Nationalism and Internationalism in Imperial Japan: Autonomy, Asian Brotherhood, or World Citizenship?

Nationalism and Internationalism in Imperial Japan: Autonomy, Asian Brotherhood, or World Citizenship?

Nationalism and Internationalism in Imperial Japan: Autonomy, Asian Brotherhood, or World Citizenship?

Nationalism and Internationalism in Imperial Japan: Autonomy, Asian Brotherhood, or World Citizenship?

Synopsis

Throughout the history of modern Japan there has been a continuous struggle to create an integrated conception of how a politically and/or culturally autonomous Japan might relate to a pluralistic and interactive world. The aim of this study is to scrutinise nationalist and internationalist rhetoric by means of comparatively constant factors such as personal views of humanity, civilisation, progress, the nation and the outside world, and thus to develop new approaches towards the question of the relationship between Japanese nationalism and internationalism. This project brings together a group of comparatively young scholars who analyse how different generations of opinion leaders in the Japanese pre-war modern era tried to solve what they perceived as the dilemma of nationalism and internationalism.

Excerpt

When I first proposed to take upon myself the task of editing a volume on nationalism and internationalism in modern Japan, being new to this kind of job I entertained the optimistic hope that the whole thing could be completed within a year. Things soon proved to be not that easy. Having two Japanese articles translated for this volume cost a lot more time than expected. But finding myself all of a sudden in a succession of teaching positions, which not only varied in content but also forced me once again to relocate to Japan, was definitely most fatal to the original time schedule.

Luckily the time period covered in this volume is not so recent as to prove our findings outdated. Moreover, the relevance of the topic dealt with in this volume has not decreased a bit in the light of the developments since the beginning of this decade, in which Japan only seems more and more confronted with the necessity of (re)considering its position vis-à-vis (East) Asia, 'the West' and the world at large. How to harmonise demands in the wake of the terrorist attacks to 'show the flag' in support of a United States that publicly refutes the Kyoto Protocol? How to amicably co-host a soccer world championship with a former colony that demands that Japan revise its interpretation of its own (mainly pre-war and wartime) history? How to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic relations with China, a country that has developed into a formidable rival in many sectors of Japanese industry and is most commonly described in the popular media as the major threat to Japan? How to deal with the international maverick North Korea, 'an outlaw state' which violates Japan's territorial waters and has abducted Japanese citizens, but which nevertheless seems to solicit Japanese help in order to rejoin the world and East Asia? How to match ambitions to establish 'an autonomous Japanese way of contributing to the world' with the reality of a dwindling development aid budget? How to combine national emblems and a national history to be proud of, recently forced into the classroom, with the traditional load of English-language education and the emphasis on international exchange since the 1980s, aimed at turning the younger Japanese generations into world citizens? This is not the place for predictions and evaluations, so let

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