Japanese nationalism explained

Why do some students say their purpose in learning English is to teach foreigners about Japan?

They are taught that at school

Why the nationalistic overtones of judo and kendo?

They became required subjects at schools in 1931 when Japan was in full fascist swing, and the postwar ban didn’t seem to take away its appeal for Sparta-loving teachers

Why do some rabidly nationalistic middle aged men decide to take English lessons?

How can the Japanese get away with banning foreigners from hot springs etc?

First, it’s worth remembering that the UK and USA had a lot more experience with multiculturalism, expanding rights to groups like women and democracy than Japan has now when they (more or less) got past their “No dogs or Irish” stage, so it will take time and struggle in Japan too, and the state of play in other countries has very little relevance to that. Anyway, Britain and America are at the forefront here, and it makes more sense to compare Japan to Spain or Italy where the situation is less open but actually very similiar. It doesn’t help that all those 3 are countries expect a lot of social cohesion- in Japan having tattoos could be much more of a problem then being foreign when it comes to bathing

Why do foreigners find the banzai so scary?

I’m of an age where WWII movies and comics are something I can barely remember but I have a feeling were around a lot when I was at an impressionable age, and I think banzai might have featured quite a lot in them.

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.


1 Comment

  1. 0gattomiao said,

    August 1, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    ” and it makes more sense to compare Japan to Spain or Italy where the situation is less open but actually very similar.”

    Sorry but that’s not true at all. Since ancient times (from the time of roman emphire to spanish invasion) we had a lot of foreigners and now the law prohibits all discrimination. If someone tells you that you can’t enter in a bar because you’re german or chinese you can sue them and win, while in Japan you will always lose because there are laws which promote racism.

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