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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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8. China as an Other in Japanese Media: Construction of National Identity: David Kozisek

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This chapter presents an analysis of the contemporary Japanese media discourse on the People’s Republic of China as depicted by Japan’s largest national daily newspapers Yomiuri Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun. Adopting a post-structuralist understanding of language, power, and society, we explain how the media portray China as one of Japan’s several discursively constructed Others, and how they construct a certain image of Japan as Self. This relational dichotomy helps understand how images and notions of national identity are articulated and presented to the public through a specific media discourse. Given the rather peculiar links between the Japanese government and the media regarding their handling of information, this raises questions about the possible future normalization/remilitarization of Japan as envisioned by the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government. Critical discourse analysis (CDA) further serves as a convenient and powerful tool for analysis concerned not only with the actual contents on a micro-textual level, but also the circumstances of production and consumption, as well as the encompassing wider social practices of the contemporary Japanese society.

In a postmodern globalized world, national identity matters perhaps more than ever before. Through a discursively constructed image of similarities we acquire a national identity which is at the same time juxtaposed against a contrasting Other delineating its boundaries and defining what we are not, helping organize social actions. National identity as a narrative constructed ←167 | 168→by a state is something so essential and omnipresent that we rarely think of it, as it...

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