My Paranoid Thought of the Week

In recent years, Japanese society’s worry about Chinese military moves has translated into not just increased funding and materiel for the Japanese Self Defense Force. There has also been a much more straightforward series of attempts (through anime and manga, anyway) at dealing with Japan’s bad military past in WWII; and at trying to figure out how to have a strong military without weird elitism, while still being the good guys.

However, it occurred to me the other day that another development in recent years has been that outlying areas of Japan are getting a lot more attention and use as settings. Sometimes it’s pretty obviously the work of local tourist boards (or anime artists taking more staycations in Japan instead of going overseas). But there’s also started to be a pretty persistent theme that outlying areas and rural areas are important parts of Japan, and that a patriotic Japanese person from Tokyo should be respectful of people from the rural west coast of Japan, or Hokkaido, or Okinawa, or the southern islands.

And then it occurred to me that if the Chinese or the North Koreans did pull anything, it would likely happen on the islands, or on the rural west coast, or up in Hokkaido.

So yeah, I hope it’s just staycations and a love of rural landscapes and unusual settings, but I’m afraid it might be a government-supported attempt to make sure that city Japanese feel solidarity with outlying Japanese, in case of war.

And if it is… well, it’s not the worst idea, promoting a love and knowledge of all the provinces of Japan to help pump up patriotism. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be necessary.

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