The Fall of Japan?

(cross-posted at the paper tiger)

In general I’ve avoided the topic of anti-Japanese sentiments in China. It’s such a hot-button issue that it’s difficult to have any real debate that doesn’t deteriorate into a lot of shouting and slogans. But these two articles, dealing with Japan’s increasing isolation from the rest of Asia, are worrying on many levels.

First up is an article from the UK Guardian that explores the connection between China’s rise and increasing Japanese nationalism:

When Junichiro Koizumi, the Japanese prime minister, secured his dramatic and overwhelming victory in September’s general election, its significance was generally interpreted as a victory for his programme of privatisation and deregulation. This, however, is secondary. Far more important to Japan’s future is Koizumi’s implicit and incipient nationalism. This was demonstrated again on October 17 with his latest visit to the Yasukuni shrine, where class A war criminals are honoured, despite the opposition of China and South Korea and the wave of anti-Japanese demonstrations in China earlier this year.

Little is made too explicit in Japanese society, but the new cabinet, which Koizumi announced last week, spoke volumes about both his intentions and likely future trends in Japan. The two top positions, chief cabinet secretary and foreign minister, were given to Shinzo Abe, the man most likely to succeed Koizumi when his term finishes next September, and Taro Aso respectively. Both are rightwing nationalists and both, like Koizumi, are regular visitors to Yasukuni. This is the first time that the three key positions in the cabinet have been occupied by such figures. The previous cabinet secretary, who had opposed Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni, was dropped from the cabinet and the former foreign minister, who did not visit Yasukuni, lost his position.

One might think that this is to read too much into such visits to the shrine. On the contrary, they are symbolic acts, an expression of how Japan’s past and future should be seen, and as such a deliberate, if coded, signal to the Japanese. Nor are these visits naive or innocent in the message they send to China and South Korea. Koizumi may express the view that they do not give offence to these countries but he knows that they do. And this, indeed, is their very intention. The more these countries protest, the more likely it is that Koizumi will continue to visit the shrine. He is laying down a marker – for the Japanese and to the Chinese and Koreans. Japan’s future is already beginning to take shape.

The causes of growing Japanese nationalism may be diverse, but they are increasingly driven by one overwhelming factor: a fear of the rise of China. That is the only way the behaviour of Koizumi and the other leading lights in the Liberal Democratic party can be understood. It could be different. China, widely credited with having pulled Japan out of its long-running recession, represents an enormous economic opportunity for Japan, and is already Japan’s largest trading partner. But far more powerful forces than mere economics are at work. Ever since the Meiji restoration in 1868, Japan has turned its back on Asia in general and China in particular: its pattern of aggression from 1895 onwards and the colonies that resulted were among the consequences.

To engage with China requires Japan to come to terms with its past, and Koizumi’s visits to the shrine represent a symbolic refusal to do so. Japan is stuck in its past, and its past now threatens to define its future and that of east Asia. Even during the postwar period, when Japan dominated east Asia economically and China was weak and self-absorbed, it never had an influence commensurate with its economic strength. The reason was simple: its failure to atone for its past and embrace a new kind of relationship with its wronged and distrustful neighbours. If Japan could not do it then, it is even less likely to do it in the face of a resurgent China that is rapidly displacing it as the economic and political fulcrum of east Asia.

Even more alarming in this context is the increasingly close alliance that Japan is forming with the United States:

Earlier this year Japan affirmed, for the first time, its willingness to support the US in the event of a conflict over Taiwan. It has also agreed to work with the US to develop and finance a missile-defence system whose intention is clearly the containment of China. It is not difficult to see the early signs of a new cold war in east Asia, with Japan and the US on one side and China on the other.

