Forum: Nation: C. Uchida: Beyond Demographic Changes: The Renewed Role of National History in 21st-Century Japan

Chikara Uchida, Center for Sustainable Development Studies, Tokyo University


Japan has a long tradition of history writing, based on the accumulation of indigenous scholarship since early times (e.g. Kojiki and Nihonshoki in ancient times, Gukanshō and Jinnō Shōtōki in the Middle Ages, Tokushi Yoron in Early Modern times). Modern historiography was only introduced as a result of the country’s Westernization at the end of the 19th century, a modernization that promoted the nationalization of knowledge. In doing so, the novel historiography contributed to the establishment of the nation in Japan as a new political unit modelled after the Western countries. Although challenged from various angles, for instance by Marxist critics like Gorō Hani and Shō Ishimoda, this national historiography survived until the end of the 20th century.

After Japan became an economic superpower, however, the changing balance of international politics in East Asia shook up the national historiography. In the 1980s, when descriptions in history textbooks about the politics of imperial Japan during World War II became an international political issue, a new debate by Kanji Nishio and Nobukatsu Fujioka seemed to emphasize the ostensible uniqueness of the national histories of East Asian countries.[1] In response to the debate, several university-based Japanese historians strove to criticize and dismantle the fixed and monolithic image of the nation and sought to replace it with a multiculturalist image of Japan.[2] Thus, the framework of national historiography came to be frequently discussed, if not dismantled, in academia.

Taking as a starting point the above-mentioned trend of reviewing national history, which began in earnest in the 1990s, this essay asks how the trend developed after 2000. How has describing the nation advanced the discipline of history in Japan in the 21st century? In this process, historians had to deal with the old illusion of the homogenous Japanese nation and the new reality of a nation formed by immigration and with an ageing population. Also, some historians searched for a better way to confront the traditional monolithic elite that still governs Japan. Starting with these introductory observations, this paper discusses three questions: 1) How have historians responded to historical accounts that emphasize a more integrated nation? 2) How did historians respond towards the transforming nation? And 3) How did historians react to a Japanese state that attempted to govern an amorphous nation?

All of these questions are set against a backdrop of demographic changes in the 21st century, first and foremost linked to ageing and migration. Japan is well-known for its highly aged society (26 percent over 65, compared to 20 percent in Germany). The high average age influences public discussions on history that are more shaped by the memories of the older generation than by a recourse to original sources and new discoveries. In this sense, we can say that Japanese society experiences an excess or a burden of history, as the older generation still perceives the Japanese Empire as a nationally familiar topic and discusses the current social situation as “postwar” in comparison with the “prewar” period. Migration has also an impact on history writing. For a long time, migration and discussions around this topic remained a sensitive issue in Japan as it was feared it would end national uniformity. However, to make up for the shortage in the workforce as a result of the shrinking population, the taboo on economic migration has been lifted. The educational sector has been one of the first fields of an open migration policy. The number of foreign students in higher education, seen as intellectual and easy-to-handle immigrants, increased from 64,011 in 2000 to 228,403 in 2019, which also involved a change in national history writing, with the rise of foreign or global history as a subject.

As policy responses to these demographic shifts emerged, the relationship between the historians’ community (often regarded as “left-wing” by many politicians) and the government of the state varied, and still does, from issue to issue. Japan has been governed for a long time by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Although the LDP is a conservative party in the first place, a clear-cut dichotomy of conservative vs. progressive is not necessarily valid in today’s politics, as the party is not a monolithic block but rather a coalition of different interest groups and networks. This affects, for instance, the migration issue, in which the more traditionalistic, right-wing element in the party supports a continued ban on immigration, while the more business-oriented section advocates opening the country to foreigners.

