Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Most of You Have Not Heard of Nippon Kaigi

Nippon Kaigi, established in 1997, is widely regarded as Japan’s largest nationalist organization. According to its website, its basic tenets are the following:

- We inherit the traditions and culture that have been nurtured by our timeless history, and aspire to the ascendance of a healthy national spirit.

- We maintain the glory and the self-reliance and the independence of the nation, and seek the construction of a prosperous and orderly society where all members of the nation obtain their [rightful] places.

- We strive for harmony between humanity and nature, and contribute to the realization of a world of mutual existence and co-prosperity where each culture is mutually respected.

More specifically, Nippon Kaigi believes that we, that is, yours truly and other Japanese, should return to the traditional sense of unity focused on the Imperial Household. It believes that we should adopt a new constitution that reflects our national ethos that has been nurtured throughout our history. It rejects the “apology” diplomacy that unilaterally condemns ourselves over the last world war and seeks to achieve a true conservative politics. In education, it seeks history education that transmits our proud history, tradition and culture and education of the sensibilities that enables the recovery of our pristine virtues. It seeks to improve national security and contribute to world peace by, among other things, nurturing the people’s sense of reverence towards those who died in the war. Finally, it seeks world friendship.

It is chaired by Tōru Miyoshi, an 80 year old former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It has seven, mostly even older, advisors (ninety and up; one of them is actually dead), four of who are Shintō priests and one the previous head of the powerful Tendai Buddhist Sect. The other two are ex-CEOs of Bridgestone Tires and Fujitsū. Its six vice chairmen are mostly secular (only one Shintō priest), and even includes one 90 year old women, a former politician and singer of mainly children’s songs. Its fifty-five representative committee members include younger names, some of which might be recognizable to casual observers of the Japanese scene, such as Shintarō Ishihara, Tokyo Governor and man who can say no, Hiroo Onoda, the former intelligence officer who held out in the Philippines jungles for 29 years after the war ended, and Kishō Kurokawa, the world-famous architect and urban planner (also dead). It has two auditors, a president, and two managing directors to actually run things, but they are of no interest to you.

What could be of interest to you is Nippon Kaigi’s sister organization, the Nippon Kaigi Giin Kondankai, the bipartisan (mainly LDP, but some DPJ as well) association of Diet members who support the goals of this organization. Its members numbered 235 as of 2005 July. It passed a resolution in 2005 November on the following points:

- Imperial succession is an important matter of state, and should be subordinated to careful deliberation and acceptance by the people. (This point is a negative reaction to the recommendation in a report commissioned by Prime Minister Koizumi that females should also be allowed to succeed to the throne.)

- We support the visit of the Prime Minister to the Yasukuni Shrine and oppose the construction of a national facility for mourning. (No explanation needed here.)

- We oppose the human rights protection bill that may invite oppression of speech and human rights. (This concern was heightened by the fact that non-Japanese citizens who may have “prejudiced tendencies” could be selected to serve as human rights protection committee members.)

The Giin Kondankai is headed by Takeo Hiranuma, the still highly influential Post Office privatization castoff, with Shōichi Nakagawa as his regent. (Fukushirō Nukaga is the deputy.) But it is in the list of members that you will find names that will make your eyes pop out. For, according to Wikipedia, among its members are:

Yasuo Fukuda, Sadakazu Tanigaki.

Every nation has its own narrative, and its denizens are entitled to seek to mold it to their liking. In this particular case, I see nothing in a nation that allows such political and social discourse to develop that is any more alarming than a nation that demands schoolchildren, citizen and non- alike, to pledge allegiance to a Republic under one God. Or a nation that has crossed arms in the last 60 years with most of its neighbors (Japan being one of the few exceptions). But feel free to disagree.


MTC said...

Mr. Okumura -

But is not Fukuda Yasuo famous for proposing that the government construct a national secular war memorial in order to replace Yasukuni?

Either the membership list is wrong, or membership does not mean very much.

Jun Okumura said...

If I knew enough to post, I would. But those are the facts. So it's for me to guess and you guys to know.

This and other online sources make the same point.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Fukuda is a Nippon Kaigi member as is 80 percent of his cabinet. Wait, isn't that also 80 percent of Abe's cabinet too?

Why are you shocked by this? Remember it is the LDP that has had for years in its party platform that it wants its members to visit Yasukuni.

Anyway, we think, unlike your nonglobal friends, these circumstances cry out for a cabinet reshuffle. It is too narrow a way of thinking to see a change of cabinet as a way of ferreting out corrupt incompetents.

As with the house cleaning going on in MOFA, so it is necessary to scuttle the magic nationalists in the cabinet.

Your Global Friends

Jun Okumura said...

I posted it for shock value, not because I was shocked myself. I've known for some time about Mr. Fukuda's membership in several organizations painted with the broad-brush stroke of the color "nationalist". In fact, I may have first come across it in one of the links in a list that you had compiled (assuming that you are who I think you are) and had been passed around until it reached my email account.

I've long been deeply dissatisfied with the popular but simpleminded Western narrative that puts a Junichirō Koizumi in the same boat with, say, Shōichi Nakagawa. Compared to that, China's take and the use to which it puts its own narrative are the epitome of political sophistication. The last paragraph in my post is indicative of what I hope to put together one of these days to address this matter.

Chris Watson said...

I live in Tokyo, I was married to a Japanese for 15 years. The Japanese are a sick, sadistic society. I pity you, and them.

This is the real face of the Japanese majority. Other Asians are not fooled, they know it.

I wish I had hope for Japan. I wish I believed it could change.

Jun Okumura said...


And anyone who continues to live in such a “sad, sadistic society” by choice must be one “happy, masochistic man.”