This is the Extreme Right Wing Japanese Politician Who Has a Lot of People Worried

Toshio Tamogami lost the race for the Tokyo governorship, but his strong showing has galvanized the country's ultra-nationalists

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Toshio Tamogami, former chief of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force salutes after delivering an election campaign speech for the February 9 Tokyo gubernatorial election in Tokyo

Japan’s emerging nationalist movement has 611,000 reasons to be happy this week. That’s the number of votes an ultra-conservative candidate for Tokyo governor received in Sunday’s election.

And that’s enough for everyone else to worry.

Toshio Tamogami finished fourth of 16 candidates, gaining a surprising 12 percent of the vote. That’s nearly a third as many as the winning candidate, Yoichi Masuzoe, who was backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The rightist’s relatively strong showing is certain to embolden those pushing a whitewashed version of Japan’s wartime history and advocating a stronger and more assertive military.

It is also certain to further fray relations with China and South Korea – and perhaps even the United States.

“The election result is another indication that the rise of the right wing in Japan is real – it’s not just propaganda from China. It is a very worrisome trend,” says Yu Tiejun, deputy director of the Center for International and Strategic Studies, at Peking University, in Beijing, and a guest lecturer at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo.

Tamogami was fired from the top air force post in 2008 for publishing an essay that denied Japanese aggression during World War II and claimed that Japan was tricked into war by the United States, China and an international communist conspiracy. The essay called on the Japanese to “take back the glorious history of Japan.”

Tamogami has since emerged as the poster boy for the restive nationalist movement. He founded an organization, Ganbare Nippon, that has pushed a raft of conservative and nationalist causes, including limiting immigration and denying voting rights in local elections for foreign residents. It has also sponsored regular demonstrations outside the national Diet building where foreigners and Japanese citizens of Korean and Chinese descent have been singled out for vilification and abuse.

“It is going to get worse,” predicts Michael Cucek, a Tokyo-based political analyst and research associate with the MIT Center for International Studies. “This election was a fundraising and membership drive for Tamogami. We should expect that his rallies, which were merely attracting thousands, will now attract tens of thousands.”

Tamogami ran a savvy campaign that relied heavily on the Internet and social media. At campaign appearances, he was often accompanied by celebrities and attractive young women clad in white.  According to exit polls by the Asahi Shimbun, nearly one in four voters in their 20s voted for Tamogami; of those, nearly three out of four were men.

Tamogami may also have benefited from perceptions that he had the backing of Abe — another nationalist favorite — despite the LDP’s official endorsement of Masuzoe. He said repeatedly during stump speeches that accounts of Japanese atrocities, “comfort women” and other wartime excesses were fabrications by the victorious allies.

“Probably, my policies are the closest or have the highest affinity to the Abe administration’s,” Tamogami said at a press conference prior to the election. “In regard to how we view history, how we view the nation, I believe that fundamentally we share the same idea, which is that Japan is not such a terrible or demonic country compared to other nations of the world.”

Indeed, one of Tamogami’s most vocal supporters was noted writer Naoki Hyakuta, a close friend and supporter of Abe.

Hyakuta, who was recently appointed by Abe to the governing board of the national broadcaster, NHK, provoked a sharp rebuke from the U.S. embassy in Tokyo when he declared during campaign speeches on behalf of Tamogami that Americans fabricated war crimes charges against Japanese leaders during World War II in order to cover up American atrocities.

“These suggestions are preposterous. We hope that people in positions of responsibility in Japan and elsewhere would seek to avoid comments that inflame tensions in the region,” an embassy spokesman told TIME last week.

Although Abe is a strong supporter of the U.S.-Japan alliance, the Obama administration has grown increasingly frustrated with his revisionist agenda. In December, the State Department publicly criticized Abe’s decision to visit the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine.

The Tokyo governorship is arguably the second-most important political post in Japan. Former Gov. Shintaro Ishihara – another hard-core nationalist – attempted to buy the disputed Senakaku Islands, which China claims as Diaoyu, from private owners in 2010. That forced the national government to step in, triggering a tense standoff at sea and driving Japan-China relations to their lowest point in years.

Ryosuke Nishida, an associate professor at Kyoto’s Ritsumeikan University, who studied voting patterns in the Tokyo election, says Tamogami’s support may not translate nationwide. While “Netto Uyoku” supporters may be intensely engaged, their numbers are limited, he said.

