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Yoshinori Kobayashi (Penname: 小林 よしのり, Real
name: 小林 善範; Kobayashi Yoshinori, born in Fukuoka, Japan, August 31, 1953) is a bestselling Japanese conservative author and mangaka.
Kobayashi's publications include more than two hundred books/comics, but he is most famous for
his controversial political commentary comics Gōmanism Sengen
(ゴーマニズム宣言, roughly translated as "My arrogant declaration" or
"Haughtiness Manifesto"). Among these, the book Neo Gomanism Manifesto Special - On War
attracted overseas attention, including from newspapers The New York
Times and Le
Monde. His nickname is "Yoshirin" (よしりん, derived from the
first two syllables of his given name plus the On
reading of the Kanji 林),
after which his staff team, Yoshirin Productions
(Yoshirin Kikaku, よしりん企画) is named. He graduated from Fukuoka
University with a major in French literature. He gained
prominence for his intentionally provocative style in the
politically delicate topics in Japan such as World War II revisionism,
denial of the Nanking Massacre and other Japanese
war crimes, praise for the Kamikaze, and anti-Americanism.
His first publication as a comic artist was Tōdai
Itchokusen (東大一直線, Beeline to Tokyo U) (1976),
published in Weekly Shōnen Jump when he was
a student at Fukuoka University. Another of his early manga,
Obocchama-kun (おぼっちゃまくん, Little Princeling) (1986), which won
the 1989 Shogakukan Manga Award for children's manga,
is a satire about a haughty
rich kid rising in the heyday of Japan's bubble economy. These long
running series helped to establish his reputation as a mangaka. An
anime adaptation of the series
was produced, as well as Famicom and PC Engine video
He became one of the most well known conservative
author/commentators among the young generation in Japan after a
series of publication of Gomanism Sengen since 1992.
Gomanism is well known for its covering of broad ranges of
social and political issues such as worship at Yasukuni
Shrine, Korean comfort women, the
independence from China, Japanese military independence from the
Shinrikyo, and revision of Japanese history textbooks. He is
also a founder and editor-in-chief of the political magazine
Washizumu, a coinage consisting of washi, a
colloquial word for "I", and -ism, roughly translated as "My own
principle" -- the term also makes a neat pun-like association with
"fascism," an anti-liberal,
anti-individualist, racist political philosophy many of Kobayashi's
Yamatoist pronouncements could be interpreted as enthusiastically
endorsing) which offers the opinion space for other young
conservative thinkers in Japan.
He often appears on political debate programs on Japanese TV,
such as Asamade Namaterebi (朝まで生テレビ, Live
Until The Morning).
In response to harsh criticism of the Aum Supreme Truth cult, a failed
assassination attempt was made on his life by cult members.
Kobayashi addresses the incident in later issues of Gomanism.
Summary of political
His writings are considered controversial both
inside and outside Japan. (some criticism/debunking/parody books have also been
released). Many regard him as a far-right pundit. Some of his positions, such as his
staunch anti-Americanism, are shared by leftists. Some of his views
- Franklin Roosevelt knew about the Pearl Harbor attack
in advance, as Japanese code was cracked by US intelligence.
- The Nanking Massacre did not occur. It was
created by political demagogue and diplomatic strategy by the US
government and the Communist Party of China to
label Japan as a dangerous military power which was out of control.
At the end of the war, this was supposedly brought up, among other
alleged Japanese war crimes to downplay the
true crime of the US atomic bombings
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
- The young generation of Japanese should not denounce the kamikaze, but should honor
their altruistic spirit of selflessness which modern society
- Japan’s involvement in WWII was not a result of fascism or imperialism. Its
mission statement was to free Asian nations and other nations that
consisted of “colored people” from the European colonial
- Many atrocities such as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII committed by US forces
can be traced to their fundamental racism against Japanese people,
including Franklin D. Roosevelt’s strong
racism against the Japanese race.
- The Japanese government never enforced Korean comfort women to
serve the Japanese military. Rather, they simply recruited
volunteers from poor villagers.
- The Japanese annexation of Korea
was not motivated by Japanese
imperialism. Japan had to help Korea to modernize the nation in
order to protect them from colonization by European powers.
- Japan should assist Taiwan independence from
- Japanese politicians, including Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi, should not listen to the protest from other Asian
nations regarding domestic issues such as the visiting of Yasukuni Shrine
by Japanese politicians.
- As long as the US’s policy is controlled by neoconservative politicians, 9/11-type terrorism will not cease.
The US will eventually lose its global prominence.
- The Japanese government should not support the US's Iraq War.
Although On Taiwan has been translated into Traditional Chinese and released in Taiwan (ISBN 957-801-279-9)
(where it aroused controversy and outcry) there are no planned
translations of this or Kobayashi's other works into English or
any other language.
- Tōdai Itchokusen (東大一直線, Beeline to Tokyo U) (1976)
- Obocchama-kun (おぼっちゃまくん, Little Princeling)
Sengen (ゴーマニズム宣言), vol 1-9
- Gōmanism Sengen Extra 1 (ゴーマニズム宣言EXTRA 1) ISBN
- Gō-Gai! (ゴー外!, Gōmanism Supplement/Side Story) ISBN
- Gōmanism Sengen Sabetsu Ron Special (ゴーマニズム宣言差別論スペシャル,
On Discrimination) (1995) ISBN 4-7592-6031-5
- Shin Gōmanism Sengen (新・ゴーマニズム宣言) vol 1-14
- Shin Gōmanism Sengen Special - Datsu Seigi Ron
(新・ゴーマニズム宣言SPECIAL 脱正義論, On Escaping Correctness) (1996) ISBN
- Shin Gōmanism Sengen Special - Sensō
Ron (新・ゴーマニズム宣言SPECIAL 戦争論, On War) (1998), volumes 1-3
(Vol 1: ISBN 4-87728-243-2, Vol 2: ISBN 4-344-00131-1, Vol 3: ISBN
- Sabetsu Ron Special - Gōmanism Sengen
(差別論スペシャル―ゴーマニズム宣言) (1998) ISBN 4-87728-622-5
- Shin Gōmanism Sengen Special - "Ko to Ōyake" Ron
(新・ゴーマニズム宣言SPECIAL 「個と公」論, On the "Individual" and the "Public")
(2000) ISBN 4-87728-955-0
- Shin Gōmanism Sengen Special - Taiwan
Ron (新・ゴーマニズム宣言SPECIAL 台湾論, On Taiwan) (2000) ISBN
- Gōmanism Sengen Special - Yoshirin Senki
(ゴーマニズム宣言スペシャル よしりん戦記, Record of the Yoshirin War) (2003) ISBN
- Shin Gōmanism Sengen Special - Okinawa Ron
(新・ゴーマニズム宣言SPECIAL 沖縄論, On Okinawa) (2005) ISBN 4-09-389055-2
- Shin Gōmanism Sengen Special - Yasukuni Ron
(新・ゴーマニズム宣言SPECIAL 靖國論, On Yasukuni) (2005) ISBN
- Shin Gōmanism Sengen Special - Chōsen-teki Heiwa Ron
(新・ゴーマニズム宣言SPECIAL 挑戦的平和論, A Defiant Discussion On Peace), vol
- Wascism (わしズム, Washizumu)
- Honjitsu no Zatsudan (本日の雑談, Today's Chat)