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Marie Foster, Editor-in-Chief

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Twenty two-year-old YouTube star Logan Paul has found himself in some trouble when he made the decision to take to Japanese streets and repeatedly make offensive comments and perform racist actions towards the Japanese citizens. Paul also found himself in trouble when on a different occasion he ventures into Aokigahara, also known as the Japanese Suicide Forest, where he also made offensive comments towards the Japanese community.

The Beginning

Paul has a long history with criticizing and disrespecting Japanese culture and the civilians of Japan. In a vlog posted by Paul, within the first few minutes, Paul states “I just got to be careful not to disrespect [Japanese] culture … So I need to bring my chach levels down.” For those who do not know, according to Urban Dictionary, chach is defined as “a person (usually male), who attempts to exhibit a cool and popular look but generally comes across as a [jerk].” By stating this sentence, he is attempting to state that he will be a respectful visitor to the country, yet as the video goes on, he shows to contradict himself. After stating he will be “careful not to disrespect” Japanese culture, the vlog cuts to a clip of Paul and Paul’s friend running down the streets of Japan, screaming at the top of their lungs, being completely obnoxious. After screaming and running down the street, Paul stops on the side of the street, in front of a shop, and says, “How far can we take this?” Then, he claps his hands and sounds extremely frantic. Paul shows no remorse for disturbing the peace, but instead wonders what can be done to be even more obnoxious to Japanese civilians. He decides that, to take it up a notch, he and the mentioned friend will continue to run down the streets screaming, but this time they will dress up in Japanese style clothing, as Paul carries a Japanese flag behind him. This seems harmless, until the camera shows that there are indecipherable words written in black ink on the flag. This is not only obnoxious but incredibly disrespectful to the beliefs of the Japanese people and to the Japanese culture. Paul and friends attend a type of Japanese club, where Paul is seen on stage with two girls. While on stage, Paul grabs a microphone and shouts out his Instagram by saying “Follow me on Instagram @LoganPaul.” He very blatantly interrupts the show to self promote his personal social media. It was not the time or necessarily place for this to be done. Along with self promoting, Paul also takes to the streets of Japan to shout, “go to loganpaul.com/shop,” and to buy his merchandise. This is once again an example of disrupting the peace and being completely obnoxious to the civilians.  

Disrespecting Japanese Work

In another part of Logan Paul’s vlog, he is seen walking around in a shop, where he finds a Game Boy Color. In one shot, he is seen picking the Japanese made device up and commenting on it. In the next shot, Paul is seen screaming, raising the Game Boy above his head and throwing it down onto the ground. As if that were not disrespectful enough, Paul proceeds to go outside and smash the Game Boy onto the pavement. Pieces of the device go flying. Following him throwing the Game Boy onto the pavement, the video seems to show Paul go back into the shop, go up to the worker at the front of the shop, and say, “Excuse me sir, the game seems to be malfunctioning. Much-o broken-o.” This is portraying Paul as not only being disrespectful to the Japanese store worker, but also mocking and being disrespectful to hispanic culture as well.

Disrespecting Japanese Entertainment

After the store incident, the video cuts to a scene where Paul is seen screaming “Pikachu” at the top of his lungs, while dressed in a Pikachu onesie. He then is seen with a plush toy: Poke Ball. He begins to throw the Poke Ball at both objects and civilians. Paul throws the plush Pokeball at a Toyota car, which is a Japanese made car company. Paul is also seen throwing the ‘Pokeball’ at a civilian, and when it hits him saying “Got you b****.” Paul also proceeds to throw the pokeball at law officials.

Both Videos

Logan Paul began to strip in the middle of the street, following the Poke Ball incident, pulling his pants down and revealing his undergarments. A very good example of public indecency. Along with public indecency, Paul proves to be the stereotypical ‘celebrity’. While a worker is driving a truck, Paul jumps onto the back of the truck, and says, “Why use my feet when I don’t have to?” This is both disrespectful and egotistical.

Logan Paul and friends go to a side shop on the streets of Japan, and Paul says, “I want to buy this,” while pointing to a dead, raw fish. “I’m not going to eat it, I just want it for content,” Paul states. This shows he was going to commit another disrespectful act regarding the Japanese and what they eat in their culture. He proves this accusation to be true when he goes up to a restaurant window and holds the raw fish up to the window for customers to see. Paul finishes the vlog by setting the raw fish on the back of a parked taxi cab and saying, “You know what, I’m done with these fish,” and proceeds to walk away. After this particular video, another video surfaced, once again portraying Paul being disrespectful to Japanese Culture.

