Anti-Japanese sentiment involves hatred, grievance, distrust, dehumanization, intimidation, fear, hostility, and/or general dislike of the Japanese people as ethnic or national group, Japan, Japanese culture, and/or anything Japanese. Sometimes the term Japanophobia is also used.
Anti-Japanese sentiments range from animosity towards the Japanese government's actions and disdain for Japanese culture to racism against the Japanese people. Sentiments of dehumanization have been fueled by the anti-Japanese propaganda of the Allied governments in World War II; this propaganda was often of racially-disparaging character. Anti-Japanese sentiment may be strongest in China and South Korea
In the past, anti-Japanese sentiment contained innuendos of Japanese people as barbaric. Japan was intent to adopt Western ways in an attempt to join the West as an industrialized imperial power. Fukuzawa Yukichi's seminal 1885 text, Leaving Asia, outlines the intellectual basis for modernizing and Westernizing Japan. A lack of acceptance of the Japanese in the West complicated integration and assimilation. One commonly held view was that the Japanese were evolutionarily inferior. Japanese culture was viewed with suspicion and even disdain.
While passions have settled somewhat since Japan's defeat in World War II, tempers continue to flare on occasion over the widespread perception that the Japanese government has made insufficient penance for their past atrocities, or has sought to whitewash the history of these events. Today, though the Japanese Government has effected some compensatory measures, anti-Japanese sentiment continues based on historical and nationalist animosities linked to imperial Japanese military aggression, especially war atrocities committed in the World War II era. Japan's delay in clearing more than 700,000 pieces of life threatening and environment contaminating chemical weapons (according to Japanese Government) buried in China at the end of WWII is another cause of anti-Japanese sentiment.
Periodically, individuals within Japan spur external criticism. Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was heavily criticized by South Korea and China for annually paying his respects to the war dead at the Yasukuni Shrine, which enshrines all those who fought and died for Japan during World War II, including 1,068 convicted war criminals. Right-wing nationalist groups have produced history textbooks whitewashing Japanese atrocities, and the recurring controversies over these books occasionally attract hostile foreign attention.
Some anti-Japanese sentiment originates from business practices used by some Japanese companies, such as dumping.
In the United States, anti-Japanese sentiment had its beginnings well before the Second World War. As early as the late 19th century, Asian immigrants were subject to racial prejudice in the United States. Laws were passed that openly discriminated against Asians, and sometimes Japanese in particular. Many of these laws stated that Asians could not become citizens of the United States and could not hold basic rights, such as owning land. These laws were greatly detrimental to the newly arrived immigrants, since many of them were farmers and had little choice but to become migrant workers. Some cite the formation of the Asiatic Exclusion League as the start of the anti-Japanese movement in California.
Anti-Japanese racism in California had become increasingly xenophobic after the Japanese victory over Russia in the Russo-Japanese War. On October 11, 1906, the San Francisco, California Board of Education had passed a regulation whereby children of Japanese descent would be required to attend racially segregated separate schools. At the time, Japanese immigrants made up approximately 1% of the population of California; many of them had come under the treaty in 1894 which had assured free immigration from Japan.
The Japanese invasion of China in 1931 and the annexation of Manchuria was roundly criticized in the US. In addition, efforts by citizens outraged at Japanese atrocities, such as the Nanking Massacre, led to calls for American economic intervention to encourage Japan to leave China; these calls played a role in shaping American foreign policy. As more and more unfavorable reports of Japanese actions came to the attention of the American government, embargoes on oil and other supplies were placed on Japan, out of concern for the Chinese populace and for American interests in the Pacific. Furthermore, the European American population became very pro-China and anti-Japan, an example being a grass-roots campaign for women to stop buying silk stockings, because the material was procured from Japan through its colonies.
