Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Japan #1

Nationalism. I'm all for it. I think Belgians should be proud of being Belgian, and think that Belgium is the best. That's called pride, and it's a good thing. Obviously it can be run into the ground, with Belgium deciding that it's so superior that it ought to forcibly remake other countries in its own image. That just leads to trouble. And if it's so strong a feeling that any and all foreign ideas are automatically rejected, that just leads to narrow-mindedness and decadence.

But what if Belgians don't feel that way at all? What if they feel that they're no better than anybody else? In practice, that's simply not possible. A nation can't really feel that way. It can feel superior or inferior, but maintaining a feeling of absolute equality soon deteriorates into a feeling of inferiority, because other countries think they're better, so maybe they're right, eh?

So I'm nationalistic, and proud of America, but that doesn't stop me from seeing the country's flaws, or from importing foreign ideas when I think they're an improvement. Without that initial pride, why shouldn't I just accept any foreign ideas, because, after all, we're nothing special. And that's the path to national extinction.

So I'm pleased to learn that the Japanese are proud of Japan. They have every right to be, and they also have a very good record of adopting foreign ideas when they judge them appropriate, and rejecting them when they don't. And this idea, of being both proud of one's own country, but also being open to imported ideas while not being promiscuous about it, is an idea we should import from Japan.

This from the wacky website, http://www.sankakucomplex.com/

68% of Japanese: “We Are Better Than You”


An NHK survey has revealed record numbers of Japanese once again believe they possess “vastly superior qualities” to the barbarian races and reverance for the emperor is at a record high, pointing to a glorious rebirth for the Yamato – even if most of them evidently also believe marriage and having children are as outmoded as the concept of being able to influence a nation’s politics by voting in elections.
The 2013 results to the NHK’s 9th “survey of Japanese consciousness,” taken every 5 years, have just been announced, and provide some apparent insight into whatever it is those who can be bothered to participate in a public opinion survey are thinking (although being based on actual interviews with a stratified sample of 3,070 Japanese the survey is likely much better quality than the average net poll).
When the NHK shamelessly posed the uncompromisingly jingoistic question of “compared to the people of other nations, the Japanese possess vastly superior qualities” to them, 64% agreed they were in fact the master race, up 11% on the last time the survey was held and the highest result ever.
Those who agreed that “Japan is a first rate nation” were also up 15% to 54%, also the highest ever such result.
73.6% of those quizzed also agreed with the proposition that they “want to be of use to Japan,” however unlikely that may be.
As to the level of unshakeability in their confidence in the divinity of their great emperor, 34% of those asked now reported “revering” the emperor, the highest such result yet recorded.
The number of those indifferent to his august personage thankfully decreased to 28%, down from a 1988 high of 47%, whilst those “favourably inclined” towards him stood steady at 35%.
Only 1% harboured treasonous thoughts of opposition to the emperor’s person.
Since the survey has only been conducted at 5 year intervals since 1973, the presumably higher levels of belief in his infallible divinity which led the Japanese race to attempt to extend his dominion over the rest of Asia are unrecorded.
Japanese democratic now also seem almost to be on par with the likes of their American masters – the proportion of Japanese who belief their votes exert “strong” influence on politics has halved to 20.5%, whilst those believe voting exerts “slight” influence on politics has almost doubled to 39.7%, and those who think it exerts no influence whatsoever now stand at around 10%.
A similarly dramatic trend regarding the influence of political demonstrations was evident, and barely 12% now believe public opinion has “adequate” or “heavy” influence on their own nation’s politics, making the finding that a record 71.5% have never “participated in any particular political activity” unsurprising.
Religion was also touched upon in the survey, with belief in god or gods roughly stable in the low to mid thirties throughout the survey period, and faith in the Buddha steady at around 40% – although with belief in an afterlife doubling to 13.4% during the survey period, there once again seem to be plenty of interesting possibilities for new ways of combining this with some of the other survey elements.
On the rather more important issue of sex, barbarian notions of prudery and the sanctity of marriage are thankfully in full decline – the number of respondents seeing a problem with pre-marital sex is all the way down to 20.7% from 58.2%, with betrothal satisfying the conservative (up from 15.2% to 23.%) and sex with “deeply loved” partners the majority (up from 19% to 46.2%).
Those thinking neither love nor marriage are particularly necessary for sexual relations have increased from 3.3% at start to a roughly stable 4.5% now, rather strongly suggesting that whilst the institution of marriage may no longer be at all much connected with sex in Japan, some still feel uncomfortable having sex with complete strangers or people they do not like.
In fact only 33.2% now believe “marriage is a matter of course” (down from 44.6%) and 62.6% see “no need” for everyone to get married, with similar views apparent on the production of children.
Even barbarian lands were the subject of consideration – besides ever number one America with 22.1%, the only “most liked” nations to feature much were Australia and various European states, with Switzerland of all places taking second place with 8.5%. 22% found no other nation agreeable at all.
The patriotic resistance of the Japanese race to insidious foreign interlopers may help explain this – even now 48% of Japanese report having never having had any interaction whatsoever with a barbarian in Japan.
The survey also touched upon matters of real significance – for example, the finding that every time the survey was taken the proportion of respondents rating manga as “indispensable” to their emotional life has increased, from 6.5% at first to fully 12% now.
Online the survey has prompted much excitement from flag rubbers, as well as some disquiet – even amongst the more rabidly right-wing sections of the Japanese Internet:
“Creepy stuff.”
“‘Compared to the people of other countries, the Japanese possess vastly superior qualities’ – questions like that just exude nationalism, don’t they?”
“Having a question like that in it just underlines how moronic this survey is.”
“I cannot believe they would put such an arrogantly worded question in a survey like this… our ‘superior qualities’ must explain why 30,000 of us commit suicide every year and the Internet overflows with nothing but attacks on foreigners and the poor.”
“Did they really ask those to Japanese? I don’t think I could even answer something like that, how could you even compare nations and peoples like that?”
“This trend is a little bit disturbing. No wonder lefties and Koreans are pissed.”
“It is seriously disturbing, you would rather Japanese humbly worked to better themselves – isn’t modesty supposed to be a great Japanese virtue?”
“I actually thought the figure for respecting the emperor was low, but it turns out it is the highest ever?”
“This is one hell of a retarded survey they are doing…”
“It is a ridiculously crass and rude survey indeed.”
“The reason it is so retarded is because it was started 40 years ago, right?”
“Try respecting other people and not just the emperor!”
“Even asking a question about the emperor’s popularity is greatly disrespectful to him.”
“We’re hardly first rate but compared to the neighbours, well…”
“First rate indeed – just forget about the 30,000 of us who kill themselves every year.”
“I suppose this is the result of all that ‘look how AWESOME we Japanese are’ programmes they keep making.”
“Honestly, though it is fortunate the emperor survives this sort of lack of humility is troubling… it reminds of the sort of thing the neighouring countries get up to.”
“Blame it on our trashy media.”
“How can these people respect someone they have never even met? How do they know Japan is the best when most of them have never even been abroad? ESP?”
“Thank god for 2ch and Abe-chan! Little by little Japan is finally becoming a better place! Thank god I was born here, I can’t stop the tears now!”
“Whenever Japanese start singing their own praises it is right before they are on the verge of some major disaster.”

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