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Tokyo International Exchange Center, Plaza Heisei, Media Hall


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Pan-Asianism in Modern Japanese History: Colonialism, Regionalism and BordersConference Languages: Japanese and English (simultaneous translation provided)

Supported by: The Japan Foundation

November 29 - November 30, 2002

In the decade since the end of the Cold War, regionalization has become of
increasing global importance. In the search for a new world order, regionalism
seems to offer a stepping-stone toward international cooperation in an era
when national approaches remain unsatisfactory and universal ideas are still
far from being realized. Europe is widely seen as the pioneer in regional
integration and the quest to overcome the nation state, with North America
following closely, at least in terms of economic integration. However, when
it comes to the institutional manifestation of transnational ties, regional
cooperation and integration in Asia seems to make less progress. New approaches
such as the ASEAN+3 initiative, for example, still seem burdened by the legacies
of the past. An important aspect of this past is the ideology of Pan-Asianism,
which served not only as the basis for early efforts at regional integration
in East Asia, but also a tool for legitimising Japanese colonial rule. With
this past experience in mind, this conference proposes to explore the ideology
of Pan-Asianism (or Asianism) as a predecessor of contemporary Asian regionalism,
thereby bringing historical perspective to bear on approaches to regional
cooperation and integration, as well as to analyse various utilizations and
manifestations of Pan-Asian ideology. Moreover, the conference aims at analysing
the relationship of historical Pan-Asian ideology to the much-noted phenomenon
of “Asian values,” and at demonstrating that Pan-Asianism remains a persistent
force in Japanese thought and foreign policy.
The concept of a Pan-movement actually originated within the framework of
European history and thus may seem inappropriate for analysing an aspect
of Asian history. However, as early as the late 19th century the term “Pan-Asianism”
or “Asianism,” was in wide use in Japanese media coverage, intellectual discourse,
and foreign policy planning. Pan-Asianism subsequently manifested itself
in a wide variety of forms. While it certainly functioned as a tool for legitimizing
Japanese colonial rule in East Asia and as an ideological foundation for
Japanese regional hegemony, there is more to Pan-Asianism than this very
common yet one-dimensional interpretation of self-interested political utilization.
Pan-Asian ideology also served as a means to mobilize Asian peoples in their
struggle for independence from colonial rule and as an instrument to construct
a regional identity in opposition to “the West.” Furthermore, Pan-Asian rhetoric
is still widely employed today, perhaps most notably in the quest to define
so-called “Asian values” in response to a supposed universality of Western
thought. Considered from this perspective, the phenomenon of Pan-Asianism
seems to possess a stronger “transnational” character than European Pan-movements
and, when employed in efforts to establish a collective regional identity,
to cut across nation-state boundaries and appeal to certain cohesive cultural
factors, e.g. language/script, religion, shared historical experience, geography,
and race. By addressing these aspects of Pan-Asianism in Japan from the late
19th century until the post-World War II period, this conference aims at
making both an empirical and a theoretical contribution to the study of Pan-Asianism
and the historical background of regionalism in general, and to stimulating
future research in the field. Participants will include researchers from
the fields of history, political science, social science and Japanese studies.


Day 1         November 29th (Friday)


Opening Remarks

Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit

German Institute for Japanese Studies


Sven Saaler

German Institute for Japanese Studies

Panel 1


Isa Ducke

German Institute for Japanese Studies

Pan-Europeanism in Comparative Perspective

Harald Kleinschmidt (Tsukuba University)

Saying that Pan-Europeanism no longer exists would be wrong but saying
that it was important as an ideology would be an exaggeration.
Pan-Europeanism had a difficult position among the ideologies of the
first half of the twentieth century and bequeathed a problematic legacy
to the latter part of the same century. As an ideology, Pan-Europeanism
was an answer to the growing sense of cultural despair in the 1920s.
Its essential protagonist in the German speaking area, Count Richard
Nicolaus Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894–1972) requested respect for idealism
as a means to fend off what he identified as the evils of materialism
and technology.

