Restoration Political Party, New Wind (Ishin Seito Shimpu) is a small extreme right-wing party in Japan that was founded in 1995. The word ishin harks back to the Meiji Ishin (Meiji Restoration/Renovation) when Japan set out on the road to modernization in the 1850s.
However, modernization having been well and truly achieved, some of Japan's modern-day would-be "restorers" (or "renovators") have little more up their sleeve, it seems, than a peevish and childishly extreme antipathy for Korea.
I was walking through Shinjuku today with a few friends when we heard a woman's voice shrieking passionately over a set of the souped-up car roof speaker sets that are the mainstay of Japanese political peddling.
It turned out to be a political rally of the Shimpu Party, vociferously denouncing Korea and all things Korean. The main message was the ludicrous one of "break all diplomatic ties with Korea." Yeah right, I thought, that has to be the answer to all of Japan's woes.
Then, as the parade of patriots of both sexes and all ages - but a sadly uniform lack of acumen - went by, it became even more ridiculous and even offensive. "No more plastic-surgery-addicted Korean pop idols!," "The comfort women were just prostitutes!," "Expel all Koreans from Japan!," and more.
The main reason why the Korean population of Japan is called "Korean" is because they are generally not permitted to take out Japanese citizenship even though nearly all of them were born in Japan. The reason why so many Koreans came to Japan in the first place is because they were forcibly brought to Japan by the Japanese for forced labor during the Pacific War.
The gist of the matter is that Korea is surging ahead of Japan in manufacturing prowess. For example, Samsung is now the globe's leading manufacturer of memory chips, televisions and flat-screen panels, and has become number two in mobile phones.
For Japanese who are suffering from the effects of Japan's economic nosedive, the fact of Japan losing its economic supremacy has deprived them of the little nationalistic comfort left to them. Thus the shrillness, not to mention the puerility, of today's Shimpu Party anti-Korean demonstration.
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012