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  • JDP: Abe criticizes rise of hate speech in Japan, calls it “dishonorable” and counter to “The Japanese Way of thinking”. My, how disingenuous.

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on May 9th, 2013

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    Hi Blog. We now have the xenophobic public demonstrations talked about previously on Debito.org, which had slogans such as “Kill the Koreans!” in Tokyo and “start a Tsuruhashi Massacre like the Nanking Massacre!” in Osaka, being debated and decried in Japan’s political circles. Witness this article fresh from the Asahi (translation mine):

    ==========================================

    Justice Minister Tanigaki “Filled with Concern” over Hate Speech
    The Asahi Shimbun, May 9, 2013, courtesy of MS

    On May 9, the issue of the Zaitokukai’s repeated demos containing hate speech, calling for people to “Kill the Koreans”, was taken up in the Upper House’s Judicial Committee. The Zaitokukai are a citizens’ group seeking to deny “special privileges” to Zainichi lifetime NJ residents of Japan. Justice Minister Tanigaki Sadakazu said, “I am filled with concern. This runs directly counter to the course of a civilized nation.”

    The answer was in response to a question by PM Arita Yoshifu of the opposition DPJ.  In regards to next steps, Tanigaki limited his statement to, “This is extremely worrisome because it is related to freedom of expression.  I wish to observe most carefully to see whether it leads to sentiments of racial discrimination.”

    As for those who gave permission to a discriminatory demo, the National Police Agency said, “According to the Public Safety Ordinance, we cannot deny permission because demo’s slogans become coarse/vulgar (soya) or rough (ranbou).  If there is something concretely illegal under the law, we can take measures.”

    ENDS

    2013年5月9日 朝日新聞
    ヘイトスピーチ「憂慮に堪えない」 谷垣法相
    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0509/TKY201305090289.html

    「在日特権を許さない市民の会」(在特会)などの団体が「朝鮮人を殺せ」と連呼するヘイトスピーチ(憎悪表現)デモを繰り返している問題が、9日の参院法務委員会でとり上げられた。谷垣禎一法相は「憂慮に堪えない。品格ある国家という方向に真っ向から反する」と語った。

    民主党の有田芳生氏の質問に答えた。今後の対応については「表現の自由との関係で、誠に悩ましい。人種差別感情をあおるものになるのか、注視してゆきたい」と述べるにとどめた。

    差別的なデモが許可されていることについて、警察庁は「公安条例では、デモの主張が粗野、乱暴だという理由では不許可にできない。具体的な違法行為があれば対処する」とした。
    ENDS

    ==========================================

    Comments have also come from the top:

    ==========================================
    Japan’s PM Abe criticizes rise of hate speech in country
    Japan Daily Press, posted on MAY 8, 2013 by JOHN HOFILENA, courtesy of JK
    http://japandailypress.com/japans-pm-abe-criticizes-rise-of-hate-speech-in-country-0828468

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his concern on the increase of hate speech in the country in an Upper House Budget Committee session on May 7. The premier criticized the hate-mongering that has become rampant on the internet and in specific areas around the nation, adding that the hate these people show is dishonoring Japan.

    “It is truly regrettable that there are words and actions that target certain countries and races,” Abe was quoted as saying. This was the prime minister’s response to a question from Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Kan Suzuki, who pointed out that demonstrations in the Koreatowns of Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo district and Osaka’s Tsuruhashi district have been marred by such vitriol and race-specific hate. Protesters have been shouting, “Kill the Koreans”, or that “Koreans are cockroaches”, and “Koreans go home, you do not belong here!” Abe called on the Japanese people to show the courtesy that has been the trademark of the nation. “I believe that the Japanese respect harmony and should not be people who exclude others,” Abe said. “The Japanese way of thinking is to behave politely and to be generous and modest at any time,” he added.

    Abe himself has been caught in recent issues where his specific words have caused angry reactions from South Korea and China. This is with regards to his views about Japan’s role in World War II, saying that the term “aggressor” can be defined in different ways from different points of view. South Korea has specifically made strong diplomatic reactions, asking Japan to apologize and the international community to exert pressure for Abe to retract what he said.

    Abe concluded that those who are spreading hate speech – online or offline – do not represent the Japanese people. He also specifically said that it was his intention to restrict hateful comments posted on his official Facebook page. “It’s completely wrong to put others down and feel as if we are superior,” he said. “Such acts dishonor ourselves.”

    ENDS

    ==========================================

    COMMENT FROM DEBITO:  Although I am happy that the LDP is saying that these hateful tendencies are a bad thing, there are two tendencies that should be noted.  One is that these are reactive, not active, stances by the governing parties.  These clear and powerful acts of hate speech happened months ago, and now we’re just getting to them during question time, in response to opposition questions?  Far too slow.  The LDP should have denounced this behavior immediately if it ran so counter to what PM Abe can so cocksurely say is not “The Japanese Way of Thinking”.  (And given that these people are legislators, where is the proposal for a law against it?)