He demanded the strengthening of religious faith against the perceived
dangers of secularisation and socialism and proposed that the elite
culture of the aristocracy should be accepted as a bulwark against what
he described as the ravages of populism and militarism. With
materialism, secularisation and populism targeted as primary foes,
Pan-Europeanism presented itself as a conservative ideology drawn on
the traditional aristocratic conceit that only the nobility were of
consequence and could represent the unity of Europe through its own
cosmopolitan values and Europe-wide kin networks.

With technology, socialism and militarism positioned as the core evils
of the modern world, Pan-Europeanists became missionaries against
progress and equality but for peace. Coudenhove-Kalergi, whose mother
was Japanese and whose father was an established critic of racism,
seemed to be able to articulate these attitudes, values and goals
better than anyone else. However, the attitudes were snobbish, the
values unattractive for most of the population and the goals
conflicting. Aristocratic elitism, an ill-conceived preference for
idealist values and religious sectarianism marginalised Pan-Europeanism
and prevented it from contributing significantly (or substantially) to
the unity of Europe.

German Cosmopolitan Ideals in the Political Philosophy of Japanese

John Namjun Kim (Cornell University)

This paper seeks to determine the sense in which the Hegelian concept
of “mediation” is central to the philosophical-political projects of
the Kyōto School philosophers Miki Kiyoshi and Tanabe Hajime and
how this concept introduces an important ambiguity in the notion of
cosmopolitanism. Specifically, it focuses on how both Miki and
Tanabe—as divergent as their views are—rely implicitly on the abstract
notion of cosmopolitanism laid out by Immanuel Kant’s essay Toward Perpetual Peace for their
arguments in support of the project of Japanese imperialism.

It argues that both Miki and Tanabe accept Kant’s notion in order to
criticize it in favor of a more “concrete” conception of
cosmopolitanism. However, this more “concrete” conception, as it turns
out, is almost
indistinguishable from nationalism insofar as “Japan” becomes the
primary unit by which individual self-hood is measured. While G.W.F.
Hegel’s philosophy of mediation is not in itself “nationalist,” this
paper argues that the introduction of the concept of mediation produces
a political ambiguity when considered in terms of Kantian
cosmopolitanism. On the one hand, mediation in the political sphere
suggests the thoroughgoing mutual determination of all subjects in the
world and thus suggests an ultimate form of cosmopolitanism. On the
other hand, the concept of mediation might also be applied, first,
within a determined geopolitical boundary such as the Japanese Empire
and then, in turn, on a larger scale such as the world in toto, such that the Japanese
Empire is mediated by other nation-states.

The latter case, as this paper argues, cannot be adequately described
by the conceptual language of either nationalism or cosmopolitanism.
Rather, mediation in the latter case describes the logic of
imperialism. Mediation in the latter case designates the internal
subsumption of cultural differences—e.g. Japanese, Okinawan, Korean,
Taiwanese, etc—such that they all are subsumed under representational
sphere called “Japan.” It is important to investigate this form of
“multiculturalism” in view of contemporary concerns, for it serves as
an early model of the kind of hegemony exerted by other imperial forms,
such as that represented today by American.

The European Integration and East Asia

Romano Vulpitta (Kyôto Sangyô University)

The globalization game is no longer between countries, but between
regions.In spite of the two World Wars fought in the first half of the
twentieth century, in its second half the countries of Western Europe
engaged in a successful process of integration. This has gradually
extended to almost all of Europe. The reasons for such success lay in
an unexpected underlying strong feeling of unity between the diverse
countries, no doubt resulting from long experience of competition and
cooperation, which provided the know-how for intra-regional relations.

In East Asia the countries of the southern part of the region went
through an earlier process of integration, but relations between the
countries of the northern part are still at the bilateral stage. Until
now, the strong ties of economic interdependence that the latter are
building between themselves, and with the southern part of the region,
have not developed into an organic form of integration. However, if the
countries of East Asia fail in finding some degree of integration, the
region will not be able to consolidate its position as the third pole
of the world economy.

