The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 10. 2011  
March 7, 2011  
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Rumi SAKAMOTO,  'Koreans, Go Home!' Internet Nationalism in Contemporary Japan as a Digitally Mediated Subculture

On 18 September 2009, a person using the online name of 'xegnojw' posted a four-minute video on YouTube entitled 'Japanese Racists Hoot Down Korean Tourists in Tsushima'. It depicted members of a Japanese nationalist group harassing Korean tourists on Tsushima, a Japanese island 138 km from Fukuoka and 50km from Busan. This island has been attracting attention from Japanese nationalists because of the increasing presence of Korean tourists and Korean investment since the 2002 opening of high-speed ferry service between Busan and Tsushima. Nationalist campaigns over the island intensified when Korea's Masan City adopted the 'Tsushima Day' bill in 2005, claiming that Tsushima should be a Korean territory, thereby countering Shimane prefecture's 'Takeshima Day', establishing Japanese claim to Korea's Dokdo island. The YouTube video in question captured several flag-holding Japanese men and women yelling: 'Go home, Koreans!' and 'We won't allow a Korean invasion!' at tourists fresh off the ferry from Busan. Though not physically violent, the atmosphere was tense and disturbing.

This episode is just one expression of Japan's new grassroots nationalism, which has gained force over the last decade against the backdrop of increasingly vociferous historical revisionism and neonationalism. As seen in the recent conflict over the Senkaku Islands as well as Japan's hard-line response to the North Korean attack on South Korea, nationalistic sentiments seem to be increasingly dictating Japan's foreign policy and public opinion. Contrary to what is sometimes assumed, contemporary Japanese nationalism is not a monolithic entity, for it is produced by multiple participants and groups with different ideas and modes of communication. The kind of blatant jingoism and narrow-minded xenophobia seen above, though still largely marginalised in the official discourses of the state and public media, has found a niche in Japan, especially in cyberspace.

Rumi Sakamoto is a senior lecturer in the School of Asian Studies, the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and a Japan Focus associate. She is the coeditor with Matthew Allen of Popular Culture, Globalization and Japan.

Recommended citation: Rumi Sakamoto, 'Koreans, Go Home!' Internet Nationalism in Contemporary Japan as a Digitally Mediated Subculture, The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 10 No 2, March 7, 2011.

   Read more . . . 
Jeff Kingston,  Justice on Trial: Japanese Prosecutors Under Fire

Japanese prosecutors find themselves in the dock for abuses of power involving a number of high profile cases that have drawn considerable media attention in recent years. More than ever, the Japanese public is aware of the extent of prosecutors' power and how this jeopardizes justice.  The media is drawing unprecedented public attention to the ways and means of prosecutors and detailing their resort to unscrupulous methods in order to maintain their chilling 99% conviction rate.

The 2010 case of Muraki Atsuko, a senior civil servant in the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, put the prosecution in the limelight when an "ace" prosecutor acknowledged he tampered with evidence in an ill-fated effort to secure her conviction. Moreover, it is alleged that his supervisors in the Osaka prosecutor's office were aware of his evidence tampering and engaged in a cover-up. In the past, such transgressions were explained in terms of rogue prosecutors, but this recent case suggests the problem is  systemic. Too much unaccountable, unchecked discretionary power facilitates abuses that are more common than is generally acknowledged or tolerable in the eyes of the Japanese media and public. This situation arises from prosecutors' arbitrary suppression of citizens' constitutional rights, and protections in the Criminal Code of Procedure (CCP), aided and abetted by a compliant judiciary.

Jeff Kingston is Director of Asian Studies, Temple University (Japan Campus) and a Japan Focus associate. He is the author of  Contemporary Japan: History, Politics, and Social Change since the 1980s.

Recommended citation: Jeff Kingston, Justice on Trial: Japanese Prosecutors Under Fire, The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 10 No 1, March 7, 2011.

 Read more . . . 
What's Hot?,

Breaking news articles, documents, videos, contentions, and snippets from across the web that illuminate major Asia-Pacific Journal themes.

Birds & Bombs: US Live-Fire Air Force/Navy Training in the Pacific Centers on No'os Island in the Northern Marianas;Tokyo Police Crackdown on Okinawa Protestors

 Read more . . .