Why are the Japanese getting more nationalistic?

A recent survey covered in the Japan Times had the seemingly contradictory results of young Japanese becoming more nationalistic and more young Japanese being unhappy with their lives (in Japan). I think there could well be a link between that unhappiness and nationalism. A recent BBC radio programme said that there is a link between depression and religious fanaticism in a way that there isn’t with experiencing prejudice and deprivation that most people seem to expect in the history of people joining ISIS etc. I very much expect the same is true of people searching for some certainty and purpose in their life through nationalism. In some ways they are both rational responses to the increasingly crappy world that we are living in…

I really do think that unhappiness is probably the biggest cause, but other possibly relevant factors include:

  • More nationalistic education, as left-wing teachers have less and less influence in schools, and the LDP are less and less interested in consensus and middle ways
  • More generally, the 60s leftwingers are fading out without another substantial generation of opposition to the ruling consensus having come along to replace them
  • Education spending even less time on opening students’ minds and getting them to think for themselves as it becomes even more focused on exams (despite many predictions and plans suggesting Japanese education was heading in the opposite direction)
  • More news and opinions coming from the internet, where the influence of the always most vocal rightwingers is even more obvious than when it comes to the protests, forcing the cancelling of events etc that they already dominate (in contrast to the many countries where those things are mainly left wing tactics)
  • Attacks on the vaguely liberal leanings of NHK and Asahi Shimbun meaning that they lose their influence
  • A reaction against globalization
  • Encouragement of nationalism by politicians who want to distract people from issues like increasing inequality
  • A reaction to the similar swings in South Korea and China, especially when that turns into anti-Japanese feelings

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