Modern Japanese Political Thought and International Relations critiques the formation of non-western International Relations by assessing Japanese political concepts to contemporary IR discourses since the Meji Restoration, to better understand knowledge exchanges in intercultural contexts. Each chapter focuses on a particular aspect of this dialogue, from international law and nationalism to concepts of peace and Daoism, this collection grapples with postcolonial questions of Japan’s indigenous IR theory.
Opening innovative ways to rethink global politics through the lens of Japanese political theory, this book explores the implications arising from the classic twin IR banners of anarchy and sovereignty, and instead focuses on the notions of difference and dialogue in order to elucidate the value-added of a global IR. It combines Japanese political thought and International Relations theory in a fresh and stimulating way, taking its cues from a close reading of historical and legal, as well as popular cultural sources. To this end, Rösch and Watanabe have succeeded in bringing together the best possible team of scholars in the fields of international law, international political theory and Japanese political theory, in particular from within Japan, but also from the anglophone world. The quality of this coherently structured volume is outstanding. It is a must read both in IR and political theory, as it has something to offer for different audiences: experts on Japanese external relations and readers interested in theories of IR, as well as those looking for novel sources on philosophical and anthropological thought on the contested notion of the global. This is scholarship of the finest kind!
This book aims to overcome a difficulty that International Relations, the most international, but not necessarily global social science, is facing: by viewing Japan as ‘a potential’, it tries to put a global International Relations into practice. While this book looks at modern Japanese thought from an encompassing perspective, the chapters are surprisingly consistent in their concerted effort to elicit global implications from this local perspective. Dedicated students who are striving for going beyond conventional research and education will profit from reading this book.
Atsuko Watanabe is Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo.