Something very worrisome is happening in Japan. The publishing company, Shinyusha, has two best-selling comic books that belittle Korea and China.
Aside from textbook revisions of history, now the Japanese take the art of denying on a contemporary plane. In illustration form, these two comic books target the youth market whose opinions are malleable and whose own sense of identity is yet to form.
So the young Japanese, who one day will take over the future of their country, are told that China is the “world’s prostitution superpower” and is a source of disease, and that South Korea cheated in the 2002 Word Cup soccer game.
Let’s say that freedom of speech is some form of acceptance of these highly defamatory publications. It is appalling, but what is equally appalling in all this is that the Japanese government has voiced little or no condemnation nor shock.
What does this tell us of Japanese society? Underneath the politeness and the genteel outward appearance lies a highly questionable national identity. There can be no dialogue with people who think this way.
Denying reality is such an amazing human phenomenon… What will the future hold for Japan in the hands of people raised with these kinds of attitudes?
Ugly Images of Asian Rivals Become Best Sellers in Japan: The two comic books, portraying Chinese and Koreans as base peoples and advocating confrontation with them, have become runaway best sellers in Japan in the last four months.
In their graphic and unflattering drawings of Japan’s fellow Asians and in the unapologetic, often offensive contents of their speech bubbles, the books reveal some of the sentiments underlying Japan’s worsening relations with the rest of Asia.
But the comic book, perhaps inadvertently, also betrays Japan’s conflicted identity, its longstanding feelings of superiority toward Asia and of inferiority toward the West. The Japanese characters in the book are drawn with big eyes, blond hair and Caucasian features; the Koreans are drawn with black hair, narrow eyes and very Asian features.
They also point to Japan’s longstanding unease with the rest of Asia and its own sense of identity… Much of Japan’s history in the last century and a half has been guided by the goal of becoming more like the West and less like Asia. Today, China and South Korea’s rise to challenge Japan’s position as Asia’s economic, diplomatic and cultural leader is inspiring renewed xenophobia against them here.