Nationalism in Japan?

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    Robert Dujarric, director of the Institute of Contemporary Japanese Studies at Temple University Japan, has written an editorial in the Japan Times reminding everyone that “Japan scores very low on nationalism.” Here is an excerpt comparing Japan to its nationalistic neighbors:

    … In autocratic China, nationalism is an indirect way to oppose the ruling party. When demonstrators throw rocks at the U.S. embassy or attack Japanese diplomats, they are also criticizing their rulers for being weak-kneed. Moreover, simply by marching through the streets, or gathering virtually on the Internet, they demonstrate to the Communist Party that the people can mobilize on their own.

    Though South Korea is now a liberal democracy, many of its leftwing nationalists came of age when anti-American (or anti-Japanese) nationalism was fused with the fight against the military regime. Japan, however, has been a free society for well half a century, if its citizens are unhappy they simply go to a voting booth rather than seek alternative forms of mobilization.

    Japanese society may have problems but nationalism is not one of them.

    Update: For further reading, check out the response to this editorial over at Observing Japan!

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