Network Power: Japan and Asia

Network Power: Japan and Asia

Network Power: Japan and Asia

Network Power: Japan and Asia

Synopsis

This book examines regional dynamics in contemporary east and southeast Asia, scrutinizing the effects of Japanese dominance on the politics, economics, and cultures of the area. The contributors ask whether Japan has now attained, through sheer economic power and its political and cultural consequences, the predominance it once sought by overtly military means. The discussion is framed by the profound changes of the past decade. Since the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, regional dynamics increasingly shape international and national developments. This volume places Japan's role in Asian regionalism in a broader comparative perspective with European regionalism and the role Germany plays. It assesses the competitive logics of continental and coastal primacy in China. In starkest form, the question addressed is whether Chinese or Japanese domination of the Asian region is more likely. Between a neo-mercantilist emphasis on the world's movement toward relatively closed regional blocs and an opposing liberal view that global markets are creating convergent pressures across all national boundaries and regional divides, this book takes a middle position. Asian regionalism is identified by two intersecting developments: Japanese economic penetration of Asian supplier networks through a system of production alliances, and the emergence of a pan-Pacific trading region that includes both Asia and North America. The contributors emphasize factors that are creating an Asia marked by multiple centers of influence, including China and the United States.

Excerpt

The end of the cold war has reshaped the dynamics of Asian regionalism. This is one of two volumes. Tamed Power: Germany in Europe is a companion to Network Power: Japan and Asia that also explores the role of regions in world politics.

This book is the outgrowth of the contributors' attempts to explain to their students and themselves the effects of a global system in flux. When Takeshi Hamashita visited Cornell University in the fall semester of 1991, Victor Koschmann and Takashi Shiraishi prevailed on him to join them in teaching a new undergraduate seminar on Asian regionalism. Intrigued by the seminar's approach and reading list, Peter Katzenstein audited the class. Based on discussion about what was, and what was not, natural or problematic about Asian regionalism, Katzenstein, Koschmann, and Shiraishi offered in the spring of 1993 a large undergraduate lecture course that compared Japan's position in Asia with Germany's in Europe. And Katzenstein attended a new and challenging graduate seminar that Mark Selden had developed on Asian regionalism at SUNY Binghamton in the spring of 1994. Through their teaching interests this project thus attracted several participants.

It was easy to recruit others. T. J. Pempel had been a colleague at Cornell for many years, and he and Katzenstein had co-taught courses on Japanese and German public policy. In the 1980s Bruce Cumings and Peter Evans had discussed with Katzenstein a coauthored volume on regionalism; Saya Shiraishi's exciting research on mass culture in Asia made her another ideal candidate for empirical analyses. Susumu Yamakage had been a colleague of Takashi Shiraishi at the University of Tokyo and had met Katzenstein in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1988-89.

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