Can the European experience become a model for integration in East
Asia? Culturally, economically and politically, the conditions are, of
course, very different; but the problem of how to accommodate two big
powers like China and Japan in any proposed integration poses the
biggest challenge to the region.


Rolf-Harald Wippich (Sophia University)

Lunch Break

Panel 2

The Pan-Asianism of the Kōa-kai and of Ueki Emori

Kuroki Morifumi (Fukuoka International University)

This paper begins with an examination of the Kōa-kai, Japan’s
first organization dedicated to Pan-Asianism to appear in modern times,
founded in 1880. The presenter will trace and clarify the historical
background related to the development of the Kōa-kai’s
organization, its aims, the composition of its members, its
organizational structure, the ideas held by members as well as the
association’s activities.

Next, the presenter explores the Pan-Asianism propounded and developed
by Ueki Emori, a leader of the Jiyūtō (Liberal Party) and a
political theorist connected with the popular rights movement. Ueki
harshly criticized the Kōa-kai’s stand on Pan-Asianism. The
author then traces the changes in the Jiyūtō’s views on
Pan-Asianism that took place from the time when Ueki passed away in
1885 through the period of the Sino-Japanese War (1894/95).


Andrea Germer

German Institute for Japanese Studies

Buddhism and Pan-Asianism

Li Narangoa (Australian National University)

The basic idea of Pan-Asianism from the late 19th century to the
mid-20th century was Asian unity against Western imperialism. Many of
the advocates of Pan-Asianism emphasized the similarity of Asian
culture, especially the common root of religion or philosophy. In both
Europe and Asia there was a strong tendency to characterise the
civilizations of the two continents in such a way that they were seen
as fundamentally at odds in philosophical terms. Thus, many Asians,
especially Chinese and Japanese, acknowledged the power of Western
technology, but rejected Western philosophy and sought to identify
common cultural features which linked Asian countries. They wanted to
adopt Western technology only on the basis of what they saw as their
own oriental spirit. Buddhism was one of the most significant common
cultural bases along with Confucian philosophy. In order to prevent,
for example, Christian influence from the West, Japanese Buddhists
began to seek alliances with their fellow Buddhist in other Asian
countries. They did not have any coherent strategy to implement using
these alliances, but solidarity gave them a sense of strength.

This paper shall examine the elastic nature of regionalism by looking
at the motives of Japanese religious groups, especially Buddhist
groups, in expanding their mission to other parts of Asia. It will
examine the problems they faced in trying to pursue their ‘Buddhist
brothers’ – under the name of ‘Asian unity’ – in the Japanese Buddhist
form, which was a more ‘civilized’ and ‘up to date’ religious form.

The Imperial Army's View of Asian Regionalism

Nojima (Katô) Yôko (Tokyo University)

In the period before World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army
maintained its own unique stance concerning issues related to national
security and exerted its influence on national defense policy and
foreign policy. This process has become well understood through the
work carried out by James B. Crowley and Michael A. Barnhart. Their
studies are focused on an analysis of the period from the 1930’s onward
following the influence of great changes caused by the world depression
and the rise of Chinese nationalism related to the activities of
China’s National People’s Party (Kuomintang).

However, consistently throughout the years that followed the end of
World War I, in the Japanese Imperial Army’s own views, the most likely
probable cause for a breakout of war were seen to be a US–Japan
confrontation stemming from economic and political chaos in China.
Given this view, then, in the minds of Japanese Imperial Army
personnel, what kind of a relationship between China and Japan did they
regard as ideal? Using Honjō Shigeru, Ugaki Kazushige (Issei),
Ishihara Kanji and Itagaki Seishirō as examples, I will trace the
various aspects of army thinking concerning this relationship during
the period from the 1920’s into the 1940’s.