I think this fear is somewhat overstated. The United States simply has too much of an economic stake in China, and vice-versa. Regardless of neo-con posturing on both sides, China and the US are intertwined in a symbiotic relationship that if broken, will damage both parties (granted, I may be giving too much credit to the power of rational thinking here). And it’s not clear to me what the greatest danger of a nationalistic Japan might be to its Asian neighbors (ideas, anyone? I don’t see Japan invading Manchuria again any time soon). I wonder if the greatest danger of this sort of isolation is to Japan itself, both economically and spiritually. What this New York Times article says about certain strains in Japanese culture is both alarming and deeply sad:

A young Japanese woman in the comic book “Hating the Korean Wave” exclaims, “It’s not an exaggeration to say that Japan built the South Korea of today!” In another passage the book states that “there is nothing at all in Korean culture to be proud of.”

In another comic book, “Introduction to China,” which portrays the Chinese as a depraved people obsessed with cannibalism, a woman of Japanese origin says: “Take the China of today, its principles, thought, literature, art, science, institutions. There’s nothing attractive.”

The two comic books, portraying Chinese and Koreans as base peoples and advocating confrontation with them, have become runaway best sellers in Japan in the last four months.

In their graphic and unflattering drawings of Japan’s fellow Asians and in the unapologetic, often offensive contents of their speech bubbles, the books reveal some of the sentiments underlying Japan’s worsening relations with the rest of Asia.

They also point to Japan’s longstanding unease with the rest of Asia and its own sense of identity, which is akin to Britain’s apartness from the Continent. Much of Japan’s history in the last century and a half has been guided by the goal of becoming more like the West and less like Asia. Today, China and South Korea’s rise to challenge Japan’s position as Asia’s economic, diplomatic and cultural leader is inspiring renewed xenophobia against them here.

There are so many offensive stereotypes and outright falsehoods in these books that I’ll stick to the Chinese volume:

The book describes China as the “world’s prostitution superpower” and says, without offering evidence, that prostitution accounts for 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. It describes China as a source of disease and depicts Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi saying, “I hear that most of the epidemics that broke out in Japan on a large scale are from China.”

The book waves away Japan’s worst wartime atrocities in China. It dismisses the Rape of Nanjing, in which historians say 100,000 to 300,000 Chinese were killed by Japanese soldiers in 1937-38, as a fabrication of the Chinese government devised to spread anti-Japanese sentiment.

The book also says the Japanese Imperial Army’s Unit 731 – which researched biological warfare and conducted vivisections, amputations and other experiments on thousands of Chinese and other prisoners – was actually formed to defend Japanese soldiers against the Chinese.

So does all this justify the recent, and sometimes violent, anti-Japanese demonstrations in China? A cautionary note: one of the book’s authors, Ko Bunyu, a Taiwan-born writer who has lived in Japan for forty years, credits the demonstrations with boosting his sales to past the one million mark:

“I have to thank China, really,” Mr. Ko said. “But I’m disappointed that the sales of my books could have been more than one or two million if they had continued the demonstrations.”

Thanks to David in the UK for the Guardian article!

The Discussion: 38 Comments

Japan actually did play a significant role in kick-starting South Korea’s “Miracle on the Han”

Sadly, the last Korean intellectual to publicly suggest this was publicly humiliated and lost his job simply because of what he said.

This and other highly illiberal antics going on under the aegis of Roh Moo-hyun’s “progressive” administration aren’t getting the attention they should–let alone the attention Japan seems to be getting.

November 19, 2005 @ 10:08 pm | Comment

Nice. How lovely. What a self-perpetuating vicious cycle.

November 19, 2005 @ 10:16 pm | Comment

Johnny, I’m woefully ignorant about many things, S. Korean politics among them (please comment further if you’re so inclined). But there’s something about what seems to be a refusal in Japan to come to grips with its recent history that I find worrisome. Granted, you can say the same thing about China, and as a US citizen, I’m not of a mind to climb on a very high horse about my own country right now either…but still…

November 19, 2005 @ 10:16 pm | Comment

And that Japan built modern South Korea? Oh well, geez, I guess the Koreans should kowtow to its benevolent colonialisers, then, instead of protesting. Those ungrateful, cultureless brutes. Too bad economic industrialization doesn’t begin to make up for the oppression and the loss of national identity.

November 19, 2005 @ 10:23 pm | Comment

Lisa, thanks for posting this. As you know, my friend is in town this week and I can’t give this blog ant time for the next four days or so, Keep ’em coming!

