The yen might well be falling, but due to an island dispute and hawkish new prime minister/long simmering resentment/economic stagnation/sheer idiocy (delete where applicable), nationalist sentiment is going very much in the opposite direction. Or at the very least, public expression of such views is, with shouted attacks and individual hatreds just a few of the scenes I’ve seen of late.
But a goose stepping flag waver heading an (albeit rather small) organised march seemed like a further shift in an already worrying trend.
Particularly so as those behind him were suggesting a call to arms in the country’s aforementioned and ongoing territorial discord with China.
The only blessing being that a brief fracas with a group of angry bystanders and some of the marchers about 5 minutes after these photographs were taken, does suggests that some people at least are having their eyes opened in regards where the country may be headed.
Hans ter Horst says
The guy on the left in the photo at the bottom clearly forgot to wear his mask to guarantee his anonymity and appears to be slightly upset to be photographed 🙂
Most of the time, Japanese politicians don’t bother me too much, they are usually there to fill the pockets of the companies that got them elected, but Abe does rattle me. When he first was in power he was mainly focussed on clearing the name of his grandfather we had always had the aura of a war criminal around him and now he emerged even more hawkish. One thing we immediately saw after the election was that he sought to strengthen the contacts with the US. But this is is a different White House these days. One or two years ago, Japan was already told by the US to get along with its neighbours, not unlike Cameron was told of a few weeks ago that the UK needs to sort things with the EU themselves and don’t rely on the “special relation” too much. Long story short, if it comes to a military clash between Japan and China as these people want, Japan might not be bailed out by the US as China has surpassed Japan in economical importance to the US long ago and the economy is the only thing that counts these days 🙂
Yeah, he doesn’t look best pleased, does he? Not quite sure what he expects though, walking round Shinjuku, making a lot of noise, and asking for war!
I know what you mean about Abe. For better or worse though he’s got a second chance, so we’ll have to see what he (and Abenomics) comes up with. Not that I’m expecting anything positive mind. Although surely to god even Abe realises that any kind of confrontation with China will not end well.
An Expat says
Hmm what’s disturbing is the photos at least show the tiny crowd is not mad up of the usual (or at least as I knew them) uniformed nationalist/probably yakuza.
Yes, that was one thing that struck me, they were a very mixed group. A real cross-section of society. Generally not what you see. Or want to see for that matter.
Juan Ignacio says
Thanks a lot for the pictures! It’s sad, but it seems coherent considering the past of both nations. I hope that new generations forget that stupid nationalist way of thinking, At least the Japanese community in Argentina does not cares about that. They always tell me that the rivalry between China and Japan is like the one between Argentina and Brazil. Friends in business, adversaries in soccer. But i don’t believe them that much.
Yes, one can only hope. Hope that the relationship reaches the Argentina and Brazil levels too, because as you suspect, it’s currently a long way from that…
I’m struck by how imperfect humans are. Capable of such beauty and evil, intelligence and stupidity at the same time.
I’m scared for my family in Japan.
I’m worried by China starting to push their weight around. They have a lot of problems with pollution and too many young men.
It’s not only this island but other lands belonging to other countries as well that they also want a stake in. They want a stake in the Arctic too.
What will the US do, if a conflict escalates between Japan and China?
To break the cycle of war, everyone has to consider not just what was done to them but what they also did to others.
I really don’t think you need to worry. Aside from all the posturing, neither side needs or wants conflict. Plus the US would do its damnedest to stop things getting out of hand should someone do something silly. More that anything I see it as a very convenient distraction for politicians on both sides. The perfect shield for far bigger problems in each country.
I hope you’re right Lee. How many events in history have begun with, “…and a shot rang out” I hope I’m wrong but I see things escalating
I know, so do I…
Sometimes I feel that the Chinese and Japanese governments are just different sides of a mirror; they both make loud claims to arouse the public’s anger, but do little about the problem. I don’t understand their meaning of doing this because now at least a part of the public expects them to take some decisive military action, but of course neither governments have the confidence to win a full scale armed conflict. In China at least, the government’s wishy-washy methods seems to increase the friction between the government and the public, and the anti-Japan protests that occurred last Autumn are viewed as just ways to release long suppressed anger at this inefficient bureaucracy of a government. I think the people in Japan are luckier, because it seems like they can isolate their individual lives from the stale bureaucratic system to a much larger extent.
Yes, I couldn’t agree more. Sadly it seems to suit both governments at the moment. The perfect cause to deflect attention away from other, far more serious concerns/issues.
I’ve always witnessed some right-wing Japanese ever since I first visited the place in the mid 90th. Just judging from the photos however, it doesn’t seem to me that the right-wing extremist have gathered any stronger support – they are still a marginalized minority, methinks. Also, the rightwing-nuts in Japan at least did behave more civilized than those in China ( actually I still disbelieve those news that Chinese people attacked their fellow brethren just because they were driving a Japanese car, or that they burned down a Japanese supermarket. Surely no sentient being would do such a thing, and I consider those reports to be more-or-less fictions made up by the yellow-press and by China-haters!)
As for the general problem – I fear that China seems to mirror post-Meiji-Japan more and more. Judging from what I can gather from a wide variety of international news portals, basically every single country close to them – from the Phillipines to Vietnam – feels bullied by China.
It doesn’t come as any surprise though: after being F***** big way (first by Western Imperialism, then by the Japanese Nazis, and after that by the biggest mass-murdering asshole swine in history Mao Zedong) it comes at no surprise that the Chinese finally want their part of the cake.
Hopefully they manage to do so in more sensible way than the Western countries did!
(And yes! I believe that not only they can, but also that they will! )