This week’s What I’ve Been Reading is all about East Asia. So let’s hop on a plane and get to it!

  • We begin with the Logan Paul controversy, and if you already know who Logan Paul is, then you’re probably shuddering right now. For those of you who don’t know, he’s a YouTube vlogger who visited Aokigahara (a.k.a the “Suicide Forest”) on a trip to Japan, where he filmed a video making jokes about a dead body hanging from a tree. Needless to say, this wasn’t very well-received, and he was swiftly condemned by all corners of the Internet. Twitter user @flavordays has a good Twitter thread explaining the history of Aokigahara and why Paul’s actions were so disrespectful.
  • Unfortunately, it seems like the Aokigahara video was just the tip of the iceberg for Paul. He also filmed a series of “prank” videos in Japan where he harassed people going about their daily lives and generally caused a ruckus. Popular YouTuber That Japanese Man Yuta breaks down exactly what was wrong with Paul’s behaviour.
  • Moving on from the Paul controversy, there is increasing concern about Chinese academic censorship and how it might be worming its way into Western academic practice. Writing for the Times Higher Education, Tao Zhang, Clive Hamilton, Tim Pringle, and Roger Watson have a series of pieces on the subject. As a strong supporter of academic freedom and free speech, this concerns me greatly.

That’s all for now. See y’all later for more blog posts.