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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #88: March 27, 2003

Social Science Japan Journal

Journal Name: Social Science Japan Journal: April 2001, Vol. 4, No. 1
Print ISSN: 1369-1465, Online ISSN: 1468-2680


Progressive representations of the nation: early post-war Japan and beyond (pp1-19)
CA Gayle (West University Parkway, USA)
This paper compares Maruyama's Masao's concept of kokuminshugi, or 'civic national consciousness', and the Rekishigaku Kenkyukai's version of minzokushugi, or 'ethnic national consciousness'. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, both Maruyama and members of the Rekiken such as Ishimoda Sho, Inoue Kiyoshi and Toyama Shigeki, articulated their respective conceptions of nationhood as being ontologically separate from the domain of the post-war state. Yet, while Maruyama's liberal nationalism sought a 'healthy' sense of nationhood through the construction of a democratic revolution, the public sphere, and the notion of politics and culture as fictions, the Rekiken focused upon how to 'liberate' the ethnic nation in Japan and thereby emulate national liberation movements in Asia. In so doing, the Rekiken's approach denied any theoretical or historical legitimacy for the Japanese state and ignored the interrelated problems of national inclusion for those not scripted into their 'discovery' of Japanese 'ethnic culture', as well as specific forms of political organization and institutionalization for their 'new' ethnic nation. Some recent conceptualizations of the Japanese ethnic nation have been used on both the left and the right in similar revisionist critiques of the post-war constitution and political institutions.

Hybridity and distinctions in Japanese contemporary commercial weddings (pp21-38)
O Goldstein-Gidoni (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University, Israel)
By looking at modern Japanese wedding patterns and at recent changes in the wedding ceremony, this paper seeks a better understanding of the processes in which the foreign and the local interact in this so-called era of globalization. My alternative approach emphasizes distinctions. The commercial Japanese wedding, which is a combination of Japanese and Western styles, has the appearance of a chaotic cultural pastiche. However, in an interpretive and dynamic approach to anthropology and culture, one finds that it is in fact a very clearly distinct text. Combinations of the indigenous and the vanguard, the traditional and the modern are often regarded by theorists as examples of the failure of modernization. But if we abandon a post-modern paradigmatic view of the 'natives', what appears as disorganization and disorder is found to be not less systemic and systematic.

Why did Japan suspend foreign aid to China? Japan's foreign aid decision-making and sources of aid sanction (pp39-58)
SN Katada (School of International Relations, University of Southern California, USA)
The Japanese government has suspended part of its foreign aid to China twice in the past 12 years: first in 1989 after the Tiananmen Square incident, and secondly in response to China's nuclear testing in 1995. These two foreign aid suspension cases illustrate that the Japanese government has established extension and suspension of its foreign aid as a multiple-use foreign policy tool, as the country became the top aid donor in the world in the 1990s. The cases also indicate the importance of Japanese domestic politics and its public opinion in supporting the government's unilateral foreign policy actions, as foreign aid becomes an important policy tool aiming to enhance the security environment for Japan. Both of these conclusions go beyond the conventional theoretical understanding of Japan's foreign policy-making, which has emphasized Japan as a reactive state with single-minded pursuit of its economic interests.

American factory - Japanese factory (pp59-75)
K Odaka (Faculty of Economics, Hosei University, Japan)
In contrast to the prevailing view that the once-praised Japanese economic miracle stemmed from unique Japanese-style factory management, the present paper suggests that this system of management shared common roots with that of the US, which was modified to suit the social and economic environment of a latecomer to industrialization. The transplanted version was then perfected to such an extent that it was later adopted in other countries, including the US itself. The original, US-born production control skills were successfully transferred because a need for them was keenly felt and their value was highly appreciated by the Japanese workmen and engineers who adopted them.

Lowering the flag: democracy, authority and rights at Tokorozawa High School (pp77-93)
R Aspinall(Nagoya University, Japan) and P Cave (Department of Japanese Studies, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
In April 1998, the students of Tokorozawa High School in Saitama drew intensive media attention when they boycotted the school entrance ceremony and organized an alternative event. The dispute was sparked by the principal's insistence that the de facto national flag (Hinomaru) and anthem (Kimigayo) should be used at the ceremony, following orders from the Ministry of Education. The students objected that the controversial symbols, with their wartime associations, should not be imposed without their consent. The ensuing debate about authority and freedom in schools revealed different understandings of democracy in Japan. The debate also saw the government and the Right abandon the individuality-centred rhetoric of educational reform prevalent since the late 1980s, in favour of an emphasis on discipline and obedience in schools. The Tokorozawa dispute highlights the politically double-edged nature of educational reform, and shows that despite the weakening of teachers' unions, conflict over education in Japan continues in new forms.

Survey article. Japan's role in the Asian environmental crisis: comparing the critical literature and the environment agency's White Papers (pp95-102)
D Hall (Cornell University, USA)
The late 1980s saw the development of two bodies of literature addressing Japan's relationship to the Asian environmental crisis. The Japanese government's statements were concerned primarily with the contributions Japan could make to solving that crisis, while critical scholars and NGOs focused on ways in which Japanese activity exacerbated it. Using the annual White Papers of the Japan Environment Agency as a guide, this survey article inquires into the extent to which the government has come to engage with the arguments of the critical literature during the 1990s, a decade in which governments and multilateral lending agencies have been forced to deal more closely with environmental concerns. In particular I discuss (1) the extent to which the white papers address Japan's negative impacts on Asia; (2) the ways they treat Japan as a model for Asian environmental policy; and (3) their approach to conflict over policy-making.

Review essay. New perspectives on wages, production technologies and the peasantry in Japan's capitalist development (pp103-109)
A Sashinami

Review essay. Oguma Eiji and the construction of the modern Japanese national identity (pp111-116)
D Askew

Social Science Japan Journal (2001)
Copyright ©2001 Oxford University Press

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