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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #81: March 12, 2003

Japan Forum: The International Journal of Japanese Studies

Journal Name:
Japan Forum: The International Journal of Japanese Studies:
April, 2000, Vol.12, No.1

Print ISSN: 0955-5803, Online ISSN: 1469-932X


Senior Editor: Mark Williams (University of Leeds, UK)
Editors: Hugo Dobson (University of Sheffield, UK) Julie Gilson (University of Birmingham, UK) Sue Townsend (University of Nottingham, UK) Caroline Rose (University of Leeds, UK)
Reviews Editor: Chris S. Jones (University of Kent at Canterbury, UK)
Commissioning Editors: Chris Braddick (Musashi University, Japan), Sharon Kinsella (Yale University, USA)


Japan Forum is the official journal of the British Association for Japanese Studies. Its primary objective is to provide a comprehensive source of analytical articles in the field of Japanese Studies, and is designed to make available scholarship on Japan to an international readership of specialists and non-specialists. From April 1996 Japan Forum has been published by Routledge a major publisher in the area of Japanese Studies.
Japan Forum is multidisciplinary in focus, and publishes contributions from across the social sciences, arts and humanities. The work of historians, anthropologists, economists and sociologists is featured, along with that of specialists in other fields, such as literature and linguistics. All submissions to Japan Forum are independently refereed on the basis of originality and viability to cognate disciplines.


Yasui Kaoru: citizen-scholar in war and peace (pp1-14)
James J. Orr (Bucknell University, USA)
As the leader of Japan's ban-the-bomb movement in the 1950s and 1960s, scholar-activist Yasui Kaoru achieved international prominence for his promotion of grassroots anti-nuclear pacifism. Yet from his position as Professor of International Law at Tokyo Imperial University in the 1930s and 1940s, Yasui contributed to the formation of official cultural policy in occupied China and called on intellectuals to support Japan's wartime government. Although he later came to regret his naivety in collaborating with the wartime government's policies of military expansion, he never disowned the sincerity of his efforts to ameliorate the worst excesses of Japanese imperialism and help it fulfill the promise of true liberation for East Asia. Yasui subscribed to a philosophy of the scholar as politically engaged intellectual. This analysis of his writings on civic activism and his discipline's epistemologically problematic incorporation of politics into its practice suggests that Yasui was what he insisted he was: a liberal yet patriotic academic committed to pragmatic engagement with political realities. In the newly democratic postwar Japan, this commitment inspired him to try rallying the Japanese masses in the cause of peace rather than mobilizing the elite in the cause of war.

The fall of moral education and the rise and decline of civics education and social studies in occupied and independent Japan (pp15 - 41)
Harry Wray (Oka Gakuen University, Japan)
This paper explores the process and controversies involved in the establishment and implementation of social studies in Occupied Japan. Its objectives are to demonstrate the limits to the Ministry of Education's willingness to reform moral education and to abandon civics education in favour of social studies; to elucidate the American rationale for preferring social studies to civics education; to argue that relatively shallow roots for social studies in Japan meant that a great deal of sophisticated 'nudging' was applied to introduce it; and to discuss reasons for the decline of social studies in Japan since the Occupation ended. Social studies has declined because conservatives argued that the progressive educators' emphasis on individualism, child-centered education, and creating active citizens through the methodology of discussion, debate, and problem-solving were alien to Japanese culture, lowered Japanese academic standards, slighted the integrity of history and geography as independent subjects, and provided a course for radicals to indoctrinate students with Marxism. They claimed that these changes undermined traditional values, weakened social and national cohesion, and slighted national identity. Many educators also argued that the multi-disciplinary content of social studies was too difficult and did not lend itself to testing for Japanese entrance examinations. Finally, the course was introduced and implemented so rapidly and in such an impoverished period that the lack of good educational materials and qualified teachers contributed to a poor start. A foreign occupation could impose social studies; it could not maintain those aspects that did not suit conservative nationalists. Ironically, fifty years later some of the goals and practices of social studies are being advocated by some educators and desired by youth.

Japan and an East Asian model of agriculture's role in industrialization (pp43 - 52)
Penelope Francks (University of Leeds, UK)
This article summarizes the results of a recently completed study of agricultural change and agricultural policy in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, in order to consider what might be learnt, as regards agriculture's role in the economy during and since industrialization, from placing Japan in a comparative East Asian context. It outlines the broad similarities in the experience of the agricultural sector in the three countries as 'miracle growth' took place and goes on to suggest some common factors underlying these similarities which would justify the construction of an 'East Asian model' of agriculture's role in industrialization. These include the economic, political and social significance of rice cultivation; the institutions of the 'bureaucratic developmental state' as they operate in the agricultural sector and the prevalence of the part-time, 'pluriactive' farm household. The article concludes by asking what the delineation of such a model might contribute to understanding of the political economy of agriculture in Japan.

