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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Kai Schulze

Political Science
(PhD Students, July 1, 2009 - April 30, 2010)

  • Japan’s Foreign and Security Policy
  • International Relations of the East Asian Region
  • National Identities

Dissertation Project: (working title)

The Construction of Japan’s National Identity and Its Impact on the Foreign Policy towards China

The rapid economical rise and the increasing integration of China in international organizations change its influence on the international community as well as the perception of China by other states. Especially the directly neighboring countries are forced to react on this changing social environment. Primarily the reaction of Japan seems to be of particular interest due to its position as current economic leader of the region.

Regarding the contemporary Sino-Japanese relations they are on the one hand often seen as crucial for the development of the East Asian region, on the other hand they are extremely burdened and affected by protracted conflicts. The fields of conflict can consistently be found in the different interpretation of the common history. In contradiction, the economic relations benefit both of them and are further increasing. Thus, it seems as ideational problems exist in the relationship between these two nations, rather than materiel ones. This reveals that there obviously persist different views and mindsets and subsequently different perceptions of the self and the own role respectively the other and the role of the other in the world. This leads to the point that the different constructions of the particular identity have a significant impact on the relations between these two states.

The focus of this dissertation will be set on the Japanese perspective. The goal is to examine which construction of the Japanese identity towards China can be seen, which changes of this social construction are caused by the changing historical context and which consequences for the foreign policy towards China result from that.