November 19, 2005 @ 10:36 pm | Comment

Richard, I’ll do my best…

November 19, 2005 @ 10:41 pm | Comment

What you have forgotten to mention is that half of these vile comics are NOT Japanese, they are only drawn by Japanese artists, they are TAIWANESE.

The script writters and backers of these particular comic books are anti-mainland activists from TAIWAN. They want to seperate China and Taiwan and to bring Japan in as a military buffer.

A man professor at Takushoku University黃文雄 (Ko Bunyu) is heavily involved as a script writter for these sick publications. He is NOT Japanese, he is a known TAIWANESE China hater.

November 20, 2005 @ 1:02 am | Comment

Actually, ACB, I did mention that Ko Bunyu is from Taiwan.

November 20, 2005 @ 1:10 am | Comment


You should really know better than this. home made Manga like this are 10 for 10 cents in Japan.

This Manga has a circulation of less than 500,000, which is pretty poor and a lot of this is due to people who brought one issue to see what it was like, but who won’t buy it again.

It has no future. It’s badly drawn, has no continusous plot and the charcters aren’t even cute. It looks like it was put together for a grade school assignment. It will never be serialized by any of the big publishers.

Manga like this come and go, and the key word here is GO.

Also, I can walk into any comic book far in the US and buy NAZI comics, race hate coics and comics that glorify war. These comics exist in the west too.

This is called freedom of speach.

November 20, 2005 @ 1:12 am | Comment

ACB, just to be clear, I posted this, not Richard.

The article makes it clear that the China comic’s script writer is from Taiwan. It goes on to say that the comic’s main author (who is Japanese) would not agree to an interview.

And I don’t know that one could find a Nazi comic in the US that is comparable in popularity, particularly given the US’ much larger population.

By the way, I used to buy A LOT of comics. Loved them. Went to a lot of comic stores. Even worked in one briefly. And I never saw a Nazi comic in a comic book store in California…

November 20, 2005 @ 1:20 am | Comment

This is called freedom of speach.

Saying that prostitution accounts for 10% of China’s GDP, that it is the world’s premier “prostitution superpower” and that nothing good has come out of Korean culture is arguably libel, and therefore wouldn’t be protected under the First Amendment.

November 20, 2005 @ 1:36 am | Comment

Another note: I, too, am a comics geek. Live two blocks down from the store (just a happy coincidence…hehe) And yes, there are comics that glorify war, but you’d be very, very hard-pressed to find that any store that carries comics glorifying Nazism or promoting racial hatred.

Btw, Vertigo comics rock. That is all.

November 20, 2005 @ 1:43 am | Comment

Actually, Nausicaa, I don’t know if it would be considered libel (please help, lawyers in the house – doesn’t “libel” apply to an individual, and don’t you have to determine deliberate intent to lie?). Here you’d have to make a case that it was hate speech, fire in a crowded theater, that kind of thing.

For example, there’s a novel called “The Turner Diaries” which is considered a sort of bible amongst neo-Nazi’s, White supremicists here in the US. It’s a political tract in the guise of a science fiction novel. And it advocates all sorts of racial violence, but it does so as a work of fiction. It’s published legitimately here.

It’s reprehensible, but you can say it.

November 20, 2005 @ 1:46 am | Comment

Nausicaa, is it time for me to start reading comics again? I read them as a kid, then I was so addicted during the Alan Moore Swamp Thing era, Watchmen, etc., then Grant Morrison (Animal Man! Doom Patrol!), Neil Gaiman…then it seemed like comics just got kind of over the top because they could…are there good ones out there again?!

November 20, 2005 @ 1:49 am | Comment

Ah yes, Swamp Thing. The Thing that started it all. Much love. Still remember that absolutely beautiful but very, very crackalicious vegetable sex issue.

