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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

National Guilt, Political Narratives and East Asia

The Public Philosopher, Series 3, National Guilt

Chinese student: I know you can search the Wikipedia and there is a list of government of Japan's apology.

I'm shocked because in mine experience we are never told that Japan has apologised to us.


Japanese student: I do think that the history textbooks are being used to flourish the patriotism in our countries. And I think that's common in the Asian, East Asian countries.

But I think that's very unhealthy and being brought up in United States for a while, I see the patriotism in the United States and in Japan very different.

In Japan patriotism is always stemmed upon historical facts, and what good our countries did for us. But in United States, or maybe in France also, it's about ideals like Freedom and Liberty. It's future-oriented ideals that we gather together to make happen.

But in Japan we don't have that kind of common ideals or common values that we want to venture together to make a reality...

I think we have to shift it on order to have a healthier kind of patriotism.

Chinese student: I remember the saying: forget the past and you will lose an eye, but dwell on the past and you will lose both eyes, so it's time for both of us to work toward the best future with both eyes open

Even later:

Michael Sandel: You love your parents but you don't love your country. Why is that?

Japanese student: The nation state has been described as an imagined community. Some people regard the nation state as an extension of the family, but I love my parents and I don't love my country.

That may sound contradictory but I want to love people with whom I've had real contact. I don't want to love a construct conjured from the imagination.

I love my parents because my parents took care of me and loved me and I love them back. This is merely something imagined in my head.
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