An analysis of the New Year's Day editorials in Asahi and Yomiuri Shinbun from 1953 to 2005 reveals postwar Japan's nationalism as consisting of a process of contestations and interactions between different nationalist groups (sub-nationalisms). In general, Asahi is held by the reading public to be liberal and left leaning, while Yomiuri is seen as conservative and right leaning. However, few content analyses have been done to clarify their ideological differences. The analysis here demonstrates that although Asahi has promoted anti-conservative pacifist views throughout the last four decades, it has also drawn from Japanese traditional culture and the national experience of the World War II to become ethnic nationalist. Yomiuri, on the other hand, endorsed ‘good nationalism’ based on the welfare state in the 1960s and 1970s, but since the 1980s has promoted neoconservative internationalist nationalism as a counterattack to anti-conservative pacifism and to remedy conservatives' high-growth economic policies. This paper argues that this seemingly odd inclusion of pacifism and internationalism into its sense of nationalism is a consequence of Japan's struggle to improve its international status, and that postwar Japan's nationalism is not composed of a single thread of ideas, but is a rich and complex tapestry that borrows from across the political spectrum to forge unique sub-nationalisms.

You do not currently have access to this article.