Yes, plenty of good ones. I think you’d really like Transmetropolitan. Spider Jerusalem, the main character, is just the sort of filthy-mouthed, bringin’-down-the-presidency vigilante muckracker and Hunter S. Thompson doppleganger that a girl could fall in love with. V for Vendetta is also tres excellent. I am currently reading We3, which is about how a dog, a cat, and a rabbit get turned into killing machines, escape, and try to find home again. The premise sounds extremely silly, but in apt hands it turns into a truly haunting (though perhaps a little heavy-handed) scifi parable on the brutality of the military industrial complex.

As for whether it would be libel or not…law is really not by fort-ay. Help, someone, please?

But why are we talking about U.S. laws anyway? Shouldn’t we be comparing Japan to Germany’s and other European countries’ attitudes towards hate speech and revisionism? Ernst Zundel and more recently recently, David Irving were arrested. Ha. Somehow I can’t really muster much of a tear.

November 20, 2005 @ 2:07 am | Comment

HAH! Yes, when Swampie grew the tuber and Abigail ate it and tripped! I remember it well…V for Vendetta I read years ago. I’ll check out your other recommends….

Sorry to drag this so far off topic, but it’s late here and I’m getting sleepy and it’s rare to find a fellow Swamp Thing fan…

November 20, 2005 @ 2:11 am | Comment

Whups, I keep forgetting the V for Vendetta comics came out ages ago. The new movie (that Evey is played by Natalie Portman is my only consolation against the horror of Joel Silver productions) is wrecking havoc on my memory.

Just thought of another great comic, not published under Vertigo, but Wildstorm (the same one that published the classic first run of The Authority) – Warren Ellis’ Planetary, which revisits the history of the last century as filtered through popular superhero narratives, and is frankly very awesome. “What’s wrong with the mirror? Nothing. It’s the world that’s cracked.”

And if you like Gaiman’s Sandman you might enjoy Fables, which as its title suggest, is a reworking of old fairytales and fairytale characters. IMO it’a little uneven between story arcs, but brilliant in places.

Also have to put in a good word for Y: the Last Man (post-apocalyptic world where all men, save one, are wiped out), and Vimanarama, which is simply time-travelling Hindu mythology on acid.

I think that’s the cream of the crop as far as the
“adult-oriented” DC titles go. Image Comics have also put out some good stuff, in particular David Mack’s (or, as we call him, the Mack-daddy) dreamlike Kabuki series.

Also, if you like political nonfiction graphic novels (not comics), there is always Joe Sacco’s groundbreaking “Safe Area Gorazde” and “Palestine”.

Sorry for spamming, Richard. (But you understand I must proselytize my religion of Geek when given the chance!) Please don’t ban me.

Now back to my paper…

November 20, 2005 @ 3:08 am | Comment

I have a problem with the Guardian editorial. I don’t know what it is, but they never really seem to make decent observations about the place. I find that the Times or Economist hits the nail on the head much more precisely. Perhaps it’s to do with the political orientation of the paper.

Anyway, this guy is a bit of a fool if he thinks Japan’s interest in the missile shield is just about China. Indeed it’s mostly to do with North Korea. He’s writing an article about Japan and didn’t hear about a missile being fired over it by the Communists? Also there is not as much fear in Japan of China as he would have you believe. There are Japanese who are uncertain about the future, but China is still publicly a lot more popular in Japan than vice versa according to opinion polls.

Also he fails to note that Japan’s “nationalism rating” is rather low compared to most of its neighbours – I would say what is happening in Japan is a case of the country starting to think outside of the box again and trying to find its place in the world. It would still have done a lot of the same if China hadn’t been around.

Or does this guy leave out relevant details because they don’t support his theory?

About the manga book:

I’ve heard about that before. Then again there are Chinese companies that have started naming their products after famous battles vrs Japan in the 1930s and 40s. It’s a case of people cashing in on the current tension – I don’t think that it’s a sign of a general cultural trend.

November 20, 2005 @ 3:59 am | Comment

Nausicaa, other lisa

You’re looking in the wrong places. You won’t find Nazi comics in a regular comic book store, and you won’t find these comics in a news stand at any old train station in Japan. You have to look in the right places.


‘Waffen SS’ by Rod Ledwell and published by New England Comics Dark

‘The Adventures of White Will’, a white power comic book intended for small children that was published by the National Alliance.

