1.) Slang. A person who idealizes Japan and what they perceive to be Japanese culture. Negative implication, often an accusation of warped perception and idealisation of “Japaneseness.”
Isn’t it funny how stereotypical internet alt-righters seem to detest “weeaboo trash” when they themselves are complete and utter weeaboos, more often than not? I just realized this, and I think it’s funny. Hilarious even.
More so than any otaku with a waifu pillow; more so than any katana collecting neet in a fedora, you have white nationalists who have such an unrealistically skewed and idealized notion of Japan and its culture that they might as well start calling Jared Taylor senpai unironically. I’ve already discussed this in a brief ranting paragraph about the alt-right’s idealized ethno-state in my What is the Alt-Right post, but I thought I’d elaborate on it more, because, boy oh boy, is it something that I’m seeing more and more of as of late.
This is a tendency that I’ve seen crop up in more general anti-SJW circles as well: a notion that Japan, because it’s rather immune to far left social justice antics, is some beacon of how to do things the right way. The idea has bled into the more specific alt-right/white nationalist groups as well, given even more traction by the popular race realist claims about East Asians having the highest average IQs. Since the alt-right is rather traditionalist, the IQ-argument combined with Japan’s lack of loud, angry leftists and more traditional culture was prime for the picking.
Firstly, I should address why this modern-day notion of hyper-offended and perpetually outraged social justice hasn’t really gained any traction in Japan. These are my theories as someone who has lived in both the US and Japan and is familiar with both of those cultural climates, by the way. I haven’t been able to find any official sources about this, which is rather a shame.
It is important to note that Japan does indeed have activism and left-wing figure heads. While I lived there, it was very common to see public protests of the TTP, for instance. There are also many artists and entertainers who have carved out a niche as a strong supporter of things like radical feminism or LGBT rights. The difference, though, is that these left-leaning identity politics rarely find their way into the actual political landscape. They are niche issues that aren’t overly present in the “professional” spheres like academia, business, or politics. They’re considered sub-cultures, essentially, and they’re nothing out of the ordinary from the other sub-cultures. You don’t see lolitas teaching university classes. You don’t see yankis and rockabillies making waves in the political arena.
For a bit of necessary background on the political landscape of the country (strap in): Socialism used to be very popular in Japan. The majority of elected officials post-WWII came from parties with overt socialist leanings. It was popular because socialism had managed to equate itself with pacifism and, to a certain degree, isolationism. After the war, the general consensus of the Japanese citizenry was that war was bad and they wanted nothing to do with any violent conflicts anymore. This was further cemented by the then-prime minister signing a peace agreement with America in addition to a treaty disbanding the Japanese armed forces, therefore relying on the agreement with the US for all military aid. Save for a very overt sentiment of emasculation that seemed to be felt after the loss of its military, Japan seemed largely fine with this arrangement because it helped it stick to its pacifistic ideals. So what happened?
The Gulf War happened. 1991–not that long ago, mind you. And Japan, for lack of a better way to put it, was humiliated on the international stage. In the years after WWII, Japan had established itself as an economic power house with the ability to bail entire countries out of economic recession if it wanted to, with socialism slowly becoming less and less popular over those forty or so years but never entirely losing focus. Japan also established itself, rather infamously, as a country that wouldn’t or couldn’t pull its own weight in international affairs, which the Japanese government and citizenry started to get more and more embarrassed about. The Gulf War and Japan’s inability to offer anything other than monetary aid to Kuwait was the nail in Japanese Socialism’s coffin. Socialism was pacifism, and pacifism screwed the country over. Kuwait didn’t even thank Japan after it was all said and done. So after that incident, a Socialist was lucky to get a legitimate platform at all, let alone a seat in any main government body. And it has stayed that way. If something other than the LDP is in power at any given time, it’s a fucking miracle.
Even more importantly than that is that Japan is no stranger to violent leftist student activism. I think that’s really the key factor to take into account here. The Gulf War incident may have been the death blow to socialism’s reputation in Japan, but the first strike happened much earlier in the 1960s. At this point, the rest of East Asia and ASEAN was getting kinda pissed off at Japan. Japanese cars were burned in the streets, etc, etc.. Because of this, Japanese nationalism was starting to see more of an uptick again. With WWII still very much in memory, people were not a fan. Treaties were up for renewal, and that had people worrying about more war-mongering in the country’s future. Then some people got stabbed to death by some very left-wing student protesters, and more people got trampled. It’s safe to say that Japan has been pretty hesitant to about large-scale student activism ever since.