    The other is Abe’s disingenuousness.  Abe might now say that those who are disseminating this kind of hate speech “do not represent the Japanese people”.  Yet these right-wing haters are precisely Abe’s support base.  As I discussed in my articles in the Japan Times (“Keep Abe’s hawks in check or Japan will suffer“, February 4, 2013) and on Japan Focus (“Japan’s Rightward Swing and the Tottori Prefecture Human Rights Ordinance.” Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 9, No. 3. March 4, 2013), Abe has been intimately involved with the Sakura TV crowd, for years now advocating all manner of hateful invective towards NJ, particularly Japan’s neighbors and domestic NJ residents.  Abe is thus talking out of both sides of his mouth here.

    Especially in regards to issues of his Facebook page mentioned above, which exists to help rally support amongst the Internet Neto Uyo Rightist crowd.  Consider this academic treatment by scholar Tessa Morris-Suzuki in Japan Focus, excerpted:

    ==========================================

    The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 11, Issue 8, No. 1, February 25, 2013.

    FREEDOM OF HATE SPEECH; ABE SHINZO AND JAPAN’S PUBLIC SPHERE  ヘイトスピーチ(憎悪発言)の自由ー安倍晋三と日本の公共空間

    Tessa Morris-Suzuki

    Facebook Friends to the Rescue: Mobilizing the Otakusphere

    After a rather slow start, a number of Japanese politicians have taken to social media with great enthusiasm. Among them is the nationalistic mayor of Osaka, Hashimoto Toru, who issues an unending series of tweets on his policies and general view of the world, and caused particular controversy last year with a series of rambling tweets on the “comfort women” issue, in which he denounced the 1993 Kono apology and expressed support for Abe Shinzo’s position on the “comfort women”. 7 Abe himself has also responded most enthusiastically to the political opportunities created by the Internet age. He was quick to create a personal website, and has maintained a Facebook page since well before his recent election. He or his personal secretary post comments on the page almost every day, and it boasts over 4,800 Facebook friends and more than 230,000 followers.

    On 22 December 2012, six days after the election which returned Abe to the prime ministership, NHK devoted its evening prime time to a discussion program about the election results and the implications of the new government for Japan. The participants in the program were the Secretary-General of Abe’s ruling party, Ishiba Shigeru, the head of the government’s coalition partner, Yamaguchi Natsuo, three university professors and an economist from the influential think tank the Japan Research Institute. NHK invited viewers to send in questions that they would like to have raised during the discussion.

    About two hours before the program went to air, Abe’s secretary posted a message on the prime minister’s Facebook page mobilizing its friends and followers to action. The secretary slammed the “bias” of NHK and warned readers that the forthcoming program would be a “clean sweep of Abe bashing”. The web link, email address and fax number of the program were included in the post, and Abe’s friends and followers were urged to bombard the program with messages. The secretary’s message also made derogatory comments about the discussion program’s panelists, describing one (University of Tokyo political scientist Fujiwara Kiichi) as being “famous for saying that ‘the five abductees who came home to Japan should be sent straight back to North Korea”‘. 8 (8 See here, post dated 22 December 2012 (accessed 15 January 2013).)

     

    Very far from being a “clean sweep of Abe bashing”, the program proved to be very much like most other political discussions on the public broadcaster. The early questions were directed to the two government-party politicians, who were allowed a substantial share of the air time, and much of the discussion centred around positive suggestions on the need (for example) to listen to the voices of the young and to address the problems of Japan’s aging population. Questions were raised, among other things, about the content of the government’s proposed large-scale public work’s programs, but the criticism was so calm and reasoned that it would require an unusually thin skin to be offended by it.

    Later the same evening, after the program had gone to air, the Prime Minister added his own comment to his secretary’s post, describing the program’s participants (other, presumably than Ishiba and Yamaguchi) as “too low-level” (osomatsu sugi). One panelist was described as being “beyond the pale”, and of two others, the Prime Minister wrote that they should be “ashamed to show their faces in public”. 9 (9 See here, comment by Abe Shinzo, 21.59, 22 December 2012 (accessed 15 January 2013).)

    Shortly afterwards, Professor Fujiwara posted a mildly worded response on Twitter, pointing out that he has never said or written that Japanese abductees should be returned to North Korea. Energetic efforts by at least one pro-Abe website to prove him wrong ended in failure 10 (10 See here (accessed 20 January 2013)), but meanwhile his supposed “statement” on the abduction issue (which in the Japanese context is roughly the equivalent of an American politics professor expressing support for Al Qaida) was circulating like wildfire through Japan’s right wing blogosphere.