It’s not just comic books in America, there is a HUGE neo-Nazi industry, anti-black, anti-gay, anti-jew, anti pretty much everything.

Take a look at this site, it makes a few Japanese outaku and Taiwanese nationalist writting a trash Manga look like small beer.

It is a one stop shop for sick white power merchandise.

Take it from me, in a country with 80 million avid comic book readers, the sale of these comics is pathetic.

November 20, 2005 @ 4:11 am | Comment

Relax ACB, we know these guys are Taiwanese crackpots. Ko did sell a million copies, though, which is not nothing.

What I find interesting is that these guys feel threatened by the Korean Wave. That’s when you know Korea is going through a bit of a pop culture renaissance, when the nationalist crackpots take aim at its soap operas.

November 20, 2005 @ 5:14 am | Comment

In a nutshell, libel involves defamatory publication in written or printed form (or similarly physical form), which is untrue and which tends to create scorn, ridicule, hatred or contempt of a person. It pretty much has to be indistinguishable from fact and not simply opinion. Unlike its defamatory cousin “slander,” libel requires no specific showing of specialized harm. It would be a little difficult here to show any legally recognized harm or person (or small group of persons) injured. I don’t think 1.4 billion people claiming libel is feasible. It would also be a stretch to prove that the authors of were actually claiming such patently gross exaggerations as actual fact, and not sensationalized hype or opinion.

Anyways, I honestly find the articles deficient. In general, taking a fringe opinion and categorizing it as mainstream is a hallmark of bad logic and yellow journalism. If one believes that ultra-rightists represent actual Japanese public sentiment, one would have to believe that the Chinese general who advocated nuking America represented actual Chinese military doctrine or public sentiment, or that white supremacists stand for America. It’s sensationalism.

I also find it hard to believe that the articles mention nothing about how Koizumi and the LDP rode the wave of so-called “economic reform” to victory. A good friend of mine told me why her mom voted for the LDP (Koizumi’s party) even though she disagreed with its foreign policy: they wouldn’t raise taxes (which no longer seems to be the case). I wouldn’t characterize this friend’s mom, a grandmotherly type, as a right-wing fanatic or isolationist. As is often the case, people vote for their immediate domestic interests, not for foreign policy. The articles also ignore that a significant number in the LDP, as well as its junior coalition partner the New Komeito, have repeatedly criticized Koizumi’s foreign policy. It’s irresponsible to label a political party comprised of factions, each with different policies and agendas, a monolithic unit.

One thing that does strike me though is the lack of reporting regarding the same racist trends in China, South Korea, or elsewhere in Asia. One doesn’t have to look far to find vitriolic hate sites or publications focused on Japan, just look at any BBS with so much as the word Japan in it on any mainland Chinese or South Korean site. Such animosity seems much more prevalent in those two countries than in Japan. In the midst of current tensions, some of my Japanese friends have been taken aback at all the hatred. My personal experience is that many Japanese friends seem unable to comprehend the level of hatred directed at Japan. I can’t help but feel personally conflicted. On a personal level I can understand and tend to agree with the frustrations most Chinese and South Koreans have with the Japanese rightists, Koizumi, and his woefully offensive and mismanaged Asian policy. Yet on another level, I can understand that for those Japanese unaware of the level of hatred which is directed at them, a natural reaction would be to return the same in kind. I don’t however, see Japanese by and large doing that. A large number of my Japanese friends have been to China, many have picked up Mandarin, most worry about bilateral relations. It can’t simply be a fluke that the handful of Japanese friends I have seem to be the antithesis of what the articles paint Japan as.

November 20, 2005 @ 7:22 am | Comment

Wow, a terrific thread. Thank Lisa for the post.

I always enjoy reading everlasting’s post.

But your post leave me a very puzzling question..

If people vote for the domestic issues, what IS the reason of more and more shrine visits by higher and higher level officials? If the shrine visits are not the cup of tea of voters, then it seems they are very redundant to me. I personally don’t believe politicians do things without a reason.

