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When Japanese are excited they punch the air with raised arms and clenched fists. Recently Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did it in photographs accompanying stories like “Wealth gap widening under Abe” (Nov. 23), and “U.S. in suspense over ‘Abenomics,’ ” and another one accompanying “Newspapers take sides on ‘Abenomics’” (Nov. 30). The opposition does it, too, as in the re-printed photo accompanying “Pioneer ex-SDP chief Takako Doi dies at age 85” (Sept. 29).

I don’t get this “clenched fist punching the air” thing. It reminds me of saluting, goose-stepping Nazis. Japanese politicians, striking unions and public protesters of all kinds do it. Even the elderly. What do they think they’re doing? I know there is a terribly fundamental cultural thing going on that I’m missing, but what is it? Is fisting the air violently like that a show of unanimity, especially since it is choreographed so that everyone in a group does it together? Or is it a display of determination and courageous fighting spirit? If that’s the intention then I think it would be better to use the more historically cultural banzai cheer with raised arms.

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