    Neither Abe nor his secretary has apologized for or revised the comment about Fujiwara, which still remains on the Prime Minister’s Facebook page. No opposition politician and no national newspaper or TV station in Japan has questioned the Prime Minister’s use of Facebook to libel an academic public commentator. Nor did any of them discuss the propriety of the Prime Minister’s Facebook page being used to post a misleading description of a TV discussion program, with the intention of inciting readers to inundate the program with pro-government comments.

    The Abe Facebook message can be read as a calculated warning to any Japanese media outlet or commentator proposing to express doubts at government policy that they are likely face officially sanctioned harassment and vilification. In the Internet age, direct intervention by politicians in the media is no longer needed; they can get their Facebook friends to do it for them.

    Full article at http://www.japanfocus.org/-Tessa-Morris_Suzuki/3902

    ==================================

    In sum, if Abe wants to keep harping on about “honor” (whatever that means), I think he should be looking at himself and his political activities in the mirror.  These hate-speech activities are a direct result of the political machinations of his political ilk, if not him personally.  That a man could exist in such a powerful position in government not once, but twice, says indicative things about Japan’s view of “honor”, and about the Japanese public’s tolerance of disingenuousness.  Arudou Debito

    28 Responses to “JDP: Abe criticizes rise of hate speech in Japan, calls it “dishonorable” and counter to “The Japanese Way of thinking”. My, how disingenuous.”

    1. Ast Says:

      Debito, please support guys like Arita Yoshifu.

      Abe’s reply may have been disingenuous lip service, but it was a blow to the “netouyo”s who believed that Abe tolerated these sort of things.

      – Of course. What was I, not supporting Arita?

    2. Mike Says:

      Or might this simply be setting the stage for future obstructions to speech deemed not good for the honor of Japan?( His does want to change the constitution.) He could do that without ever actually having to take any action against his base, other words nice statements, but winking to the right.

    3. Markus Says:

      It is surprising and somewhat positive that he says something at all. As Debito says, the circumstances make it look like he was backed into a corner and wouldn’t have said anything if not asked for.
      The specific video of the so called “Kawaiihitler” asking for a “Nanking-like genocide” of the Koreans in Tsuruhashi/Osaka making the rounds on YouTube (with translation) seems to have helped as a form of Gai-Atsu. Embarassing things are usually swept under the rug in record time by the Japanese (I hope that’s not what Abe means by “the Japanese way”, but I fear he does), but the internet makes it harder to do so and is a global medium.
      Having a YouTube channel that manages to show the full extent of right-wing agitation and discriminatory behaviour would go a long way to pressure Japan into improving.

    4. Winning Gold at Dressage Doesn't Count Says:

      >Abe might now say that those who are disseminating this kind of hate speech “do not represent the Japanese people”. Yet these right-wing haters are precisely Abe’s support base.

      I wouldn’t agree with that. Most neo-nationalists writing in Japanese have either backed away from the Zaitokukai or have tried their best to ignore them. They are an embarrassment that is “too hot to touch” for most neo-nationalists. Even channel Sakura now considers the group too extreme:

      http://www.japanfocus.org/events/view/181

      – Yes, NOW it does. Good, but that’s from 2012. My article on the rhetoric of extreme-right groups that Abe has been intimately involved in, and the far-reaching effects of their xenophobic rhetoric, goes back a bit farther than that. There are a lot more right-wing haters than just the Zaitokukai, and they remain Abe’s support base.

    5. Jim Di Griz Says:

      Debito, I think that we need to consider this statement in the wider context of the following news stories that are slipping under the J-media radar this week.

      The J-Gov sayas it will not go back on apologies for the war, despite all Abe’s talk of a ‘forward looking statement’.
      http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/japan-says-it-will-honor-apologies-for-world-war-ii-atrocities

      And J-Gov admitting that since the Tokyo War Crimes trials, it has has testimony from IJA soldiers that there WAS a systematic coercion of women to be sex-slaves, despite Abe saying that he didn’t believe that it was true.
      http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/japan-pulls-back-on-denials-of-wwii-sex-slaves

      Together, these three stories completely undermine Abe’s right-wing philosophy as lies, and the deliberate antagonism of Japan’s neighbors. They should be front page news all over Japan! But they are not. Why isn’t NHK (having been bullied by Abe as you point out above) jumping all over him for this? Why isn’t the Asahi Shimbun (having been attacked last year by Hashimoto because they printed he was buraku) throwing this back in his face after he posted all the ‘comfort women are a lie’ twitters last year? The J-media are too cowed by bullying, and just don’t want any trouble, I guess.

      The result is that most Japanese most likely aren’t aware of these stories, and will not change their thinking on these issues. I dare say that in 6 months, if you tell a Japanese that these stories happened, they will accuse you of making it up, and being ‘anti-Japanese’.

