In Japan, new nationalism takes hold

The country's post-World War II pacificism is being challenged

by a more assertive, patriotic attitude.

| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

? On a pleasant November morning, some 300 Japanese executives paid $150 each to hear a lanky math professor named Masahiko Fujiwara give a secular sermon on restoring Japan's greatness. Mr. Fujiwara spoke quietly, without notes, for 80 minutes. His message, a sort of spiritual nationalism, rang loudly, though: Japan has lost its "glorious purity," its samurai spirit, its traditional sense of beauty, because of habits instilled by the United States after the war. "We are slaves to the Americans," he said.

Fujiwara's remedy is for Japan to recover its emotional strength. He says that Japan "can help save the world" - but its youths are lost in a fog of laxity and don't love Japan enough.

Fujiwara represents the milder side of an assertive discourse rising gradually but powerfully here. What direction it will take in this vibrant and complex society remains unclear. But as a new generation seeks to shed the remnants of what is commonly called the "American occupation" legacy, a range of speech and ideas previously frowned on or ignored, is showing up sharply in mainstream culture.

"We came because Fujiwara is one of few who speaks the truth to our politicians," says Hirofumi Kato, vice president of a family business who attended the talk. Those not there can buy Fujiwara's "Dignity of a Nation," a bestseller at more than 2 million copies this year, that describes how Western concepts like freedom and equality are inappropriate for Japan and don't really work in the US.

Cartoons, magazines fuel message

The new nationalist sentiment is seen in popular magazines that use provocative language to advocate a more militaristic Japan, question the legitimacy of the Tokyo war-crimes trials, and often cast racist aspersions on China and Korea. Magazines include "Voice," "Bungei-shunju," "Shokun," "Seiron," and "Sapio," among others that are widely available. Sapio issues this fall have detailed how China will soon invade Japan and advocate nuclear weapons for Taiwan and Japan. The Dec. 27 issue details which members of the US Congress "love and hate Japan," including those described by political scientist Takahiko Soejima as helping "US companies take over Japanese banks at cheap prices."

Popular manga cartoons, another example, are a vivid entry point for school children and young adult males who read them on the trains. In recent years, manga have begun to include stronger and more-open ethnic hate messages. "The 100 Crimes of China," for example, is one in a recent series put out by publisher Yushinsha, with a kicker noting that China is the "world's most evil country." One recent manga is titled, "Why We Should Hate South Korea." Drawings are graphic and depict non-Japanese in unflattering ethnic stereotypes.

New programs are emerging, like the weekly Asahi talk show hosted by Beat Takeshi, that have thrown staid political expression into satire for Japanese viewers. There's a higher profile set of "conspiracy theories" that get repeated on TV, including those by writer Hideyuki Sekioka, author of "The Japan That Cannot Say 'No.' " Mr. Sekioka says the US manipulates Japan into adopting weak policies and has a "master plan" to control Japanese business. TV Asahi broadcasts programs detailing various US manipulations, including the idea that the CIA sent the Beatles to Japan in 1966 to dissipate an anti-US mood and "emasculate" Japanese youths.

The rise of this rhetoric is often denied here. Yet by last summer, Yoshinori Katori, then-Foreign Ministry spokesman, acknowledged that nationalism, most often on the right, had become a "new phenomenon."

The Japan of 2006 has quietly adopted a tone very different from the milder pacifism of it postwar identity. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe engineered two historic changes - transforming the postwar Defense Agency into a full-scale Defense Ministry, and ushering in a law requiring patriotic education in schools. The new law requires teachers to evaluate student levels of patriotism and eagerness to learn traditions. The Asahi Shimbun warns that this may "force students to vie to be patriotic in the classroom."

"A nationalistic reawakening from Japan's old pacifist identity, is leading to a domestic restructuring of Japan," says Alexander Mansourov, Asia specialist at the Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu. "Along with a new defense ministry, a new national security council, and new intelligence agency, there's debate over whether to go nuclear, a debate on pre-emptive strikes on North Korea."

Pacifist sensibility still strong

The new nationalism is not coming as an especially fire-breathing exercise. Japan remains quite cosmopolitan; mildness and politeness are valued. Many Japanese don't notice the stronger messages, or are not interested in politics.

The majority retain a pacifist sensibility. There's little hint of a mass emotional patriotism seen in Japan under Emperor Hirohito. The trend may get redirected as part of a healthy rediscovery of pride.

