I've just read "the Syndrome of 'a bit nationalism"(Rika Kayama).
This book, even without including the Anti-North-Korean tendencies due
to its publication before Koizumi's visit to North Korea(Sep 17, 2002),
shows us some interesting facts on the nationalist tendencies which are
starting to rule the Japanese society.
The first time for me to feel deeply the emerging of this kind of nationalism was during the World Cup in 1998. Many Japanese people should have felt excited to see the national team which plays for the fist time on this global scene. It was at this very moment when something that I expected the last happened; Japanese fans at a stadium in France started to sing unanimously "kimigayo." I felt a kind of terror to listen to the song.
So long I've had an idea which seems to be a bit old-fashioned for my age(born in 1976) in terms of "kimigayo." For me this song, having been the national anthem of the ex Great Empire of Japan which gave lots of damages to neighboring countries, hasn't been something that I could sing proudly. In fact only a small amount of people sang "kimigayo" at school ceremonies. But it's true that Japanese fans sang a song, which we wouldn't otherwise do.
Maybe I'm in the minority which wants to relate "kimigayo" with the reminiscence of the Great Empire. For my generation and those who are younger than I "kimigayo" is nothing more than the national anthem of the current Japan. They have no idea on the "Great Empire" nor have thought of the ghosts which still walk around us.
I read the book, thinking of such fears.
According to Koyama, the common vision of Japanese people on the country is "wonderful and the best one," but there are absolute superlatives without comparing in which Japan is better than other countries. Ask somebody who says "because Japan has four seasons" whether the four seasons in Japan are better than those of Canada or Greece, and they'll say nothing but "Japan's four seasons are wonderful." Or in other words, Japanese people lack the idea to compare their country with others, only thinking that Japan is the best as it's where they were born and grew up.
I felt something terrible to see news from Pyongyang since Sep 17. We tend to wonder, on seeing that they only underscore what's good of North Korea, "why do they say only the best of such a small country?," but the same happens with Japanese media. Are Japanese people so different from North Koreans who only think of a tiny corner of the world?
Kayama shows a psychological concept of "separation" in terms of the consciousness of the youngstars on "kimigayo," saying its similarity with Terutsugu Muraya who wants to alter the Constitution only due to the current demographic picture without considering why the Article IX, which forbids Japan to have military powers, was introduced. According to Toshiki Sato et al, the decrease of the middle class will augment the low class which only accepts what demagogic media say, which may lead Japan to the extreme right once this picture is made use of by xenophobe politicians like Shintaro Ishihara(In Japan some activities like marches in France against Le Pen won't happen).
Many reports on socioeconomic problems of North Korea are favoring Anti-North-Korean and nationalistic tendencies. Am I the only one to be worried about the appearence of those who take advantage of such a circumstance?