Coach Moriyasu Slammed on the Internet Despite Qualifying in Soccer World Cup
Why does such a divergence occur? We asked Shinichi Yamaguchi, Associate Professor at the Center for Global Communications, International University of Japan. Yamaguchi is an expert in Internet media theory and the author of a book titled “A Study of Internet Flames.”
He says, “The basic premise is that it is a matter of course that people who meet people do not speak ill of them. People who post on the Internet are not interested in personalities, but only in how well a person is coached and how well he or she performs.”
Based on this premise, he explains that sports are a field prone to flames.
In sports such as baseball and soccer, there are many people who have their own “I theory.” In the past, these words would have disappeared in a pub, but they remain on the Internet. Also, it is easy to be criticized when you go against the unspoken norms among some people. There is a philosophy among some soccer fans that says this is the way a team should be led, and if it goes against that philosophy, the team will be criticized.
On the other hand, he also points out that negative comments can be easily posted on the Internet in general, not just about soccer. The following explanation is not limited to soccer, but is general.
People who post on Yahoo!.com are people who have very strong feelings, and there is a bias that the opinions they express tend to be extreme and negative of a sense of justice, because they “can’t forgive the other person” or because they are “disappointed. However, justice here is not social justice, but justice within a person’s own mind, so if there are 100 million people, there will be 100 million different kinds of justice.
The more people who believe that Japan’s national team should fight in this way, the more negative reactions will naturally appear on the Internet, and if this is the case, then the various reactions to Moriyasu Japan should be taken as an indication of the current popularity of soccer. This may be a sign that many people have shifted from the style of cheering for the team, watching the game on terrestrial TV and enjoying drinks at izakaya (Japanese style pubs) to watching the game and exchanging opinions on the Internet, which used to be the preserve of maniacs, and that this has become more visible.
Also, the tension between the so-called media and social media was different at Moriyasu Japan. In the former, there were considerably fewer critical articles and the tone was more moderately compared to the Halil Hodzic era, when the team played the last qualifying round. If there were any, they often transmitted the intent of the criticism in the form of quotes from comments made on social media. The style of articles was what is generally derided as a “kotatsu article.”
Yamaguchi also explains the difference in attitude toward Moriyasu Japan between the media and social media, despite the fact that these are opinions that exist on the Internet.
Even on social media, there is peer pressure, and even if you support Moriyasu Japan, you don’t want to be told off by aggressive people, so you stop posting opinions that you support. Also, if there are a lot of positive articles in the media, there is no place for readers to vent, saying,’Why are there only positive articles when I am negative?
In a sense, social media is a mirror or the flip side of the media.
Moriyasu Japan will play four friendly matches in June and two in September before heading to the World Cup in Qatar in November. With only a limited amount of time left, it is unlikely that there will be any sudden changes in the team members or tactics. Still, I would like to believe that if only the team can achieve results in the World Cup, all of this confusion will blow over.
Interview and text： Miko Ryokai
Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1975. Graduated from the Department of History, Faculty of Letters, Japan Women's University, and began covering soccer in 2001. Currently resides in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he has lived since March 11, 2011.