"I see a Japan that, after the 1990s, is becoming more confident," says one American corporate headhunter who has lived here for two decades.

Still, the extent of change in Japan's discourse can be measured by the number of moderates who say that they have little ground to stand on today. Former Koizumi presidential adviser Yukio Okamoto, a moderate conservative, argues that the "middle or moderate ground" is disappearing. Mr. Okamoto says that on many subjects - membership in the UN Security Council, culpability in World War II - he finds himself without a voice. "Every time I open my mouth to say something, I am bashed by either the left or the right," he says. Recent TV appearances by the granddaughter of Hideki Tojo, a World War II leader who was later executed for war crimes, describing him as a fine fellow, also concern Okamoto, who says that, though not an exact parallel, it would be inconceivable to imagine a granddaughter of Hitler going on German TV.

Most of the current domination of media is by the harder right. Former finance minister Eisuke Sakakibara says, "The sense of nationalism is rising here. I feel threatened ... any liberal does. We worry about a loss of freedom of speech. [In the US,] the right has not taken complete control in the media, but we are not the US."

The new tone is coupled with the rise of China, fears associated with North Korea, perennial questions of identity - and comes as America, Japan's main ally and security guarantor, is bogged down in Iraq. It was given some license by the repeated visits to the Yasukuni war-memorial shrine by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Those angered much of Asia, where they were seen as implicit support of a view that Japan's 20th-century war was justified.

Prime Minister Abe has eased that anger by not visiting the shrine, instead visiting Beijing to promote common points, like trade. But many experts see that decision as tactical.

Radical media, too, are thriving. The magazine "Will," for example, ran a discussion between the ultranationalist governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, and Fujiwara, the author. Mr. Ishihara, who won 80 percent of the Tokyo vote in 2005, calls World War II "a splendid war." Fujiwara says Japan must replace its logic-based culture with an emotion-based culture; he pushes to eliminate the teaching of English in schools. Photos in "Will" this year depicted fascist author Yukio Mishima standing atop the high command in 1970 in a military uniform, minutes before he jumped to his death. Mr. Mishima's private army had just failed to take control of the building.

It's the "mainstreaming" of such material that raises some eyebrows. Yoshinori Kobayashi, a popular far-right cartoonist, now appears regularly on mainstream talk shows. Ishihara recently interviewed Sekioka in "Bungeishunju," a literary magazine akin to the Atlantic Monthly. Ishihara wonders why Japan lacks the spiritual strength to stand up to the Americans.

Behind such views is a shared vision: a return to pure virtues found in medieval Japan. The Tom Cruise film "The Last Samurai" captures some of this. "What we need is a return to the inherent religion and culture of Japan ... of our ancestors in the middle ages," argues Sekioka.

Japan's education bill is designed to teach such virtues. Prime Minister Abe's new book, "Toward a Beautiful Country," hearkens to the ideas of love of homeland.

The idealized samurai code was given best expression by a Japanese Christian named Inazo Nitobe. His book, "Bushido: The Soul of Japan," was written in English and translated back into Japanese after World War II. It prizes sympathy for the weak and hatred of cowardice - and has been a gold mine for present-day nationalists.

Critics say Japan must confront its wartime past. Much of its pacifist identity emerges from the view that it was a war victim, as epitomized by Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That story, reinforced by textbooks that downplay or deny Japan's role in invading Korea and Manchuria, rang loudly in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, and ignored as the economy boomed in the late 1980s. But it has received a boost from tales of Japanese abducted by North Korea. Prime Minister Abe, who has been instrumental in promoting the abductee issue, has of late been trying to mediate between extreme nationalism while still advocating more patriotism.




ロバートマークワンドによって | クリスチャンサイエンスモニターのスタッフライター

東京 ? 楽しい11月の朝に、約300人の日本の経営陣は、藤原正彦という名のひょろっとした数学教授が日本の大きいことを回復させることについて非宗教的な説教をするのを聞くために、それぞれ150ドルを払いました。80分の間、メモなしで、フジワラ氏は、静かに話しました。しかし、彼のメッセージ(一種の精神的な国家主義)は、大きくベルを鳴らしました:戦争の後、アメリカ合衆国によってしみ込む習慣のため、日本はその「素晴らしい純度」、そのサムライ勇気、その伝統的な美意識を失いました。「我々は、アメリカ人の奴隷です」と、彼が言いました。

