The paper will explore characteristics of social movements in contemporary Japan with a focus on the contrasting anti-poverty and nationalist movements in the context of past cycles of protest movements. The two movements share a sense of urgency that the country needs major overhauls. They are marked by the absence of violent actions and a lack of any strong religious or ideological schisms, with active participants transcending class, gender and age stratifications. Currently both remain essentially as loose networks of diverse civil coalitions dispensing with negative bipolarity and parochialism. The paper will argue that, as illustrated by the recent Occupy Movement’s failure to resonate in Japanese society, the invigoration of Japanese social movements is achievable only when their objectives are strongly bound to their deep-rooted cultural tradition. We will contend that an escalation of the current nationalist social protest to an uprising would be unlikely unless national independence were threatened by such external pressures that would lead to the collapse of the government and destabilization of the life of the people.
|Keywords:||Social Movements, Political Movements, Contemporary Japan, Nationalism, Anti-poverty, Japanese Cultural Tradition|
Senior Lecturer, Art, Law and Education, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia