Posted by Angel on Monday, May 14, 2012 at 6:30pm.
Japanocentrism is the ethnocentric belief that Japan is, or should be, at the center of the world. This may manifest itself domestically as the persecution and marginalization of non-Japanese, or globally as the pursuit of Japanese economic, cultural, or political hegemony.
The first historical expressions of Japanocentrism may be found in the treatment of Ainu people, now to be found on Hokkaido island, whom the Japanese perceived as uncivilized and unable to use land productively. These attitudes, still somewhat common today, facilitated the gradual appropriation of Ainu farmlands and the relegation of Ainu to northerly areas. In many circles, Ainu are still viewed as "noble savages," best suited to a wild, foraging existence, in spite of the fact that Ainu have traditionally been a settled, agrarian people.
Like most languages, Japanese has many terms to refer to outsiders and foreigners. Japanese, however, is remarkable for a rich lexicon of terms to "specifically" distinguish between Japanese and non-Japanese people and things. For example, the well-known term gaijin (外人), often translated as "foreigner," would be more accurately translated as "someone who is not Japanese, Chinese or Korean," since, unlike the English term, it is applied absolutely, not relatively. Japanese tourists in New York, for instance, might refer to New Yorkers, but never themselves, as gaijin. If a Japanese referred to himself as a gaijin, it would most likely be in an ironic sense. This is true of all words beginning with the kanji gai- (外), which literally means "outside." A more polite term, more common in modern discourse, is gaikokujin (外国人), which literally means "outside country person."
Within Japan (and consequently, throughout the world), the study of the origin of the Japanese people and their language is often deeply entangled with Japanocentric and counter-Japanocentric ideas and assumptions, many of which are politically motivated. This has led to a climate in which new theories are often quickly labeled either "pro-Japanese" or "anti-Japanese." Many Japanese are reluctant to accept that their language could be related to another extant language, particularly that of a long-time rival. Hence, conjectures linking the Japanese and Korean languages, such as the Altaic theory, generally receive little exposure in Japan, and are often dismissed out of hand as anti-Japanese propaganda. Many are reluctant to accept that a close genetic relationship exists between Japanese and neighboring Asian peoples. Indeed, for some very conservative Japanese, the mere suggestion that the Japanese people originated on the Asian mainland is viewed as insulting.
The animistic religion of Japan, Shintoism, involves the worshipping of the spirits found in every object and organism. Animals, houses, lakes, land, and even small toys and trinkets have a spirit, called Kami. It was at one point the primary religion of Japan, but since the Second World War, some of its practices have fallen out of use, or have changed their meaning or significance. The Japanese Emperor, the Tenno, was declared to be a divine descendant of Amaterasu, the sun-goddess who was the most widely worshipped in Japan. Because the Emperor was said to be the descendant of Amaterasu, the Emperor was said to be a Kami on Earth with divine providence. Thus, the Japanese valued their Imperial family, because they felt a connection to their Kami through the Tenno. After World War II, pressure from Western civilizations forced the Japanese emperor to renounce his divine status, proving a severe blow to Japanocentric ideals. The imperial family still remains deeply involved in Shinto ceremonies that unify Japan. Shinto itself does not require declaration or enforcement to be part of the religion, so there are still many who believe the renouncement of divine status by the Tenno was a mere political move, keeping Shinto ideals intact in the Imperial family.
Its prosperous but turbulent economy, along with the pressures of globalization and a low birth rate, have made Japan increasingly dependent on foreign workers and international cooperation. Its corporate culture, which has long favored protectionism, job security, and close cooperation with government, has strained to adjust to unfamiliar conditions. A central focus of Japan's corporate culture has traditionally been the preservation of Japanese culture, by such means as strict immigration controls. An influx of Korean and Taiwanese nationals into the workforce, though necessary to remedy the labor shortage, has met with major resistance at all levels of society. The presence of these so-called sangokujin (三国人; "third country nationals") has been characterized as a disproportionate source of criminal activity. Foreign laborers, particularly the Korean Zainichi, are regularly accused of disloyalty and even sedition.
The belief that Japan has a central role to play in world politics, whether as a bulwark against Western hegemony or as a force in its own right, remains a central issue in Japanese politics, particularly for right-wing nationalists. The rise of the People's Republic of China as a global power has only intensified many of these feelings, as many Japanese now view their country as a check on Chinese power in the region.
History and development
The Big Four zaibatsu (四大財閥?, shidai zaibatsu) of, in chronological order of founding, Sumitomo, Mitsui, Mitsubishi, and Yasuda are the most significant zaibatsu groups. Two of them, Sumitomo and Mitsui, have roots stemming from the Edo period while Mitsubishi and Yasuda trace their origins to the Meiji Restoration. Throughout Meiji to Showa, the government employed their financial powers and expertise for various endeavors, including tax collection, military procurement and foreign trade.
Beyond the Big Four, consensus is lacking as to which companies can be called zaibatsu, and which cannot. After the Russo-Japanese War, a number of so-called "second-tier" zaibatsu also emerged, mostly as the result of business conglomerations and/or the award of lucrative military contracts. Some more famous second-tier zaibatsu included the Okura, Furukawa, and Nakajima groups, among several others.
The early zaibatsu permitted some public shareholding of some subsidiary companies, but never of the top holding company or key subsidiaries.
The monopolistic business practices by the zaibatsu resulted in a closed circle of companies until Japanese industrial expansion on the Asian mainland (Manchukuo) began in the 1930s, which allowed for the rise of a number of new groups (shinko zaibatsu), including Nissan. These new zaibatsu differed from the traditional zaibatsu only in that they were not controlled by specific families, and not in terms of business practices.
Thanks for trying to help, however a five year old could write a wikipedia article and therefore it is not realiable and banned at my school. It's fine, though, because a friend pointed me elsewhere (an edu) so thanks again.
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