When the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, Western public opinion was decidedly pro-China, with eyewitness reports by Western journalists on atrocities committed against Chinese civilians further strengthening anti-Japanese sentiments. African American sentiments could be quite different than the mainstream, with organizations like the Pacific Movement of the Eastern World (PMEW) which promised equality and land distribution under Japanese rule. The PMEW had thousands of members hopefully preparing for liberation from white supremacy with the arrival of the Japanese Imperial Army. This included stockpiling arms.
The most profound cause of anti-Japanese sentiment outside of Asia had its beginning in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese attack propelled the United States into World War II. The Americans were unified by the attack to fight against the Empire of Japan and its allies, Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.
The unannounced attack at Pearl Harbor prior to a declaration of war was presented to the American populace as an act of trechery and cowardice, despite an established historical precedent of such military operations. Following the attack, many "Jap hunting" licenses were circulated around the country. LIFE magazine published an article on how to tell a Japanese from a Chinese person by the shape of the nose and the stature of the body. Japanese conduct during the war did little to quell anti-Japanese sentiment. Fanning the flames of outrage were the treatment of American and other prisoners of war. Military-related outrages included the murder of POWs, the use of POWs as slave labor for Japanese industries, the Bataan Death March, the Kamikaze attacks on Allied ships, and atrocities committed on Wake Island and elsewhere.
U. S. historian James J. Weingartner attributes the very low number of Japanese in U.S. POW compounds to two key factors: a Japanese reluctance to surrender and a widespread American "conviction that the Japanese were 'animals' or 'subhuman' and unworthy of the normal treatment accorded to POWs." The latter reasoning is supported by Fergusson, who says that "Allied troops often saw the Japanese in the same way that Germans regarded Russians [sic] — as Untermenschen." According to Weingartner, many U.S. troops regarded fighting the Japanese as more like hunting inhuman animals than a war.
The U.S. conviction that the Japanese were subhuman or animals, together with Japanese reluctance to attempt to surrender to allied forces, contributed to the fact that a mere 604 Japanese captives were alive in Allied POW camps by October 1944. (For a discussion of Allied soldiers "standard practice" of killing Japanese prisoners and Japanese attempting to surrender see Allied war crimes during World War II.
See also American mutilation of Japanese war dead for a discussion on the widespread practice of mutilating dead Japanese, for example a letter opener carved out of a Japanese soldier's bones was presented to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Weingartner also sees a connection between the mutilation of Japanese war dead and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. According to Weingartner both were partially the result of a dehumanization of the enemy. "[t]he widespread image of the Japanese as sub-human constituted an emotional context which provided another justification for decisions which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands." On the second day after the Nagasaki bomb, Truman stated: "The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him like a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true". (see Debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki)
An estimated 112,000 to 120,000 Japanese migrants and Japanese Americans from the West Coast were interned regardless of their attitude to the US or Japan. They were held for the duration of the war in the inner US. The large Japanese population of Hawaii was not massively relocated in spite of their proximity to vital military areas.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the waning fortunes of heavy industry in the United States prompted layoffs and hiring slowdowns just as counterpart businesses in Japan were making major inroads into U.S. markets. Nowhere was this more visible than in the automobile industry, where the lethargic Big Three automobile manufacturers (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) watched as their former customers bought Japanese imports from Toyota and Nissan, a consequence of the 1973 oil crisis. The anti-Japanese sentiment manifested itself in occasional public destruction of Japanese cars, and in the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American beaten to death when he was mistaken to be Japanese.
Other highly symbolic deals — including the sale of famous American commercial and cultural symbols such as Columbia Records, Columbia Pictures, and the Rockefeller Center building to Japanese firms — further fanned anti-Japanese sentiment. The unease continued well into the early 1990s.
Popular culture of the period reflected American's growing distrust of Japan. Futuristic period pieces such as Back to the Future II and Robocop 3 frequently showed Americans as working precariously under Japanese superiors. Criticism was also lobbied in many novels of the day. Author Michael Crichton took a break from science fiction to write Rising Sun, a murder mystery (later made into a feature film) involving Japanese businessmen in the U.S. Likewise, In Tom Clancy's book, Debt of Honor, Clancy implies that Japan's prosperity is due primarily to unequal trading terms, and portrays Japan's business leaders acting in a power hungry cabal.
