Cerebral Soup - The Archives
Media flock to report on Japanese poodle scam
So in several online papers it has been claimed that there is a massive pet scam going on involving people in Hokkaido buying poodles online and getting sheep instead. And not realizing it.
They are trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
Even though each story has a different writer they are all possibly derived from the Sun.
Let's look at the "facts" from one of the first stories that seemed to crop up online: ninemsn.
"The scam was uncovered when Japanese moviestar Maiko Kawamaki went on a talk-show and wondered why her new pet would not bark or eat dog food.
She was crestfallen when told it was a sheep."
Actually this is not what happened. Maiko Kawakami (Nine couldn't even get her name right) went on an afternoon TV show called "Gokigenyou" and said she had heard this story.
kana to yuka no nikki [Japanese] mentions how she saw this program and thought it was silly. Most of her commenters agree, and sounds as if she was just making a joke. There is no mention of photographs - and another couple of blogs support that the actress was not talking about herself but a "friend".
"Japanese police believe there could be 2,000 people affected by the scam, which operated in Sapporo and capitalised on the fact that sheep are rare in Japan, so many do not know what they look like."
OK for starters Hokkaido is not a huge place - and it just happens to be the centre of sheep breeding in Japan. There are even sheep festivals. Not to mention the following:
- Haruki Murakami's famous novel published in 1993- A Wild Sheep Chase (Áæä„Çí„ÇÅ„Åê„ÇãÂÜíÈô∫)
- once every 12 years there is a Year of the Sheep
- mutton is often talked about because of it's recent popularity, and the rise of "Genghis Khan" restaurants (places specializing in mutton dishes)
- hell even a couple of weeks ago Japanese band Metalmouse released their new album titled Tales of the Sheep
So sheep are very well known - especially in bloody Sapporo.
From the Sun: "The company, whose name translated as Poodles As Pets, has now been shut down."
Well they certainly don't muck around because there is no reference to any pet store real or offline that I could find googling with a name like that (or closest Japanese variations thereof).
Also let's look at the fact that as far as popular dogs go Toy Poodles are in the top 5. They are all over the TV. You can't miss them. Not only that but there are also several Japanese websites dedicated to poodles, poodle clubs and breeder sites. You can't walk into a pet store without seeing one. Poodles are everywhere.
Plus it seems very odd that this breaking story does not appear anywhere in the Japanese media. Now this is exactly the kind of story most news shows would spend hours on screening - complete with tearful, blurred out victims, and the anchors being able to express total outrage. Thorough investigations into the differences between poodles and lambs. A few "experts" in ties thrown in to give it all credibility. For sure Wai-wai would have jumped all over it months ago (and then Fark and every community blog and their dog).
Not a peep.
And if this wasn't already smelling bad enough - how about this blog entry [Japanese] from ‰∏äÊµ∑Âú®‰ΩèJason„ÅÆÈ∫ªËæ£ÁèçÈÅì‰∏≠ÔºÅ - from waaaaaaay back on February 11, 2006?
He tells the exact same story as the actress - which was told to him by a co-worker when they went out drinking. Almost word for word it is the same story that Maiko Kawakami told on the TV show on April 18. X-san takes their "poodle" to a vet because they think it's ill. The vet reveals that the "poodle" is not ill - but a sheep! ÔºàÁ¨ëÔºâ
Looks like this is an urban legend that makes the rounds occasionally. This time however the English media got caught out.
The Sun: "A police spokesman said yesterday: ‚ÄúWe launched an investigation after we were made aware that a company were selling sheep as poodles."
Yes I'm sure The Sun spoke to a Japanese police spokesman and they launched an investigation based on some urban legend they've probably all heard before.
Dags.Posted by mjd-s on April 27, 2007 5:25 AM