Netto-uyoku or Net uyoku (ネット右翼, Japanese Internet rightists), often shortened to Netouyo (ネトウヨ), is the term used to refer to netizens who espouse ultranationalist far-right views on Japanese social media, as well as in English to those who are proficient. The term is a combination of 'netto', which is a shortening of the Japanese for 'Internet', and 'uyoku', which means 'right wing'.[1]

The netto-uyoku are individuals with xenophobic and racist viewpoints who gather on specific online forums, where their viewpoints are emboldened via interacting with other people who share the same perspective. They exhibit xenophobia towards immigrants, depict other countries negatively, most notably China[a] and Korea,[b] support Japanese revisionism, as well as glorifying and justifying Japan's wartime actions.[2] Many also exhibit praises of Japan during the historical eras such as the Muromachi and Tokugawa period, showing some anti-American and anti-Western tendencies who are seen with contempt as Gaijin (外人) attenuating Japanese traditional culture under Westernization.

Netto-uyoku have been described as a "new breed of neo-nationalists who interact almost entirely within their own cyber community, shut off from the rest of society" by Japanese critic and writer Furuya Tsunehira. Furuya further expounds "the average age of Japan’s Internet right-wingers is around 40. Some 75% of them are male,"[3] Furuya further observes that although active on the web, they lack institutional political representation offline, leading to a sense of frustration and a tendency to be more active online and to back the far-right elements of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, especially those under the administration of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They are known for posting information on internet platforms that try to incite and encourage Japanese revisionism and xenophobic neo-nationalism.[4]

OriginsEdit

Japan's "cyber nationalist phenomenon" can be traced back to 2002, the year Japan and South Korea jointly held the FIFA World Cup. Frustrations with the perceived unfair play of the South Korean team were ignored by mainstream Japanese media which largely kept an upbeat tone. This resulted in online bulletin boards and forums becoming popular outlets for these grievances. With the media avoiding coverage critical of the event or of the Koreans, the Internet was viewed as the sole medium free from the constraints of official policy or political correctness. This episode helped fuel the distrust of the mainstream media's coverage of South Korea and helped set the anti-Korean, anti–mainstream media tone that was to become a defining feature of Japan’s Internet right-wing community.[3]

Another event that further emboldened the Netto-uyoku occurred in September 2002 when North Korea officially admitted to kidnapping Japanese citizens, a fact which it had long denied.[5]

ViewsEdit

Netto-uyoku generally express support for historically revisionist views that portray the former Empire of Japan in a positive light, juxtaposed with negative portrayals of North and South Korea, as well as China (anti-Chinese sentiment).[6] Netto-uyoku support visits by politicians to Yasukuni Shrine, where 1,068 convicted war criminals (including 14 Class-A war criminals) are enshrined. Visits to the shrine are often met with censure by China and South Korea due to a perception of a lack of remorse for and even endorsement of Imperial Japan's wartime atrocities.[7]

Netto-uyoku also express criticism against domestic left-wing and centre-left parties, such as the Japanese Communist Party, Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the former Democratic Party of Japan, and the Japanese mainstream media, which they accuse of having a liberal bias.[8] Netto-uyoku also tend to express hostility towards immigrants, especially those from countries that have diplomatic tensions with Japan.

Rise of TrumpismEdit

The rise of Trumpism among the Netto-uyoku community has been observed since September 2020, two months prior to the 2020 United States presidential election.[9] Some Japanese political commentators even theorized that Shinzo Abe's resignation as Prime Minister in September 2020 to be a juncture for Netto-uyoku to shift their central figure to Donald Trump as a "political upgrade" in promoting diplomatic policies which embody anti-Chinese sentiment.[10] As such they began spreading Trump's conspiracy theories in an attempt to overturn the 2020 American presidential election.[11]

NotesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Mie, Ayako (8 January 2013). "Xenophobia finds fertile soil in web anonymity". The Japan Times. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  2. ^ "'Koreans, Go Home!' Internet Nationalism in Contemporary Japan as a Digitally Mediated Subculture".
  3. ^ a b "The Roots and Realities of Japan's Cyber-Nationalism".
  4. ^ "'Koreans, Go Home!' Internet Nationalism in Contemporary Japan as a Digitally Mediated Subculture".
  5. ^ "Xenophobia finds fertile soil in web anonymity".
  6. ^ O’Day, Robin; Satsuki, Uno; Slater, David (11 May 2021). "The racialised and gendered online abuse of activists in Japan". Melbourne Asia Review. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  7. ^ "Japan's Yasukuni Shrine". BBC News. 2012-10-18. Retrieved 2020-11-26.
  8. ^ "Internet Aggregators Constructing the Political Right Wing in Japan".
  9. ^ 木下, ちがや (December 22, 2020), "限界ネトウヨと右翼ヘゲモニーの終焉", Asahi Ronza (in Japanese), retrieved February 16, 2021
  10. ^ 古谷, 経衡 (December 17, 2020), "「勝ったのはトランプ」と一部日本人までが言い張る理由", Newsweek (in Japanese), retrieved February 16, 2021
  11. ^ 倉山, 満 (December 14, 2020), "ネトウヨ芸人も安倍信者も、社会から消えてもらうのみ", Yahoo News (in Japanese), archived from the original on December 14, 2020, retrieved February 16, 2021

External linksEdit