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Japanese set the blogs on 'sleazy Australian' writer | theage.com.au

The Age - Business News, World News & Breaking News in Australia

World

Japanese set the blogs on 'sleazy Australian' writer

NOT so long ago Ryann Connell, an Australian journalist based in Japan, pointed out happily that he was doing his "dream job".

Since accepting police protection from incensed Japanese last week, the chief editor of the Mainichi Daily News English website has been more circumspect.

In the past month the 39-year-old, originally from Melbourne, has become one of the most reviled figures in Japan, where thousands of posters have flooded chat sites to decry the "sleazy Australian journalist" who they feel has deliberately besmirched Japan's image around the world.

Connell's troubles began in May with one of his now infamous "WaiWai" columns, which cited a Japanese magazine article about a restaurant where patrons allegedly have sex with animals before eating them.

The piece caught the attention of a blogger called "mozu", whose angry post was soon picked up by 2channel, a huge, fractious web forum popular with Japan's hot-headed conservative element.

There it triggered an explosion of bile and culminated in a co-ordinated attack on Connell, his family, the Mainichi and its sponsors, some of which have dropped advertising estimated to be worth millions of yen.

The Mainichi, whose Japanese-language newspaper has the fourth-highest circulation in the world, has issued a 1277-word explanation and apology. It has also terminated the column, reprimanded some staff and put Connell on three months of "disciplinary leave".

When contacted this week, Connell said he was unable to comment. But The Age believes he has received death threats and is under strict police instructions to stay at home until things die down. Since he began contributing to the Mainichi newspaper column in 1998, Connell has trawled Japan's smut-filled weekly magazines to bring mostly unsourced tales of the utterly shocking and often improbable to the English-speaking world.

There are many WaiWai stories, such as the one about mothers who pleasure their sons to stop them from chasing girls at the expense of school work. Continued...

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