Sakai Tetsuya (Tokyo University)

Coffee Break

Panel 3


Rolf-Harald Wippich (Sophia University)

"The Inferiority of Asia": The Taishô 'Civilization Critics' and Regional Integration

Dick Stegewerns (Ôsaka Sangyo University)

In Meiji Japan’s race to catch up with Western civilisation the
existence of ideas on an alliance of Asian nations had seemed snowed
under by Fukuzawa Yukichi’s famous adage of ‘stepping out of Asia’.
However, by the Shōwa period such ideas had become so much a part
of rightist rhetoric and government propaganda that in hindsight they
were looked upon as part and parcel to the notorious ‘Greater East
Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere’ and thus considered suspicious and
dangerous. This led to the situation that when such ideas were
discovered to have existed amongst ‘respectable’ actors on the prewar
modern Japanese scene, they tended to be ignored or downplayed. The
extreme cases, which could not be ignored, were swept together under
the name ‘Asianism’, a tag that, because of its prewar, often dubious
content, has strong negative connotations.

Still, it is hard to deny that ideas on Asian integration were a
constant element in the intellectual make-up of the Japanese
intelligentsia, and there were hardly any Japanese who did not share
the long-term policy of kicking the Western nations out of Asia. This
policy was usually subdued, however, for short-term political, economic
and strategic reasons. In any case, the most common expression of such
ideas was still a far cry from ‘Asianism’, because the majority of the
Japanese found it hard, in spite of the shared Asian political
objective, to find a common Asian identity or, if they did, to give it
a respectable content. This paper will deal with the ideas on regional
integration of several opinion leaders of the 1910s and 1920s, the
so-called ‘civilisation critics’.

"Women Pan-Asianists are the Worst": Internationalism and Pan-Asianism in the Careers of Inoue Hideko and Inoue Masaji

Michael A. Schneider (Knox College)

This paper considers the lives of Inoue Hideko (1875-1963) and her
husband Inoue Masaji (1876-1947), internationalists who became
Pan-Asianists. Their careers highlight key features of 1930’s
Pan-Asianism, notably the allure of Pan-Asianism for 1920s
internationalists. Their careers, moreover, allow us to consider the
importance of gender in the appeal of Pan-Asianism.

The new participation of Japanese women in international relations of
the 1920s forces us to consider their subsequent support for
Pan-Asianism. Even among the many startling examples of intellectual
apostasy in 1930s Japan, Inoue Hideko’s turn to fascism is remarkable.
Inoue was Japan’s leading female internationalist of the 1920s. What
does conversion of Inoue Hideko and other women internationalists to
Pan-Asianism tell us about their relationship to
pan-national/pan-ethnic ideologies? Is it the case, as is occasionally
argued, that Pan-Asianist ideology was aided more crritically and even
advanced more feverishly by women rather than men?

This paper will address such questions by considering the ideas of
Hideko with her husband, Inoue Masaji. Masaji had an internationalist
agenda in his own right. His turn to Pan-Asianism is somehow less
controversial. His Pan-Asianism is viewed as more typical than tragic.
I will argue that the different approaches of Hideko and Masaji to
Pan-Asianism (and the different reactions to their 1930s support for
Pan-Asianism) suggest general truths about relationship between gender
and Pan-Asianism. Women promoted internationalism during the 1920s to
justify their participation in international affairs. Thus they risked
much more than men who did the same. Their turn to Pan-Asianism
reflected a continuing need to defend women’s competence in
international affairs.