By the way, in what extent your impression based on the observation of your surrounding friends represents what they’re really thinking?
As far as I know, it’s a sensitive issue, and not many people would like to be very open about it, especially when their underlying thoughts is probably very offensive in foreigners’ eyes.

November 20, 2005 @ 9:16 am | Comment

I think for conservative japanese, especially in the rural areas etc. and the older generation (like over 50) the LDP visits are as necessary as it is to the Chinese leadership to not admit Mao was a shitehead and for the US bush administration to take cues from the antiabortionist right wing christians – because if they renege against this, although they may want to, and although most people are generally tolerant and would probably not care too much in actuality (something like 60% of religious anti-abortionist women would have an abortion. maybe not that high but still, something amazingly high.)

If koizumi didn’t go, he’d loose the base of support. this base might not be espescially large, honestly, but it would be vocal, and it would make him loose the moral authority – he’d be seen as a weak flip-flopper etc. – the way bush would be seen if he didn’t defer to the right wing baptists at every turn. people hate the inconsistency more than the actual changes, I think. Koizumi is in a rough position. I think he basically wouldn’t visit if it were up to him, but it isn’t, because he wants to be PM more than he wants to act on his own. so he does what he’s supposed to.

course I might be wrong.

November 20, 2005 @ 12:11 pm | Comment

sorry that wasn’t the most logically connected sentence structure but you get the point. make the second paragraph the result of the “although…” statement.

November 20, 2005 @ 12:13 pm | Comment

Everlasting – the article begins with the statement that most lay koizumi’s recent overwhelming victory to his economic policies. The author of the article, a British professor who is a guest academic at a japanese university, goes on to emphasize the role of appealing to rising nationalist sentiments. It’s his opinion, and one way of interpreting what things like the shrine visit means.

I think that you will find ignorant, isolationist racists in every country. People who travel abroad tend to be less like that and more open-minded. I meet young Japanese people in the States and they are open-minded, entrepreneurial and all into cultural fusion, rather than being threatened by it.

The other point, here, though I don’t emphasize it as much as I probably should have, is that the anti-japanese riots in China feed ultra-nationslit sentiments in Japan. As Nausicaa states way up thread, it’s a vicious cycle of hatred and violence. And far too many countries, China and the US included, pump up nationalist sentiments to manipulate their populations.

That said, I do have to wonder about the significance of so many of Koizumi’s cabinet now visiting the shrine.

November 20, 2005 @ 12:29 pm | Comment

1 million copies sold, from 80m reader is pretty big. given the fact that each copy may be read by several people. (it must be if you are saying 80m out of 125m population reads comics. how many copies were sold for hte more popular comics? like 5-10M?).

that would be quite a few percents of the readers, and also of the whole population in japan — and we are talkng about the extremists in these comic books. more subtly chauvanist comics may have wider reach.

none of the nazi comic in the discussion about would reach even 0.1% readership in any country outside japan, i bet.

talking about more subtle revisionist/militarism, i suggest you look at the Lorelei Witch of the Pacific, written by the “tom clancy” of Japan, and made into a blockbuster movie earlier this year.

November 20, 2005 @ 1:44 pm | Comment

Sun Bin:(it must be if you are saying 80m out of 125m population reads comics. how many copies were sold for hte more popular comics? like 5-10M?).

Other Lisa: I was so addicted during the Alan Moore Swamp Thing era, Watchmen, etc., then Grant Morrison (Animal Man! Doom Patrol!), Neil Gaiman…

I, for one, was swept up for a brief period in the 90s collector bubble market of American comics. Yknow, when having a platinum Spiderman #1 signed by Todd McFarlane was really considered a college tuition investment. Then Image came out – the insurrection against Marvel! Long live the Marketing Revolution! Alas, I didn’t appreciate Alan Moore (who is, nevertheless, a dirty crazed hippie) until much later.

Reading Sun Bin’s comment, I was wondering if maybe alot of people snatched up the nationalist comics as an investment, thinking hey, this will be worth something because it’s controversial!

If I was a Japanese comic collector, I’d buy it, stuff it in a dust slip and shove it in the closet to mature like a ten year bond.

