The Political Economy of Japanese Globalization

By Glenn D. Hook; Hasegawa Harukiyo | Go to book overview

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The global meaning of Japan

The state's persistently precarious position in the world order
Takahashi Susumu
Two meanings of 'global'

The meaning of modern Japan from the perspective of worldhistory
This chapter presupposes that the word 'global' contains at least two meanings: first, simply another word for world-wide; second, something new which has been rapidly created by new historical forces. The purpose here is to elucidate the world-wide meaning (the global meaning in the former sense) of non-global Japan. In other words, this chapter aims to examine the basic features of modern Japan from the perspective of world history, although at the end it will touch on the meaning of global Japan, in which case 'global' will be used in the latter sense. Its main focus is on the basic features of modern Japanese foreign policy from the Meiji Restoration of 1868 to the present time. Given the long time-span covered, for heuristic purposes the history of modern Japan will be divided into the following five periods:
1 The period of building modern Japan: from the Meiji Restoration to the beginning of the twentieth century (the end of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5).
2 The period of consolidating modern Japan: the beginning of the twentieth century to the end of the 1920s in the early Shōwa period (1925-30). It features democratization, industrialization and the enhancement of Japan's position in the international community.
3 The period of searching for great power status: the beginning of the 1930s to the end of the Second World War. Japan committed itself in this period to a series of armed conflicts: the Manchurian incident, the war with China, and the Pacific War.
4 The period of building another modern Japan: the history of post-war Japan coloured by high-speed economic development as well by the shrunken role of Japan in world politics. This feature of post-war Japan can be summarized as the economic giant, political pigmy.

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