Between Pan-Asianism and Japanese Nationalism: Mitsukawa Kametarô and His Campaign to Reform Japan and Liberate Asia

Christopher Szpilman (Takushoku University)

This paper focuses on the thought and behavior of Mitsukawa
Kametarō (1888-1936), a journalist, writer, and university
professor. Though almost completely neglected by postwar Japanese
historians, Waseda-educated Mitsukawa, an ardent promoter of
pan-Asianist ideas, was a pivotal figure in Japan’s prewar right-wing
movement. He founded the Rōsōkai and the Yūzonsha,
perhaps the best-known pan-Asianist and renovationist organizations of
the 1920s, and was subsequently active in several other radical
organizations. But in addition to radicals, Mitsukawa’s contacts also
included members of the traditional right wing, as indicated, for
example, by his association with Hiranuma Kiichirō’s National
Foundation Society and Uchida Ryōhei’s Kokuryūkai.

In the first part of the presentation, I trace the development of
Mitsukawa’s views on Asia, Japan’s mission in Asia, Japanese
nationalism, Japanese colonial policy, party politics, and the race
problem. I place these views in their historical context and discuss
the influences, both native and foreign, that helped to shape them.
Noting inherent tensions between Pan-Asianism and nationalism that
existed in Mitsukawa’s thought, I also describe the ways in which
Mitsukawa attempted to reconcile such contradictions. In the second
part I attempt to gauge the influence of Mitsukawa’s pan-Asian ideas on
the Japanese right wing movement in the interwar period. To this end, I
examine both how his radical ideas were propagated and the reactions
they inspired in an extensive network of Mitsukawa’s associates in the
army, navy, bureaucracy, and journalism.


Sven Saaler

German Institute for Japanese Studies


Day 2         November 30th (Saturday)

Panel 4


Monika Schrimpf

German Institute for Japanese Studies

Visions of a Virtuous New Order: Yasuoka Masahiro and the Kingly Way

Roger Brown (University of Southern California)

This paper examines the idealistic vision of a new order in East Asia
as articulated by the nationalist intellectual Yasuoka Masahiro
(1898-1983). A student of Confucian thought and a principal activist in
post-World War I right-wing organizations, Yasuoka emerged as a leading
conservative reformist and confidant to prominent individuals within
the bureaucracy, in the business world, and at court. Dating from the
period of the Versailles Peace Conference, Yasuoka’s Pan-Asianism
envisioned a renaissance of East Asian civilization to be animated by
“Oriental” self-cultivation and realized through the oversight of a
virtuous officialdom. This was in essence the same perspective that
informed his Japanist discourse on the need for a domestic
“restoration” in line with the principles of the Kingly Way
(ōdō), highlighting the fact that for Yasuoka these values
supplied the best means not only for ruling Manchuria, but for
governing Japan, as well. As further expansion led to war, Yasuoka
offered his reading of China’s dynastic history as a guide for
eliciting Chinese cooperation in the creation of a Greater East Asia,
all the while stressing the need for Japanese of superior character to
step forward and help realize the Kingly Way at home and abroad.

The Concept of Ethnic Nationality and its Role in Pan-Asianism in Imperial Japan

Kevin Doak (Georgetown University)

In my paper, I present the outlines of a broadly shared vision for a
new form of regionalism that was promoted by intellectuals, bureaucrats
and others at the height of wartime Japan. This new regionalism was
eventually expressed as a “New Order in East Asia.” While the general
features of Japanese imperialism and the impact of Japan’s diplomatic
withdrawal from the international community in the mid-1930s are now
well understood, work on the cultural ideology of Japanese regionalism
is less advanced.

My paper argues that the vision behind Japanese efforts to establish
Asian regionalism was informed by the re-discovery of ethnicity (minzoku) as a key social identity,
beginning around the outbreak of World War I. By the 1930s, a new
approach to national or “Volk” identity had emerged that emphasized the
plasticity of this ethnic identity or nationality. Takata Yasuma called
for a new expansive sense of nationality that would encompass all the
people in East Asia, even while an independent political state remained
the goal of most people in the region. Takata’s theories were most
useful in shaping a new regionalism when they were incorporated into
the concept of hierarchical social order presented by the ethnologist
Oka Masao. Oka’s concept of minzoku
envisioned East Asia as a vertical ordering of the
various ethnic groups in the region. Finally, wartime bureaucrats in
the Ministry of Welfare wrote a policy for East Asia which tried to
synthesize these different approaches. In conclusion, I argue that a
close look at these arguments for regionalism in wartime East Asia, and
especially the role and scope of this concept of minzoku, will reveal some
surprising conceptual legacies in contemporary efforts to revive East
Asian regionalism.

