Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Read This: Japan is too fluent in conspiracy theories to fall for QAnon's tricks

Was this the guy named Via Getty?
Was this the guy named Via Getty?
Photo: Win McNamee (Getty Images)

QAnon fever has infected the minds of a lot of people. Like...a lot of people. And not just in America, as you might think (or, at the very least, hope) would be the case. No, crusaders against the international Democratic cabal of Satanic, pedophilic baby eaters hellbent on 5G microchip COVID-19 inoculations can reportedly be found in at least 70 nations across the world. As terrifying as that is, there remains at least one bastion against the chauvinistic MAGA cult: Japan.

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“[QAnon] flopped in Japan, a country that’s no stranger to conspiracy theories. Even as Western media has portrayed otherwise, there are hardly any Q followers among the Japanese,” writes Matt Alt in a recent, fascinating op-ed for The New York Times, adding that the movement, most importantly, “has failed the test for the nation’s conspiracy connoisseurs.”

“It’s too naïve for our readership,” Takeharu Mikami, editor of the long-running Japanese conspiracy/UFO/cryptid publication Mu explained in another recent interview. To make a long story short, it’s not that the Japanese are strangers to all manner of offbeat, deadly cults and conspiracy theories; far from it. But it’s that legacy—coupled with a very particular combination of cultural, journalistic, and media trends—that guards most Japanese citizens from QAnon’s absurd claims.

“Much of Japanese culture takes pains to avoid conflict, leaving little room for the ideological combat favored by QAnon supporters.... Without the accelerant of identity politics, QAnon’s polarizing memes just can’t grip the Japanese psyche,” adds Alt.

It’s not all positive, unfortunately. Japan still struggles with generational malaise and its own fomenting conspiracies, so the Japanese certainly still have their work cut out for them. But at least they don’t have to endure terrible caricatures of Nancy Pelosi eating an infant forwarded to their email inbox every morning from their aunt.

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Andrew Paul is a contributing writer with work recently featured by NBC Think, GQ, Slate, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He writes the newsletter, (((Echo Chamber))).