘Revision of article 9 of the Japanese constitution’; ‘Raising the flag and singing the national anthem at ceremonies in elementary and middle-school’; ‘Patriotic education in elementary and middle-schools'”; “responded that over the past year, they ‘had’ done one of the following: ‘Written their opinions or thoughts on a personal homepage’; ‘Commented using their own opinions or thoughts on someone else’s blog’; ‘Participated in a debate on a message board or via a mailing list etc'”.
According to the Heisei 25  edition of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ “White Paper On Information And Telecommunications In Japan”, at the end of 2012 the number of internet users in Japan was 96,520,000 people. It appears that the 3,000,000 mentioned in the article was derived from 3.1% of this number.
“Are You Netouyo Just Because You Hate Korea?” “I Guess That If You Make A Slightly Right-Wing Remark You’re A Netouyo”
In the results of a questionnaire called “Countries That Represent A Military Threat To Japan” aimed at 1000 Japanese citizens, that was published by the Yomiuri Shimbun in February 2013, 37% or respondents answered “Korea”. In a previous survey held between November and December 2011, this figure was 23%, revealing that in just one year the number of people responding that Korea was a military threat to Japan had risen by 14%.
Furthermore, in August 2012 the Sanin Chuo Shimpo newspaper reported that the number of people who visted the “Takeshima Resource Room”, which was set up in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture in April 2007, had risen sharply.
Putting aside whether or not these things might have a cause-effect relationship, whenever this kind of information is reported, we tend to see online that “this is because the number of netouyo has risen”.
Moreover, in an article dated November 2011 from the major Korean newspaper, the Choson Ilbo, covered the results of a cabinet survey with the headline, “59% Of People Feel No Affinity Toward Korea, and 80.6% Feel No Affinity Toward China — Highest In History”. The article suggested that “The postwar generations, who received a distorted historical education, constitute the larger part of the population, and the number of people who think that for Korea and China to prompt Japan to reflect on its own history is ‘coercion on the part of Korea and China’ is increasing”.
And this time, the surprising figure of “3,000,000 netouyo” is being reported, but it seems that Japanese internet users don’t really have any sense of this being the case.
There were those who commented without taking the news very seriously, saying “Wow, there are more than 3,000,000 of them”; “In no time at all they’ve become such an online force w“, but there were also voices of opposition towards being termed “netouyo”, with comments such as “Right, so if you make a slightly right-wing remark = you’re a complete netouyo?”, and “I can’t really understand the logic behind treating people as netouyo just because they hate Korea”.
Comments from Yahoo! Japan:
It’s not that they’re netouyo, there’s a tendency even for very ordinary Japanese people to be critical of China and Korea.
Just because Japanese people are meek, you lot got carried away and went too far.
Thanks to you, Japan might be able to return to being a normal country.
It’s not just netouyo who comment here.
They should know that it’s just how much China and Korea are hated.
Isn’t it just because they’re all articles that deserve abuse?
Senkaku, Takeshima, poisoned foods, that made up-stuff about the comfort women…
Where have they ever lauded the virtues of China and Korea?
The cause of this is China and Korea. Getting involved in the Senkaku Islands. Illegally occupying Takeshima. And there’s other stuff too.
Right-wing shift= people who get involved commenting on false articles, because the content of reporting by China, Korea, and the Japanese media has become absurd.
A short while back, there was no way for me to confirm whether there were people out there other than me who thought “isn’t this weird?”, even when there were really dubious articles by the media, plus when I responded to the comments section of the newspapers, all my responses were rejected.
I’m happy that there is now a place where people other than the media and paid critics can have their voices heard.
In the old days, even I wasn’t interested in this stuff. But when time after time when China and Korea are making obscene accusations and trying to drag Japan down, I just couldn’t stay quiet. So all that’s happened is that your unpleasantness is being mirrored.
Isn’t this stupid?
There are loads of idiots about who tend to use the word “netouyo”, but it’s just that the number of Japanese people who hate China and Korea have simply increased.
In particular, the foolish behavior of Korea, like an incurable disease, just makes us hate them.
Thanks to the internet, we known the lies of Korea and Communist China, and we know the fearful ugliness of Koreans.
3,000,000 netouyo? There must be more than that.
And what’s a netouyo anyway? They’re almost all people who are saying normal things.
Anti-Communist China. Anti-Korea. If that’s what it means to be a netouyo, then over 80% of Japan is netouyo.
Plus, in a few decades’ time, their [China and Korea’s] Japanese brethren (the left wing) will be extinct.
It’s certain that the number of people who hate China and Korea have increased. But not all of the people who hate Korea and China are netouyo.
Nothing to be done about it, you reap what you sow. It’s because China and Korea anger Japanese people.