P.S. Mark my words: V for Vendetta is going to be a crappy movie.

November 20, 2005 @ 6:42 pm | Comment

Speaking of Image…Liefield should be put on trial for crimes against art. (Thank god we’re out of the 90s.)

Everlasting, thank you for clearing that up. Your posts are always great.

November 20, 2005 @ 7:20 pm | Comment

i do not collect comic so i won’t know.

but the most valuable collector items are early edition of stories which will become popular in the future.

i do not think ‘controversial’ is a justifiable reason for being collected. because i have never heard of high bidding value for obscure but controversial books.

it is the expectation that it will become popular in future that will justify collection today. because demand is proportion to # real fan. if that # becomes large in future, there will be more bidder for the first issues.

unless, if you are saying the 1M people believe the subscription base will be much bigger than 1M in future?

November 20, 2005 @ 10:00 pm | Comment

this is the front page for the korea-hate comic

November 20, 2005 @ 10:03 pm | Comment

I think Alan Moore has already taken his name off the V for Vendetta film. He certainly had reason to do the same for “From Hell.”

November 20, 2005 @ 10:04 pm | Comment

I think the Guardian article unfairly cast the Japanese nationalism in a negative light. Japan has a robust economy, pluralistic society, free press, transparency in government; it embraces all the values of a modern democratic society. After the end of the war, Japan has behaved itself for 60 years now. How long do you think Japan will keep on being docile and assume a relatively small voice in world politic? This is the drive behind Kiozumi’s normalizing of Japan. This is evident in early 90’s when Ishihara and Morita co-authored “A Japan that can say no” proposed departure from US security pact and diplomatic independence and assertiveness. Today, Kiozumi remains committed to the US-led security alliance. That, coupled with democratic electoral process, is a good thing for regional stability. Suppressing Japanese nationalism does not further any of the regional goals.
Granted Japan has badly managed the Yasukuni affairs, Korea and China’s angry reaction, though just in cause, is not helpful. Every country has memorials to worship its dead in wars, why should Japan be denied of such right? Instead of going to an automatic overdrive of angry denouncement and demand to cease visit, why not try something like “well, we acknowledge you have to right to warship your dead, but could you do something about the war criminal ….”. Angry undiplomatic remarks and walking out a meeting with Kiozumi unannounced only have opposite effect to the general population and strengthen far right’s view.
My last comment would be the pairing of articles here. The rise of Japanese nationalism and racist sentiment need not to be related. As one of the previous thread mentioned, there are far right faction and racists in every country.

November 21, 2005 @ 11:40 pm | Comment

“well, we acknowledge you have to right to warship your dead, but could you do something about the war criminal …”

South Korea has tried, and you know the result!

Nobody accuses Kiozumi’s normalization of Japan as long as his normalization process is not at price of other countries.

November 22, 2005 @ 8:56 am | Comment

The Jap have always think they are superior to the other Orientals! They in fact think they are Caucasians, if only its possible for them to lift their little island out of Asia and plunge it in the North Atlantic they would be gladly do so! Also if only there is a cheap and quick cosmetic operation available the Jap would be the first in the queue to get their face and skin color changed so that they look like the caucasians. The Japanese think they got the USA backing them so they can do what they want and trash whatever Asian nation they like. so as long as they feel superior to other Asians they will continue to give the 2 fingers to the rest of Asia.

November 22, 2005 @ 4:09 pm | Comment

The “occidentalism” site has a pretty good take on these comics. Apparently the NYT article is filled with inaccuracies, starting with the alleged title “Hating the Korean Wave”. In any event, anyone interested in dissecting the comic may want to look over there.

November 22, 2005 @ 11:30 pm | Comment

I see we have a new Japan-hating, CCP-adoring propagandist in our midst.

November 23, 2005 @ 8:15 pm | Comment

I also detect a lot Chinese haters around. But i can’t see anyone who like the Communist though!

November 30, 2005 @ 10:03 pm | Comment

Ming, where do you detect “Chinese haters”? That’s a serious charge and you have to back it up if you make it.

November 30, 2005 @ 11:34 pm | Comment

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