      So, why did the Abe government make these statements that seriously risk incurring the wrath of their support base, just before the summer upper house elections? Answer; they were compelled by an external force to do so. What was that external force? Here’s the answer;

      http://www.japancrush.com/2013/stories/sk-president-criticizes-japan-at-meeting-with-us-congress.html

      The new president of Korea got a standing ovation from congress this week when she made a speech in English that include alluding to Japan being a regional trouble-maker. Obama has even said;
      “Japan ought to have a correct understanding of history”

      What does this tell you about the preeminence of US/ROK relations over US/Japan relations? The J-gov must be furious!

      So, yes, this is lip service for Washington, and not meant to be seen or heard of at home, lest it damage Abe’s popularity.

      But what happens next, is the big question….

      As McCormack mentions;
      http://www.japanfocus.org/-Gavan-McCormack/3873
      The last time Abe was PM, he kicked up an international stink by denying the comfort women were real. Eventually, congress passed a motion that he should apologize for his statements, and went to see Bush to apologize. Then he went straight back to Japan and kept on flapping his lips, until the US administration (as well as several European ones) were so exasperated with him that (as one LDP insider put it) the US refused to discuss any issue with the LDP government. Hence Abe resigned.

      So will Abe now, having riled up widespread nationalism, suddenly go quiet on the issue, and alienate his voter base, or will he (having told the US what they want to hear) carry on making nationalist statements, and risk losing the support of the US as an ally, at precisely the moment when he is angering the neighbors?

    6. Baudrillard Says:

      Post Fascist Brand Japan is the opposite, the sibling, the rival of post Communist China (oh, the irony).

      Like Mao before him, Abe makes use of the mobs, the crowds, the extremists to eliminate his political rivals, having others call them “traitors” etc if they deviate from the the LDP/CCP party line, but then when it all goes a bit too far, might need to reign in the Black/Red Guard Vans and maybe even purge them too.

      Sure, Japan has the framework and trappings of an American imposed democracy, but this can br bypassed, and the contents are straight out of the Cultural Revolution.

      I wish he and Ishihara, etc would stop acting like China. China in the 60s.

    7. Winning Gold at Dressage Doesn't Count Says:

      >There are a lot more right-wing haters than just the Zaitokukai, and they remain Abe’s support base.

      Sure. But their hate is a little more subdued, or at least “intellectualized.” Even then, I think Abe flirts with them more than sees them as his base, and the Zaitokukai are still far away from most of these guys. Abe’s base is more or less people who see both an agenda centered on both military might and “traditional” morals, a strong alliance with the United States, and “big government” as useful in strengthening and hence protecting Japan, and maybe, one day, allowing it to become a nation that has real influence on the world stage. These people are elite conservatives and their thinking has been around since at least the end of the war. I don’t think the Zaitokukai, which according to studies consist largely of people who are frustrated with contemporary Japanese economic conditions and are lashing out against the “foreign culprits” really fit into this group. Also, Abe will cuddle up to people like Tamogami when the timing is right, but these anti-American nationalists are not who he depends on. Indeed, if critical scholars like Gavan McCormack are correct, his nationalism is a bit of a show to offset the fact that he is signing Japan up to a global agenda set by the United States. And despite the desire to “right” history so that Japan can once again be “proud,” I don’t think other aspects of his nationalism are necessarily targeted at foreign culprits. In his book, which is marketed to his fans, Abe says that he wants Japan to follow the example of French and American civic nationalism, where people can (according to him) be loyal to a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds but maintain a common French or American identity. A pretty far cry from the Zaitokukai. My major concern with Abe is not his thoughts on minorities or his occasional association with real bigots for political reasons. It’s that his nationalism assumes that “rights” are not compatible with a “Japanese” civic identity (which nevertheless may accommodate people and their descendants not originally from Japan).

    8. Todd Says:

      @Markus

      Unfortuanetly, the kawaii hitler is not an isolated incident as many have tried to make it out to be. Ive met many of these people, and I honestly think those people who like to stare a hole in you on the train, etc. harbor the same feelings as the kawaii hitler….otherwise why would they be staring you down? kawaii hitler just broke from the normal way of doing things, (stares, indifference, hateful attitudes) and let it all come out.

    9. Bill Says:

      Jim Di Griz (comment #5) hit the nail on the head with his exceptional birds-eye overview of what seems to underlie much of the Abe Administration’s suddenly more conciliatory statements and actions, which at first glance came seemingly out of nowhere — the government’s public criticism of xenophobic hate speech, statements that the Cabinet will not go back on war apologies issued by previous administrations (despite Abe’s previous statements to the contrary), and ‘revelations’ of evidence backing sex-slave claims (again, despite previous Abe assertions to the contrary).

