21st weapons. According to the article written by Katherine

21st Century Manga

people of all ages in Japan read manga. Aside from the fact that it provides
entertainment, former Director of the Public Diplomacy Planning Division,
Public Diplomacy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Japan) Mr. Teiji
Hayashi stated that one of the main reasons why manga is all over the country
is “because its storylines are clear and its characters are rich in
humanity” (The Manga Phenomenon, 2011). Japanese manga have
a far reaching influence and it also helps people all over the world in
understanding the history and other social issues in Japan particularly its
engagement in military defense.

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            Manga, in the 21st
century, are now being used as military weapons. According to the article
written by Katherine Chin, “the display of charming, young comic heroines
plastered on war planes may seem like an innocent public art project or
advertising campaign, but it is actually an indication of a deep militaristic
ethos” (Chin, 2016). It is not furtive that after the World War II and the articulation
of the Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, Japan had renounced their
sovereign right of belligerency as a means to settle international conflicts
involving states and also their right to collective defense and collective
security operations. However, they remained to have de facto armed
forces called Japan Self-Defense Forces which was and is still engaging in
international peace keeping operations under the United Nations. When Japan’s
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe passed a bill that reinterprets the Article 9 of the
Japanese constitution, asking for approval to collective self-defense and to go
after a more active deterrence policy, it gives more power to the Japanese
Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) to defend Japan and its allies overseas under
possible internal and external attacks.

Opinions about Militarization

reactions had been voice out due to this decision; the USA supported the
reinterpretation while China and North Korea had been reluctant about the
issue. This move by Abe paved a way to military agreements with countries that
are engaged in territorial disputes such as the Philippines and Vietnam.
Another purpose of the reinterpretation is to replenish the economic aspect of
Japan and to accommodate an increasing social security demands. September of
2016 when tens of thousands Japanese citizen gathered outside Japan’s
parliament to protest against the reinterpretation of Article 9 particularly
the collective security that encourage overseas missions.  (Chin, 2016).
Following this act, the most outstanding group of Japanese students named
Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALD) had gathered to voice
out their opposition. One member of this group Beniko Hashimoto stated that
“even though Japan hasn’t been attacked, the idea of attacking another
country, or going to war alongside, say, America, doesn’t make sense.” (Hashimoto, 2015). They may see a
great potential for USA in helping Japan but they are not quite sure on to what
extend does USA are willing to help the country. Also, it is not clear on which
country is really a threat since there are a lot of threats heard in Japan yet,
there hasn’t been anyone who actually harms the citizens. Another member of the
SEALD Erina Nakagawa claimed that “the way the security bills are being
pushed through parliament’s amount to the destruction of democracy and
constitutionalism” (Nakagawa, 2015). The constitution of Japan insures
respect for human rights and is pro-peace and the reinterpretation of it will
definitely change the way how the constitution is understood by most people,
especially the Japanese citizens.

A known author
of The Japan Times also stated that “Abe is wrong to rush toward
militarization” (Chelala, 2015). This is due to the fact that rearming
Japan carries the risk of igniting a regional arms race (Chelala,
Another opinion from a veteran lawmaker from the Liberal Democratic Party,
Seiichiro Murakami states that “principle of pacifism, the sovereignty of
people and respect of basic human rights should be something that absolutely
cannot be changed,” (Murakami, 2015). Although the transition of Japan’s
national security stance into a more aggressive military strategy is driven by
a reemerging China as a regional hegemony, on-going instability in the Korean
Peninsula and the rise of important non-state actors, many still believe that
it would be wise for Japan to continually follow what was already established
in the Article 9 of its constitution.

Japan has now
taking steps towards a more aggressive role in the regional politics by
“releasing cartoons and manga that depict a diminutive, temperate and
“cute” military” (Chin, 2016).
This non-threatening use of public relation campaign is mainly for the reason
of avoiding more backlash and protest among Japanese citizens. The government
settled into a military-entertainment complex that uses cartoons and manga to
depict the military sphere of Japan and to gain support from the public. One
example of this is the Manga series entitle Gate which best represent
how the military and the creative industry collaborate over the century and the
changing manner on how militarism in Japan has been interpreted and
represented. The manga also shows some important scenes like some invasion in
Japan which was being drive out by the Japanese army backed up by the USA and
how Japan establish their defense strategies.