Independence Day? No, not really.

When I lived in a developing country called the Kingdom of Tonga, locals often asked me “when is Japan’s independence day?” I always answered “I don’t know. We don’t celebrate independence day in Japan.” After WWII, Japan was occupied by GHQ (General Headquarters). Some years later, Japan and U.S. signed a treaty to recognize Japan’s autonomy. It was April 28. This is, technically, Japan’s independence day. But at that time, some regions were still occupied by U.S.

For a long time, I have assumed that Japan, or more precisely, Japanese government did not celebrate independence day because they did not admit that Japan the loser was occupied by U.S. I have a reason to assume in this way. U.N., or United Nations, is not called united nations but called “international league” in Japan. I’ve heard that Japanese government intentionally translated it incorrectly because “United Nations” is the name of the winner who defeated Japan. But, my assumption seems not correct, or at least, it is not “the” reason.

Today, April 28, Japanese government held an event to commemorate Japan’s recovery of autonomy. Japan’s new prime minister is a rightist and likes this sort of activities. But, as I mentioned above, some regions were still occupied when “the majority of Japan” recovered her autonomy, and for those regions, like Okinawa, April 28 is a humiliation day; they were officially separated from Japan then. This may be “the”, or one of the reasons that Japan had not celebrated independence day. But the new prime minister broke the tradition. When the government was commemorating “independence day”, thousands of people in Okinawa gathered to oppose the government. As I mentioned in a previous post, Japan has a complicated history. Okinawa is the “Southern part” that I mentioned. As a Japanese citizen, I don’t want to ignore this issue. But what can I do?

Yesterday I mentioned responsibility of brands and responsibility of consumers. I do not have the power to affect the rightist government, but should look for a way to take responsibility in my way. By the way, some people in Canada now boycott Joe Fresh products because those products were made in the collapsed building in Bangladesh. This is not a constructive reaction, but may trigger positive movement. Let’s see what actions Joe Fresh will take.

April 28, 2013Permalink