Jennifer Lind on Abe Shinzo and Japanese Nationalism

The LDP hosts a "constant struggle between people who favor more moderate patriotism and versus those favoring a more extreme nationalism. We see this not only in the LDP but within Abe himself."

The assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on July 8 sparked a wave of commentaries on his legacy. Many analysts linked his political rise to a supposed surge in Japanese nationalism, pointing to increasing defense budgets and retrenched denialism regarding abuses committed by Imperial Japan before and during World War II. Throughout his time in office, Abe came to symbolize Japanese nationalism in the minds of many, but geopolitical shifts, especially in Japan's near neighborhood, have more to do with the changing perceptions of Japan's role in the world than any single politician. 

In the following interview, Jennifer Lind, an associate professor of government at Dartmouth College, a faculty associate at the Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies at Harvard University, and a research associate at Chatham House in London, exposes the nuances dividing "nationalism" and "patriotism" in Japan and fits Abe into the evolving continuum of Japanese politics. Lind, the author of "Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics," pushes back against simplistic narratives about Japanese politics, arguing instead that it is rather remarkable that a country so near an increasingly assertive China and a nuclear North Korea has not had more of a debate about increasing its military and defense capabilities.

Read the full interview HERE