Internet Media and Radical Conservative Activism in Japan: The Battle Against "Anti-Japanese" Enemies

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:42 AM
Room: F203
Oral Presentation
Jeffrey HALL , Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
Focusing on right-wing groups in Japan, this paper addresses how radical conservative activists use internet media to build collective identity and mobilize support for their campaigns. In particular, this paper will examine the online activities of two closely affiliated “grassroots” organizations: Nihon Bunka Channel Sakura, an internet broadcaster, and Ganbare Nippon, a conservative activist group.  Both organizations are involved in a wide range of activist campaigns, such as opposition to “masochistic” history teaching, opposition to voting rights for foreigners, promotion of awareness about “fascist” Chinese foreign policy, and protests against perceived bias in Japanese newspapers and television programs.  Through content analysis of the organizations’ websites, videos, blog posts, and social media usage, I argue that they have embraced the latest forms of internet communications technology, and are skillfully employing the internet to spread their message.  Their online activities have helped create a virtual community of supporters, many of whom also engage in offline forms of activism.  In addition, this paper will explore how both organizations encourage the formation of a collective identity that sees Japan as a victim of powerful foreign and domestic “anti-Japanese” entities, and depicts their campaigns a moral struggle for truth and justice.