      Yet the obvious ulterior motives underpinning these moves aside (noted by Di Griz), I do feel these are steps in a positive direction. I say this as a person who is vested in Japan through family ties to the country and a livelihood that depends on and economically-healthy and politically-sound Japan, and as such hope that Japan shifts to a more constructive, less self-engrossed path.

      That said, I completely agree with Di Griz’s assertion that the Abe government’s shift to this suddenly more diplomatic trajectory was largely compelled by an “external force” — SK President Park’s enthusiastically-received address to US Congress. (Link to transcript provided by Di Griz, link to video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_bGvybq89E).

      Adding to Di Griz’s take on this, Japan increasingly has been obtusely alienating itself from the international community, especially under PM Abe, while South Korea seemingly pulls out the rug from under Japan by embarking on an opposite ‘good guy’ tack, acting to build positive relations and curry international favor under a strategy of being perceived as the better ally in Asia. For instance, the video of President Park’s speech shows her clearly winning over Congress, with Obama even subsequently moved to remark that “Japan ought to have a correct understanding of history,” partially in reference to Park’s thinly-veiled reference to Japan in which she said, “those who are blind to the past cannot see the future.”

      In this unfolding scenario of political posturing, there is Japan on the one hand with the global media on a daily basis revealing a Japanese government and populace turning increasingly inward, becoming significantly more nationalistic and xenophobic, and brazenly showing little regard for how government words and actions are perceived by others as offensive and harming the nation’s political — and economic — relations with the international community. (Cue the seemingly endless stream of news reports on issues straining Japanese ties globally and revealing a more self-serving Japan, which among many others include: Dwindling numbers of Japanese youth studying abroad, Japanese government’s blind eye on international child abductions, government-backed whaling in the southern hemisphere, regular vilification of US service members stationed in Japan, Ishihara’s provocative attempt to purchase the Senkaku islands, Yasukuni visit by 168 Cabinet lawmakers, accusation’s of BOJ/Abe yen manipulation, previous reports that Abe intended to ‘revise’ WWII apologies of previous administrations.)

      Contrast this with South Korea and rhetoric in Park’s speech where she expressed her nation’s “profound gratitude to America’s veterans,” going on to say “America, I thank you for your friendship.” She also noted that the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement “adds an economic pillar to our alliance,” and went on and on with praise for the Korea-US alliance, ending with a standing ovation from Congress.

      Japan’s government must certainly feel the heat from Keidanren and other Japanese business interests to follow a more diplomatic course.

    10. Bill Says:

      Debito,
      I just found that the Obama quote in my reply just posted may or may not be factual (“Japan ought to have a correct understanding of history”), as I was able to verify it in only two sources:

      1. http://www.japancrush.com/2013/stories/sk-president-criticizes-japan-at-meeting-with-us-congress.html

      2. http://japandailypress.com/s-korean-president-park-criticizes-japan-in-us-congress-speech-1028651

      Please feel free to scrap that part of my posting.

      It looks to be a translation error, attributing an alleged statement by Park “日本は正しい歴史認識を持つべきだ” to Obama.

      “韓国のパク・クネ大統領はワシントンで行われたアメリカのオバマ大統領との会談で、北朝鮮問題などについて話し合う一方、「日本は正しい歴史認識を持つべきだ」と述べ、過去の歴史を巡る日本の対応を不満とする立場にアメリカの理解を得ようとしたことが分かりました。”

      http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20130508/k10014418421000.html

    11. Baudrillard Says:

      @ Bill, “accusation’s of BOJ/Abe yen manipulation”

      Forget the other news reports; this is the factor that will turn the western powers against Abe. It was on the international news last night;G7 “called for a stronger Yen now the dollar has passed the 100 yen mark, the first time in four years.”

      Japan (Abe govt) is being seen as selfish and just trying to quick fix its own economy through yen manipulation (of course) at the expense of everyone else, begging the question; why be in the G7?

      Perhaps the US Govt, like in his first tenure, will just start ignoring him and refusing to deal with him again, until he is replaced by someone else.

      The Rightists may fantasise about “using” America in brinkmanship games with their Asian rivals, but an American military alliance comes at a price, an economic one.

    12. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Baudrillard #11

      I have noticed that the J-press always reports these G7/G20 meetings as having been a great success for Aso, with him explaining that he is ‘correcting’ the value of the yen, and the whole world ‘comes to understand’ (as it were) Japan’s position. I can’t help but think the J-press isn’t being entirely honest in this assessment.

    13. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Bill #10

      About the Obama quote, you appear to be correct. I do remember Obama making a statement after the Yasukuni visits about the Japanese knowing their history, but can’t find it now. In any event, that may not have been related. It is more interesting to ponder why Park7s comment was mis-attributed to Obama. Simple error? Or something else?

