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  • Jul 31, 2014
  • Updated: 1:23pm

Shinzo Abe

Shinzo Abe is president of the Liberal Democratic Party and was elected prime minister of Japan in December 2012. He also served as prime minister in 2006 after being elected by a special session of Japan’s National Diet, but resigned after less than a year.


China baulks at 'long live emperor' chant by Japan's Abe

Photo of Shinzo Abe throwing his arms in the air while chanting 'long live the emperor' makes national headlines in China

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 May, 2013, 12:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 May, 2013, 5:43am

Japan's hawkish Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has apparently upset China when he attended a ceremony last week, the first time the country marked the anniversary of the day it regained sovereignty after its defeat in the second world war.

The Restoration of Sovereignty Day event drew great interest from media and political analysts worldwide, but state broadcaster CCTV said most of its international peers missed one detail.

Towards the end of the event, Abe and other guests, mostly men in dark suits, "threw their hands up in the air and cried ' banzai!' (long life) to send the royal couple off," Reuters said.

Tenno heika banzai, or "long live the emperor", was commonly chanted by Japanese soldiers in the second world war, said CCTV, adding that it was "extremely unusual" for a top government official to use it after the war.

Accusing Abe of "hijacking" the emperor for his own nationalist agenda, CCTV cited criticism of the chant from within Japan, quoting media, scholars and opposition party members. "It felt like we were back in pre-war times," CCTV quoted a Japanese citizen as saying.

Japan denied that the chanting was planned, said CCTV.

Mich Maruyama, a former journalist and independent business owner who lives in Niigata, told the South China Morning Post that banzai was a Japanese expression commonly used in celebrations and other happy occasions. "We say it when a kid passes an entrance exam or when a candidate wins an election," he said.

Maruyama said the Japanese would also chant banzai to the emperor in gatherings at the Palace Plaza on New Year's Day.

The report made headlines in China on Wednesday, as relations between the two countries have deteriorated in the past few months after territorial disputes over the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan.

Some others drew a parallel between Abe and China's Maoists. "If you are still chanting 'long live Chairman Mao' then you are in no position to criticise Abe," said a blogger.


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You're probably a troll, but anyway... Japanese shouting "Banzai!" is comparable to Germans shouting "Sieg Heil"... At least Germany has adopted laws that makes this illegal. With Abe, fascism becomes fashionable again. Disgusting.
I think it's about time to "nuke" those carrot-heads again..........they just haven't learned their lesson after getting roasted in WWII..........time for another dose.
Japan has every right to make expressions of national pride, as does any nation. The Chinese government actively promotes such expressions, but in the name of the CCP, not the country. Japan should not be made to live in the dark shadows of events that happened so many decades ago. Grow up!
Good for the Japanese. It's heartening to see some shred of nationalistic fervour yet exists in the world. China's being upset is of no consequence. This ceremony hardly condones the misgivings of the pre-war Japanese Empire. The West needs a confident and strong Japan as much as it does a strong South Korea in the Asia-Pacific region. China will squabble over any slice of territory now to appear to assert itself. Such must be resisted.
You have to admit that it's hardly possible for you to hear Xi says 'long live Chairman Mao' in public while you try to use Mao to vindicate for Abe
IMO, it's the Japanese emperor (Hideki Tojo? I doubt it) who was the real one behind the role Japan engaged in WWII. It is the sheer fear of 'Red Storm' that prompted the West into some kind of collaboration to spare the emperor and most of the Japanese war criminals in the following years of 1945 despite what sufferings they once inflicted upon Asia.
Suffice it to say that, 'Banzai' may not be equivalent to 'Sieg Heil', but 'long live the emperor' is pretty much like 'Heil Hitler', which may not be considered prudent by Merkel to shout it out in public


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