RIP Bill Sakovich

Some sad news—Bill Sakovich, the man behind Ampontan, reportedly passed away from cancer on Dec 21.

Bill was one of the first bloggers I followed, initially when he was with Japundit and later when he started Ampontan. I didn’t always agree with his commentary about Korea, but he was witty and he knew his shit. Above all, it was clear he loved and respected his adopted homeland, and his strident commentary about Japan provided a refreshing contrast to the bitching and moaning you sometimes read in the Western press and blogosphere.

Bill, you will be missed.

  • The Sanity Inspector

    Very sorry to hear.  He was the go-to blogger during the tsunami last year.  Eerie, having the prepared blog posts being robo-posted over at his site over the holiday.  RIP.

  • Jakgani

    RIP – he must have been a great man if you followed him Robert.
    Stomach cancer is so prevalent in North-East Asia, dietary habits need to be watched.


    Shocking to say the least.

  • ChuckRamone

    Is that because of sodium, MSG, alcohol, spicy stuff, or something else?

  • Jang

    “I didn’t always agree with his commentary about Korea”
    For example(link)?

  • Joel (Far Outliers)

    What a sad shock! We were able to share a bowl of noodles with him and a short tour of his haunts in Saga when we visited Kyushu a couple years ago.

  • Akusakim

    I thought bis blog was excellent for Japanese culture and any random stuff about Japan, and he surely knew his stuff. But he also proved to be intolerant of views different from his own. In the end he proved to be a purveyor of far-right Japanese points of view and he became hostile towards me, a lone Korean poster who tried to dialogue on his blog. The Japanese readers f hi blog, most if not all of whom speak and write English with distinct “FOBBY” flavors, were no different.

    Still, his coverage of the tsunami, the anti-Japanese protests in China, and his many posts on things about Japanese life were solid and informative. I’m saddened by the news and wish his family the best.

  • wangkon936

    How old was Bill?

  • ig5959292ee

     very true

  • Hitokiri Dom

    This is indeed shocking. I might not have agreed with some of views, i.e he really seem to pander to the whole “poor, victimised Japan,” and rightwing crowd, but his articles really were insightful and informative. RIP, you will be missed.

  • DC Musicfreak


  • Jason Kim

    Sad news indeed. And you weren’t the only Korean poster on his blogs, Akusakim.  I’ve been in long-winded arguments with him and his right wing followers for some time (read the posts about comfort women in Korea on his blog). 
    Nevertheless, his blog was interesting to read and the go-to site for insights on Japan.

  • yankdownunder

     proved to be intolerant of views different from his own
    and he became hostile towards me,

    Can you provide a link to the posts?.

  • yankdownunder

     Bill and his group were quite negative (dare I say “hateful”) of Koreans
    and it showed in most of his postings about Korea (there’s one on the
    front page of his blog now about Koreans studying abroad and protests).

    Speaking of Korean education, here are some photos of a demonstration
    earlier this month in front of the Japanese embassy conducted by primary
    school students and their teachers. Got to start washing those brains
    early, eh?

    So you think photos of a demonstration is negative and hateful.

  • pawikirogii 석아

    the man hated koreans and used his site to promote his views. he wasn’t interested in anything that conrtadicted his agenda and that’s why he was intolerant of allowing opposing views to appear on his ‘discussion’ page. of course, i noticed there didn’t seem to be too much of a discussion going on there since few of his posts went over 5 or 6 replies. that’s because the creepy white guys in japan prefer the more milder form of korea bashing that goes on at japanprobe.

    it’s regretable he passed on from cancer. i feel for those related to him.

  • Paul Burns

    Bill would be 64-65.
    Interesting reading all the comments regarding Bill’s politics, anti-Koreanism, etc. Were you to have known him as long as I have (28+ years) the Ampontan persona was just one facet of Bill. We discussed Global politics on a daily basis, nothing petty as just Korea vs. Japan. We left no stone unturned. Bill, it may surprise, you was an Anglophile, and although we did not hit it off initially when I first went to reside in Saga in 1984, something clicked and we soon met on a daily basis for Donuts(sic), Coffee,  beer and food. We used to lurk in record and book shops, which is pretty funny given that Bill was 6’6, saw the advent of the CD, and we also frequented bars and  屋台 into the small hours where we conversed with people generations older than Bill (I am 15 years younger), who spoke no English and had experienced WWII.  Both he and I learned a lot from these late night sojurns, and made many friends. 
    I shall miss him greatly , not only in that I have a great hole to fill finding someone else who had such an interest in World music that I can talk to. We exchanged new discoveries as soon as they appeared. That he just went quiet is desparately sad. I had visions of us sitting in a bar together in later life, sadly now not to be.
    R.I.P. Bill
    Paul Burns

  • Jason Kim

    Yank: posting photos of demonstrations is not necessarily hateful, but posting them with the intent and agenda of trying to show Koreans in an ugly light is pretty hateful. Just like your comment was, IMO.  Ampontan’s site was supposedly dedicated to Japanese news and culture, yet it frequently had posts about Koreans (and almost all of those posts were used to show Koreans in a negative light).

  • Paul Burns

    Bill (as Ampontan) just wished EVERYONE a Happy New Year on his site, which I find quite impressive from beyond the grave.

  • yankdownunder

      trying to show Koreans in an ugly light

    Where is the “ugly light”.
    It’s not the light that’s ugly.

    “I didn’t always agree with his commentary about Korea” is all you had to say.

    Bad mouthing and saying hateful things is UGLY!

  • Paul Burns

    Quite a few months ago , Bill gave me the heads up on a Korean artist that at that point had not crossed my radar. He pointed out that the song was catchy , and that “it may go down well in one of your DJ sets”.
    The artist was PSY, the song Gangnam Style. This was way before it’s global popularity. 
    Were Bill to have “hated” Koreans per se, he would not have done this, what I do know is he had a sense of humour and liked to feed trolls.

  • ig5959292ee

    foad tool