This paper focuses on historical research written inside Japan and in Japanese without ignoring that, since the 2000s, the communication between historians in Japan and outside Japan, writing in English and other languages, has become more intensive. Despite the heightened exchange, it is important to note that many Japanese historians continue to believe that the authentic method in writing history is to construct an argument based only on a critical reading of written documents and publications as original sources, without thinking about theory or large-scale frameworks. These researchers do not consider a particular historical event as appropriate for writing national history if it is not reflected in written documents. Therefore, they struggle to take into account the transformations of the Japanese state in the 21st century. Thus, the following analysis does not necessarily reflect the actual intentions of the majority of historians working in Japan, who deal with social or everyday history, for example, as their work is not at the centre of this analysis.

Staging a Dialogue towards China and South Korea over History Textbooks

The classical presentation of Japan’s national history became a hotly disputed topic in 1982 when newspapers and TV stations reported that the Ministry of Education’s censorship section had forced one textbook publisher to write that Japan “advanced” into, and not “invaded”, China in the prewar period.[3] Although this news was not true and based on a misunderstanding by one journalist, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Korea protested against this presumed formulation, and the press reports turned into a diplomatic scandal. As a result, the Japanese government decided that every history textbook for schools requires that “necessary consideration be given to the treatment of modern and contemporary historical events with neighbouring Asian countries from the perspective of international understanding and international coordination.”[4]

In response to this incident, a Japanese right-wing group, Nihon wo mamoru kokumin Kaigi (National Conference to Protect Japan)[5], developed their own history textbooks based on a nationalistic understanding of history, with the first one being published in 1987.[6] Later another group called Atarashii rekishi kyōkasho wo tsukuru kai (Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, 1996–today) published textbooks with a similar aim of reconstructing Japanese history as an idealized national story to re-establish the unity of the nation. In particular, textbooks by both groups emphasized the historical role of the emperors as the central figures of national unity. Moreover, they trivialized the wartime aggression of imperial Japan to encourage national pride. The majority of university historians were wary of such a renewed national narrative as it was a return to prewar interpretations. Nevertheless, since only a few schools adopted the textbooks, their impact on history education has been limited. They have, however, cast a model for Japanese historical researchers to critically examine the narrative of national unity.

How did historians respond to those historical accounts that emphasized national unity and pride? After historians fact-checked the textbooks and pointed out numerous errors in their descriptions[7], a committee of historians and educators produced two new history textbooks (in 2005 and 2012) that incorporated the perspectives of South Korea and China in an attempt to promote East Asian reconciliation.[8] These textbooks differ from the nationalist textbooks in that they are unofficial and are not adopted by schools. The reason for their exclusion is that textbook editors are required to strictly follow the official school curriculum of the existing subject, Japanese History or World History. The contents of the textbooks produced in 2005 and 2012 did not fit either of these subjects as they were an outcome of the dialogue among three states. Nonetheless, they are used by the China-Japan Exchange Committee of the Japan Council of History Educators to intensify the practice and exchange of history education between China and Japan.[9] Although there are many difficulties in changing textbooks and school curricula, efforts are being made in individual classes to overcome the distortion of national historiography. The 2005 and 2012 textbooks demonstrate the importance of recognising the diversity of historical interpretations by discussing and verifying the national narratives of China, Korea, and Japan.[10]

These developments related to textbook production have triggered a great deal of historical research, in the field of Japanese history and beyond. For example, in the debates surrounding the textbooks, both the history of Germany’s reconciliation with France as well as the project of a common history textbook between France and Germany were referred to as successful examples. This led to the translation of the French-German textbook into Japanese and research on its realization and utilization.[11] In addition, there is a growing body of similar research, such as works by Nobuya Hashimoto, who focuses on perceptions of history and history education in different regions around the world, including the Baltic States (see also Feest in this forum).[12]

The textbook debates lastingly influenced the characteristics of historiography in Japan. Since the question of historical perception in contemporary Japan is discussed through textbooks, Japanese historians at universities generally aim to commit themselves as much as possible to a dialogue with the high school teachers. This research direction seems particularly meaningful as historians are aware of the spillover effects from research to education and then to the public. The textbook debates created a broad consensus among historians about the public nature of academic research.

