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Japan's Cynical Romantics, Precursors to the Alt-Right

Posted On: Aug 14, 2019   |   Posted By: Tablet Magazine

Japan's Cynical Romantics, Precursors to the Alt-Right

I still remember when I encountered my first far-right netizen in the wild. It happened in 2011 while I was living in Japan. Internet citizens, netizens for short, referred to Japanese who practically lived online. In the beginning they weren't interested in politics, but like any people inhabiting a new place, as they adapted to the unique environment of the internet the early focus on media and pop culture evolved into more esoteric offshoots. The most notable of these offshoots was the netto-uyoku, literally the “Net Right-Wing,” a small subgroup of netizens who embraced a hybrid style of radical politics that blended online subculture with far-right extremist ideology and whose influence eventually spread far outside of Japan. I didn't know it at the time but I had accidentally stumbled on the template for the troll armies of the alt-right.
The shock I felt discovering the netto-uyoku wouldn't even have made sense at the time in an American context, where internet culture lags behind the trends in Japan....

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