Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Are We Japanese Ultranationalists?

According to this joint Japan-China survey, 46.0% of the Japanese responders were okay with the prime minister paying his respects at the Yasukuni Shrine and 27.5% were okay if he did it in his capacity as a private citizen while only 9.9% were unconditionally opposed. There’s two ways to understand this: a) 46.6% of the Japanese electorate is ultra-nationalist; or b) you antis out there totally miss what Yasukuni is all about. I might go over this (and the meaning of the 27.5%) in more detail tomorrow—August 15—if I can take time out of some pressing work. And I might work the Arlington National Cemetery into it. Then again, I think that there’s a narrative there waiting to be exposed to a braoder audience. I’ll sleep on it.


Unknown said...

Japan has Iceland's Pacifist constitution in a Balkan-like neighborhood. As long as there is an article 9, ordinary nationalism may be impossible.

Revision is the only way that foreign expectations for Japanese leaders can be re-centered in the long term. That road however involves a lot of overturned Hondas and burning factories over at you-know-where.

Is Abe strong enough to risk his economic legacy?

Anonymous said...

If Abe wants to lead Japan, he might go but if he wants to lead the region, he won't. I think he will opt for the latter. And this region sure needs leadership that transcends borders.

Robert Dujarric said...

No Japanese are not ultranationalists, in fact they really aren't even nationalist. Chinese, Koreans, Americans, even French and Britons are more nationalistic. Japan ranks very low in the developed world in terms of nationalism, perhaps even below Germany.

That's what makes the Yasukuni lovers so dangerous. They project to the world an image that has nothing to do with reality but convinces even serious people that Japan is a threat to peace and wants to go back to the Hitler days (per Aso's mangled lecture on constitutional reform).

Robert Dujarric

Anonymous said...

Well, PM Abe said he's not going on August 15 but left the door open to a visit later on. He'll be donating a symbolic tree branch instead using private funds and as chief of the LDP as opposed to his capacity as PM. Furuya Keiji (Minister for the Abduction Issue), Inada Tomomi (Minister for Administrative Reform), and Takaichi Sanae (LDP Policy Chief) will go, as will (surprise, surprise) Ishihara Shintaro from the JRP