With tensions rising between Japan and China over ownership of a group of islands (called "Senkaku" in Japan and "Diaoyu" in China), and between Japan and Korea over ownership of a different group of islands (called "Takeshima" in Japan and "Dokdo" in Korea), 81-year-old video game composer, Kouichi Sugiyama (of Dragon Quest fame) recently voiced his opinion on the issue, focusing his argument, not against China or Korea, but against the Japanese media.
In a recent editorial, Sugiyama stated that he believes Japan is currently "in a state of civil war between Japanese and anti-Japanese" fueled by the media's own efforts to quell patriotism among Japanese citizens. Sugiyama argues that such things like the media's negative portrayal of things like singing the national anthem or raising the Japanese flag as "right-wing" or the anti-nuclear movement's demand to immediately dismantle all nuclear energy facilities without offering any alternative solutions damage the country's ability to defend and stand up for itself when necessary.
While Sugiyama, himself a right-wing supporter and denier of Japan's war crimes in World War II, may hold views that are a little extreme, he does raise valid points in his argument. He points out that even the Republic of Palau, with a population of only 20,000 and no army of its own, will fire upon Chinese fishing vessels that enter its waters. Yet in Japan, the law prevents its forces from firing upon invading ships unless fired upon first, a stance that has allowed foreign ships to intrude and provoke with impunity. Sugiyama stresses that Japan's leaders must focus on protecting the country above all else.
While Sugiyama focuses on the internal anti-Japanese rhetoric cultivated by the mass media, he does note that on the internet, where the media's influence is much less than on TV and in printed news, people are allowed to voice patriotic opinions and have a stronger hold. Sugiyama says he believes that the internet generation will move Japan's politics and change the country for the better.
He may be a right-wing war crime denier, and I may disagree with him on WWII, but I agree with him on this.
すぎやまこういち 今の日本は「日本軍vs反日軍の内戦状態」 [NEWSポストセブン]
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.