Pan-Germanism Meets Pan-Asianism: Nazi Germany and Japan's Greater East Asia Policy

Gerhard Krebs (Free University Berlin)

Hitler as a racist disliked all non-European peoples and made only a
gradual exception in the case of the Japanese. His basic plan was to
strengthen the supremacy of the Europeans all over the world, and this
stood in sharp contrast to Japan’s aim to expel the “white man” from
East Asia. It is even said, bizarrely, that during World War II Hitler
thought of offering military assistance to Britain for the defence of
its Empire in Asia –against Japan. However, his dream of a German
empire on the European continent, mainly at the expense of the Soviet
Union, resulted in him seeking closer links with Japan, a longtime
enemy of Russia. Since Britain refused his offer for a free hand
overseas in return for a similar free hand for Germany on the European
continent, a military alliance with Japan, even with Britain as a
possible enemy, became increasingly attractive.

Japan disassociated itself from Germany after the conclusion of the
Hitler-Stalin treaty, but showed renewed interest in closer relations
when Germany won a surprising victory over the Netherlands, Belgium and
France in spring 1940 and even Britain seemed to be on the brink of
defeat. In siding with Germany, Japan saw the chance to take over the
colonies of the European nations in Southeast Asia, in particular the
oil-rich Dutch East Indies. In September 1940 the Tripartite Pact was
signed as a “defence alliance” against the USA and an agreement to
divide the world into blocs, whereby Germany and Italy were granted
Europe (and Africa) as their zone of influence and Japan would dominate
Asia. When Japan opened war against the USA and England, Germany and
Italy declared war against the United States, too. Nevertheless,
distrust between Japan and its European allies remained. Hitler often
showed signs of regretting his decision to side with the “yellow”
Japanese against the British because of the “racial affinity” between
Britain and Germany. In addition, German public opinion of the early
military successes of Japan expressed an inferiority feeling and a
revival of the fear of the “yellow peril”. Japan, knowing quite well
Hitler’s preferences, feared throughout the war that a German-British
separate peace would be concluded at the expense of Asian peoples.


Hatano Sumio (Tsukuba University)

Lunch Break

Panel 5


Sven Saaler

German Institute for Japanese Studies

'Constructing Destiny': Rôyama Masamichi and Asian Community in Wartime Japan

Victor Koschmann (Cornell University)

Historical forms of Japanese Pan-Asianism (Ajiashugi) often tend to rely on an idealized, highly conceptual notion of “Asia.” In fact, such concepts of “Asia” are sometimes unconsciously substituted for the complexity and diversity of “real” phenomena on the ground in the region. In such cases,  “Asia” becomes a collective fantasy, and when policies – especially those that involve military and political interventions – are based on such fantasies, the results can be disastrous.

Of course, even during periods like the mid-1930s to the end of the Asia-Pacific War, when Pan-Asianist fantasies were ascendant, they were never embraced universally by those concerned with Japan’s Asia policy. Some commentators, like the political scientist, Rōyama Masamichi, tried to bring realism, empiricism and rational analysis to the debates on Asia policy, despite his own fantasies regarding Japan’s Asian “destiny.” He called attention to the unpleasant facts that “Asia” was by no means a naturally cohesive “region,” and pointed out that Japan had almost no history of interaction with substantial areas that it now proposed to unify into a “Co-Prosperity Sphere.” Noteworthy aspects of his approach to Asia in this period include a highly subjective (shutaiteki), instrumentalist stance toward what he saw as the political project of constructing Asian community and the conviction that narrow nationalism had to be transcended and subsumed in an Asian regional identity.