I should, however, also point out that these types of textbook dialogue projects have some limitations. One critique is on the theoretical level, asking if it is even possible to share historical knowledge between nations, as the German-French example above suggests can be done successfully. Furthermore, there is a question over whether it can be used for reconciliation between nations in Asia. Jun Yonaha, a historian on modern Japan, argues that prior to Westernization and modernization, there existed a diplomatic tradition in East Asia in which each actor avoided conflicts through complex, but peaceful rituals that accepted Chinese supremacy, without giving up their own territorial and personal claims, for example, on the Kingdom of Ryukyu.[13] Against this, it seems doubtful that relying on dialogue, sharing, and being sensitive to differences is a sufficient framework for historical interpretations.

Another problem exists with including only three nations, i.e., China, Korea, and Japan, in the framework. China and South Korea are two divided states, with Taiwan (Democratic Republic of China) and North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), respectively. It should also be noted that the historical debate in the three nations is dependent on a particular economic and political power balance in East Asia. Furthermore, if the conflict over history is based on international politics, it is difficult to resolve it completely unless there is a will or incentive to stop the conflict at the political level. While what Ji-Hyun Lim calls a “victimhood” mentality strengthens nationalism in each country, it is difficult to resolve conflicts over history.[14] However, even if this is the case, the concept of a dialogical national history, rather than a national history for national unity, has given many historical researchers a practical mission for their research.

Updating the Nation

While these textbook dialogues seem to be based on the premise of 20th-century international relations, some approaches attempt to add a contemporary perspective to national histories and are aware that national images have been transformed by recent phenomena such as globalization. These new directions in history can be divided into two categories: historical research that directly deals with migration and multilingual spaces (or contact zones), which often leads to the field of global history; and the attempt to emphasize the unstable and fragile condition of daily lives and the everyday struggle and survival (seizon) of the common Japanese, rather than to discuss the composition of the nation.[15]

To explain the first direction, it is necessary to highlight the changing research environment in Japan. In the early 21st century, the Japanese government decided to rapidly increase the number of foreign guest students and gave funds to selected universities to accept them. In 2008, as part of Japan’s globalization strategy, the “300,000 Foreign Students Plan” was formulated to nearly triple the number of students coming to Japan, with the aim to prepare them to enter into the workforce after graduation. The initiative resulted in an increase of international students specializing in Japanese studies at research universities, and some began to work in Japan after earning their Ph.D.

These international students and scholars often discover that Japanese studies conducted outside of Japan differ from those in Japan in many ways. For example, in the case of historical research, studies of former colonies such as the Korean peninsula and Taiwan are usually considered foreign studies in Japan, while imperial history is understood as part of Japanese studies in universities outside Japan. In addition, Japanese history studies in Japan have been mainly read by Japanese citizens, and studies on national heroes such as medieval warlords have gained a large Japanese readership, even if they have not shown research significance in an international context. In response to this situation, in which only a few researchers on classical Japan studies have been interested in readers and case studies outside Japan, a new field of “Global Japanese Studies” has emerged in recent years. Although the contents of the field differ from university to university, it generally indicates research and education on Japan studies conducted in Japan, while demonstrating the international significance and comparative perspective for readers outside Japan, including the researchers and students at the Japan studies departments of the universities outside Japan. Since the early 2000s, several research universities have set up institutes and curricula that teach Japanese studies to international students as Global Japanese Studies. To bring these institutions together, the Consortium for Global Japanese Studies was officially launched in September 2017.[16] The “Global Japanese Studies” are expected to be a catalyst for the humanities and, particularly in the field of history, tend to focus on the circulation of knowledge on Japan and historical migrations in Japan.[17] They also show a growing interest in the traditions of Japanese studies outside of Japan, such as the activities of pioneers in Japanese studies.[18] Even without labelling it that way, Hiroyuki Shiode, for example, strives to include historical emigrants as part of Japan’s national history.[19] In this way, we can see how current demographic changes in the composition of the population in Japan have gradually changed the national historiography, including national intellectual history.

