Japan’s Rightwing Violence Escalates

A march by the far left “Anti-Imperial System Action Network” is met by a ferocious series of counter-demonstrations by rightwing activists, with a thin line of riot police in between. These events occurred on August 15, 2013, on the streets of Tokyo.

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Social Movements by the Government

by Naoko Yoshida

As we learned in the class, social movements are the effective methods to change the society. And almost always, those social movements are started by people in lower position against the authority such as the government. For example, people in Fukushima have been taking action in order to stop the use of nuclear power plants in Japan against Japanese government, and in the US, many labor movements are launched by workers against people in high positions. However, there are another kind of social movements which are intended by the government to make people start. I have two examples here. One of them is China, and the other is Korea. Chinese government and Korean government intended to have social movements inside their country for the same reason. That reason is to distract their citizens’ attention from the problems inside the country.

Firstly, Chinese people had a huge social movement against Japan. And that movement is still remaining a little bit. This social movement is started by Chinese people in order to be against the Japanese possession of Senkaku-islets. But this movement is not simply because Japan claimed their ownership of those islets but because of many complex causes. One of those causes is Chinese government’s anxiety of antigovernment movement. We can say there are many problems inside China such as a huge gap between social classes, and slowdown economy. In addition, they were facing a once-a-decade transition of political leader on that time. Therefore, Chinese government made people act against foreign enemy by using mass media in order that Chinese people do not notice the problems inside China, and enhance nationalism for upcoming election. In short, Chinese government made people start social movement against foreign enemy in order to discard people’s attention from problems inside the country and to enhance the nationalization.

Secondly, in Korea, there has been a movement about Take-shima/Dokdo against Japan. Korean government also made people act against Japan in order to enhance nationalism, and distract their presidents corruption because they also have an election.

In conclusion, although many social movements are started by people in lower class against people in higher class or authority in order to make their living better, there are also social movements which are planned by the government in order to discard their citizens’ attention from the problems inside the country and to enhance the nationalism. We should not be deceived by that movement by the government.

References

Beech, H.(2012/10).The madding crowd: Beijing inflames popular sentiment against Japan, but it could get burned.Time, 50.

Yokota, T. (2012/9). You say Dokdo, I say Takeshima… let’s call the whole thing off. Newsweek, 16-17.

The Power of Non-Violence in Social Movement

by Saki Hirama

There was the famous photo that showed a police let his dog bite the man who did not resist against it. That photo captured a moment of the Civil Rights movement in America, and it made worldwide people pay attention to the movement. I think world attention was one of the most necessary factors to achieve the goal. And now, here is the question, what is the power of non-violence in social movement?

Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. are known as leaders of non-violent movement. They led various movements like boycott, sitting and marching without any violence. It was said that even though they were attacked by police or others, they never resisted it. Journalists reported it, and we can find the photo or film still now. When I saw these, I was shocked and had question about the justice of police or others because activists did not do anything bad. Similarly, the people who watched the report at the time might have had such kind of feelings. It might encourage people’s support in the movement, and also became pressure for government. I think this is strong power to show the ambition for the goal of social movement, and make the opposition an object that should be blamed.

However, we can imagine how difficult non-violent social movement is, and actually there have been many movements depend on violence. I think social movements are established with the existence of opponents, and activists sometimes have strong anger or hatred against it. Therefore, the movements tend to use violence.  Once they use violence, however, it gives reasons to arrests or criticizing. Keep non-violence can not only prevent from giving the reason, but also can be gathered people’s attention by sympathy or empathy. Non-violent movement is seemed that it has power more than the movement with violence.

Recently, more and more social movements came to be non-violence, like anti-Iraq war movements and Arab spring. These movements could get achievement. However, when we think about the case of Japan, even though the movements are totally non-violence, they hardly achieve the goal. In my opinion, the difference is caused by smaller scale and less attention. Japanese movement is much smaller than that in the world, and too well- regulated. We rarely find the huge social movement enough to get overwhelmed, and rarely find the movement that becomes the obstacle to something. Moreover, Japanese have been too accustomed to non-violence, so non-violent movement could not get enough attention. I think the problem of less attention in Japan can be deal with expansion of scale that involving more and more people.

After all, non-violence is effective way for the movement, and non-violent social movement should be improved. If it becomes more fascinated and ingenious, the power of non-violence might come to be stronger.