A Japanese nationalist declaring Chinese and Koreans should leave

Japan and China’s ongoing dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands has strained relations between the two nations enormously, although potentially just as damaging to Japan is the political shift to the right it might cause — particularly so as the country and its politicians are generally very conservative to begin with. The hawkish Shinzo Abe is back fronting the Liberal Democratic Party, and along with the capital’s unrepentantly racist governor, Shintaro Ishihara, they are wilfully goading their neighbours. The former once again visited Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine, and the latter, not content with starting the whole island controversy in the first place, is now attempting to make matters worse by proposing building on the rocky outposts.

Such fears of a rightward shift aren’t exactly dispelled by the individual below either. A man who, along with his Rising Sun flag, was carrying a sign that in no uncertain terms said Chinese and Koreans should get out of Japan.

Yet at the same time there is hope — at least in regards the Japanese public, if not their politicians — as he was very much alone, and reassuringly the only responses he got were confused or openly critical stares.

Japanese nationalist protesting about Chinese and Koreans

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Comments

  1. A Former Expat says

    The frightening thing for me is that given this man’s apparent age, he was born well after WWII ended and probably also did not grow up during the immediate period of post-war deprivation. He is also a testament to the Japanese people not fully facing their country’s past and the success of government organizations, such as the Monbusho quietly, but effectively through playing with history taught in schools, whitewashing the whole period over indeed trying to legitimize it.

    I might also toss out the idea this is a reaction of a Japan seeing, and very concerned over it being eclipsed by a dynamic and outward reaching China and Korea. But instead of looking at why this is happening, there is the knee-jerk nationalism.

    • Lee says

      Yes, while such attitudes are never acceptable, it’s perhaps understandable that some people brought up in very different times, hold equally different views. Or more accurately retain equally old prejudices. But a man of his age has no such ‘excuses’.

      Like you say, there are a few possible factors that could be partly to blame. China’s rise in particular clearly hurts as well, although actually protesting about those in power who have helped cause Japan’s decades of stagnation would surely be the way to go instead of such backward looking nonsense.

      I did actually speak to him, and asked why he hated Chinese and Koreans so much. Needless to say he mentioned territorial disputes. A useful tool to presumably mask an irrational deep-seated hatred of countries and people he fears or despises. Then when I asked what he thought of me, as an Englishman in Japan, he said, “Welcome. I like England and Europe.”

  2. A Former Expat says

    What makes this latent and unrepentant nationalism so dangerous is something I remembered after I posted, from a Japanese psychology class I took, taught by a Japanese, when I was a starry-eyed 留学生 waay back in the day.

    The lecturer noted why the Japanese are seemingly so easy to manipulate is that “The Japanese are like a suitcase. They can be picked up and taken anywhere.”

    • Lee says

      That’s a very interesting way of putting it. Rings true in a lot of ways as well.

      My hope is that the whole Fukushima/nuclear debacle has made a lot of people sit up. Take notice. And perhaps most important of all, ask questions. Only time will tell if that’s the case.

  3. Willy says

    I have this idea that nations could solve these disputes by an analogue of the Antarctic treaty.. far flung land that is of little significance to ordinary peoples lives… just agree that that is what those rocks out in the middle of nowhere actually are. Just a thought…

    • Lee says

      That certainly would be the sensible way to solve such problems. Trouble is, the sensible option rarely gets a look in, does it? To make matters worse, the islands may have oil reserves. Another element to an already heady mix.

    • ying says

      where interests are involved there will always be conflict, we should just consider whether it is actually worth our attention, and not let the governments decide for us.

      • Lee says

        Unfortunately it’s the governments that make the decisions. All we can do at the moment is hope they make the right ones…

  4. Hans ter Horst says

    Great photo, I always stay away from those guys and their black trucks. Weird that they have adopted the naval flag as their own.

    When I speak to my parents in law, they love Chinese culture yet have a very negative image of the Chinese and Koreans. When talking about it with other people, it becomes clear that those nonsensical nihonjinron (日本人論) books have had their impact and quite a lot of people have picked up parts of these pseudo-scientific tidbits and fitted them into their worldview unwittingly, making them feel superior over everybody else. Politicians have gone out of their way to rewrite history and as schools are so busy teaching kanji to kids, I always find that the adults, in general, have very little knowledge of the history of most countries other than the bag of facts that are required to memorize for the entrance exams for universities. The resulting mishmash is of course an ideal situation for the far right who can all of a sudden picture themselves as victim.
    Before Perry came with his gunboats and the Meiji Restoration happened, Japan was isolated from its neighbours and then it quickly started raging war on them. When that had ended in disaster, it became completely focused on the USA and still ignored its neighbours. The obvious solution for the current issue is that Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China share the natural resources from the island group and learn to live together as good neighnours, but we all know that’ll never happen :-)

      • Lee says

        Cheers. Yeah it’s hard to change ideas that have been drilled into minds for years. Well, generations. But like the Japan Times article suggests, for Japan to survive, it’ll have to open up once more. I dare say there’ll be as much opposition as last time though…

  5. CrayonShin says

    It always makes me sad to see these things. All the so-called ‘disputes’ are merely carefully engineered schemes by politicians in either country to manipulate and divide people. The amount of bias/hatred/distortion perpetuated by media is simply amazing. I am Chinese and would love to see Japan, Korea and China become close friends.

  6. Willy says

    Thats true indeed. Politicians always need to appear ‘strong’ to stay in power. What better way than an intransigent stance vis your neighbours?
    It certainly sucks.

    • Lee says

      It cheers me up that he’s no longer governor of the city I live in, but after successful campaigns in the capital, it’s a distinct possibility people will actual listen to him on the national stage. It’d be funny if it weren’t so horribly scary…

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