    14. Loverilakkuma Says:

      @Bill #10

      Yes. SK President Park knows what presidential rhetoric means in epideictic form, even though it is not the same type of rhetoric that empowers American presidents as bully pulpit on the podium. She made her nation’s relation with US and its future direction clearly, and framed international socio-economic and political struggle in Asia and the Pacific pretty well. Wonder if any Japanese PM is capable of doing the same thing.

    15. Karjh12 Says:

      Perhaps a slight tangent on the current thread on resurgent Nationalism but
      nevertheless of some relevance given the current verbal exchanges and views of
      history.

      Interesting concluding paragraphs in Chapter 11(Imperial Epilogue: Kouminka) of the book by Nicholas Ostler:- p449-455

      Empires of the World.A Language History of the World
      Harper Collins 2005
      ISBN 13 978-0-00–711871-7

      “Japan’s fifty years of language spread can be seen as a demonstration in miniature of the career
      of an imperial language.Like other colonial empires,Japan took advantage of its technical and
      military superiority over other countries-in this case its close neighbours -to increase its
      territory.It then faced the problem of what to do with the native populations there,people who
      did not think of themselves as Japanese.It attempted everywhere to convert them into members
      of its own community,certainly not trusting them to associate voluntarily,but setting a considerable store by education in the Japanese language.As everywhere else, this conversion process failed.

      There was reasonable success in spreading the language,but once the political motive for using it was gone,the language proved to have no independent staying power.The framework suggested to explain the decline in Russian can be applied here too.The creole motive was absent ,since essentially the whole overseas population had been repatriated,There was no nostalgia for life under the flag of the Rising Sun,nor any wish to preserve unity with its speakers.Indeed,the bitter memories that the few years of Japan’s control had caused were such that even when there were globalisation reasons to renew economic links through language,they were disregarded.
      Permanent language spread ,it turns out,is not to be achieved through planning,or naked force, ”

      – A tangent indeed, but a very interesting one. Thanks for taking the trouble to type it in.

    16. Loverilakkuma Says:

      Hi all,

      I just found an article about Abenomics. The author, Matthew Yglesias, buys into Abnemic voodoo soothsaying in contrast to American economy. It’s amusing to see how people like him falsely project Japan’s national economy by merely identifying main financial indicators, such as, Nikkei, unemployment rate, and dollar’s rate to yen. This man has a pretty funny story. He credits himself as an expert in business and finance, while he does not have the degree in that area. He also claims liberal, while he admitted that he voted for Mitt Romney in the election last year. And the article is out from Slate Magazine, an online English publication of American politics which is leaning toward the right, such as the New Republic. It’s like the US version of Yomiuri or Sankei Shinbun.

      Here’s an article:

      http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2013/05/abenomics_is_working_shinzo_abe_s_policies_are_leading_the_way_to_recovery.html

      See also author’s bio here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Yglesias

    17. Markus Says:

      @Jim (#13) From speaking to the Japanese I know, I have the impression that Obama isn’t well liked (anymore) by the Japanese. Why none of the people I know would admit they think of black people as less intelligent, the main point of critique is that he allegedly “doesn’t care for Japanese people” and has a “Nihon wa dou de mou ii” attitude. I have also heard that sending Kennedy as the new ambassador was meant to “embarrass Japan” because she allegedly has “no experience and doesn’t speak Japanese” and it was just Obama giving a friend the in his mind “unimportant” job of Ambassador to Japan.

      All the US does for us is have a black guy send a woman? This is Japan!!

      Apart from being a ridiculous statement and funny for the proximity to Kanye West’s “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”, it feeds into the notion that Japan has to do whatever possible to become independent from the US.

    18. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Markus #17

      I get the feeling that Obama isn’t that well liked by the Japanese, but I don’t know if he ever was.

      Hil Clinton’s ‘Japan passing’ during Obama’s first administration must have upset them. And now the whole US/Korea love-in must make them ever-so-jealous.

      When Obama was elected for the first term, I think that a lot of Japanese were expecting the balance of power in the US/Japan relationship to tip more in Japan’s favor, since;
      i) ‘Obama is black! White Americans oppressed Obama’s people the same way they oppress Japan!’, and
      ii) in the imperialist right-wing view of the world the Japanese see their natural place at the top of the pyramid, hotly contested by the ‘white-man’, but most definately above people of other colors (ah, nazi world views, the Japanese just can’t give them up, can they? What’s you’re blood type?…..).

      I think that many Japanese right-wing policy makers have ‘fallen out of love’ with the idea of being best friends with the ‘biggest school bully’ since they see the bully as indifferent to them, and see themselves as most certainly superior to the bully. Such is the lack of sophistication of understanding of international relations that Japanese policy-makers exhibit; Aso’s gaffes, Blinky’s out-bursts, Inose’s Olympic interview, Sick-note’s non-stop statements essentially about the war despite having to resign for the same behavior the first time, and Hashi-moron’s denial tweets.

