Every year on January 2nd, the Emperor of Japan gives public New Year greetings. A short address performed 5 times during the morning and early afternoon that sees somewhere in the region of 70,000 people filing in and out of the capital’s Imperial Palace grounds.
Yet despite the regressive, right wing views of Japan’s current government, and in particular its Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, the event is reassuringly festive not fervent, and much more celebratory than serious. The only real negative being the neck stretching struggle needed to see the main man himself.
Hans ter Horst says
Although I am not a fan of royal families and their inherited positions anywhere in the world, judging by remarks from the Emperor, I think he doesn’t appreciate the refound nationalism of Japan and the way right-wingers take his agreement for granted. Time he does the unthinkable and speaks up and denounces the bigots.
Likewise. Not something I agree with, but for some reason it’s something I’ve fancied doing for a long time.
Yeah, from comments he’s made, he certainly doesn’t seem to agree with his government. And definitely not the vocal right wing extremists. In his defence, I suppose his neutral, non-political position makes any denouncements tricky. Would be great if he did though…
Johnny Still Edible says
Yet, the number of flags points to this being a mainly nationalistic day. Which wouldn’t be anything to worry about if Japan had a different past and a different government.
The Germans seem to be much more aware of the symbolism. You don’t see that many flags on German national holidays. Let’s not forget the man these people are celebrating is the son of a person who many people put on the same level as Adolf Hitler.
Japan creeps me out.
I can totally understand that. And in many cases the flag can be very unsettling. In this case, however, the flags are actually given out as you arrive at the palace, so it gives a slightly false impression.