“They use the Internet heavily, so the sympathy for Tamogami on the Internet stands out. They comment and re-tweet each other often. But they are not the majority,” Nishida said.

We may find out soon. Tamogami said after the election Sunday that he planned to start a new political party to spread the right-wing message nationwide.

154 comments
DeDeMouse
DeDeMouse

Japanese revanchism is no wonkish ploy. The difference between Japan and Germany is that in Japan, the fascists were never disempowered after WW2. They were considered a bulwark against communism. The U.S allowed many of those very individuals to retain positions of leadership in Japan's government and other institutions from the yakuza to the imperial throne itself. And let's face it, Japanese crimes against Asians did not for the most part feature victims bestowed with much charisma in the west. Like how the Jewish people were.

Bombkiller007
Bombkiller007

Its a myth that sadly Kurt Spitzer and others who prefer soundbytes over reasoned unbiased analysis keep repeating:  Japan in the 1930s and 1940s was Right Wing.  


Nothing was farther from the reality on the ground in Japan.  The military class that exercised political control in the mid to late 1930s was as reactive against crony capitalism in Japanese politics as it was against foreign Soviet aggression in the region.  To say that Tomogamis political beliefs reflect those of the Young Officers in the 1930s from the Cherry Blossom and other societies is a piece of cognitive dissonance par excellence.  


Lets lay out the facts vs. rhetoric.  The following are what the militarists in the mid to late 1930s laid out as their demands:


"To end social and economic divisions the following must be undertaken:  1.  Abolish the peerage system 2. turn all Imperial property one to the nation.  3.  Place a cap of one million yen on a families personal property and nationalize the excess, 4.  nationalize all property within city boundaries, 5.nationalize large forests, 6. nationalize all large scale agricultural enterprises, 7. end large business by limiting private industry to capitalizations of one hundred million yen, 8. institute profit sharing between workers and employers, 9. create an eight hour workday, 10. ban on all child labor.


The policies above fit most comfortably within the LEFT WING or progressive policies of both the 1930s (actually fairly radical socialist inspired with the end of privatization and large holdings by capitalist concerns) and even today. 


Therefore politically the Ultra-nationlist, revivalists, militarists of Japan in the 1930s and 1940s are actually LEFT WING.


To address the knee jerk phobia regarding a governors election results and some war.  China has been extremely aggressive in the region, yet this elephant in the room is not noticed.  Its akin to complaining about Poland arming in the 1930s in a Right Wing revival while ignoring Hitler at the doorstep.  Yes Poland had its share of aggressive moves in the past, but we must always evaluate the geopolitical realities of today.  And today Japan is long overdue for entering back into the national collective defense of both Asia and global stability operations.


Since 1991 the US has been pressuring Japan to take on more of a global responsibility and amend Article 9.  Starting in 2001 this increased even further as protracted operations continued to see the US and allies in far flung regions such as the Philippines fighting Islamic radical expansion.  Now China has been expanding against all neighbors (India, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc) and Spitzer comes up with the stale phantoms of 70 years ago.  



samueru.tan
samueru.tan

Being in Tokyo for 10years now i can say that this right wing phenomena is growing, eventually leading to history being repeated if the world and mainstream japan doesnt put a stop to it.

Thats also how the pseudo-historians like higashinakano shudo, arimasa kubo together with top politicians in japan are brainwashing vulnerable insecure japanese like him to resecure the lost superiority complex of todays Japan.

http://www.ne.jp/asahi/unko/tamezou/nankin/fiction/

http://www2.biglobe.ne.jp/~remnant/nankingm.htm

Naomi_Karina
Naomi_Karina

Finally Tamogami lost the election, which means majority of Japanese wisely didn't choose him.

These days the number of Japanese right-wings is increasing.
They are still minority in number.

But the their tone is getting higher and higher.

They get their information only from the internet and a few favprite right-wing websites.
They repeat what they think again and again, and never even try to go to a library to find  the truth.

Thanks to the majority with common-sense, they are still minority in number, but as you know, majority tend to be silent majority.

That's the problem.

Dusty Rhodes
Dusty Rhodes

He probably right.... America has been tricked by commies for a long time.