The second direction historical studies in Japan have taken is to research the economic and social conditions in the everyday lives of the Japanese. This approach opens new perspectives, for instance, on the era of modernization (the Meiji era, 1868–1912), which has been generally regarded as a period filled with bright hopes that brought the birth of new politics and culture. A recent book by Yusaku Matsuzawa, however, shows that this era created severe anxieties and was a difficult time for common people due to competition in the labour market. He also suggests that one can see a similar process in the Japanese society of the 21st century.[20] Writings from this field refer to migrants not as people on the move, internal migrants pushed by individual ambitions, job seeking, social changes or ecological disasters, but as a category for people who suffer the greater risk of survival in society. In her recent book, Yuko Fujino expands the argument on imperial subjects when she explores how Koreans became victims of violence by the people (minshū) during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.[21] These studies and historical narratives are clearly aware of the upheaval of the Japanese people due to global capitalism in the 21st century, and by focusing on the situation of common people rather than migrants, they discover the fragility in everyday situations of the nation. Although this direction is similar to and overlaps with social history research, it mainly considers both the work and life of the people as an integral part and focuses on the hegemonic struggle over their survival under a neoliberal labour market.

In either direction, historians strive to update their narratives of national history in response to the public unrest against the demographic change that has been evident since the 21st century. Of course, the classic contrast between prewar and postwar periods can still be powerful, particularly in political discourse, but the continuing relevance of national history is ensured by including in historical writing the social and political issues and perspectives that emerge at any given time, and doing so in historical comparison.

Confronting the State for the Nation

The issue of the image and the transformation of the nation that this article has described so far becomes more complex when we bring in the state or its government. Since the early 21st century, Japan has faced a continuing dissonance between historians and the government over current state politics. However, it would be overly simplistic to explain this dissonance with the opposition between progressive, left-wing historians facing conservative right-wing governments.

The long-running government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2006–2007, 2012–2020) initially received enthusiastic support from nationalists, such as the authors of the right-wing textbooks mentioned above. During the early years of the first administration, the Abe government did not seem to mind this support. However, as the cabinet remained in power, it gradually strove to gain more wide-ranging national support, particularly in the second administration. One way of securing this, and weakening the opposition parties, was the adoption of certain leftist policies. In particular, the improvement of the working environment was an achievement that even the trade unions could not ignore. In addition, the second Abe administration was more concerned with international cooperation. However, the move to establish security legislation in 2015 to strengthen the right of collective self-defence, mainly aimed to enable the Self Defence Forces to make more international contributions in conflict zones, started a polemic debate and was highly criticized.[22] In December 2015, the Abe government also signed the comfort women agreement with South Korea without considering ultranationalist critics who had initially supported Abe (“Japan–South Korea Comfort Women Agreement”). Furthermore, the government effectively lifted the ban on migrants whose acceptance into the country had been a national taboo for many years. While its initiatives gained the Abe administration broad support from left and right and enabled it to remain in power for a long time, the newly introduced policies still face many problems.[23]

While critics of the Abe administration often view it as reactionary and conservative, what it has actually implemented—the leftist labour policy and a foreign policy approach that emphasized international cooperation—has not necessarily been in line with the prime minister’s personal ideology. Rather, in Japan’s bureaucratic political system, even the prime minister’s ideas are seldom directly reflected in individual policies. Critics, even university professors, tend to simplify the character of the administration, but this is far from a heuristic attitude. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the administration, if one understands the complexity of politics, one should not simply label it a revisionist or an ultranationalist regime.

