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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Why is Japan usually Nihon but Nippon for sports?

It’s Nippon (an alternative pronunciation of the same kanji as Nihon, 日本- the source of the sun) for uyoku rightwingers as well, but there might be no connection… It could just he that the /p/ sound is more impactful and so easier to chant than the /h/ sound, kind of like the“Ingerland ingerland ingerlaaaaand” of my fellow British football hooligans, with its mysterious extra syllable. I’ve read that the Nippon version is more masculine sounding, but I would have to understand what that means before I could agree or disagree.

Japanese Myth of the Day

Japan is a small country

MYTH! Read the rest of this entry »

Why won’t the Japanese switch to daylight saving time?

One theory is that the “change will chain office workers to their desks until 10 pm or later, since no employee will dare leave while the sun shines” Shutting Out the Sun pg 206. More importantly, there is a knee-jerk nationalist reaction against something that was imposed by the American occupation authorities and then scrapped.