Essay on Japans History of Censorship

Published: 2021-06-22
1791 words
7 pages
15 min to read
Boston College
Type of paper: 
Argumentative essay
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

A nations identity, cultural heritage, pride, and stability lie in its historical background, a phenomenon that many countries and states are proud of as a symbol of national unity. They include religion, art, philosophy, language, economic activity, and political journey that form countries right image and uniqueness. Many a time, countries identify themselves with such to build on lasting legacies, a feat that has successfully helped many nations to design and establish a special bond amongst and within the citizens. While residents pride themselves of such phenomena, the respective countries utilize them as unifying moments. For example, Americans identify themselves proudly with the civil wars that led to the establishment and growth of the country in the late 1700 and much of 1800. Africa collectively identifies themselves with their robust and bitter struggle to gain independence from the European colonists (Suzuki & Jaffe, 2010). Despite the harrowing and painful experience of such incidences and happenings, many countries continue to identify themselves and recognize the significance of such historic moments. However, Japan stands out as the only country that attempts to hide their real history from its citizens by denying students, researchers, and the entire populace the opportunity to learn the truth behind much of the country's historical past. For example, the Sino-Japanese War, the World War II, among many painful and harrowing experiences the country went through (Suzuki & Jaffe, 2010). Additionally, many authors have tried to tell the actual history of the country, but have been denied publication and production of their work, denying the populace the opportunity to learn and come to terms with the country's dark historical past. The paper argumentatively looks into the countrys historical past and why the truth about its past is suppressed, hidden, and banned by authorities.

Japan has a rich and significant background entailing art, early culture, religion, and language in addition to its past wars that have continued to shape the country's cultural and political fabric over the years. Ever since the medieval period, to the Renaissance era and political dynasties, Japan has built a rich and unique cultural blend that has influenced Western nations over the years. To date, many Western countries are fascinated and influenced by everything Japanese from its historical wars, language, rich culture, language, and art. Before the Exclusion Decrees, much of the country's historical and cultural past were hidden and kept away from the public eye, a phenomenon that increased people's anxiety to learn more about the country's history and culture. Despite the publication of the Exclusion Decrees, both the locals and Western researchers and historians endeavored to unearth and tell the story of Japan on its many wars, struggles, economic and political dynasties, in addition to its unique cultural heritage.

Japan stands out as a strange country of contemporary times. With its sudden rise during the last century, emergence as a superpower, its vibrant and thriving businesses, and above all, its critical decisions that touch many lives (Suzuki & Jaffe, 2010). The countrys presence and increasing influence have grown its significance globally, elevating its standing and relevance in sociopolitical and economic issues worldwide. Japan is made up of almost 3,300 islands, stretching approximately 1931 km from the southwest to the northeast. It is close to China and South Korea towards the west. It lies on the eastern side of Asia. Shikoku, Kyushu, Honshu, and Hokkaido make up the major islands of the country with the Sea of Japan separating it Russia on the eastern shores. Sakhalin, a Soviet Island is approximately 27 km away and Kuril Island, about 18 km away. These Islands or territories have a significant historical significance to Japan with claims of ownership by the country. The country lies at the main gateway to North America with many ocean routes passing through it. The location has had a significant impact on the countrys socioeconomic performance as well as standing as an outpost of non-Communist interests, majorly from Russia and the Chinese. Its position has offered relative security over the years as well as positioning the country to stand out in the contemporary times. Its miracle standing rise and achievement has been based on a tremendous commitment to cultural values, art, language, and its remarkable sagacity of national duty and identity.

National Identity

The country's remarkable sense of nationalism has been maintained by both the retention and selection of adaptive historic values and changes based on the state's focus on preserving their independence (Suzuki & Jaffe, 2010). As much of the world adapted to Western cultures, Japan focused on only accepting norms, values, and ideologies that preserved its traditions, identity, and cultural values. It included its literature, art, architecture, and distinctive uniqueness that continued to identify its culture. The country's cultural and traditional system is multi-layered with many elements at play. Ever since the defeat of the Japanese in the Second World War, the country, and its leaders have sought out for ways to assert themselves and find ways of remaining unique in the public eye, despite the massive influence and Western concepts of living (Davis 2015). The country has placed greater emphasis on group harmony, a concept that puts importance on social cohesion and group lifestyle than that of an individual. Over the years, the country has maintained a low profile on and in international relations while safeguarding its cultural aspects and historical heritage.