Nevertheless, the long-reigning Abe administration led to a revival among some historians to resist the state and criticize and protest the conservative government. To illustrate this point further, let us turn to one incident that occurred only recently during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly after the end of the Abe administration and the inauguration of its Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, as the new prime minister in September 2020, the new government ran into a fierce confrontation with researchers in the humanities, including historians. Until then, the Science Council of Japan, the government’s advisory board on academic policy, had been appointing its members at its discretion. But in September 2020, the government suddenly rejected six candidates by erasing their names from the list of to-be-appointed scholars, without any explanation. These six included two historians, and as all six were humanities scholars, many humanities researchers joined the protests, which were mainly online because of the pandemic. The main focus of the protest was to declare the incident as a governmental violation of academic freedom and a return to the repressive wartime regime as seen during World War II, reflecting the researchers’ distrust of the long-lasting LDP government. As a result, an online petition led by a group of university professors collected more than 143,000 signatures (as of August 2, 2021).[24]

However, this case involves more complex issues, as the government did not give a reason for its rejection. One possible explanation can be found by looking into Japan’s postwar history, as suggested by Masaru Sato, an ex-diplomat.[25] Three of the scholars who were refused entry into the Council belonged to Minshushugi kagakusha kyōkai hōritsu bukai (The Legal Department of the Association of Democratic Scientists), a law society established by humanities scholars by the initiative of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) after Japan’s defeat. During the Korean War, the JCP executed terrorist attacks against the Japanese government and the U.S. Occupation Army and therefore became a monitored organization in 1952; a status it retains to this day.[26] Conscious of China’s recent rise to power, the Suga administration tried to eliminate the traditional influence of the JCP in the Council. As the government did not want to reveal its real objective, it removed a total of six people from the list, including three academics with no communist affiliations. The fact that the Communist Party’s organ, Akahata, was the first to report this incident indicates that the JCP is a major actor in this case. If this supposition by Sato is correct, the issues surrounding the Council will be the relationship between academia and the JCP, as well as the academic freedom from the government that many scholars have claimed.

There seems to be a tendency for a revival of political consciousness among some historians. This is because there is a tendency to over-simplify the discussion of the character and policies of the LDP governments by fixating on the easily understood old dichotomy of right and left, which is often a dismissal of the complexities of postwar history. Moreover, the fact that conservative LDP-centred governments continue to be elected shows that there is a disconnection between the people’s choices and the preferences of historians. When that disconnection becomes too wide to ignore and attempts are made to resolve it, this too will lead to a rethinking of historiography. Although it is anachronistic, historians participating in such movements often apply the classic contrast of prewar and postwar periods to the present day, a discourse that remains important for the claim for academic freedom.


This article discussed the initiative of textbook dialogues between China, Japan, and South Korea as a response by historians to nationalist history; attempts introduced in historiography to update the image and reality of the nation; and finally pointed out the gradual revival of the image of the historian who resists the state for the sake of the nation. In all of these cases, historians stuck to the category of the nation in their research and practices, and as a result, they deepened their methodologies not only in the study of Japanese history but also in foreign history. Although this paper has made critical reference to their problems, all these attempts shape history writing in the 21st century. In recent years, attention paid to people on the move and the use of multilingual materials have made it possible to write dynamic histories. At the same time, however, the category of the nation has become increasingly polemic, attracting researchers to both practices of research/writing and political engagement.

In the case of Japan, every aspect is being overshadowed by demographic changes, especially the ageing of the population and the acceptance of immigration. For example, according to one survey, those in Japan who have antipathy toward China and Korea are more the older generation, and less the younger generation because of their familiarity with Asian popular culture. As Hiroshi Mitani once argued, it is not the youth but the adults who need an improved history education, because their self-image of the nation and its history have been fixed by the education they received when they were young.[27] In addition, the composition of the nation itself has begun to change with the increase of international students and the de facto acceptance of immigrants. The effects of these demographic changes are certainly having an impact on the study of history.

