Such articles are often written by people who know little (if anything) about Japanese culture. More often than not, such articles are tabloid level reporting that exaggerate and sensationalize offbeat aspects of Japanese culture.
(Japanese comedy is sometimes interpreted as being serious)
Japan Takes NoticeMany Japanese people are aware that "crazy" is a common adjective used to describe their country. Needless to say, they aren't particularly happy about it.
The fact is that Japan isn't crazy. It's possible to find crazy things in Japan. In particular, aspects of Japan's various otaku subcultures are considered crazy by the Japanese themselves. However, as a whole Japan's crazy side is greatly exaggerated.
Japanese people are rightfully proud of their culture. They care about Japan's international image. Japan's crazy image is much discussed in Japan. In fact, it has been discussed at the highest levels of government and business.
Otaku ImageJapan tends to blame its crazy image on otaku subculture. The Japanese media itself is often highly critical of otaku.
Most people in Japan see otaku as harmless but aren't comfortable with Japan's growing otaku image.
Fighting Japan's Otaku ImageSeveral prominent Japanese politicians would like to see laws put in place to regulate aspects of Japan's popular culture. Others, have gone so far as to suggest that otaku represent a potentially dangerous subculture that demands serious police attention.
Such extreme attitudes towards otaku are still relatively rare. However, many Japanese would prefer that Japan be known for Japanese gardens, fashion and cuisine rather than otaku.
Embracing Japan's Otaku SideJapanese popular culture is big business. JPop, manga, anime and toys are big sellers abroad. Japanese otaku culture also attracts tourists.
Japanese business has (more or less) embraced Japan's otaku image. It's increasingly common to use otaku themes in international advertising campaigns. Business leaders have encouraged the government to do the same (with tourism ad campaigns). The government is slowly waking up to the commercial potential of popular culture.
Japan's former Prime Minister Taro Aso claimed to be an otaku himself. He was known to promote otaku subculture as part of Japan's foreign affairs.
Otaku pop culture is creative and innovative. It has great cultural and economic potential. Perhaps Japan should run with its crazy image.