Russian Japanology Review

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Vol 5, No 1 (2022)
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5-27 247

The article highlights the peculiarities  of Japan’s approach to the Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue, the Quad, in the Indo-Pacific region. Tokyo initiated this framework in 2007, when Abe Shinzō proposed establishing permanent  cooperation  between Japan, the USA, Australia, and India. For several reasons, including  the resignation of Abe Shinzō from the post of Prime Minister, the Quad ceased to exist. In 2017, Tokyo returned to the idea of reviving the quadrilateral dialogue, seeing this as one of the ways to keep the US focused on the region and balance China’s influence. The resumption of quadrilateral cooperation in 2017, in the face of more pronounced contradictions between the members of the Quad and China, marked new priorities for Tokyo’s regional agenda. Interest in quadrilateral cooperation is closely related to the strategy of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, put forward by Abe Shinzō in 2016, which provides for close political interaction with key players in the region and active infrastructure construction. Government of Suga Yoshihide continued the foreign policy course proclaimed by Abe, and the attention of the Biden administration to the Quad gives reason to believe that this area will become a key one in Japan-US cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. Participation in the Quad is a logical continuation of Japan’s close bilateral and trilateral dialogue with the United States, as well as with India and Australia, relations with which are reaching a level that can be characterized as quasi-alliances. At the same time, Japan is interested in the Quad not being perceived as an exclusive format that reduces the establishment of the rules of conduct in the region to the will of the four players. Regarding the Quad as a tool to contain China, Tokyo emphasizes the open nature of this framework and seeks to expand the format of interaction that would include the ASEAN countries and European partners.

28-48 194

In the 20th century, relations between Japan and Southeast Asia experienced several dramatic ups and downs. Japan was the first non- European country that in the late 1930s presented its own vision of the regional order in Asia. The consequences of its implementation proved to be painful both for Japan itself and for its neighbors. After the Japanese defeat in World War II, the historical memory of Japan as an aggressor became part of political and social consciousness of many states of the region. However, in the second part of the 20th century, Japan managed to transform radically this perception in Southeast Asia, turning itself into a leading macro-regional power. This transformation did not come without difficulties but eventually resulted in a successful overcoming of the World War II legacy and made Japan one of the most welcomed alternative forces amidst the rising Sino- US contradictions. A new wave of proactive relations between Japan and Southeast Asia took place against the background of China’s economic rise and was connected with the advancement of the Japanese version of the Indo- Pacific as a reaction to China’s rise. This article argues that Japan’s success in its relations with Southeast Asia had several reasons. The first one was the reassessment of the Japanese structural role in the region (from a militarist force imposing a hierarchical regional order into a power which managed to organize regional development based on the network type of connections). Others included the progressive dynamics of institutional interaction with ASEAN and targeted cooperation  in the areas where Japanese interests coincided or were significantly  close to the interests of Southeast Asian states. Despite the fact that Russia can hardly repeat Japanese success in developing its relations with Southeast Asia, certain elements of it are well worth taking note of.

49-75 216

Russian-Japanese relations present one of the most interesting cases of international relations with a perplexing historical background and a complex set of factors influencing contemporary  dynamics of Russian- Japanese interaction. The relations are claimed to have improved under Putin and Abe administrations, introduction of the Eight-Point Cooperation Plan and establishment of a unique post of a Minister for Cooperation with Russia. This article analyzed the specific period of Russian-Japanese relations between 2016 and 2019. Improved bilateral relations created a historical precedent that is important to understand in light of contemporary deteriorated relations between Japan and  Russia. However, Russian-Japanese  cooperation in this period is complicated by a complex historical legacy and other factors and is set to be locked in a Kurilian stumbling block. International relation theories traditionally applied to  analyze Russian-Japanese  relations fail to suggest the way out and the mechanisms to improve Russian-Japanese relations. The present article explores the theoretical apparatus traditionally applied to Russian-Japanese  relations and investigates  the potential of a functionalist approach to explain Russian-Japanese relations between 2016 and 2019. Functionalism describes the way to improve relations of countries with adversarial relations by moving away from high-politics issues and quid pro quo logic and focusing on the problem-solving approach. The spill-over effect occurs when cooperation established in one field expands to other areas. The article concludes by arguing that, in contemporary  Russian-Japanese cooperation, there is a hybrid spill-around effect.

76-96 790

This article focuses on the concept of space and two different structures of space in the mythological chronicles Kojiki and Nihon Shoki. It considers two main invisible divine gods of space, probably connected to Chinese mythology and appearing in the mythological chronicles first – Ame-no-minaka-nushi and Kuni-no-tokotachi. It traces their evolution in history and also deals with obtaining by some of Japanese gods, within the Buddhist worldview, a fantastic appearance and the key role in cosmogenesis. It also deals with the connection of the first verbal descriptions of the appearance of the Japanese lands as a living creature or a symbolic thing seen from above with the ritual of “viewing the realm” (kunimi), and also with a technique of Chinese-Japanese painting wherein an object is portrayed as seen from above (for the purpose of which, in the cases of indoor scenes, a building is depicted without a roof), etc.

97-110 329

Using the material of  a  crucial Tokugawa era normative document, the Laws for the Military Houses (Buke Shohatto) in  its first edition (1615) and the Hereditary Book on the Art of War (Heihō Kadensho, 1632), composed by Yagyū Munenori (1565–1646),  a prominent statesman and fencing teacher of the first three Tokugawa shoguns, this article considers the influence of the Dao De Jing on the military-political doctrine of Tokugawa bakufu of the first half of the 17th  century.  The analysis of these sources gives us reason to believe that the concept of government in accordance with the Dao, stated in the Dao De Jing, which permitted the use of armed force only as an extreme measure of defense, was widely discussed by the Japanese elite in the first half of the 17th century  and played a significant role in determining the administrative and military policies aimed at securing peace in the country. This strategy eventually resulted in a series of measures aimed at preserving the dominance of the military-feudal class, strengthening the bakufu control over the han, quantitative and qualitative reduction of armed forces, the reduction of military education of the samurai to classes at private martial arts schools, which did not prepare the troops for large-scale action. Eventually, this significantly contributed to Japan having two and a half centuries of peace despite the formal dominance of the military.

111-133 507

In the particular context of post-Cold War Japanese animation, the name of Miyazaki Gorō 宮崎 吾朗 (born 1967) is mostly related to the name of his illustrious father, Miyazaki Hayao 宮崎 駿 (born 1942). Professionally speaking,  Miyazaki Gorō is a landscaper  (construction consultant in  the planning and designing of parks and gardens) as well as an animation director of two animation movies and one TV animation series. This paper focuses on the two animation movies  released by Studio Ghibli under Miyazaki Gorō’s direction: Tales from the Earthsea (ゲド戦記 Gedo senki, 2006) and From Up On Poppy Hill (コクリコ坂から Kokuriko-zaka kara, 2011). Miyazaki Gorō’s two animation movies are described and analyzed, both as ideological manifestos continuing and, from a certain point onward, transcending what might be called the “Ghibli paradigm” and as aesthetical masterworks  combining  the “Ghibli paradigm” with fresh visions of employing animation as a medium, exploring, absorbing and integrating influences from beyond geographical boundaries and striving to break the “Japanese” limitations of the artistic language utilized in his approach to animated expressive modes.

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ISSN 2658-6444 (Print)
ISSN 2658-6789 (Online)