Monday, June 11, 2007

Abe's "beautiful country": Nationalism from above

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to cast off the post-World War II order and transform Japan into "a beautiful country" filled with pride and confidence. This is the slogan of his premiership. It is as if he believes that Japan has sunk into a state of moral degradation since 1945, and is in need of salvation. It is almost as though he wants to turn back the clock to 1945 and start anew. he is concerned less about guilt over Japanese aggression during World War II than about the shame of not having dealt with the consequences of defeat.

....Abe seemingly yearns to erase the period altogether as he denigrates reason and elevates emotion as the path to making Japan whole and authentic again. (This fits well with Fujiwara's view.)

...Nationalistic bombast is what we are getting from the political class. Rather than nationalism welling up from the people, we are witnessing the emergence of nationalistic politicians who are rather hawkish on foreign policy, especially on matters of security, notably towards Asia. This is a wave of resurgent nationalism from above....

This is an extraordinarily interesting article by Masaru Tamamoto. Full article on

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