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Identity, Culture and Memory in Japanese Foreign Policy

Edited By Michal Kolmaš and Yoichiro Sato

This book interprets the changing nature of Japanese foreign policy through the concepts of identity, culture and memory. It goes beyond rational interpretation of material interests and focus on values and ideas that are inseparable and pervasive in Japanese domestic and foreign policy. A set of chapters written by established Japanese and foreign experts show the nuances of Japanese self-images and their role in defining their understanding of the world. Stemming from historical memories of World War Two, the reconciliation between Japan and other Asian countries, the formation of Japanese self in media discourse to the role of self-perception in defining Japanese contemporary foreign and economic policies, the book offers a holistic insight into Japanese psyche and its role in the political world. It will be of utmost interest not only to the scholars of Japanese foreign policy, but also to a wide public interested in understanding the uniqueness of Japanese state and its people.

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3. Japan-UK Relations before and after the Brexit Referendum: Utpal Vyas

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Despite their geographical separation, Japan and the UK have a long history of international relations. Although there have been times of enmity and distrust, in the post-war era they have built up good economic and political relations which have increasingly been characterised by a mutual respect and even appreciation of each other’s cultures and interests. There are some (perhaps more commonly in Japan than in the UK, see Taida 2007) who maintain that they have many cultural similarities due to geographical and geopolitical situations as island nations facing strong continental powers (Akimoto 2017), although these assertions can often be used as a cover for sometimes deep differences which result from philosophies and cultures separated by half the globe, as well as the legacy of conflict in the Second World War (Dobson and Kosuge 2009; Towle and Kosuge 2007).

In recent years, relations between the two have been increasingly amicable as Japan has sought to deal with China’s rise and Japan’s own internal economic problems, while the UK has been dealing with the European Union (EU) and its own post-financial crisis problems. However, the Brexit referendum in the UK, which resulted in the government pronouncing that it would leave the EU due to the popular vote in favour of leaving, has created confusion and surprise in a Japan which craves stability and reliable international partners outside its own tense region.

This chapter will use a framework of national identity to consider how Japan is dealing...

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