The Alt-Right often praises Japan for its nationalistic and isolationist policies, but how did it become such an emblem for this movement? Recently, it has become more and more likely to find references to Japan throughout the Alt-Right movement's actions. In a country where approximately 98% is native Japanese, it has become the ideal example of what a country should be like for those who associate with the ideology of the far right.
Japan fits the Alt-Right agenda
The Japanese state has always tried to protect its culture. Throughout history, Japan often closed its gates to the world, as in 1638, when it adopted an isolation policy that lasted for more than two centuries. Even modern Japan is somehow closed and exclusive: the difficult language and the drastic need to adapt to an insanely ordered, spiritual and hard-working society are some of the factors that for many make migration to Japan hard (besides the visa requirements). Even so, it is not impossible for Westerners to find a job in Japan but the effort that has to be made is often huge.
The New Right considers that the low crime rate in Japan comes from the lack of diversity in the Japanese society.
In the refugee crisis that started three years ago, Japan has not been keen on taking in any refugees. Japan is one of the countries with the lowest number of accepted refugees. According to an article in the Financial Times Japan took in only 28 refugees in 2016. Because of the strict refugee policy, members of the Alt-Right expressed their appreciation for the Japanese immigration policy. Alt Right personality Jared Taylor stated in an article that Japanese homogeneity is to be praised, stating that the state is protecting itself from "alien" cultures that won't adapt to the Japanese way of living; some even made extreme claims that the country is trying to preserve its “purity” in the form of ethnocentrism. Xenophobia, the typical trait of the right-wing, is present to a greater or lesser degree in Japanese society and being a foreigner makes you stand out.
Another aspect that Alt-Right members mention about Japan is its low crime rate and homogeneity. "Crime in Japan is dropping amid the longest economic expansion in almost three decades, making one of the safest nations even safer." (Fujioka, 2018).The New Right considers that the low crime rate in Japan comes from the lack of diversity in the Japanese society. It is well known that the Alt-Right is always against diversity, claiming that multiculturalism has failed. For them, Japan, a country that isn't very multicultural, is seen as an argument against diversity. Whether there is no multiculturalism in Japan is debatable since other ethnic groups have been living in Japan throughout its history, but even so, more than 90% of the people are native Japanese. Japan maybe hasn't fully given up on its Imperialistic past, thus nationalism still exists.
White supremacists and their love for Japan
Meanwhile, besides admiring Japan for the factors mentioned above, white supremacists believe that Asians can be great allies of the white race in order to pursue a society without flaws such as terrorism. Their obsession with WWII and the Berlin-Tokyo alliance strengthens their Neo-nazi belief that Japan is the perfect country - nationalist, history of fascism, and contemporary lack of diversity. They stick to the words of Adolf Hitler: “I have never regarded the Chinese or the Japanese as being inferior to ourselves" and “They belong to ancient civilizations, and I admit freely that their past history is superior to our own.” (Hitler, 1945 - extract from his Testament). Taking the model of the Japanese society, white supremacists wish to build a country like Japan. In addition, there are rumours that in Shinzo Abe (PM of Japan)'s cabinet, there are two appointees associated with Japan's Nazi Party, which has fuelled Neo-Nazi's pride in this nation.
As long as Japan will have lack of diversity and of multiculturalism, the Alt-Right will view the nation's success as an effect of that.
Vincent Law asks himself on Altright.com why rightwingers admire Japan but fail to follow Japan's lead. Japan is then held up as an example to ask 'non-woke whites' why they don't love their own people. Another strong advocate of Japan who wishes that the West would take Japan's example is the white supremacist personality Jared Taylor, who is considered to be one of the intellectuals of the Alt Right movement. After his visits to Japan, he wrote an article saying that: "Japan proves that a country can open itself to what it considers the best foreign influences while shutting out foreign people" (Taylor, 2007), thus stating that a country can be diverse without foreigners migrating there: "There are endless ways to be Japanese." (Taylor, 2007). And on Counter-Currents, the site of Alt-right thinker Greg Johnson, Japan and Japanese culture are well represented.
Trump in Japan
U.S. President Trump seemed to enjoy his visit to Japan where he and Shinzo Abe had some funny moments together: "the two leaders feeding ornamental carp in the palace pond went viral when the President (Trump) upended his entire box of fish food from a veranda into the serene waters below"(Alt, 2017). The relationship between Japan and the U.S. has to be on point because Japan has no choice other than relying on U.S. support. Even so, New Right members believe that the strong relation between these two countries will definitely "make Japan great again", hailing the close ties between Trump and Abe.
Japan as the Alt-Right's Model
Due to its pride in being Japanese and its efforts to preserve its society and culture untouched, Japan has become a blueprint for the utopian, perfect society in the eyes of the Alt-Right. Japanese policymaking continues to be a model for right wing advocates who want to adopt similar laws in their countries. "By looking at the low rate of accepted refugees and the lack of extensive crime rates, alt-right groups continue to support Japan and see the nation as an ideological ally." (Fujiwara, 2017).
Japan's contrast between being both a highly modernized society and a very traditional homogeneous civilization remains the Alt-Right's core argument for unity as playing a huge role in achieving a prosperous country that protects its own culture. As long as Japan will have lack of diversity and of multiculturalism, the Alt-Right will view the nation's success as an effect of that.
Adolf, H. (13th February, 1945) - The Testament of Adolf Hitler
Alt, M.(2018). Donald and Shinzo’s Excellent Adventure. [online] The New Yorker. [Accessed 5 Apr. 2018].
Fujioka, T. (2018). Crime in Japan Falls to Lowest Level in More Than 70 Years. [online] [Accessed 5 Apr. 2018]
Fujiwara, M. (2018). 3 Ways Japan is Naturally Alt Right [online] [Accessed 5 Apr. 2018].
Taylor, J. (2013). There are no potholes in Japan [online] [Accessed 5 Apr. 2018]