Observers of East Asia frequently claim that Japanese nationalism is on the rise, and that Tokyo is abandoning its longtime military restraint. To determine whether these trends are indeed occurring, we define and measure Japan's nationalism and military assertiveness; we measure whether they are rising relative to Japan in the past, and relative to seven other countries. Drawing from social identity theory, we distinguish between nationalism and a more benign patriotism. We find in Japan (1) strong patriotism that is stable over time, and no evidence of rising nationalism. Furthermore we find that (2) military assertiveness remains generally low, but it has risen in terms of decreased institutional constraints and peacekeeping activities. Our findings have important implications for academic debates about nationalism and Japanese security policy, and for policy debates about a nascent balancing effort against China.
- US-Japan alliance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Economics and Econometrics
- Political Science and International Relations