in Secrets, Sex, and Spectacle

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780226894089
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226894119 | DOI:

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“Who says it” is particularly significant in mass cultures such as Japan and the United States, where the facts of scandal often cannot be ascertained firsthand. This chapter examines four particular groups of players whose role of “saying it” in scandals has been institutionalized: the media, prosecutors, whistleblowers, and scandal professionals. It considers three popular works of fiction, two Japanese and one American: Shūsaku Endō's 1986 novel Sukyandaru (translated as Scandal), Akira Kurosawa's 1950 film Shūbun, and Tom Wolfe's 1987 Bonfire of the Vanities. The chapter also looks at four branches of the Japanese media—periodicals, television, books, and the Internet—and shows that the Japanese media is bifurcated, leaving somewhat credible tabloids to thrive on scandal. In addition, compared with the situation in America, Japanese prosecutorial success creates tremendous stigma—and scandal—at the time of arrest.

Keywords: scandals; Japan; United States; media; prosecutors; whistleblowers; scandal professionals; stigma; tabloids; Bonfire of Vanities

Chapter.  20033 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Law

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