The animosity which peaked in the 1980s, when the term "Japan bashing" became popular, had largely faded by the late 1990s. Japan's waning fortunes, coupled with an upsurge in the U.S. economy as the Internet took off, largely crowded anti-Japanese sentiment out of the popular media, which has turned to other issues.
On 2 March 2007, the "comfort women" issue was raised again by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, in which he denied that the military had forced women into sexual slavery during World War II in an orchestrated way. He stated, "The fact is, there is no evidence to prove there was coercion in narrow sense." Before he spoke, a group of Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers also sought to revise Yohei Kono's 1993 apology to former comfort women. - The New York Times editorial quickly refuted Abe's statement: “These were not commercial brothels. Force, explicit and implicit, was used in recruiting these women. What went on in them was serial rape, not prostitution. The Japanese Army’s involvement is documented in the government’s own defense files.”
Anti-Japanese sentiment is felt very strongly in China and is a phenomenon that mostly dates back to modern times (post-1868). Like many Western powers during the era of imperialism, Japan negotiated treaties that often resulted in the annexation of land from China towards the end of the Qing Dynasty. Dissatisfaction with Japanese settlements and the Twenty-One Demands by the Japanese government led to a serious boycott of Japanese products in China.
Today, bitterness in China persists over the atrocities of the Second Sino-Japanese War and Japan's post-war actions (particularly the lack of a straightforward acknowledgement of such atrocities and Japanese historic revisionism in textbooks), and is stoked up by the Chinese government for political purposes. Textbook revisionism These remain contentious issues, and anti-Japanese sentiment is still very strong in China.
The issue of anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea is complex and multi-faceted. Anti-Japanese attitudes in the Korean Peninsula can be traced as far back as the Japanese pirates raids and Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598), but are largely a product of the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910-1945, and subsequent revisionism in history textbooks used in Japan's educational system after WWII. Today, issues of Japanese history textbook controversies, Japanese policy regarding WWII, and geographic disputes between the two countries perpetuate this sentiment, and these issues often incur huge disputes between Japanese and Korean internet users. Korea, together with China, may be considered as among the most intensely anti-Japanese societies in the world.
During the 2005 anti-Japanese demonstrations in East Asia, Taiwan remained noticeably quieter than the PRC or Korea, with Taiwan-Japan relations regarded at an all-time high. The KMT majority-takeover in 2008 followed by a boating accident resulting in Taiwanese deaths has created recent tensions, however. Taiwanese officials began speaking out on historical territory disputes regarding the Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands, resulting in an increase in at least perceived anti-Japanese sentiment.
Anti-Japanese sentiment traces back to WWII, and the aftermath of the war. Where an estimated one million Filipinos, of a wartime population of 17 million, were killed during the war, and many more injured. Nearly every Filipino family was hurt by the war on some level. Most notably in the city of Mapanique, survivors recount the Japanese occupation with Filipino men being massacred and dozens of women being herded to be used as comfort women. Today, the Philippines is considered to have un-antagonistic relations with Japan. In addition, Filipinos are generally not as offended as Chinese or Koreans are about the fact that these atrocities are given little, if any, attention in Japanese classrooms, a consequence that some historians and sociologists feel is a result of the Philippines never fully recovering from the war.
