Japan, where will you go?

Territorial disputes and a hawkish new government have undoubtedly played their part in the recent rise of nationalism in Japan. Or if not nationalism itself, then certainly the rise in nationalist marches. A worrying trend that has understandably left many people wondering where Japan is heading.

Then throw in the faltering economy, tsunami reconstruction, an ageing population etc., plus of course Japan’s nuclear problems, and it’s a decidedly heady mix indeed. One that needless to say is perfectly suited to all manner of manipulation and scaremongering.

But despite all this, modern Japan is a very different beast than it was a century ago. And while nobody really knows where the country will eventually go, a cursory glance at the average Tokyoite makes it reassuringly hard to imagine that it’ll be back down those dark paths of old.

traditional Japan, where will you go

Or is that just hope taking an equally cursory glance at reality?

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Comments

  1. An Expat says

    Creepy is what that stenciled graffiti is……I still remember the comment made by the prof (Japanese)of a Japanese psych. course I took; ‘The Japanese are like a suitcase, they can be picked up and taken anywhere.’

    • Lee says

      The artist responsible has done a lot of interesting stencils since March 11th. Good to see such public and political protest.

      That’s a great quote by your old professor. If he’s right, let’s just hope they are taken somewhere that’s new and open minded.

  2. Paul says

    Nationalism is on the rise everywhere. It is the retreat of the small minded and ignorant amongst us and plays upon our sentimentality for times past and our fear of the future. Worst of all, it doesn’t solve anything.

    I wonder what Japan’s long-term plans are with regards it’s birth rate? Surely immigration would help with the shortfall in working-age people? A level of immigration is generally accepted as beneficial to an economy.

    • Lee says

      Couldn’t agree more.

      Immigration on a pretty large scale will have to happen eventually, but it’ll no doubt be resisted right til the very end. The cultural and economic benefits of such a shift are sadly still a very long way from being accepted…

      • Hans ter Horst says

        The poor dogs end up in the dog pound when they are not cute any more (millions of them destroyed every year) , but unfortunately we cannot do the same with the nationalists…. :-)

        But you’re right, it is a mess as China is also whipping up nationalism to hide their enormous internal problems. Korea has now also a hawkish president, the daughter of Park Chung-hee who has a very bad list of merits, and then there is of course the loose cannon of North Korea which finally seems to get estranged from China and could do anything. This bring me back to the nationalists, as I feel that with the ongoing tensions, nationalism has become a lot more acceptable for the “person in the street” who have forgotten (as they were never taught) what the nationalists have done to the Japanese people previously.

        • Lee says

          Yeah, the number of dogs that get destroyed every day, let alone every year, is horrendous. I was only reading about that again the other day. Truly shocking.

          Those ‘gaps’ in the curriculum really need to be addressed, but it’s even harder to imagine that happening with the current regime. That said, during the many times I’ve seen nationalists peddling their nonsense, it has been reassuring to see the reaction of 99% of people. Namely utter indifference, or complete bemusement.

  3. Vamp898 says

    In the end, aging population is a positive thing.

    All over the world, and for sure in Japan too, we have

    1. Much more people than we need
    2. Not enough jobs for everyone.

    With increasing high-tech technology, less people are needed over the time. If a machine does the work of 100 people, 100 people are without job.

    Actually we already have a very very lot of useless jobs which nobody would care if the job would be done or not.

    Its not good for the pension, thats true, but in every other aspect its a good thing if human population decreases.

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