Was perusing my RSS feeds when I found this story on J-List’s blog. I find it personally tragic that Ms. Montgomery’s work was even nominated, but I didn’t think it would win, given all of the glaring problems associated with it. It’s literally just a cultural hit-piece designed to preach a biased, pro-censorship approach at the expense of a fair assessment of the matters.
I gave the documentary a watch when it came out, and was appalled to see all of the falsehoods and downright manipulative tactics employed by the ‘journalist’, and even took to Twitter (back when I had one) to share my criticisms with Ms. Montgomery regarding her work, who would subsequently disable Tweet replies to all of her posts.
It nauseated me to no end seeing her work be celebrated by uninformed observers.
The fact that it was even nominated for anything stands as a glaring mark against the credibility of the ‘Emmys’, but the fact that it was awarded deeply undermines the value of the Emmys.
Anyway… here’s the blog post.
We previously discussed Hanako Montgomery’s disparagement of Japanese manga. The Vice News reporter denigrated hard-working creators as pedophiles. Through that, she insulted those mangaka’s paying customers and the freedom of speech laws that allow them the creativity to produce manga. Vice and their reporter Ms. Montgomery did so with underhanded and unlawful tactics, such as recording in a manga store against the owner’s wishes. Winning an Emmy shows support for poor journalistic integrity.
Their arrogance even saw Vice misrepresent a sitting politician. When the Japanese people learned of just how much they had been insulted, Vice region-locked the video and struck down reuploads, even those with subtitles, to essentially insult an entire country behind blocked content.
These slurs and insults to Japanese creators, customers, and the very law would be rewarded rather than punished. Ms. Hanako Montgomery was nominated for, and indeed won, an Emmy during the 44th News and Documentary Emmy Awards on September 27th. Yes, the Academy saw fit to award a hack writer who insulted an entire country. Let’s summarize the finer details of what Vice and the Academy enabled and rewarded.
Attack on Manga
The centerpiece of Ms. Montgomery’s heavily biased piece was an attack on manga and those who work on and purchase manga. This is the piece that exposed Ms. Montgomery not as a reporter, but as an activist with a target in her sights.
You’ll note that the comments are turned off in the above video. The video has also been heavily downvoted because people know slurs and insults to an entire country when they see it. At the time of writing, the video has 47k downvotes to 18k upvotes, which is viewable with a YouTube plugin.
Ms. Montgomery asserted that the Japanese laws that allow for freedom of speech and creativity were wrong because they allowed mangaka to draw fictional underage characters. It is her opinion that freedom of speech creates victims. Ms. Montgomery focuses more on hypothetical victims rather than actual victims.
Lolicon-type characters were singled out for Ms. Montgomery’s provocative claims that fictional characters being objectified would lead to actual people being harmed. Vice themselves admitted that no such data exists to prove this accusation. To substantiate her claims, she interviewed someone who was busted for trying to sell underage content of herself, and a mangaka who draws scenarios of young girls being assaulted. She equated these examples to the likes of In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki, a comedy series about ninja girls. However, there’s a glaring difference between how mangaka handle fictional girls and Japan’s efforts to protect real children.
Hanako Montgomery didn’t highlight In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki by name. However, she did go to an anime convention and intentionally panned over a poster of this series. However, these negative connotations did not go unnoticed. Soichiro Yamamoto, the creator of In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki, or any mainstream mangaka for that matter, did not appear in the biased documentary.
Ms. Montgomery simply followed in the footsteps of BBC Three reporter Stacey Dooley. Ms. Dooley traveled to Japan in 2017 with the same argument: manga featuring underage characters endangers real children. Yes, Karen colonizers have been trying to make Japan follow Western culture for years now. It’s like reverse cultural appropriation, and it’s incredibly racist.
Filming Without Permission
Before her time in Japan came to an end, Stacey Dooley was arrested for filming in an area without permission. Ms. Montgomery did the same thing, only she didn’t get busted. She visited the Melon Books Akihabara store. Hanako Montgomery admitted that, when they asked for permission to film, they were denied it. Rather than respecting the store owner’s decision, Ms. Montgomery and her cameraman hid a camera and went inside to record anyway, which is not acceptable.