      Compare those J-politicians internationally reported fails with the English language speech that Park gave congress last week. Japan is just amateur hour in international relations terms compared to Park. In fact, the naievety of Japanese policy-makers on the international stage, their myopic understanding of the world, self-adsorption, and ill-placed arrogance regarding their own importance and skills serves as a perfect case-study for so many of Japan’s problems from education to business and the economy.

      In the same way that for the Japanese the ‘shine’ soon wore off Obama, despite all the ‘Yes we can!’ (which the Japanese loved because it was English so simple they could understand it!), and the ‘he’s black=he’s so cool’, I expect that Kennedy will be all over the TV and magazines for the first 5 mins whilst they compare her to her mother, and have a ‘pink Chanel suit’ revival (I fully expect the ghost of arch-apologist Reischuaer to rear his ugly head since he was JFK’s ambassador to Japan), but she will soon tire of being fetishized as a glorified OL by Japanese policy-makers (and having no real experience on which to take up her posting), she will no doubt delegate many duties to the same staff that have thus far been doing the job, and slip off to the USA at every opportunity.

      Of course, at that point the Japanese press won’t say ‘did we treat her with enough respect, of did we treat her like a little bauble for our amusement?’, they will say that ‘the USA isn’t taking japan seriously enough, please send us some grizzled 50 something male old-Japan hand’.

    19. Jim Di Griz Says:

      Abe is a compulsive repeat offender!

      He cannot control himself!

      Today’s controversy is that he was photographed giving a thumbs up from the pilots seat of a SDF jet fighter trainer, prominently marked with the numbers 731.

      http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/s-korean-media-slam-abes-731-jet-photo

      If you do not know the significance of 731, read this;

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731

      The apologists would have you believe the following narrative;
      Unit 731 is an anti-Japanese lie. Even if it wasn’t (which it is), the numbering of an SDF fighter-trainer is coincidental. It is also coincidental that the fighter-trainer in question is the lead aircraft in ‘Blue Impulse’, the SDF’s air display team (oh, the irony! The SDF’s right-wing, unconstitutional, para-military airforce, formerly headed by Zaitokukai ‘darling’ Tamogami, has an ‘English’ name to be more ‘cool’! Wow, these nationalist’s heads must be spinning from the irony!). It is also coincidence that Sick-note chose the lead aircraft to pose in, and also coincidence that throughout the whole chain of events, not one person saw any significance in the number painted on the airplane.

      If we are to believe the apologist narrative, the failure to spot the aircraft’s number, and it’s historical context, is a massive oversight given the current state of Japan’s international relations at present, and speaks (yet again) to the incredible ‘amateur hour’ culture at the heart of J-politics, that is comparable to the ‘amateur hour’ safety culture displayed in Japan’s nuclear power industry (read this and weep tears of despair; http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/05/15/reference/monju-generating-only-misfortune/).

      I don’t believe the apologist narrative. I see this as a petulant, immature, ‘two fingers up’ to the international community from Abe, after he was humiliated last week by being forced to backtrack on three right-wing issues. He possibly figured that he could make this little poke at the victims of Japanese wartime aggression, with a (false) sense of plausible deniability, whilst giving a nod and wink to the right-wing voters that last weeks backtracking was just tatemae for the international community, and he doesn’t really mean any of it.

      That god the Koreans are keeping an eye on him, and thank god that they have alerted the US congress to the risk, with the following result;

      ‘“Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress,” issued on May 1 by the U.S. Congressional Research Service, said in part, “Comments and actions on controversial historical issues by Prime Minister Abe and his Cabinet have raised concern that Tokyo could upset regional relations in ways that hurt U.S. interests.”

      The report said, “Other statements … suggest that Abe embraces a revisionist view of Japanese history that rejects the narrative of imperial Japanese aggression and victimization of other Asians. He has been involved with groups arguing that Japan has been unjustly criticized for its behavior as a colonial and wartime power.”

      It also said, “Abe’s selections for his Cabinet appear to reflect these views, as he chose a number of politicians well-known for advocating nationalist, and in some cases ultra-nationalist views.”’

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/05/15/editorials/nationalism-will-undermine-japan/

    20. john k Says:

      #19 JDG

      Abe is also very economical with the “truth” to suit his own objective even more these days:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22536186

      “..Japan’s PM has said he would consider meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to try to settle a row over Pyongyang’s kidnapping of Japanese nationals..”

      But this is the best part (if translated corrected):

      “..”Our fundamental objective is to resolve the abduction issue, including the return of all abductees, revelation of the truth and the handover of the perpetrator to Japan,” the prime minister added….”