Takeshi Kawata
Takeshi Kawata

You cannot understand China, and both N and S Korea are enemies for the whole world. hahaha

Takeshi Kawata
Takeshi Kawata

You cannot understand that Asian countries except North Korea, China, and South Korea love Japan. You cannot admit the three countries are isolated from the world. hahaha

Takeshi Kawata
Takeshi Kawata

Tetsuo Smartt, when you have nothing to resist, you use the word, Uyoku. You are like a kid.

Уильям Мюррей
Уильям Мюррей

Kawata, you realize that Japan totally removed Japanese atrocities from Japanese history books, right? You can fool some of the people all of the time.

Tetsuo Smartt
Tetsuo Smartt

I think the Uyoku are a bunch of LUNATICS..LOL

Kris Kcollah
Kris Kcollah

Sounds like the plot of "Debt of Honor"...

Juan De la Cruz
Juan De la Cruz

What's he smoking?! All the survivors of the mass murders done by the Japanese here in the Philippines would gladly blow this guy to pieces should they hear what this guy said. Ever heard of The Bataan Death March?!

Frank Cupido
Frank Cupido

Humm tricked? Wow were that good! This guys delusional!

p56741944
p56741944

I believe the US will not overlook that Japan is confronting with anti-Japan oriented and super nationalistic nations, China and Both Koreas.

Mukonyora Benard
Mukonyora Benard

history repeat itself ,nd if rains come they have their usual paths tt dont change ,a father is always a father not mother or daughter

Samuel Tan
Samuel Tan

Kawata, how do u explain the other massacres in philippines, singapore, malaysia and indonesia? They didnt exist?

Betty Walker
Betty Walker

And I was just getting ready to say, notice how "Time" said "extreme right wing!" I knew it would get a liberal worked up. As if!

Vivian Foster
Vivian Foster

Here we go again. Don't destroy the atom bombs yet

Roman Lovera
Roman Lovera

Also I'm not taking sides. I'm just here for the violence.

Roman Lovera
Roman Lovera

Apparently Hiroshima, and Nagasaki were not enough

Takeshi Kawata
Takeshi Kawata

Charlie Pryor, you are Caucasian living in the USA. Even in 60s African black was killed just after he said he hoped the time when black boys and white boys could sit at the same table. Do you still believe that the USA was a good country?

Takeshi Kawata
Takeshi Kawata

Charlie Pryor, if the massacre had been true, it would be OK, but the massacre was just a propaganda.

Takeshi Kawata
Takeshi Kawata

Tetsuo Smartt , Chinese massacred Chinese. this is China's traditional national sport.

Charlie Pryor
Charlie Pryor

This reminds me of the German school books that don't mention the holocaust. Clearly a country censoring its learning to its citizens, so that they'll now argue with other international people around the world who have actually learned real history.

Ozzy Calderon
Ozzy Calderon

Dear time magazine, before writting about a president and what he has "done" for his country, you should send someone to live here for a year, but send him with no money, so he can start from zero, so he/she can see how impossible it is to live in MEXICO!!! Do you really think that "president" is saving us? HE'S A PUPPET!!!! So before you publish that that morron is saving us, be aware that violence has gone up, taxes have gone up, minimum wage down, special taxes on pet food and sugared drinks,taxes on public education, housing, taxes on everything when minimum wage here is 60 pesos, (4dollars) . You should go to MICHOACAN and ACAPULCO before you publish this article. Investigate Salinas De gortari and PEMEX and all of their illegal activities, PEÑA NIETO makes 30 times more than Obama,even a senate member in mexico makes more than OBAMA, why? because they steal our tax money to pay their salaries. HE'S NOT SAVING ANYTHING

Fred Harper
Fred Harper

the ultra nationalists should also remember that our Dads kicked their butts back to Toykyo

Honda  Whoo
Honda Whoo

Disappointed to hear about that, it is unwise for him doing such things.

Sergio Flores
Sergio Flores

So according to this guy. The U.S. tricked Japan into attacking - the U.S. ? What does this guy smoke?

Diveke Pinon
Diveke Pinon

Diveke Pinon Shame on you TIME magazine, Peña Nieto is a MURDERER and a THIEF. What an awful person must be behind this.

Jim Geis
Jim Geis

We were all tricked into war by international bankers who finance both sides and profit from the vast amounts of debt incurred.

