Globalising Aboriginal Reconciliation: Indigenous Australians and Asian (Japanese) Migrants
Over the last few years, I have attended several political meetings concerned with the refugee crisis, multiculturalism or Indigenous rights in Australia, meetings at which liberal democratic–minded ‘left-wing’ people came together to discuss, or agitate for change in, governmental policies. At these meetings, I always found it difficult to accept the slogans on their placards and in their speeches: ‘Shame Australia! Reconciliation for a united Australia’, ‘Wake up Australia! We welcome refugees!’ or ‘True Australians are tolerant! Let’s celebrate multicultural Australia!’ My uncomfortable feeling came not only from the fact that I was left out because of my Japanese nationality but also because I had never seen or heard words like ‘shame Japan’, ‘wake up Japan’ or ‘true Japanese are ...’ at Japanese ‘left-wing’ political gatherings. In Japan, these are words used only by right-wing nationalists. Indeed it is difficult to even imagine liberal-left intellectuals in postwar Japan calling for a ‘true Japanese’ political response (as if such a response was positive), such is the extent to which the idea of ‘good nationalism’ is now regarded as an oxymoron. This is my starting point for an essay in which I want to be attentive to the different roles played by national(ism) in the Japanese and Australian political environments.
Australia; Japan; left-wing; politics; nationalism