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“We the Japanese People” – A Reflection on Public Opinion

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 Posted: 11:22 PM JST

(source: YaleGlobal) - For more than 60 years following its devastation in World War II, Japan has held onto an intense fear of militarism, renouncing the right to wage war and limiting its self-defense force. A side effect of such pacifist policies, according to scholar Hikari Agakimi, is a carefree people who struggle to find a national identity.

In a 2005 survey of high school students, only 13 percent reported feeling pride at seeing the Japanese flag, while in a opinion poll conducted by the prime minister’s office, 40 percent of respondents admitted that they did not know if they loved their country or not.

An alarmed Japanese government has initiated a series of reforms aimed at reviving patriotism: One education bill aims to instill respect for Japan’s history and traditions, while a constitutional proposal calls for more military flexibility.

Threatened by the military buildup of neighboring China and North Korea, Japan is undertaking a “grand social transformation,” an attempt to imbue nationalistic sentiments in an aging population without revisiting military ambitions of the past.

Read Hikari Agakimi's “We the Japanese People” – A Reflection on Public Opinion.

Keywords: opionion_item

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2 comments so far post your own

1 | At 02:31pm on May 25 2006, Rusty wrote:
>>An alarmed Japanese government has initiated a series of reforms aimed at reviving patriotism:,

Another way is the nationalistic promotion of whaling and dolphin hunting.
2 | At 07:59pm on Jun 08 2006, Zeno wrote:
From my point of view, Japan young generations are staring at the evidence of their culture being melted in the world wide and very urban culture. This movement relies much more on the inside than the outside. Japan movie and music and fashion industries show this off a lot, when they are not exporting it. There is no danger about it because diversity is then a treasure. The blessing in disguise is about how the world perceive Nippon's culture. Very positively. So Japan's no loser. Long life!
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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
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