Suicide Forest

While still in Japan on his trip, Paul took a trip into the Japanese Suicide Forest. He uploaded this video onto his channel, believed to be on his vlog channel, Logan Paul Vlogs, and then proceeded to use the image of the deceased body in his thumbnail for the video. The vlog, that was titled ‘We Found a Dead Body in the Japanese Suicide Forest’, has since been removed from YouTube.

As introducing the video, Paul says “So buckle the [freak] up, because you’re never going to see a video like this again.” This statement shows that Paul was being extremely egotistical, and this was a telltale sign the video was only going to go downhill from here. His choice of using a profane word in the beginning of a vlog about them venturing into a forest known for suicides and finding a dead body does not look good. Being egotistical and using profane words in a video about such a sensitive topic is extremely rude.

Paul also states in the opening of the video that he is “pretty sure this has never happened to anyone on YouTube ever.” This seems to me that he was almost excited about finding somebody’s family member hanging deceased from a tree because he knew how many views he would get out of the video. Paul continues his act by faking karate chopping movements and making karate noises.

Jokes About The Dead

Continuing on with the joking, Paul’s friend says, “Dead serious though.” The cameraman then proceeds to say, “Don’t say dead,” which is followed by laughter from Paul and his friends. Paul states, “You can’t say dead at a suicide forest,” where he then proceeds to point his finger in his friends face and laughs at what he just said. This is not the only joke that Paul makes as a reference to the dead. Upon arriving to their car in the parking lot of the forest, Paul says, “So allegedly this place is haunted. Well, I [freaking] hope not because we’re spending the night here.” Once again Paul uses profane language while making sick jokes about the deceased. At no point should anything in this video of been taken as a joke. The sick death jokes do not stop there. “We got binoculars so we can see the ghosts,” Paul states as he puts the binoculars over his eyes. “Hi, ghosts!” Paul says while smiling.

Logan Paul also takes a stab at his success as he says, “I will say if I’m going to get haunted by a ghost, I’m going to do it in my [freaking] Gucci jacket. I want to look good.” This is extremely unnecessary, especially in a video about a suicide. Paul boasted about his wealth and fame in a time and place where he was only ever going to come off as a jerk.

Paul Plays With Fire

While walking through the Japanese Suicide Forest, Paul stops and says, “Hey, I really hate to say this, [but] I think there is someone hanging right there. I’m not even freaking kidding.” At this point, Paul and friends have discovered the unfortunate deceased body hanging from the tree. As they pan the camera to the body, Paul is several yards back. If he actually had any type of remorse for the deceased and his family, he would have ended the video there, put some hotline numbers in the video to direct people if they needed help and deeply apologized for his actions. Neither Paul or his friends do either of these things. As if keeping the video going was not already hurting his social career, as Paul’s security says we need to call the police, Paul agrees. Not only does he agree to actually do the right, logical thing at that point, but he ruins his possible good deed by continuing to walk towards the body, for no other reason it seems than to get a better look for him, his friends and for the ‘Logang’ as he calls his fans.  At this moment, Paul has 15,773,300 subscribers. His main audience for his channel are children and adolescents. He knew where his demographic was, knowing these younger viewers were going to see this but of course that was not thought of. He was too selfish for his own good in this moment and for the remainder of the vlog.

Paul finally gets to where he wants to be, right up on the body. Paul shows the blue hands of the deceased body and proceeds to talk to the body. “Yo, are you alive? Are you [messing] with us?” Paul stated. It’s very obvious that the man is indeed not okay, yet Paul and friends continue to talk to the body, as if in a sick way mocking it to try to get the body to talk. He stated when he first saw the body that he believed the body was indeed deceased. Paul asking the victim questions is extremely sick and not at all needed. This is someone’s family member.  Paul got all close and personal to a deceased family member. The victim had a mom, dad and grandparents.  Paul was just showing the body to the whole world. Paul did have the decency to blur the face of the victim out, but like it was stated, he walked so close to the body you could decipher the color of the victims hands.

Paul and friends do begin to state that even if they did not find the suicide victim, they were going to disclaim that suicide and depression is not a joke and that there are people who care, but as previously stated, no numbers or websites were mentioned to provide people with suicidal thoughts to go to if they felt the need to.

While standing next to the corpse, Paul says, “You never stand next to a dead guy?” Then, he  laughs and gestures to the body. This once again shows that Paul has no decency for the victim or the victim’s family. He and his friends are making morbid jokes about the body, after disclaiming that suicide is not a joke. Paul appears to be extremely hypocritical and at this point the audience can only be left to believe Paul could care less about the situation.