      To para-phrase Tom Cruise…..The truth, you can’t handle the truth!!! :)

    21. Karjh12 Says:

      The nuclear saga looks to be taking on another dimension… with the likelihood(certainty) of weapons grade plutonium in the near future.

      http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2013/s3760280.htm

    22. Hank Says:

      These nationalist are shooting themselves in the foot. We all know they want to roll Japan back to its “glorious” days of domination and the meiji constitution, but at least try to hide your intentions, I mean with Hashimotos lattest remarks, the whole world can see what really goes on here now. This remark was especially troubling:

      “But Japan can never overturn the evaluations of World War II unless it again fights and wins war. Therefore, Japan, as a defeated nation, must accept how its aggression and colonial policy have been evaluated.”

      Its exactly what Ish and gang have in mind; to fight and win wars,rewrite history and make up the rules as they go along. Many in Japan have lived in a bubble for so long that they arent even aware these type of remarks are inflamatory and can isolate/polarize their cause even more. I dont get the reasoning; is it a last stand attempt or do they actually believe their dream will come true?

    23. Hank Says:

      Also, it seems many in the DPJ fear what the rest of the world thinks of Japan now:

      “Having such an individual as the mayor of the international city of Osaka as well as the co-leader of a political party will lead to the perception that the Japanese people have a very low sense of human rights.”

      Nobody was complaining when Ishi was gov of Tokyo and making his remarks; his were evem more offensive. I say let them speak whatever is on their mind, the more the better so the world can really see what goes on here.

    24. Bayfield Says:

      After reading through this whole blog, It seems that the only difference between your run of the mill J-nationalist and the Zaitokukai nationalist is that the Zaitokukai types don’t mind getting their hands a little dirty.

      In terms of what and how J-nationalists think as a whole, they probably aren’t that different. While people like Abe isn’t as to be as blunt and provocative in comparison to the Zaitokukai yet. It would not be surprising if the run in the mill J-nationalist agrees with the Zaitokukai 100% deep inside their minds. regular J-nationalists and Zaitokukai are really one of the same minds, just different methods of expressing their views.

      It is just that for the Zaitokukai, the effort that goes into being subtle and indirect is probably too exhaustive, so they just express their views as directly as possible. Bypassing this “subtlety” and “indirectness” is probably what Abe is referring to as not the “Japanese way” to do things.

      Simply put, I don’t think Abe is even criticizing Japan’s hate speech, but rather criticizing the overt Zaitokukai type J-nationalists for:
      1) Revealing their true faces too soon
      2) lack of subtlety and indirectness
      3) not sugarcoating hatred and denial well enough.

      Simply put, while somewhere deep inside Abe and his cronies probably crave for the J-extremism to become full blown, the LDP probably thought that Japan’s true colors came out all a little just too soon. Basically this speech is simply Abe saying something along the lines of “Hey Zaitokukai, we aren’t there yet, have some patience and give us time to catch up!” or something along those lines.

    25. Chris Says:

      Frankly, I believe Abe`s comments are nothing more than an excuse to change the constitution to restrict freedom of speech in general. Much though I detest hate speech, I’ll tolerate it if it means keeping free speech in general.

    26. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Chris #25

      Freedom of speech, and laws against hate speech are not mutually exclusive as you imply.

      In the US, the right to bear arms does not equal the right to murder people, does it?

      In many EU counties, the right to freedom of speech is protected, but does not include the right to make threats of violence, nor incite others to violence. sensible enough, I think.

    27. Loverilakkuma Says:

      @ Jim Di Griz #26

      >Freedom of speech, and laws against hate speech are not mutually exclusive as you imply.

      Actually, it is much more complicated than we think. In the US, for example, some attempts were made to put some limits on expression by SCOUTUS (The Supreme Court of the United States) in the early 1940s. But hate speech did not fall into the category of “the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous and the insulting or “fighting” words – those which by their very utterances inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace” framed by Justice Frank Murphy in 1942. Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) protected Ku Klux Klan’s hate speech by ruling that “[t]he constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force, or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech#United_States). Even though the state court upheld the ban on racist and hatred expression as criminal offense, the US Supreme Court struck it down eventually, thanks to a notoriously conservative court judge Antonin Scalia.

      So, I would say it’s the matter of court judges’ view on various social issues. If the court is dominated by judges who preside on conservative slant—let’s say, anti-affirmative action, anti-abortion, no-recount vote on national election, or justifying incarceration of detainee without habeas corpus(Note: these are all attributing to Scalia’s reputation), the rights of NJ would likely be compromised in the case of incitement or hate speech.

    28. Jim Di Griz Says:

      Again, some concern voiced about hate-speech, because it might be directed at politicians on the campaign trail (well, I guess THAT’S the final straw!).

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/07/10/national/politicians-silent-on-curbing-hate-speech/#.Ud2IShwSFMs

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