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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #71: February 19, 2003

Social Science Japan Journal

Journal Name: Social Science Japan Journal: April 1998, Vol. 1, Nov 1

Print ISSN: 1369-1465,  Online ISSN: 1468-2680


Editor: Akira Suehiro (Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo)
Managing Editor and Editorial Office: Tom Gill (Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo)
Associate Editors: Hiroshi Ishida (Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo), Gregory Noble (Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo) and Tamio Nakamura (Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo)

Social Science Japan Journal is a new forum for original scholarly papers on contemporary Japan. It publishes papers that cover Japan in a comparative perspective and papers that focus on international issues that affect Japan. All social science disciplines (economics, law, political science, history, sociology, and anthropology) are represented. All papers are refereed. The journal includes a book review section with substantial reviews of books on Japanese society, written in both English and Japanese. The journal occasionally publishes reviews of the current state of social science research on Japanese society in different countries.


The Korean war, Stalin's policy, and Japan (pp5-29)
Haruki Wada (Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, Japan)
An attempt at opening a new horizon in the historiographical studies on the Korean War, this paper addresses the question of what role Japan played in the war by exploring newly disclosed Russian documents and documents of the General Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (GHQ/SCAP) and the Communist Party of Japan (CPJ). The paper begins by characterizing Stalin's view of Japan and his policy toward Northeast Asia in the early postwar years as generally prudent, as demonstrated by his endorsement of the strategy for a peaceful revolution advocated by Nozaka Sanzo, one of the CPJ leaders. It then examines how, in the aftermath of the successful Chinese Revolution, Stalin changed his policy toward Japan dramatically as he began to encourage the CPJ to pursue a revolution by force and how the CPJ responded to this policy change. This change also prompted North Korea's military assault on the South, and China's participation in the war. Through a multi-dimensional approach, this paper sheds light on the importance of the 'Japan factor' in the Korean War, a factor unduly neglected by previous studies, thereby bearing out that the political process in postwar Japan has been inseparably related to the developments of international politics in Northeast Asia.

The 'American boundary', provocation, and the outbreak of the Korean War (pp31-56)
Myunglim Park (Department of Political Science and International Relations, Korea University, Korea)
This paper attempts to empirically trace the United States-Republic of Korea diplomatic relations and the process that led to the outbreak of the Korean War. In so doing, it makes use of the hypothesis on the 'American boundary', which maintains that the American strategy toward the developing countries of Asia pivoted around the primary concern of defusing both of the two possible scenarios which could unfold in post-World War II Asia, one leaning toward the left, and the other toward the right - namely, the outbreak of a series of communist revolutions and the emergence of fascist dictatorial governments. At the same time, the paper critically examines both the orthodox and revisionist views of the Korean War by paying attention to the political stances adopted by Syngman Rhee and other political leaders of South Korea, and the 'relational dynamics' among South and North Koreas, and the United States, thereby coming to a 'critical rationalist' interpretation of the war. Furthermore, the paper calls attention to the connection between the nationalist and anti-Communist feelings in the South as an important factor underlying the war, and asserts that understanding this factor, which has been ignored by the United States, is indispensable for gaining an accurate picture of the war. Only by incorporating this new factor into our analysis of the war can we overcome the shortcomings of conventional, simplistic views which explain away the war as having been 'plotted', either by the United States or North Korea.

On the strategy and morality of American nuclear policy in Korea, 1950 to the present (pp57-70)
Cumings Bruce (University of Chicago, IL, USA)
I provide some background and analysis of the American air campaigns during the Korean War, I present mostly unknown information on American nuclear policies in Korea since 1953, and finally I ruminate on morality in warfare and on American responsibility for the prevalent exterminism of our age. The American air campaigns against North Korea ranged from the widespread use of firebombing (mainly with napalm), to threats to use nuclear and chemical weapons, and finally to the destruction of huge North Korean dams in the final stages of the war. This history is almost unknown even to most historians, let alone to the average citizen, and of course it never entered press analysis of the North Korean nuclear project in the 1990s. Instead, it was assumed that the only nuclear threat involving Korea came from P'y˘ngyang; indeed, such attitudes appear to be particularly strong in Japan. Given Japan's history as the only victim of nuclear attack, it would seem particularly important for Japanese citizens to understand the extraordinary devastation of North Korea in the early 1950s, and the history of US nuclear strategy in Korea since that time.