Many stores and private businesses have signs that tell visitors not to film in their establishments. This applies to both public and private places. You can’t simply film people without permission. There are certain laws, and general etiquette to adhere to when filming and photographing in Japan. Melon Books refused. However, when they discovered the deception, they posted a comparison photo to show that Vice News filmed there anyway.
Misrepresenting a Politician
Journalists can and should hold the powers that be to task. Politicians are not above interrogation by journalists. Minoru Ogino is a member of the Ota Ward Assembly. He focuses on issues of freedom of expression within the creative arts. Vice News heavily edited his segment and used video manipulation to mischaracterize him. Upon discovering Vice News’s edits, Mr. Ogino explained his positions more clearly on Twitter, as he was concerned that people overseas would get the wrong impression of him. Mr. Ogino doesn’t approve of underage manga, but he’ll defend the creator’s rights.
Ms. Montgomery and Vice edited the video to make the scene look darker. Mr. Ogino suggested that the video was edited to be darker and make him look like a gangster. He eventually had some fun with it. However, it’s startling that Vice News would use such deceptive measures when interviewing a politician.
There’s nothing more shameful than insulting someone behind a block. So it was that when Vice uploaded their slur-filled video that attacked Japan, they turned off comments and region-blocked the video. Mr. Ogino wondered why Japan was blocked from seeing the video. It was asserted that someone who was interviewed asked for it to be blocked, but no one came forward to claim credit.
Japanese fans discovered Vice’s attempts to keep them in the dark and reuploaded the original video. Many had Japanese subtitles, which were especially popular. Vice struck all of these down, but mirrors and the archive link still exist.
The Emmy Awards
Many in Japan and beyond were stunned and disgusted when Ms. Montgomery’s xenophobic hit piece was nominated for an Emmy in “Outstanding Arts, Culture or Entertainment Coverage.” It was around this time that she turned off her Twitter and Instagram replies. It was an even greater shock and tragedy when Hanako Montgomery won an award for insulting an entire country and people because she believed that their culture should move to reflect Western values and sensibilities. The Academy awarded her for her biased reporting, her breach of public etiquette when she filmed in a store without permission, and for misrepresenting a ranking politician.
Of course, calling mangaka and their customers pedophiles for drawing underage girls, and accusing Japanese lawmakers of ensuring their freedoms, only serves to protect actual pedophiles by watering down the term. Must mangaka put “no actual humans were harmed in the making of this manga” on each issue?
Not only is this a mark against the Academy for awarding a glorified blogger with no journalistic integrity, but it is also a sign to others with fewer morals to do the same. No doubt we will see an influx of hack writers like her posing as journalists releasing hit pieces while expecting to be defended and rewarded. This is harmful to real journalists and journalism as a whole. It’s a disgrace to everyone involved. It is especially harmful to Japan, as Vice News denigrated their entire country, legal system, and market and was then rewarded for their travesty of reporting.
A Manga Reader’s Take
I’ve been an otaku since I was a kid. I have read numerous manga series and seen many anime series. Japan offers many more titles that I still wish to read and watch. So it hits me especially hard when someone denigrates a hobby I enjoy so much. I have read and seen the Negima series, notable for its lolis and shotas. I also read Uq Holder from the same mangaka-turned-politician Ken Akamatsu. I’m currently reading My Next Life as a Villainess and Tearmoon Empire, two more series notable for loli characters. I know Hanako Montgomery would hate those, but she can pry them from my cold, dead hands.
Ms. Montgomery released a hit piece that took aim at an entire country. She attacked the very concept of freedom of speech and creativity because of her biased and baseless opinions. Not only that, Vice News supported her hack activist work. They tried to prevent Japan from knowing what these Western people said about them on a global stage.
Child porn and child abuse are not okay. Attempting to fight it by going after innocent parties isn’t useful, however. Mr. Montgomory fired seemingly indiscriminately, and that was unethical too.
This is also another attack on Japanese manga. Countries, including ours and even Australia, have been targeting Japanese manga for perceived crimes. Japan allows for a great deal of freedom of the arts. That’s unacceptable to supposedly free countries. In their opinion, thought crimes must be punished. My opinion is this: read whatever you want. If people like Ms. Montgomery complain, ignore them. Money talks and nonsense walks, and we are the paying customers. I can’t imagine people like Hanako Montgomery have ever spent a dollar or yen on any manga.