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Afterword: The Place Of The Nation In Japan Today

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Chapter Summary

This is the conclusory chapter of this book, which identifies the basic elements of Japanese nationalism and demonstrates how those elements themselves were not static but subject to historical change over time. To identify the basic building blocks of Japanese nationalism, and even to understand their historical developments is not, however, sufficient to comprehend Japanese nationalism, past or present. The most important elements indubitably are kokumin and minzoku. Yet, all modes of connecting these elements of nationalism are instances of efforts to “place the people,” and thus forms of nationalism. The book emphasizes that nationalism in Japan, as in all modern societies, has been a conflict-filled mode of consciousness that appeals to humanity's highest hopes for community, respect, love, and compassion as well as to our lowest temptations toward selfishness, arrogance, hatred and indifference. Democracy is impossible without nationalism, but so too was fascism.

Keywords: ethnic nationalism; Japanese nationalism; kokumin; minzoku



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