The sense of belonging and patriotism

by Satomi Toba

In this short report, I’ll talk about what influence has over the sense of belonging to country. Actually, I had never thought about this topic before. Probably it is because not only me but also many Japanese people don’t have enough chance to think about their identity or the sense of belonging to this country. To make this understand easily, I’ll compare some common situation between Japan and Indonesia. The reason why I chose Indonesia as the comparison country is mentioned later.

Since I went to Taiwan for school trip in my high school days, I’ve thought that I can feel to be Japanese and a foreigner only while staying outside Japan. In this summer, I visited Padang, Indonesia for 1 month and a half. There, every time I walked into a road or a town local people stared at me and sometimes they tried to talk to me in English. That experience made me realize that I was different from them. Rethinking about it now, it seems to let me be more Japanese person than I was in Japan. It means that I came to compare any style between Indonesia one and Japanese one, for example, the bathroom, the transportation, the food and so on. Whenever I found those differences, my perspective for Japan got more and more deep.

There is another interesting case for comparison: it’s about patriotism. Here and there in Indonesia, we can see so many national flags along roads and some people often sang national anthem. However in Japan, those scenes rarely can be seen these days. Some Japanese old people put national flag in front of their house when the national holiday. I think it is related to a bad image regarding the right-wingers. Japanese people tend to connect the patriotism idea with them and insist that it reminds us the World War Ⅱ when all citizens had to fight against the Allied Powers and the most important thing was to swear loyalty to the Emperor. Also, the authorities forced the citizens to be willing to join the war. When we think about this topic, it is better to refer to the relationship with colonization/ independence. Japan has never been colonized by any country unlike Indonesia, which had been a part of Netherland for over 300 years. Ex-serviceman told that they’ve got patriotic spirit from Japanese army’s education and then they stood up to fight against Netherland. After getting the independence, they’ve celebrated the independence-day on a large scale and it seems to make people’s feeling of commitment strong.

This time, it can be said that colonization experience is one of the keys leading to patriotism. It’s just the point so I’ll keep searching on this topic.

Reference

Hatena diary, Katsute nihon wa utsukushi kata. http://d.hatena.ne.jp/jjtaro_maru/20101022/1287749130

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