This chapter examines the Japanese response to globalization with a specific focus on its influence on society since the late 1980s. It is characterized by the emergence of a contradictory tendency of, on the one hand, the resurgence of nationalism and, on the other, the advent of transnationalism. While the literature on nationalism is vast, here it is defined simply as a political principle and its social manifestation which insists on the congruence of the state and nation (Gellner 1983:1). In contrast transnationalism, the legitimacy of which as an academic term is much less established, can be defined as a social principle and its practices supporting human activities beyond nations and across national borders. Inherent in transnationalism is universalism - namely, the principle that all human beings are born equal irrespective of nationality, race, creed, family origin or perhaps even sex. It is associated with cosmopolitanism in that anyone can live and enjoy safety anywhere in the world, and everybody has the right to choose freely their place of abode, whether in the country of birth or elsewhere.
Nationalism can be further subdivided into moderate nationalism and ultranationalism. What this means for our discussion is that the Japanese response to globalization can be transnationalism or either variant of nationalism. The concept of acculturation can facilitate differentiating amongst these three, as national feelings or nationalism in the non-West are closely related with the acculturation of each nation facing Western influences (Hirano 2000:145). Extending this argument further, a transnational or moderately national response to globalization can be understood as adaptive acculturation in the face of global or universal influences. In contrast, ultranationalism can be understood as an adverse reaction to this sort of transnationalism as well as outside influences in general.
In so far as universalism, cosmopolitanism and transnationalism are concerned, the salient feature of contemporary Japan in the face of globalization is the increasing legitimacy of these principles. As will be argued later, this can be seen in the efforts made to enhance the human rights of foreigners in Japan, whether 'old-comers', such as resident Koreans and Chinese, or 'newcomers', such as migrant workers from Asia and other parts of the world. What this means is that, whereas Japan has been known as a society closed to