Logan Paul, a famous social media influencer, recently took a trip to Japan. He uploaded a video where he, along with his friends, happened to stumble upon and continued to record a hanging body that recently committed suicide in Aokigahara also known as Japan’s “suicide forest”. This controversy has received a lot of media coverage due to the Western ideals that associate suicide with sin. In contrast to Western beliefs, suicide was seen as an honorable act during feudal Japan, because it showed responsibility in one’s own actions. Historically, they committed suicide to express shame in their actions and to preserve the honor of their family’s name.
Aside from the video of his trip to Aokigahara, Paul documented the rest of his stay and uploaded the videos separately on December 29, December 30, and January 1. During his stay in Japan, Paul did many disrespectful acts such as running around the streets of Japan in traditional Japanese clothing, buying a fish and octopus tentacle only to hold it to strangers, disrespecting a temple, and throwing pokeball pillows at Japanese citizens as well as Japanese policemen.
Japan is a fairly homogeneous country with strict immigration laws, which means that the majority of the citizens of Japan are of Japanese descent. These people have similar societal standards and Logan Paul lacked respect towards Japan and its culture. According to Jenna Kim, a Whitney High School sophomore, Logan Paul is “lucky that Japanese people are polite” and did not verbally express their distaste for his actions. As seen in Paul’s videos, the Japanese people were clearly annoyed by his disrespect and their interactions with him but most of them did not express their feelings of offense and tried their best to leave and continue with what they were doing.
Despite the polite demeanour of the Japanese, many citizens turned to social media to express their inner thoughts. Many people created Youtube video responses and reactions to Logan Paul’s stay in Japan while others posted on their various social media about how disappointed and disturbed they were. People of different ethnicities, not just the Japanese, reacted to Paul’s video; most of the reactions were to criticize Paul for his poor judgment.
Japanese Youtubers have brought light upon the notion that since Logan Paul is a foreigner in a different country, he should adhere to the societal standards. Due to his disrespectful nature, the stereotype that Americans are arrogant and obnoxious has been further enforced.
The people of Japan did not sit in silence against Logan Paul. Many turned to social media such as twitter and Youtube to spread their opinions and feelings towards Paul’s actions. Jonathan Wang, a sophomore at Whitney High School, said that Paul was being disrespectful “for the views”. Many people wish that since Paul is such a huge influence on the youth that he could be more conscious as to what content he posts on his Youtube channel. The amount of disrespect that Logan Paul displayed negatively affected Japan as well as the Youtube community as a whole, and both are not sitting in silence anymore.