الجزائر حامية
الجزائر حامية

Es una ofensa que Enrique Peña Nieto aparezca en la portada de su revista. El PRESIDENTE DE UN PAÍS que bajo su gobierno está hundiéndose EN la MISERIA económica, el DESEMPLEO, la INSEGURIDAD, ASESINATOS masivos. ¡Cómo se nota que no viven en este País podrido! Y su percepción de la realidad está muy distorcionada.

Forza Performnce
Forza Performnce

Peña Nieto is probably the most currupt president México's ever had, all his reforms serve the purpose of enriching his social circle, he's turned the country into a post-perestroika russia oligarch state, AND YOU SAY HES SAVING MEXICO?! ARE YOU OWNED BY CARLOS SLIM AS WELL?!

Takeshi Kawata
Takeshi Kawata

Lector Paulus Petrus Kim, tell me Korean hero except terrorists.

Mogeeb Allas
Mogeeb Allas

The japs is better people if they had the chance to rebuild the Emperor army The east Asia will back to Ww2 were the japs taking over rule there

Chui Eric
Chui Eric

When you deny history, you deny the truth and the lesson that comes with it. And when you deny the truth and such important lesson, chances are you will commit the same mistake again. In this case a crime. So it sounds like 'someone' is planning for something clammy in the near future...

Daniel Woodhams
Daniel Woodhams

Short answer is that it's not a pressing issue when reading Mishima, and I don't think Mishima lost much sleep over it. Let me think of this some more.

Dora Valencia
Dora Valencia

Tricked??... When will get over something that happened 60 years ago... Take the lessons and move on

Blake Kofoed
Blake Kofoed

This used pantties sniffing putts needs to shut up and move on with life. Japan screwed up and now they suffer for it. There has never been a glorious history in Japan, just one with feudal lords and tons of violence... oh and pantty sniffing of course.

Tetsuo Smartt
Tetsuo Smartt

So the Uyoku are funded by KIM JONG UN...you guys are pathetic.

Tetsuo Smartt
Tetsuo Smartt

Yah SO DID YOU , A LOT MORE...So you japa nazis are playing the blame game, typical, you people are probably funded by NORTH KOREA, its well known the Yakuza who ally with the uyoku get money from Pachinko parlours run by North Korea...LOL.

Charlie Zamora
Charlie Zamora

Can we just get along here , we have enough crap dealing with the middle east.....

Tetsuo Smartt
Tetsuo Smartt

So even Mao Tse Tung thanks the Japanese for Chinese communism...

Tetsuo Smartt
Tetsuo Smartt

I HATE MAO, the japanese imperialist are the cause of China becoming communist, now COMMUNIST CHINA IS COMING AFTER JAPAN...SO YOU GUYS GET WHAT YOU DESERVE...

Tetsuo Smartt
Tetsuo Smartt

And all the Japanese prime ministers of Japan from 1937-1945 were all MORONS...

Tetsuo Smartt
Tetsuo Smartt

yah you liberated them all right, ripped their spritis from their dead bodies. ALL FOR NOTHING...same too, you guys lost a lot of people doing so, millions of Japanese troops and civilians DIED FOR NOTHING...and yah guess why China became communist, you guys weakened the KMT Chinese so much that they got defeated by the chinese communists, in fact, you guys were the cause of Asian communism rising up. In the 1970s, Prime Minister Tanaka visited China to open up diplomatic relations he tried to apologize to Mao Tse Tung about the invasion of China by Japan, but Mao did not let him apologize, in fact MAO THANKED THE JAPANESE FOR INVADING CHINA since without them, the Chinese communist party would have been destroyed by the KMT...SO IT IS THE FAULT OF IMPERIAL JAPANESE LUNATICS THAT CHINA IS COMMUNIST and as they say YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW....In 1972, when PRC and Japan established former diplomatic relationship, Mao Zedong met the then Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei, and said: Don't have to say sorry, you had contributed towards China, why? Because had Imperial Japan did not start the war of invasion, how could we communist became mighty powerful? How could we stage the coup d'état ? How could we defeat Chiang Kai Sak? How are we going to pay back you guys? No, we do not want your war reparations! (Translated from Tanaka Kakuei Biography, original in Japanese.)...http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Mao_Zedong