Superb Japan!? ― 日本礼賛の幻想

Recently there has been a boom in books and TV shows on a distinctive feature of contemporary Japan, to wit: lauding Japanese superiority. This type of immodest claims to superiority was popular in wartime, as the historian John W. Dower noted: “Poets, priests, and propagandists alike extolled the superiority of the ‘Yamato race’ and the sublime destiny of the Imperial Way.” A vivid historical example is an appendix to the monthly magazine Hinode (Sunrise) revealingly titled Here is Japan’s Greatness Shining in the World ― vaunting the world’s top military strength, indomitable spirit, etc. This perspective gained great popularity in 1933, the very year Japan’s isolation became more pronounced when the country withdrew from the League of Nations due to international criticism in the wake of the Manchurian Incident.