Discussion Papers

No.049 The Study of International Cultural Relations of Postwar Japan

by AOKI-OKABE Maki , KAWAMURA Yoko and MAKITA Toichi

February 2006


The paper examines policies and activities of cultural exchange carried out by Japanese national, local and private agents since the end of WWII. Methodologically, we distinctively use the notion culture as a tool and as an object of study, and to synthesize the two in full intention, based on the debate among IR students about so called Cultural Turn in IR theories.

As case studies, the Japanese experiences are examined from two points. Firstly, it is compared with the German experiences in Europe, with special attention to the construction of national identity.In both countries, the peoples tried to make use of cultural exchange activities in the management of international relations. The actual developments of cultural relations by the two countries, however, were in striking contrast to each other. Secondly, our study focuses on the explosive expansion of private sector's international cultural exchange in the 1980s in association with so called “emerging civil society” phenomenon observed worldwide throughout 1970s and 1980s. By using our original approach mentioned in the Chapter 1, the paper tries to sketch out that the increase of the private organizations is largely the response of the Japanese society to outside influences, not something genuinely outgrown from within the society itself due to mainly domestic causes.

Keywords: international relations, Cultural Turn, international cultural exchange,identity, civil society
JEL classification: Z00

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