Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Threatening Nonsense

You may recall Suzuki Nobuyuki, the radical right winger who managed to capture 74,000 votes in the Tokyo Metropolitan District on July 21 (introduced here, with the look at how he might have been a sponsored spoiler candidate here).

The frighteningly well-spoken Suzuki holds forth in a new video report from Michael Penn: "Japan Grapples With The Rise Of Hate Groups."

If you have 12 minutes, it is worth a watch.

I would take exception to the statement in the report that the noisy, threatening ultra-right is a new phenomenon. All kinds of things were yelled out at political events in the 1960's (the audio to the video of the assassination of Socialist Party leader Inejiro Asanuma demonstrates how out of control the audience was - Link). However, it is true that threats of death and other violence have been beyond the pale for the past 40 years.

I also worry about misinterpretation of the statement that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo shares many of the ideological beliefs of the radical fringe. Rather than sharing ideology, it is probably better to say that Abe-san and his friends in business, academia, and the media have same the data points and talking points in their arsenals as one finds in the speeches and online drivel produced by the fringe groups and politicians like Suzuki.

The claims of radical parties like Suzuki's Restoration New Wind and organizations like former air self defense forces general Tamogami Toshio's Ganbare Nippon are outlandish in their paranoia. They would not have any attraction, though, if they did not in some way provide a template for understanding actual events. The intrusion of Chinese coast guard ships into the territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands (Link) or the erection of monuments to the comfort women -- the women (and some boys) trafficked by the brothel network established to serve the troops and officers of the Imperial Army -- on public land in the United States (Link) provide Japanese hate groups all the evidence they need of a vast global anti-Japanese conspiracy encircling and strangling the nation. These groups do on their own then layer on farcical claims, perhaps out of theatricality, perhaps as ornamentation in order to disguise the poverty of their intellectual wares.

That the relationship between Chinese and South Korean patriots and right wing fringe groups in Japan is symbiotic, each side providing the other with the justification for festering hatred and provocation (possibly providing a comfortable living for some of the participants) rarely makes the news anywhere.

1 comment:

TheStrawMan said...

What about the possibility of "Astroturfing"?
Do mainstream conservative-right-wing groups truly maintain an arms-length distance from the lunatic fringe?

I suppose they wouldn't really need to provide any financial support, etc. To such fringe groups, as they would likely exist even without such prodding, and still provide the LDP and co., with convenient "cover" making the LDP's positions seem more reasonable, etc.