Warm and militant greetings!
I'm your host Kota and welcome to the Against Japanism Podcast: Destabilizing Japanese History from the Left! In this introductory episode, I discuss the goals of this podcast and the principles behind it, and preview the upcoming episodes that I have already recorded and will be published here very soon.
To sum up, this podcast is a study of Japanese history through the lens of dialectical and historical materialism, a history characterized by conflict and change, as opposed to equilibrium and stasis, as the history of class struggles and struggles between the oppressors and the oppressed.
I discuss what this means in relation to Japanism and the question of Japaneseness that I themed this podcast around, as an ideological byproduct of capitalism, imperialism, and fascism, as well as the histories of resistance and revolutionary movements that have proved it wrong: Japan never was and is not a harmonious and homogeneous society like what Japanists in the West and Japan believe it to be (If it ever was, it was an outcome of a conscious effort by the Japanese state to suppress anarchists, communists, and anti-colonial activists, and is continuously reproduced today through campaigns like "Cool Japan" that create an impression that progressive and revolutionary ideas are foreign to Japan).
Unlike their idealized image of Japan as traditional and unchanging, Japanese history has gone through significant changes such as the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the colonization of the Ryukyu Islands, the Ainu homelands, and Asia without which the growth and maintenance of capitalism in the mainland Japan would have been impossible, the rise of fascism that criminalized revolutionary politics and dashed the hope of a socialist revolution in Japan in the inter-war period., the U.S-led Allied Occupation that restored the fascists like Kishi Nobusuke to power to turn Japan into a bastion of anti-communism in Asia during the Cold War, and the popular and student-led uprisings in the 1960s that challenged the rise of "democratized" post-war Japan as a partner of the US imperialism.
It is still changing today, even though the drivers of this change are still the bourgeoisie against the working class and oppressed masses. The Japanese state's poor handling of the CORVID-19 pandemic and inhumane treatment of migrants and refugees are just a few examples of this. These are dark times, but seeing online content about activism in Japan makes me hopeful. I hope this podcast can contribute to that conversation and I would be very happy if those of you who speak English and engage with activism in Japan found it helpful.
If you liked or disliked the episode, please let me know why at [email protected]
Outro Music: The Internationale (Instrumental)
Song and Struggle: The Internationale - People's World
The Internationale (Japanese Version)