According to Gonnami (2009), the state has placed greater emphasis on building its economic and social power; and at the same time, remaining anonymous and behind the scenes, as it dispenses its role and global objectives. One of the grounds behind this approach is to place it conspicuously away from international scrutiny, knowing very well that its power and influence lies in its cultural heritage. The countrys highly similar social order has enabled it to maintain a significant cultural pattern traced back to the Yayoi legacy. The country's national identity and cohesion have allowed it to bring and put its people together while maintaining its local identity and regional loyalty. To keep the two concepts, preceding dynasties endeavored to maintain the country's low profile on its socioeconomic and political affairs as it emphasized on growth and progress.

Social Stratification

Japanese castles and classes make up the country's social order, a situation in which all persons fall within a given group and class. Despite being abolished during 1870, the neo-Confucian has led the country in maintaining the country's social structure that included the elite groups, white-collar classes, the middle class, self-employed, and the entrepreneurial groupings (Suzuki & Jaffe, 2010). Other larger gatherings include migrant laborers and the industrial workers who make up the country's labor force. The society regards education as an important criterion while establishing oneself whether in marriage or employment. It thus forms and builds a closely-knit community rely on educational credentials inherited from many years of practice.

Political Life

Ever since the year 1890, the country has maintained a constitutional monarchy. The 1947 constitution enabled the country to guarantee its citizens equal opportunity regarding sexes, divine status of the emperor, and the extension of suffrage to all its mature adult populace. Its parliament often referred to as Diet, is made up of the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors. The political influence and leadership of both houses are very powerful with great significance put on the country's administrative units comprising of forty-seven prefectures (Suzuki & Jaffe, 2010). All units derive their power and authority from the national government with the elite levels wielding enormous powers in all sectors of the country. Although the country has no formal military unit, it has a self-defense force that has the duty of protecting the countrys welfare and well-being.


According to the much-held Shinto, a term designated for the beliefs and gods that define the relationship between the state, people, and the natural environment, Japan is identified as the country of the gods. The ideology behind Shinto is part of the larger nationalistic and the imperial family. Although introduced from Korea and China, Buddhism is one of the major religions practiced in the country. The beliefs and faiths of Buddhism emphasize and teach mostly mercy, grace, and intercession towards committed devotion. Additionally, Taoism, Confucianism, and Shamanism have also had a greater influence on the countrys populace and especially of human relations. For example, Confucianism places greater weight on family relationships in addition to philosophical ideologies that made up the social structure of the country in the early and mid-1700 and 1800. Religion has had a significant role in defining the countrys geopolitical and social landscape. Although Christianity was banned in late 1800, many influential figures adapted the practices and beliefs (Abel 2012).

After the Second World War, many religious outfits were founded with many adherents spreading all over the country. However, despite the continued spread and influence of religion, the country has maintained a unified and consistent cultural heritage traced back to the first dynasty. On the other hand, in spite of the infiltration of other belief systems, and religions, the country has maintained a contemporary approach to religion and sacred beliefs, a concept that has enabled many adherents to embrace other religious ideologies.

The Japanese have successfully incorporated western ideas into their traditional ways of life balancing the delicate beliefs and etiquettes into their cultural system. However, much of the country's ways of life is adopted and maintained for years of practice with many of the practices passed from one generation to another (Abel 2012). Over the years, the country has maintained an integrated approach to preserving and conserving their traditional ideologies and practices, a feat that has seen it remain primarily hooked to its earlier ways of life. The concepts have also permeated into its leadership and governance structure with many of the practices borrowed from earlier traditional practices. These practices have conspicuously found their way into social structures, institutions, and families with the families remaining largely affected and pronounced into adhering to the traditional concepts.

Japan's cultural background presents a pointer to the country's hidden and silent attitude towards some of its sad and depressing past. As a culturally oriented country, Japan and especially its ruling elite did all it could to shut away from the outside world. According to scholars, reasons include preserving the country's much rich history and denying the western countries the opportunity to infiltrate the country's leadership, intelligence network, and social network. The fear of such a scenario whereby foreigners infiltrated the country's internal network arose from the painful past that profoundly affected the country's populace (Davis 2015). However, on a different note, many of the nation's scholars believe that the ruling elite feared the truth from emerging of the actual causes, effects, and Japan's participation in external aggression. A look at some of the country's worst fears is evident in how the country participated and took part in some of its worst experiences, especially catastrophes a...

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