Pan-Asianism in International Relations: Prewar, Postwar, Present

Hatsuse Ryûhei (Kyôto Women’s University)

Pan-Asianism in Japan has three dimensions: national, international and
transnational. It comprises Japanese nationalism as well as
expansionism, reactions to the Western dominance, and identification
with Asian people(s) and “values”. Actually Pan-Asianism is expressed
in political, economic, and cultural terms, with the balance, in
essence, being determined by changes in international relations.

Before World War II, Pan-Asianism was mainly political and related to
the liberation of Asia from Western colonialism. After the War,
however, economic factors became more important in Pan-Asianism as more
Asian nations regained independence and sought economic development as
a national goal. At that time, the Cold War divided Asia into two
blocs, thereby preventing economic and political cooperation in the
region. Thus, Pan-Asianism disappeared from the surface. But in the
late 1970s, Japanese NGOs started activities to assist regional or
local autonomy in Asia. This resulted in more transnational human
interactions in the region. A new type of cooperation among Asian
people seems to have come into being, irrespective of whether we call
this transnationalist Pan-Asianism or not. The presentation will start
with a general framework, then moving on to the changes in Pan-Asianism
in the different historical stages, and ends with a few examples of
recent NGO activists.

Coffee Break

Panel 5 (continued)

The Postwar Intellectuals' View of "Asia"

Oguma Eiji (Keiô University)

Shimizu Ikutarō, one of Japan’s most popular intellectuals at the
time, made the following famous statement in 1950: “At the present
time, the Japanese are once more Asians”. Stunned by Japan’s defeat in
the war, Japanese intellectuals who had also fallen into economic
poverty in this period, no longer perceived Japan to be a member of the
club of powerful Western nations, but rather to be a weak, poor “Asian”
country. This type of thinking was the cause of many confrontations
concerning whether efforts should be focused on learning more about the
modern era from Western countries or whether the focus should be on a
reevaluation of “Asia” and of tradition.

In this paper, the author verifies the various meanings that 
“Asia” had for the more advanced intellectuals in Japan’s postwar era
and then reviews in outline how the image of “Asia” changed through
from the postwar period immediately following Japanese defeat through
the period of high economic growth and, in parallel with this, will
thereby clarify the fluctuating aspects of Japan’s national identity
based on differing images of “Asia” vis-à-vis  “the West”.

Overcoming Colonialism in Bandung

Kristine Dennehy (California State University, Fullerton)

In April of 1955, Japan participated in the Asian-African Conference in
Bandung, Indonesia. Even though Japan had been an imperial power up
until 1945, by 1955 progressive Japanese historians pointed to Japanese
participation at Bandung as a potent marker of Pan-Asian/African
solidarity against Western (particularly U.S.) imperialism. Coming just
three years after the end of the American-led Occupation of Japan (a
process often criticized as subjecting Japan to semi-colonial status),
the Bandung conference provided an opportunity for these intellectuals
to express their solidarity with other countries that were also subject
to the postwar political reality of the Cold War international order.
The Bandung conference, along with the Asian Conference that was
convened in Delhi India in 1955, were important milestones in the
post-1945 period, in the sense that they symbolized moments of Japanese
resistance to the developing postwar order.

In this paper, I will argue that postwar progressive intellectuals used
notions of Pan-Asianism as a form of political resistance, in
combination with an historiographical agenda that strongly critiqued
Japan’s own imperialist past. The motivating force behind this new
rhetoric of Pan-Asianism was a combination of anti-nuclear,
anti-imperial sentiment. An essential element of such sentiment was the
argument that not only had the Japanese people been victimized by the
Japanese elite before 1945, but also that they continued to be
victimized by the hegemonic power of the U.S. during the Occupation and
the Cold War force of the American nuclear umbrella in Asia.


Fujiwara Kiichi (Tôkyô University)

Final Discussion

Closing Remarks

Miwa Kimitada, Prof. Emer. Sophia University

Related Research Projects

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