With the history out of the way, it’s also important to note that modern social justice, for all it’s talk about how bad and racist it is to be so Western-centric, is incredibly Western-centric in of itself. The most popular, lasting ideas–race theory and feminism–are almost entirely focused on Western conceptions and societal structures. They’re so hyper-specific, that they have issues being transplanted to places like Canada and the UK that are relatively similar to the US. So they’re almost entirely inapplicable in a Japanese context.
Race theory is all about “whiteness,” and how whiteness creates an unequal power dynamic with the other races where whiteness is always on top and how everything is unfavorably compared to whiteness. You can see the problem here, right? If you’re blind and deaf and have no frontal lobe, I’ll spell it out for you: White people don’t even make up .001% of the population of Japan, so having an entire theory founded on the notion that white people are the ones in power is completely not applicable here. And we all already know how inflexible these beliefs tend to be. You don’t get people running around saying “a homeless white man has more privilege than a middle class black man because he’s white” when you’re operating under a system that allows for nuance. Of fucking course race theory isn’t going to catch on over there. The biggest issue with racism in Japan is towards other East Asians–Chinese and Koreans–something that “whiteness”-centric race theory isn’t even vaguely equipped to address.
Feminism is a different issue in that some of the tenants are at least able to be applied to a Japanese context. Yes, it has patriarchal family structures. Yes, it has very strong adherence to gender roles, to the point where conforming to pre-established gender roles is deemed a sign of maturity. But, as many a Japanese feminist has pointed out, Western feminism has no idea what it’s fucking talking about in regards to Japan. The ways systemic sexism is expressed are different. The way the culture in general tends to view gender roles and why one should or should not conform to them is very different. Due to cultural connections to shintoism and Buddhism, the relationship between men and women and the traits each is said to have are different. Hell, not even all of the big feminist talking points are applicable: “toxic masculinity” is kinda hard to talk about when the traits Japan associates with masculinity don’t directly overlap with Western conceptions of masculinity, to the point where a stereotypical Hyper-Masculine American Tough Guy would be considered a gay stereotype and our gay stereotype would be considered a Lady-Killing Playa. And, once again, Western feminism is not all that big on adjusting itself to actually be accurate to the given situation it’s addressing, so it again falls flat.
To top it all off, it’s not really the Japanese way to go around complaining about things, especially benign things. And complaining about benign things is like 80% of what social justice “activism” is nowadays, so that probably isn’t ever going to be all that popular. This isn’t even me saying that this is a good thing. There’s a reason Japan has a mental health and suicide epidemic, and it’s because it’s considered weak and/or rude to burden other people with your problems, even legit ones. Being a Westerner in Japan was kind of depressing a lot of the time, because Japanese people tended to see me as the only person who it was acceptable to talk about their problems around because the stereotype of Westerners is that they’re way more open to those kinds of things. All I’m saying is that a Japanese woman who isn’t even going to raise a fuss about being beaten by her husband and intentionally held back in the workplace certainly is not going to go on a tirade about “mansplaining,” which seems to be the niche American feminism has dug itself into.
That aforementioned suicide epidemic and lack of mental health resources is just one of many, many things that the alt-right likes to ignore when talking about Ethno-State Prime Example Numero Uno: Japan.
Now that I’ve talked about what makes Japan appealing from an anti-SJW standpoint, I’m just going to run through a list of all the things white nationalists love about the country of Japan that, in reality, are either totally false or just so skewed they might as well be false.
- The Japanese have high IQs. Yeah. They also have one of the most notoriously rigorous primary schooling systems in the entire goddamn world. They have to take standardized tests to get into kindergarten in Japan. Those kids grow up knowing how to take tests, and they grow up in an environment that, more often than not, places a huge emphasis on education, to the point where the typical student spends around 10-12 hours of their day, six days a week, in school and/or cram school, not including the time it takes to do homework and other assignments. For example, my nine-year-old host brother would get back from school every day at 7pm. That probably goes quite a long way to explaining why they do so well on the standard IQ test.
