Author: Katarzyna Starecka
Institution: Uniwersytet Warszawski
Year of publication: 2015
Source: Show
Pages: 188-208
DOI Address:
PDF: ap/18/ap1808.pdf

The difficult process of reviving Japanese national pride

According to the public opinion poll conducted by the Dentsū Agency in 2000, in terms of national pride, the Japanese placed themselves at a distant 57th position in the world. “The love of the fatherland” was declared by approximately 54% of respondents. The survey report published by the Cabinet Office of Japan in January 2015 shows a similar level of social attitudes (55%). The attempts to revive the spirit of patriotism, including the restoration of ethics classes in schools, respect for state symbols, as well as the revision of the constitution imposed on Japan during the occupation, have been taken-up by the authorities since the 50s. However, they have met with strong opposition from the left-wing parties, the teachers’ unions and the pacifist-inclined groups within Japanese society. Economic successes have significantly contributed to the sense of national pride. The decreasing tendency is associated with a prolonged crisis, as well as the inability of Japan to pursue, despite the end of the Cold War, a foreign policy less dependent on the United States, or to adopt a more assertive stance towards China. Moreover, the media proclaims the “second loss” of Japan. Prime Minister Shinzō Abe emphasizes that the current crisis is largely the result of the moving away from traditional values. It has been indicated that one of essential conditions for the recovery of national pride, in addition to the need to form a new constitution reflecting the national character (kunigara), is the revision of the Japanese historical consciousness distorted by the Tokyo Trial. However, steps in this direction are perceived as an attempt to revive the cult of the state and they are considered militaristically ambitious. The aim of the presented paper is to answer the question of whether the allegations formulated by Asian neighbours, as well as in Japan, can be considered well-founded.

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