While it is not the task of the historian to make any prognoses on how the historiography will develop in the 21st century, it is safe to assume that it will see some turns due to the major generational shift in Japan in the near future. This generational change may have a more drastic effect on Japanese society than globalization and may perhaps fundamentally change the way people in Japan interact with history. There is no guarantee that a national history will survive unprecedented generational successions, because if the image of national history only has the effect of hindering regional harmony, such a national historiography could readily be abolished politically until the end of the 21st century. As long as people, including historians, continue to incorporate new realities into historical writing in a proper way, however, it should become the driving force that moves society and the nation. It is noteworthy that the category of national history is not only defined by its relationship to foreign countries and globalization, but also by its generational and internal composition.

[1] Kanji Nishio, Kokumin no rekishi (A History of the Nation), Tokyo 1999.
[2] Yoshihiko Amino, Nihon no rekishi wo yominaosu (Rethinking Japanese History), 2 vols, Tokyo 1991 and 1996; Yoshihiko Amino, “Nihon” toha nanika (What Is “Japan”?), Tokyo 2000; Eiji Oguma, Tan’itsu minzoku shinwa no kigen (The Origins of the Myth on Homogeneous Nation), Tokyo 1995; Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Re-inventing Japan: Time, Space, Nation, London 1998.
[3] In Japan, there is a system of governmental censorship of school textbooks produced by private companies. Its purpose is not to control thought, but rather to allow freedom of thought while requiring correction of factual errors and extreme interpretations in each textbook. In addition, since multiple publishers produce textbooks, each local government can compare textbooks and adopt one of them for their schools, once a textbook has passed censorship.
[4] “Textbook Certification Standards for Compulsory Education Schools” in 1989, issued by Ministry of Education,
<> (24.09.2021).
[5] This group was originally formed to achieve the legalization of the Japanese calendar, which corresponds to the emperor. After the law was passed in 1979 and the group was reorganized in 1981, it took up history textbooks as its next project. It became the Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference), one of the largest conservative organizations in Japan.
[6] Nippon Kaigi (ed.), Shinpen nihonshi (Newly Edited Japanese History), Tokyo 1987.
[7] Yōichi Komori / Yoshikazu Sakamoto / Yoshio Yasumaru (eds.), Rekishi kyōkasho nani ga mondai ka (What Matters with History Textbooks?), Tokyo 2001; Historical Science Society of Japan (ed.), Rekishika ga yomu “tsukurukai” kyōkasho (A Textbook of Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform in Historians’ Reading), Tokyo 2001; Rekishi kenkyū no genzai to kyōkasho mondai (The Current State of Historical Research and the Textbook Issue), Tokyo 2005.
[8] Trilateral China-Japan-Korea Joint History Book Editorial Committee (ed.), Mirai o hiraku rekishi: Higashi ajia sangoku no kingendaishi (History that Opens the Future: The Modern and Contemporary History of Three East Asian Countries), Tokyo 2005; Trilateral China-Japan-Korea History Textbook Editorial Committee (ed.), Atarashii higashi ajia no kingendaishi (A New Modern and Contemporary History of East Asia), 2 vols., Tokyo 2012; Eckhardt Fuchs / Tokushi Kasahara / Sven Saaler (eds.), A Now Modern History of East Asia, Göttingen 2018 (An English translation of the 2012 textbook).
[9] Kazuharu Saitō, Chūgoku rekishi kyōkasho to higashi ajia rekishi taiwa (Chinese History Textbooks and East Asian History Dialogue), Tokyo 2008.
[10] Ryūichi Narita, “Higashi ajia shi” no kanōsei (The Possibility of “East Asian History”), in: Yōichi Komori et al. (eds.), Higashi ajia rekishi ninshiki ronsō no metahistory (Metahistory of the East Asian Historical Controversy), Tokyo 2008. This literature is also an excellent critique of these textbook projects.
