Presenter:HALL, Jeffrey （Research Associate, WIAPS）
Presentation Theme:Research on Japanese Conservative Internet Media & The Importance of Conspiracy Theories
In recent years there has been a great deal of contention within Japanese society over how the nation should remember its pre-1945 history and how Japan should view its Asian neighbors. Although there is considerable diversity of viewpoints within Japan, one of the most visible and vocal segments of Japanese society has been what Kazuhiko Togo refers to as the “assertive conservative right” – a loose alliance of groups that seek to promote a positive historical view of Japan’s imperialist era. Some segments of the assertive conservative right are known for holding views that would be considered extreme – such as a belief that Japan’s mainstream media and education system are steered by an “anti-Japanese” left-wing conspiracy. In this presentation, I discuss my ongoing research on conservative internet media in Japan. Several conspiracy theories that frequently appear within the rhetoric of such groups will be discussed, including those that refer to both domestic and international “anti-Japanese” conspiracies. Influenced by the work of scholars of rhetoric and American history, I will argue that such conspiracy theories draw upon widely held beliefs and can serve a useful role in promoting a sense of unity and belonging among conservative activists and the viewers of their online content.