A survey: China and the Korean War (pp71-83)
Jun Yasuda (Faculty of Law, Keio University, Japan)
This paper is based on a series of recently disclosed Chinese archival documents on the Korean War and recently published memoirs of Chinese officials directly involved in the war. It attempts to piece together a picture of China and Mao Zedong's involvement in the Korean War, a picture that had a strong inclination to participate in the war, and that its participation had a lasting effect on the subsequent modernization of the People's Liberation Army. But this paper analyzes in greater detail the continuity between China's participation in the war and the Chinese Revolution, and the process of military preparations before its participation. The paper also meticulously traces the process of decision-making by the Chinese leadership from the execution of the First and Second Campaigns until the commencement of the armistice talks, thereby identifying China's diplomatic intents in anticipation of the international political climate in the post-ceasefire era, and the specific role China played in the drawing of the 38th parallel.

A survey: studies on the Korean War in Japan (pp.85-99)
Hiroshi Sakurai (Faculty of Economics, Kurume University, Japan)
This paper surveys the development of studies on the Korean War in Japan from the 1950s until today, in close reference to changes in the socio-political climate of Japan over that time. Early studies, which were conducted under the dual constraints of the limited availability of pertinent documents and rivaling political ideologies, included the 1950s view which regarded the Korean War as a 'civil war', and the 1960s view which saw it as a 'war for national liberation'. Subsequently, however, as a number of new findings on the formulation of American policy on the war have begun to appear, and as Russian and Chinese archival documents have begun to be disclosed, Japanese studies on the war have taken a new turn, producing an increasing number of works which are more empirically oriented, and which pay closer attention to pertinent international factors and Japan's role in the war. Researchers are no longer concerned primarily with the question of 'who started the war', but are increasingly motivated to understand the war as seen in relation to the broader dynamics of international politics at work in Northeast Asia at the time. However, developments within North Korea and the impacts of the Sino-Soviet relations on the war still remain mostly unexplored owing to the limited availability of pertinent documents.

A new perspective on the Japanese distribution system: structure and trade practices (pp101-119)
Takeo Kikkawa and Mika Takaoka (University of Tokyo, Japan)
This paper surveys the conventional theoretical approaches to the Japanese distribution system, now subject to a great deal of controversy, identifies their shortcomings, and proposes an alternative, more comprehensive approach. In particular, the paper focuses on two points at issue concerning the distribution system, namely, the distributive structure and trade practices, examining how these are perceived by traditional schools of commercial scientists and by a newer breed of applied microeconomists who are gaining influence. A more accurate picture of the system should emerge when it is analyzed empirically from a perspective that is both historically conscious and mindful of strategic actions taken by different players in it; in other words, the perspective of business history.

Bureaucrats and villagers in Japan: Shimin and the crisis of the early 1930s (pp121-140)
Wilson Sandra (Murdoch University, Perth, Australia)
Bureaucrats have often been held responsible for collaborating with the military in the 1930s and 1940s to encourage ultranationalism and steer Japan towards war. Similarly, villagers have been portrayed as the backbone of 'Japanese fascism'. This paper suggests that, for the early 1930s at least, such views not only distort the picture of the Japanese countryside, but also overemphasize the coherence of the elites. Through an examination of the journal Shimin, which was produced largely by Home Ministry bureaucrats and directed at village leaders, it is shown that Home Ministry bureaucrats did not universally adopt the military viewpoint, particularly in relation to Japan's invasion of Manchuria and subsequent events. Though they were certainly nationalistic, they continued to direct moderate views of foreign policy to the countryside, while retaining their traditional emphasis on the importance of co-operation and conciliation in village life. Thus, in marked contrast to the sorts of views being directed by the army towards the countryside through the magazine le no Hikari, they reserved their enthusiasm, not for Manchuria or for the military's agenda, but for the government's economic revitalization movement. The material examined here suggests the complexity of the relationship between bureaucrats and the military in the 1930s, and raises questions about the place usually accorded to the early part of the decade in analyses of 'Japanese fascism'.

Social Science Japan Journal (1998)
Copyright ©1998 Oxford University Press

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