フジワラの治療は、その感情的な強さを回復するために、日本のためです。日本が「世界を保存するのを助けることができます」ために、彼は言います - しかし、その若者はゆるみの霧に夢中になっていて、十分な日本を好みません。







日本の視聴者のために落ち着いた政治的な表現を風刺に傾注したBeatタケシによって主催される毎週の朝日トークショーの様に、新しいプログラムは出てきています。作家ヒデユキセキオカによってそれらを含むテレビで繰り返される「陰謀論」のより目立つセットがあります、著者の「日本That Cannot Say、『いいえ。』」、セキオカ氏は米国が弱い方針を採用することに日本を操ると言って、日本のビジネスを管理するために「マスタープラン」を持ちます。テレビ朝日は、CIAが反米国のムードを消して、日本の若者を「骨抜きにする」ために1966年に日本にビートルズを送ったという考えを含むいろいろな米国の操作を詳述しているプログラムを放送します。


2006年の日本は、それのより穏やかな平和主義と非常に異なるトーンを静かに採用しました戦後のアイデンティティ。今月始め、安倍晋三首相は、2つの歴史的な変化を設計しました - 戦後の防衛庁を実物大の国防省に変えて、学校で愛国的な教育を義務づけている法律の到来を告げること。新しい法律は、伝統を学ぶために愛国心と熱心さの学生レベルを評価することを先生に要求します。「学生に教室で愛国的であるために争うことを強制してください。」と、これがそうするかもしれないために、朝日新聞が警告します

「日本の古い平和主義的なアイデンティティから国家主義的に再び目ざめることは、日本の国内のリストラに至っています」と、アレキサンダーMansourov(ホノルルのSecurity Studiesのための太平洋センターのアジアスペシャリスト)が言います。「新しい国防省、新しい国家の安全議会と新しい情報部に加えて、核武装するべきかどうかについての議論が、あります、北朝鮮の先制攻撃についての議論。」





しかし、日本の談話における変更の範囲は、彼らには今日に立っているほとんど根拠がないと言う穏健派の数で測定されることができます。元コイズミ大統領補佐官岡本行男(穏健な保守派)は、「中央であるか穏やかな地面」が消えていると主張します。オカモト氏は、多くの主題に関してそれを言います - 国連安全保障理事会(第二次世界大戦の有罪)のメンバーシップ - 彼は、声なしで彼自身を見つけます。「私が何かを言うために私の口を開くたびに、私は左か右によって殴られます」と、彼が言います。彼を立派な人と言う東条英機(戦争犯罪のために後で処刑された第二次世界大戦リーダー)の孫娘による最近のテレビ外観はまた、オカモトに関係します。そして、その人はたとえ正確な平行でないとしても、ドイツのテレビに近づいているヒトラーの孫娘を想像することが考えられないと言います。

メディアの大部分の現在の支配は、より固い右のそばにあります。元蔵相榊原英資は言います ? 「国家主義の感覚は、ここに上がっています。私は、脅されていると感じます...どんな自由主義者でもします。我々は、言論の自由の喪失について心配します。[米国で、]右はメディアで完全に管理しませんでした、しかし、我々は米国ではありません。」

新しいトーンは、中国の高まり、北朝鮮と関連する恐れ、アイデンティティの長年の問題に結合します - そして、アメリカ(日本の主な同盟国とセキュリティ保証人)がイラクで停滞して、来ます。それは、元小泉純一郎首相によって靖国戦没者記念碑聖地への度重なる訪問によって、若干の許可を与えられました。それらはアジアの多くを怒らせました、そこで、彼らは日本の20世紀の戦争が正当化されたという見方の潜在的な支持とみなされました。




そのような見解の後に、共有展望はあります:中世の日本で見つかる純粋な長所への復帰。トムクルーズ場面「Last Samurai」は、これのいくつかを捕えます。「我々が必要とするものは、固有の宗教への復帰と日本の文化です...半ばの年齢の我々の先祖の」と、セキオカが主張します。

日本の教育議案は、そのような長所を教えるようになっています。安倍首相の新しい本は、「Beautiful Countryの方へ」、祖国に対する愛情についての考えに耳を傾けます。

理想とされたサムライコードは、新渡戸稲造という名の日本のキリスト教徒によって、最高の表現を与えられました。彼の本、「武士道:日本のSoul」、英語で書かれて、第二次世界大戦の後、日本語に翻訳されました。それは、弱いものに対する同情と臆病に対する憎悪を重んじます - そして、現代の国家主義者のための金鉱でした。





1 ■焦りました