For the third time since the body is discovered, Paul brings the camera close to the body. Once again, leaving the audience to believe he could care less about the victim. He states that the victim’s bag is still right next to him and that he has a wallet in his back pocket. He then states, “I will say, as you know we have blurred the face of the victim, to protect their identity.” Congratulations, Paul. He did indeed blur the face of the victim out but that almost undershadows the fact that he got close to the body numerous times and should not of been in the forest in the first place. Paul does also state that authorities were indeed called and were on their way, but at this point in the video, that almost means nothing when he exploited the victim numerous times throughout the video.

Paul again makes another stab at the situation and says, “Four days ago I was literally dying,” when talking about how frequently he uploads, and why he had not uploaded one day. Paul realizes what he said, and never once apologizing goes on to say, “Oh [crap], I was sick.” He seems to make yet another joke of the situation. Understandably, some people make jokes when they go through a traumatic time because it is how they cope with things. But, with the constant jokes and racist remarks throughout the entire vlog, I and the audience are only left to believe that he was genuine and aware about what he was doing.

The Closing

Paul closes the video by saying, “All jokes aside.” The start of the sentence is completely outrageous as jokes should never of even been thought of to use in a video of such a sensitive topic. He continues his sentence with “suicide, mental illnesses, [and] depression are very real things. There are people that love you guys, there are people that care about you. Suicide is not the answer.” He goes on to say, “Being depressed is fine. What’s not okay is when you don’t seek help or talk to people.” I completely disagree with this statement. Most people who suffer with suicidal thoughts or depression are much too scared or worried to express their feelings about what they are thinking. The fact that he makes it seem like it is completely wrong to not get help is wrong. He is broadcasting this to such a young audience, and he is a big influence on the younger minds. Not to say that Paul has never suffered with any of the above, but from personal experience, it is not just as easy as opening your mouth and saying, “I need help.” It is much more scary and much more complicated than that. Paul also closes the video by telling his own personal way of attempting to make fans who may be having suicidal thoughts better. Of course, still not offering any professional help by providing hotlines or websites. This almost seems selfish, and the lack of services in the video proves that he only cared about himself and his views, instead of the actual wellbeing of his fans.

Japanese on Suicide: The Statistics

Suicide in Japan has become a national issue, and in 2014, 70 Japanese people committed suicide every single day, most of which were men. The men ranged from the demographic of 20-44-years-old, and the elderly.

“Isolation is the number one precursor for depression and suicide,” says Wataru Nishida, a psychologist at Tokyo’s Temple University. Nishida also believes that lack of religion could also be a reason that suicide rates in Japan are so high.  

“Japan has no history of Christianity,” Nishida stated. “So here suicide is not a sin. In fact, some look at it as a way out of taking responsibility.” Financial trouble also seems to be a reason why suicide rates may be so high. Elderly people who are in financial trouble may see suicide as a way out of their problems. The insurance system in Japan is “very lax when it comes to paying out for suicide,” Ken Joseph from the Japan Helpline stated. Because of the insurance system, most suicides in Japan are not documented. Police simply never fully investigate all suicide reports. The suicide rate is believed to be much higher than reported.

As stated, isolation is the number one reason for depression and suicide. Japan is famous for the condition called Hikikomori. Hikikomori is defined as a condition where “people refuse to leave their house, and isolate themselves from society for a period exceeding 6 months.” Seven hundred thousand individuals living with the condition have an average age of 31-years-old. Hikikomori is mostly a Japanese phenomenon, but cases are also found in the United States, Spain, Italy, South Kore and France.

Japan has the third highest suicide rate, according to BBC News. This makes sense because unlike America or Europe, there is no government mandated system of training and qualifying clinical psychologists. According to BBC News, anyone can set themselves up as a counselor and it is extremely hard for someone seeking help to decipher between someone who knows what they are doing or someone who does not know what they are doing. This is extremely unfortunate and may also help explain the suicide rate in Japan.

Information on Japanese statistics found on http://www.bbc.com/news/world-33362387. I am not a professional. If you or a loved one is suffering from suicidal thoughts, tendencies, or

depression, a certified hotline and website has been left below, and are willing to help. Suicide is a serious manner, and should be taken seriously.  

 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

1-800-273-8255

Suicide Prevention Website

Provides information about the helpline, and information on how to get help, learn about suicide prevention, get involved, or even look at providers and professionals.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

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