The Great Japanese Hope
(Kisenosato is the name of an ethnic Japanese sumo player who the sporting world here is hoping will be the first Japanese to reach the highest rank of sumo wrestlers, "Yokozuna," in 18 years. Yes, there hasn't been a Japanese sumo wrestler who has achieved the highest rank in the sport since 1998. Currently, sumo is dominated by Mongolians)
Last week, I had a long conversation with a couple of Japanese acquaintances that actually culminated with the following "warning" from me: "Don't change your (Japanese) immigration policies, and don't let jews into your country." The strange thing is, they did not accuse me of being a racist, anti-semite, or hater. Nor did they express an immediate need to retreat to a safe space.
The opportunity to freely have such a conversation, inconsequential though it may have been, is yet one more instance of my white privilege in a monoracial country, or ethnostate. My acquaintances are welcoming to foreigners, and I've found most Japanese to at least be tolerant to visitors. But they, and others I've talked to here, instinctively understand the importance of maintaining a strong racial majority in your ethnostate. Loose immigration policies, of the kind that the U.S. has had since the (((1965 Immigration Act))), for instance, would ruin Japan's splendid culture, and this is a matter of common sense.
According to Wikipedia, there are only about 2,000 jews in Japan, or 1.6 tribe members for every 100,000 people. If true, then compared to the U.S., that is an enviable ratio. On the other hand, 2000 of the wrong jews could do a lot of damage. If they start to agitate about Japan's need to become more "multicultural," then it's time to talk deportation...
The amount of non-ethnically Japanese living in Japan is hard to know, because the government does not collect census information in a way that would reveal it. Most of the residents (citizen or not) who are non-Japanese are ethnically Chinese or Korean. Estimates of the proportion of ethnic Japanese in Japan go as high as 98.5 %. As someone with quite a bit of experience here, I can confidently say that, outside of some parts of Tokyo and a few other big cities, very nearly everyone you see here will be Japanese, or at least "Oriental." What this means is that the amount of foreigners from entirely different cultures is vanishingly small.
When I was a lad, I remember the stereotypes of Japanese people as being buck-toothed, glasses wearing, obsequious, and smiling. The smiles meant that they were hiding something, perhaps a planned treachery. ("Remember Pearl Harbor!") Many years later, when I lived here, I found one of the stereotypes to be true. Japanese smile and laugh very easily, and I observed this from elementary school children all the way up to adults. The phenomenon was striking. "Now why would that be?" I wondered.
Because my life here enabled me to form many good relationships with Japanese, the answer became obvious: It's because they're happy. And although this was two decades years before I began to become racially aware, I noticed the general sense of well-being, of fitting in that characterized the people I knew and those whom I didn't know but could observe. They were more cheerful and self-assured than those in my own country. I attributed this to a sense of predictability to social interactions that comes from knowing that the others around you have been raised in pretty much the same way that you have.
Perhaps they developed such predictable rituals, routines, and behavioral expectations to compensate for the capricious tendencies of Fate towards this island nation in the form of typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, and foreign invasions. Perhaps these tendencies intensified during the 260-years long Tokugawa era, when social classes, behaviors and observance of hierarchies were strictly codified, with harsh penalties for violating these norms.
Or perhaps it reflects a people who still remain connected to nature and its gods, and to the predictable rhythms of the seasons.
This is not to say that it's an easygoing life here. Quite the contrary: life for a typical Japanese can be grinding, tedious, and extremely limited in terms of personal autonomy, from the perspective of someone who has been raised in a more individualistic setting. But the flip side is that Japan remains a true "high trust society."
And no, this doesn't mean every single person is positive, hard-working and orderly. There are assholes, petty power trippers, and those who are morally or psychologically impaired here. Their politics are famously corrupt, and the organized crime families are well-entrenched and mixed into the politics.
Regardless, it's hard to argue against the assertion that this society "works," i.e., is successful. Not necessaily according to standards against which outsiders may judge it, comparing it to norms or ideals that may or not be relevant to the Japanese themselves. But on its own terms, and in its ability to maintain its cultural integrity. In my opinion, this integrity, expressed by the maintaining of traditions that recall and honor the ancestors and their accomplishments, and by a social solidarity in the present, is the major benefit of the "ethnostate."
Footnote: Kisenosato lost his match today. But so did Hakuho, the current top-ranked wrestler, who is Mongolian. Results here.
Praying at Izumo Taisha (shrine)