- The Japanese care about upholding their culture and heritage. Yes and no. Japanese culture is concerned with traditionalism in many facets, but it’s, in many ways, a rather shallow traditionalism. There is a very common trope in Japanese media that pokes fun at the fact that lots of Japanese people can’t even write in Japanese (more specifically, that they don’t know a lot of kanji). Buddhist and shinto temples are getting to be trafficked so little that they’ve taken to coming up with kawaii anime versions of the gods of those temples to sell merch and remain relevant. The most tightly upheld part of Japanese culture is the “Cool Japan” stuff, i.e., the stuff Japan only does to make itself culturally distinct and “cool” on an international level, like giving literally everything a cute mascot. Actual cultural traditionalism that means anything is pretty much dead in Japan. People in Japan tend to put up shinto shrines the same way a millennial Christian puts up a Christmas tree–it’s just what you do, the actual religious traditionalism is gone.
- Japan doesn’t like immigration. No it doesn’t. But if it doesn’t get over that really soon, it’s going to plummet into economic recession. In Japan, more adult diapers are sold than baby diapers. They’ve got an inverted triangle population where the old stay around way too long, and there aren’t enough younger adults to take care of them, and they aren’t replaced by a new baby when they die. So essentially, the economy is being drained because there are too many old people who a.) aren’t very big economic actors, and b.) are likely taking funds from the government whilst not being very big economic actors. The young people are not moving to the towns where these old people live and die, creating economically in-viable ghost towns. The young people who do exist are not going into the fields that are losing employees by the metric fuckton. The general lack of a large enough worker-base has led to Shinzo Abe actually promoting gender equality in the workplace . . . just because it wasn’t economically viable for most of the women to be housewives anymore. Schools and child care centers and pediatric wards are being shut down because there just aren’t enough kids to warrant having them around. This is not a situation you want to idolize.
- It has a low crime rate. Yes and no. What crimes are you talking about? White collar crime is pretty popular over there–money laundering, extortion, etc. Other things like sexual harassment are so bad that women are given separate cars on the subway because public voyeurism is such a big issue. I guess you can say it has incredibly low rates of violent crime, but the statistic you usually see on that has been called into question multiple times as the result of a failure of police and/or victim reporting. Polls have shown that a very large percentage of people would opt to not get police involved in the cases of many crimes, either done to them or that they see done to someone else: domestic abuse being the huge one, but also including things like theft and mugging. That’s not to say that Japan’s crime rate would shoot up to Oakland levels if you found a way to mitigate that reporting issue. It’d probably remain comparatively low just because Japan has a lack of readily available weapons and a very strong (and very positive) police presence. But I don’t think the alt-right would like to come to the conclusion that Japan’s lack of violent crime probably has something to do with strict anti-gun laws and people being unwilling to call the cops on wife-beaters.
- It’s nationalistic. Yes, it is. And that is one of the main reasons that its population depletion is such a big deal. You see, if Japan had a good relationship with China and/or South Korea, then people from China and/or South Korea could immigrate to Japan with minimal issues on the cultural assimilation front. Their societies and cultural values are similar enough that you wouldn’t see the huge amounts of strife and cultural clashing that you get when someone from an Islamic society moves to Sweden, for example. It’d probably be something more along the lines of me moving to the UK–there are gonna be differences, but not so insurmountable that I go to live in an isolated American ghetto. That’s not going to happen with Japan, China, and South Korea, though, because Japan–and Abe’s very aggressive brand of Japanese nationalism–have already screwed the pooch on that one. Abe has promoted revisionist history text books that outright deny things like “Japan tried to invade China” or “Japan made Korean women sex slaves during the war.” Abe refuses to speak to the leaders of China or South Korea. Overt racism against people of those particular ethnicities is encouraged by the rising tide of nationalistic rhetoric among younger generations (people my age and a bit older). The Chinese and the South Koreans do not want to move to Japan. That is the most realistic and accommodating potential immigrant population fucking gone because “being proud of being Japanese” apparently translates to telling their East Asian neighbors to go fuck themselves, to the point where both China and South Korea have made statements about how they’re not even going to help Japan if something bad happens to that country. That is the “good” that unwavering Japanese nationalism has done so far.