Counter-Orientalism and textual play in Akutagawa's 'The ball' ('Butlkai') (pp 53 - 63)
David Rosenfeld (University of Michigan, USA)
The article describes the 1920 short story 'The ball' ('Butlkai') by the Japanese writer Akutagawa Ryłnosuke, written in response to an 1889 story, 'A ball in Edo' ('Un Bal Ó Yeddo') by the French writer Pierre Loti. Loti's story sarcastically describes a state ball put on by the Japanese government for foreign visitors, suggesting that the Japanese try in vain to mimic the manners of their European betters. Akutagawa rewrites the events of the French work from the point of view of one of the Japanese women Loti describes. The article suggests that Akutagawa's text reveals an acute political sensibility that is not captured in the conventional critical estimation of him as an apolitical aesthetic craftsman. The story is compared to more recent post-colonial literary texts that attempt to 'write back' to a hegemonic colonial cultural presence. Akutagawa's text, written in a Japan in the process of creating itself as a colonial power in the model of the European powers, is ambivalent in its depiction of resentment of the disdain of Loti's account and its intimation of Japan's own imperial desires.

Japan in Kosovo: lessons in the politics of 'complex engagement' (pp65 - 75)
Julie Gilson (University of Birmingham, UK)
The Kosovo crisis of 1999 took place on the European continent and was dominated by US-led NATO actions aimed at assisting Kosovo in its struggle against what was considered to be ethnic cleansing by the Serbian government. While many observers may be unaware that the Japanese government had a role to play in the unfolding events, this article examines how and why that participation is important for an understanding of Tokyo's contemporary foreign policy orientation. To this end, the article assesses how Japanese participation in the international efforts aimed at restoring peace to the region were channelled through specific multilateral fora. In particular, it assesses the development of Japan's role as part of the United Nations, NATO and the G7/8 processes, and it examines the opportunities introduced by the cessation of NATO bombing raids after May 1999. The article also explains how this participation can be understood to illustrate an orientation towards 'complex engagement', as the Tokyo administration seeks to assert its international profile more actively in the pursuit of non-military objectives. This concept, which is developed throughout, will be shown to represent an underlying trend in the changing formulation of Japanese foreign policy. Its still tentative foundations rest upon a state-society cooperation used to eschew the pursuit of active military diplomacy in favour of a multi-layered, non-military orientation which rests upon the notion of human security.

Noguchi Shika: the eternal mother of modern Japan (pp77- 85)
Kweku Ampiah (University of Stirling, Scotland)
This article examines how the narratives about Noguchi Shika and her son, Noguchi Hideyo (Japan's first world-renowned microbiologist), were presented in school textbooks for the purposes of teaching about the essence of motherhood. It argues that the presentations about Noguchi Shika in the prewar textbooks were part of the State's endeavours to turn Japanese women into responsible mothers. The article also argues that the prewar policy of 'good wife, wise mother'(ry˘sai kenbo) evolved into a medium for empowering women rather than acting solely as a regressive agent. It therefore shows how the narratives about the Noguchis in both prewar and postwar textbooks concentrated on Shika and her son while excluding Noguchi Sayosuke (the father). By erasing the father from the narratives, the State, as is argued here, furnished women with a social status that undermined the foundations of paternal authority. The core reference materials for this analysis are school textbooks containing narratives about the Noguchis which were published between 1932 and 1980.

By women, for women: Japanese women's attitudes towards employment in the Occupation era (pp87- 112)
Darren Aoki (University of Wolverhampton, UK)
This article deals with Japanese women and employment in the years during and immediately following the Allied Occupation (1945 to 1952). Through the use of public opinion polls conducted by the Prime Minister's Office, women's attitudes towards employment will be diagrammed within the context of larger emergent employment patterns. It will argue that although external influences and institutions circumscribed female employment activities, women themselves structured their participation in the labour force to reflect a set of priorities, concerns and ideals grounded in a traditionalistic conception of domesticity and motherhood. First, it addresses external factors that at once moulded women's motivations to seek employment while obstructing the emergence of female career-consciousness. Second, it looks at 'internal' reasons (women's self-perceptions and ideals) influencing the lesser normative priority assigned by women to the notion of female employment. In balancing statistical data with anecdotal evidence, and by contextualising the contemporary picture with references to both pre-war influences and post-Occupation developments, this article will interpret the Occupation not in terms of its elite actors, but through the attitudes of everyday women whose influence in the reconstruction of Japan was dynamic and profound.

Japan Forum (2000)
Copyright ©2000 BAJS

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Posted with permission from the publisher.

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