Many people in countries which were Allies during World War II continue to campaign for compensation for being subject to forced labour, malnutrition, preventable illness and other hardships, as POWs of Japan during World War II. Indeed, due to the harsh Japanese government policy in Japanese colonial territories during World War II, there are still many citizens in old Japanese colonial land (usually in East Asia and South-East Asia). In modern Europe and America, the anti Japanese sentiment often stems from two roots, and the first of the two stems from the US policy on Iraq war. Indeed, Junichiro Koizumi, the prime minister of Japan preceded by Yoshiro Mori, decided to deploy the Japan Self-Defense Forces to Iraq. Since this was the one of the biggest foreign troops in Iraq, and the first Japanese military mission in active foreign war zones after the end of the World War II, many people against the war called Japan as the dog of George W. Bush.  Also, the anti-Japanese sentiment sometimes stems from anti-Asian sentiment, which includes the boycott of Chinese product, hostility towards bad mannered Asian people and culture. However, these topics rather caused huge online dispute between Japanese and Chinese, Korean internet users, especially when one of the Korean celebrities said on TV, "If you do a bad thing in foreign countries, pretend as if you are a Japanese tourist." When Japanese internet users accused this comment, Korean internet users also accused the comment of Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo, who called Chinese and Korean people as sangokujin (third country nationale) officially on TV.
In Australia, the White Australia Policy was partly inspired by fears in the late 19th century that if large numbers of Asian immigrants were allowed, they would have a severe and adverse effect on wages, the earnings of small business people and other elements of the standard of living. Nevertheless, a significant numbers of Japanese immigrants did arrive in Australia prior to 1900 (perhaps most significantly in the town of Broome). By the late 1930s, Australians feared that Japanese military strength might lead to expansion in South East Asia and the Pacific, perhaps even an invasion of Australia itself. This resulted in a ban on iron ore exports to Japan, from 1938. During World War II atrocities were frequently committed to Australians who surrendered, or attempted to surrender to Japanese soldiers. An example of this was the Tol Plantation massacre, where about 150 Australian troops were bayoneted to death by Japanese soldiers, which occurred after the Battle of Rabaul (1942)
In Russia, the Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 halted Imperial Russia's ambitions in the East. Later, during the Russian Civil War, Japan was part of the Western interventionist forces that helped to occupy Vladivostok until October 1922 with a puppet White government under Grigorii Semenov. At the end of WWII, the Soviet Army captured nearly 600,000 Japanese POWs in its invasion of Manchuria. Of these, 473,000 were repatriated, with 55,000 having died in Soviet captivity and the fate of the rest being unknown. Presumably, many were deported to China or North Korea to serve as forced laborers and soldiers.
The Yasukuni Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Tokyo, Japan. It is the resting place of thousands of not only Japanese soldiers, but also Korean and Taiwanese soldiers killed in various wars, but mostly in World War II. The shrine includes 13 Class A criminals such as Hideki Tojo and Hirota Koki, who were convicted and executed for their roles in the Japanese invasions of the China, Korea, and other parts of East Asia after the remission to them under Treaty of San Francisco, A total of 1,068 convicted war criminals are enshrined at the Yasukuni Shrine.
In recent years, the Yasukuni Shrine has become a sticking point in the relations of Japan and its neighbours. The enshrinement of war criminals has greatly angered the people of various countries invaded by Japan. In addition, the shrine published a pamphlet stating that "[war] was necessary in order for us to protect the independence of Japan and to prosper together with our Asian neighbors" and that the war criminals were "cruelly and unjustly tried as war criminals by a sham-like tribunal of the Allied forces". While it is true that the fairness of these trials is disputed among jurists and historians in the West as well as in Japan, the former prime minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi, has visited the shrine 5 times (seeming to imply that his point of view is consistent with the shrine's pamphlet); every visit caused immense uproar in China and Korea. His successor, Shinzo Abe, was also a regular visitor of Yasukuni. Some Japanese politicians have responded by saying that the shrine, as well as visits to it, is protected by the constitutional right of freedom of religion. Yasuo Fukuda, chosen Prime Minister in September 2007, promises "not to visit" Yasukuni.
Part of a series of articles onDiscrimination
There are a variety of derogatory terms referring to Japan. Many of these terms are viewed as racist. However, these terms do not necessarily refer to the Japanese race as a whole; they can also refer to specific policies, or specific time periods in history.