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According to a page on Wikipedia, there was a movement in the Japanese New Left called "Anti-Japaneseism", which claimed that

"The nation called Japan and the entire Japanese race should be extinguished from the face of the earth."

This quote isn't cited and all of the other citations are in Japanese.

I don't know anything about Japanese history, but the idea of a group of people calling for genocide against themselves is kind of hard to believe. The article ascribes several deadly terrorist attacks to this faction.

In the talk section of the Wiki article, people question the existence of Anti-Japaneseism itself and I couldn't find much reference to it on the English speaking internet

My question is, was there an actual political movement in Japan that sought genocide against itself?

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  • 3
    May be hard to believe, but there certainly are groups that have performed "genocide" against themselves. Jonestown, Heaven's Gate, and more.
    – jamesqf
    May 30 at 17:42
  • 1
    If the idea of killing the majority of Japanese is a real thing, then there certainly are manifestos or something similar which state this as their goal, and written by people who are somewhat significant.
    – Jan
    May 30 at 19:08
  • Your linked wp article links to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Asia_Anti-Japan_Armed_Front, which seems to be an actual thing, but with a somewhat more moderate view (calling loyal subjects of the Japanese state "acceptable target" seems to be still somewhat different from calling for the murder of all Japanese on principle)
    – Jan
    May 30 at 19:14
  • @jamesqf Thinking it through, Germany & Japan had quite some of these actors in 1945 operating in high positions and high gear? May 31 at 9:47
  • This is very unexpected from a country whose "agressive nature" had just been broken by the atomic bombings and American occupation Jun 2 at 9:19
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Apparently 'yes', albeit a very tiny fringe position. The main thrust within this movement was indeed 'anti-' and directed within Japanese society on itself from a leftist perspective, but not as thoroughly 'self-exterminating' as in ' direct extended mass suicide' as the quote may seem. Although the original formulator of the very idea may have it intended as such.

A better comparison may be found in "Higashi Ajia Hannichi Busō Sensen [EAAJAF], which like Aum essentially set out to destroy the fabric of Japanese society." Including the traditions and values, relations within and outward that society…

But what is this ‘anti-Japan’? We are only too familiar with anti-Japanese (hannichi) sentiments in Korea and China, but this is nationalism expressed as antagonism towards a neighbour. The Left has long argued that Japan’s past militarism had tarnished its social structures and was a reason for breaking up the country’s residual elements of feudalism, monarchy and class.

In effect, Japan’s historical sins gave the communists and socialists the moral high ground. e ‘anti-Japan’ of the New Left went further and argued that the very existence of Japan itself should be questioned.

This ‘Anti-Japaneseism’ (hannichiibōkokuron), as it was known, advocated the destruction of Japanese society, wiping ‘Japan’ as we know it off the face of the earth.

Its proponents were not aggrieved Ainu or furious Okinawans, though, but Japanese, tying them in a rather curious double bind: what to do about themselves? is contradiction ultimately makes them a sort of Japanese version of the self-hating Jew.

[…] The pedigree of the Japanese may well be Korean or Chinese. It is highly disputable that they are ‘native’ to the islands they now possess. The exact nature and process of the immigration is unknown, though one archaeologist, Namio Egami, proposed a controversial theory in 1948 that unwittingly played into the arguments of Anti-Japaneseism, particularly after it was published as a book in 1967. Citing evidence of the sudden appearance of horses in the Kofun burial mounds period, Egami hypothesised that the Japanese are descended from a race of conquering Eurasians, continental equestrian invaders that galloped their way rst down the Korean Peninsula and then crossed over to Japan. From their very genesis, the Japanese have been invasive and bellicose marauders, constantly looking to a ack and vanquish neighbours.

The slightly 'less radical' version of that theme that saw some action argued

In the eyes of the Higashi Ajia Hannichi Busō Sensen, the post-war period was just as invidious and expansionist as Japan’s previous colonisation of Asia and Hokkaido, using investment, trade and overseas manufacturing bases to extend Japanese corporate interests. Harahara tokei asserts: ‘the “economic, technological and cultural” despatch, selling off under the label of overseas technological co-operation and so on, and the tourists “vacationing” to Korea to buy female entertainers [kisaeng], are all first-class aggressors of the Japanese Empire.’ In 1974, the Vietnam War was also still going on and Japan had been a tacit collaborator in the conflict, while Mitsubishi was manufacturing parts for the arms American soldiers were using.

The Marunouchi bombing was an extreme form of the wider hannichi ideology in the Left regarding Emperor Hirohito, Japan’s past crimes in Asia, the repression of ethnic minorities like the Ainu, contemporary corporate aggression, and more. Higashi Ajia Hannichi Busō Sensen was the most radical among its hannichi peers, as well as perhaps the most dangerous domestic New Left group at the time.

[…]

Over the two years there were thirty-seven incidents, killing fourteen and injuring over 400.14 Higashi Ajia Hannichi Busō Sensen, for all the idiosyncrasy of doctrine, was just one of many militant factions operating in the period.

The front carried out a further six bombings in 1975, but the more they acted, the more risks they took in being seen or leaving clues behind. Police monitoring an Ōta-connected publication began to tail suspects, which led them to the cells. They swooped in May 1975, arresting almost everyone at different locations at the same time—seven members, together with Mariko Arai, a suspected conspirator who was held for many years on the slightest of connections to the cells’ activities. Nodoka Saitō was arrested but committed suicide by poison soon afterwards while in custody. All of the members of the cells carried cyanide with them in order to kill themselves if they were caught, though only Saitō was able to take his capsule successfully.

Members like Masashi Daidōji who was the leader of the Higashi Ajia Hannichi Busō Sensen (East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front) can be seen in connection Norio Sasaki, who was a member of this group and the Japanese Red Army.

The originator of this idea Katsuhisa Omori is listed as a 'copycat' perpetrator on the English WP article about the EAAJAF. In 1997 he himself described the idea a 'devilish', now embracing 'liberal thought' (conservative).

Quotes from:
— William Andrews: "Dissenting Japan. A History of Japanese Radicalism and Counterculture, from 1945 to Fukushima", C. Hurst: London, 2016.

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  • Anyone access to iss.ndl.go.jp/books/R100000002-I000003065191-00 ? May 31 at 12:42
  • This seems like more of the usual leftist "destroy capitalist/traditional society, and never mind how many you have to kill in the process" rhetoric, rather than an actual program of genocide.
    – jamesqf
    May 31 at 16:26
  • @jamesqf It is unclear to me how many adherents actually took that 'program' to hearts. But I think this is/was a bit more on the 'serious' side. Compare a similar movement, albeit seemingly much stronger in the very recent years in central Europe It maybe a case were people 'like/love The President' but 'hate all government', as if they do not see this 'connection' between the two? May 31 at 17:26
  • From a quick read of that link, they seem to be exactly what I meant by usual leftists. That is, their goal is societal change, not genocide. More like an inverse of the collapse of East Germany & subsequent reunification.
    – jamesqf
    Jun 1 at 5:20

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