Japanese Government Seeks to Promote Nationalism and Militarism

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

The Japanese government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is supporting overhauling the media and school curriculum to promote nationalism and militarism. This reflects Abe’s agenda of boosting the military and taking a more aggressive stance toward China. Katsuto Momii, the appointed chairman of Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, expressed his desire for NHK programming to more closely toe the government line. Momii had previously sparked outrage with remarks justifying the Imperial Army’s abuse of sex slaves in the 1930s and 1940s. These views reflect those of Japan’s ruling circles, which largely feel that the country was unfairly targeted for criticism after World War II. Another of Abe’s NHK appointees, Naoki Hyatuka, has supported a Tokyo gubernatorial candidate who defended Japanese militarism in an essay. Hyatuka has also insisted that the Nanking Massacre was fabricated.

In addition to the NHK appointees, the Japanese government has announced revised teaching guidelines demanding that junior and senior high textbooks and teachers support government claims on disputed islands. The new guidelines present various islands controlled by China, South Korea, and Russia as “illegally occupied.” They also require positive portrayals of the Self-Defense Forces. To implement the changes, the government has used various mechanisms, such as ordering a small Okinawan township to use a rejected right-wing history textbook, and appointing a committee that suggested putting mayors in charge of school districts and issues such as textbook selection. Back in 2006, Abe amended the 1947 Fundamental Law of Education for the first time, to emphasize patriotism, the nation, and tradition.


John Watanabe, “Japanese government promotes militarism in media and schools,” World Socialist Website, February 5, 2014, http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/02/05/japa-f05.html.

Student Researcher: Noah Tenney (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips (Sonoma State University)