Sunday, May 20, 2007

Datsuo Nyua

BBC reports ("Japan Schools to Teach Patriotism," 18 May 2007):
Japan's lower house of parliament has approved a new law requiring schools to teach children to be patriotic.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition voted for the law, which cites "loving our country" as a goal of Japanese pupils' compulsory education.

Opposition members of parliament protested against the bill, warning that it could spread nationalism.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On Monday, Japan's upper house of parliament passed a bill setting out steps for holding a referendum on revising the country's pacifist constitution, which has not been changed since 1947.

Drawn up by the US occupation authorities after WWII, it bans military force in settling international disputes and prohibits maintaining a military for warfare.
The Left in Japan can never defeat the Right in power by letting the Right argue, and arguing themselves, that the Right represent patriotism and nationalism, that they are opposed to the Right because they are opposed to patriotism and nationalism, and that they support the Constitution drawn up by the US occupation authorities. The post-war Right in Japan have never been patriotic and nationalistic in any meaningful sense of the words -- the post-war Right in Japan have only been subservient to Washington, and such "patriotism and nationalism" as they display means nothing but chauvinism toward their fellow Asians. Why let the Right pass themselves off as patriots and nationalists?

The problem of post-war politics in Japan is that all major political parties and currents, on the Left, the Right, and the Center, are pro-Washington. Their ideology, and more damagingly the structure of feeling, is Datsua Nyuo, Out of Asia, Into the West.* The Left in Japan should have rejected the Constitution a long time ago and called for a constituent assembly to draw up a new one, on the simple ground that the people of Japan had no part in writing it, and in that context argued for Datsuo Nyua, a new foreign policy of independence from the West and equality and friendship with Asia, especially China, Korea, Russia, and the Middle East.

In education, the Left in Japan should argue for giving students choice in learning a range of foreign languages, abolishing the long-standing policy of English-only foreign-language education in public schools.

* In this Japan is very much like Turkey, where the mainstream political discourse has the Turks reject the Arabs, the Kurds, the Iranians, and others in the region and seek to join America and Europe. In Japan, the earliest proponent of this anti-Asian ideology is said to be Fukuzawa Yukichi, who wrote Datsua Ron, On Leaving Asia:

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