Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Can Someone Else Write This Post, Please?

There is a blog post that probably should be written about a micro-abomination committed by the Asia Society against the reputation of this blessed land.

You have to start with this bit of text on the Asia Society's blog (Link) by Shreeya Sinha. Her bio is displayed to the right of the text.

The text tries to justify the Asia Society awarding a grant to videographer Okahara Kosuke, who has produced a documentary following the lives of six women who cut themselves. The text claims that self-injury is a major social problem among women in Japan, which unfortunately for Ms. Sinha, is untrue.  We know this is so because an article in the journal Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences finds:
The present study clarified that 9.9% of junior and senior high-school students (male, 7.5%; female, 12.1%) reported a lifetime experience of deliberate self-injury at least once. These findings confirm our previous studies using a small sample, which reported that the prevalence of self-injury in male and female junior high-school students was 8.0% and 9.3%5 and that 14.3% of female senior high-school students reported self-cutting at least once. The present results also appear to be approximately consistent to the prevalence of self-injury in other countries: 11.2% of female high-school students in the UK, 12%of female university students in the USA, 13.9% of Canadian adolescents, although only Turkish high-school students had a higher prevalence of self-injury (21.4%).
A hat tip has to be given to Mark McDonald, a writer from The New York Times Rendezvous blogs, whose post on the Asia Society's display of Okahara's work links to the journal Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences article, even though the findings therein undermine the assertion that Japanese young women engage in self-injury at rates that are somehow aberrant.

Getting back to the text by Ms. Sinha, she makes a real go of proving the unprovable by offering a citation (Link).  Unfortunately for Ms. Sinha (I repeat myself) the citation is a secondhand report from a self-published sex memoir of a Jamaican-American former English teacher entitled -- and here would be an excellent place to toss in an "and I am not making this up" -- Black Passenger Yellow Cabs: Of Exile and Excess in Japan. That the citation misspells the name of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and offers no clue as to where one can find the study cited is hardly noticeable in a paragraph where the first sentence has the former teacher claiming to have had sexual relations with 40 women in his first three years in Japan and 20 more after his retirement from playing the field (his italics, not yours or mine).

Having navigated through this jaw-dropping passage, you might want to work in the Abe Shinzo quote the Society is so proud to display on its website:
"The Asia Society has been playing an important role in deepening ties and understanding among the peoples of Asia-Pacific and the United States. I truly expect the Asia Society will enhance this role for furthering the region's stability and prosperity."
Those with some stamina might want to double back to work on the second half of the McDonald Rendezvous post, where he visits with the hikikomori phenomenon, this in order to rekindle the debate on whether or not the hikikomori exist as a statistical or clinical entity.

So, whoever you are, please write this post -- because, frankly typing, I just cannot bring myself to do it.

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