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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #85: March 24, 2003

Japan Forum: The International Journal of Japanese Studies

Journal Name: Japan Forum: The International Journal of Japanese Studies: April, 2001, Vol.13, No.1
Print ISSN: 0955-5803, Online ISSN:1469-932X


Informal diplomacy and the modern idea of Japan (pp1-13)
Peter O'Connor

Edward H. House: questions of meaning and influence (pp15 - 25)
James L. Huffman
This article examines two key issues regarding Western efforts to interpret Meiji Japan, as illustrated in the life of Boston journalist Edward H. House (1836-1901). They are, first, the difficulty of cutting through the rhetoric of any era, as one seeks to understand what an interpreter meant, and, second, the complexity of efforts to decipher how much influence historical figures exerted. The essay begins with a summary of House's life: his prominence as an American Civil War reporter, his editorship in the 1870s of the Tokio Times, his literary contributions and troubled friendship with Mark Twain in the 1880s, and his final years in Tokyo. It takes up the first interpretative issue by focusing on House's writings about women, arguing that, while House's prose was filled with the male, imperialist rhetoric of his day, his espousal of genuine equality was radically progressive. The second issue, influence, is examined through the lens of House's crusades to have the United States return its portion of the 1864 Shimonoseki indemnity. The essay concludes that, while House exerted undeniable influence in prompting Congress's decision to send back the money, the question of how much effect he had in 'correcting' the historical record of the event remains problematic.

The Japan Chronicle and its editors: reflecting Japan to the press and the people, 1891-1940 (pp27- 40)
Tomiko Kakegawa
In this paper, I use the Japan Chronicle as a reference point for the internal idea of Japan and the struggle to define it waged between the press and the government. In describing the underlying principles adopted by the Chronicle, I look back at some early moral and intellectual influences on Robert Young, its founder and first editor. I then compare the stance and behaviour of the ksaka Asahi Shinbun and the Chronicle on issues of press freedom, with specific reference to the White Rainbow Incident (hakkljiken, also known as the ksaka Asahi Incident). I then analyze the differences between the two papers in their treatment of political affairs following the Manchurian Incident and show the Chronicle, the Japanese government and a supine Japanese press at the height of their three-cornered struggle for the internal idea of Japan. I conclude with historical observations on the foregoing.

Presenting Japan: the role of overseas broadcasting by Japan during the Manchurian Incident, 1931–7 (pp41- 54)
Jane Robbins
Most of the major world powers, including Japan, began experiments in overseas radio broadcasting during the 1920s. For many, such as Britain, the primary motivation was to communicate with their overseas colonies. For others, including Japan, the motivation was to promote cultural awareness, particularly among overseas populations. However, the Japanese occupation of Manchuria (Dongbei) in 1931 changed the course of overseas radio development in Japan. Japan became increasingly isolated, particularly after the League of Nations adopted the Lytton Report on Manchuria and urged Japan to withdraw her troops. Japan withdrew from the League, thus increasing her diplomatic isolation. The Japanese government now turned to overseas radio as a means to present the Japanese case in the absence of a recognized international voice in the League. This paper will trace the development of Japan's overseas broadcasting following this shift in perspective and before the start of the full, undeclared war in China in 1937.

Thoughts on the precipice: Japanese postcards, c.1903–39
Peter O'Connor, Aaron M. Cohen (pp55 - 62)

Endgame: the English-language press networks of East Asia in the run-up to war, 1936–41 (pp63 - 76)
Peter O'Connor
This article examines the formation between c.1890 and 1937 of three networks of English-language newspapers in China and Japan. Of these, one network was closely associated with the American-owned Japan Advertiser, and another with the British-owned Japan Chronicle. The Gaimushl (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) assembled the third network to promote an understanding of Japan and her place in the world and to check the influence of the other two. The article analyses the competition for readers and influence between the Gaimushl network and the two foreign networks, and follows its development from covert to overt competition. It then asks why this competition became so intense, and considers what was at stake, followed by an outline of the 'endgame' in which the Gaimushl network culled the newspapers, news agencies and staff of the Japan Advertiser and Japan Chronicle networks.

Post-war reconstruction of the Japan Lobby in Washington: the first fifteen years (pp77 - 90)
Robert Charles Angel
This paper describes Tokyo's regeneration of informal diplomacy, lobbying, and public relations in Washington during the first fifteen years of the post-World War Two era. Relieved by the Allied Occupation from official responsibility for conduct of Japan's foreign relations and even denied opportunities for foreign travel and communication, Japan's conservative national élite worked deftly through American individuals and organizations pursuing compatible agendas to counter Occupation reform efforts they considered excessive or ill-advised. Following recovery of national sovereignty in 1952, Japan's Lobby managers diversified and expanded their US operations, focusing energy on maintenance of the political status quo in the bilateral economic relationship that had been established at the outset of the Cold War. The Article concludes that Tokyo's Lobby managers adapted successfully to changes in their domestic and international environments during the early post-war era and provided critical support for Japan's primary national objective of rapid economic reconstruction and growth.

Yoshimitsu, Benedict, Endl: guilt, shame and the post-war idea of Japan
Adrian Pinnington (pp91 - 105)
The idea that Japan is a 'shame culture' and that the Japanese have a weak sense of sin has been an influential one, both in Japan and abroad. It has also often influenced attitudes towards Japan's behaviour in World War II. This idea, however, has its roots in the Japanese critique of pre-war ideology after World War II and in the Japanese reception of Ruth Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword. In various forms, the idea also became an important element of Nihonbunkaron, those theories of Japanese culture which have been so popular in post-war Japan. The same idea was also given a powerful and influential expression in the novels of Endl Shˆsaku (1923-96). Earlier Christian theologians in Japan, such as Yoshimitsu Yoshihiko (1904-45), had often seen traditional Japanese culture as closer to Christianity than modern European culture. To such thinkers, Japan's war with Britain and America was in part a war on modernity itself. By contrast, Endlaccepted the post-war belief that Japan was a shame culture, distant from European Christianity. As his career proceeded, however, he came to take a more positive view of the 'weak' Japanese self. In this sense, his work closely parallels the development of Nihonbunkaron itself. Paradoxically, however, Endl's 'Japanese' reinterpretation of Christianity proved highly popular not only in Japan but also abroad, raising the possibility that it was less exclusively Japanese than his work suggested.

Japan Forum (2001)
Copyright ©2001 BAJS

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Posted with permission from the publisher.

Copyright © Japanese Institute of Global Communications