[11] Peter Geiss / Guillaume Le Quintrec (eds.), Histoire/Geschichte, 2 vols., Tokyo 2008 and 2016 (A Japanese translation); Hisaki Kenmochi / Akiyoshi Nishiyama, Rekishi ninshiki kyōyū no kanōsei: Futsudoku rekishi kyōkasho no jikken (The Possibility of Sharing Historical Awareness: An Experiment with a French and German History Textbook), in: Rekishigaku kenkyū (Journal of Historical Studies) 840 (2008), 63, pp. 38–45; Hisaki Kenmochi / Nobuko Kosuge / Lionel Babicz (eds.), Rekishi ninshiki kyōyū no chihei (Horizon of Common Historical Consciousness), Tokyo 2009.
[12] Nobuya Hashimoto, Kioku no seiji (Memory Politics), Tokyo, 2016; Takahiro Kondo (ed.), Rekishi kyōiku no hikakushi (Comparative History of History Education), Nagoya 2020.
[13] Jun Yonaha, Hon’yaku no seijigaku (Translational Politics), Tokyo 2009.
[14] Ji-Hyun Lim, Victimhood Nationalism and History Reconciliation in East Asia, in: History Compass 8 (2010), 1, pp. 1–10.
[15] Masakatsu Ōkado, Josetsu “seizon” no rekishigaku (An Introductory Account for the History of Survival), in: Rekishigaku kenkyū 846 (2008), pp. 2–11.
[16] Toshihiko Matsuda et al. (eds.), Naze kokusai nihon kenkyū nanoka (Why Global Japan Studies?), Kyoto 2018.
[17] The Consortium for Global Japanese Studies (ed.), Kantaiheiyō kara “nihon kenkyū” wo kangaeru (Japanese Studies: Perspective from the Pacific Rim), Kyoto 2021.
[18] Ibid.
[19] Hiroyuki Shiode, Ekkyōsha no seijishi (A Political History of Cross-borders), Nagoya 2015.
[20] Yūsaku Matsuzawa, Ikidurai meiji shakai (The Hard-to-Live Meiji Society), Tokyo 2018.
[21] Yūko Fujino, Minshū bōryoku (Violence by the People), Tokyo 2020.
[22] Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution, enacted in 1946 during the U.S. occupation, stipulates that Japan renounces any military force. With the outbreak of the Korean War, however, the U.S. changed its occupation policy and Japan established the Self-Defense Forces in 1954. Groups opposed to further militarization of Japan continued to oppose the revision of the Constitution itself in order to keep Article 9 from being revised. As a result, no amendment has even been proposed to date. Since the Gulf War, Japan, as a developed country, has been called upon to contribute militarily in conflict zones, and the Liberal Democratic Party government has responded by changing its interpretation of the Constitution without revising it. As a result, the Self-Defense Forces have severe restrictions on bearing arms even in conflict zones. The Abe administration attempted to develop a security legislation to enable the escort of U.S. troops (mainly in conflict zones), but opponents resisted this as it would lead to a prewar-like military regime.
[23] In this process, the original supporters instead became critical of the Abe administration. For example, Kanji Nishio, one of the authors of the right-wing textbook abovementioned, criticized the Abe administration from a conservative standpoint. Kanji Nishio, Hoshu no shingan (The Authenticity of Conservatism), Tokyo 2017.
[24] <> (25.09.2021). This website has not been further updated after the movement ended.
[25] Masaru Satō, Kenryoku ron: Nihon gakujutsu kaigi mondai no honshitsu ha koko ni aru (On Power: Here Is the Essence of the Issue of the Science Council of Japan), in: Bungei shunjuū, December 2020, pp. 104–114.
[26] See Eiji Oguma, “Minshu” to “aikoku” (Democracy and Patriotism), Tokyo 2002; Curtis Anderson Gayle, Marxist History and Postwar Japanese Nationalism, London 2003.
[27] Hiroshi Mitani / Yorihisa Namiki / Tatsuhiko Tsukiashi (eds.), Otona no tame no kingendaishi 19 seiki hen (Modern and Contemporary History for Adults: 19th Century), Tokyo 2009.

Forum: Nation: C. Uchida: Beyond Demographic Changes: The Renewed Role of National History in 21st-Century Japan, in: H-Soz-Kult, 27.09.2021, <>.
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