Russian Japanology Review

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Vol 3, No 1 (2020)
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5-21 156
The article addresses recent changes in the views of the Japanese government, headed by Prime Minister Abe Shinzō, regarding the content and desired effect of its economic policy, which is presented to the public under the brand of Abenomics. The article highlights the major points of the economic credo proclaimed by the Japanese cabinet set up by the current leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic party after the Diet Lower House elections of late 2012. It presents the mid-term goals set by the new cabinet, as well as the principal macroeconomic tools that were meant to be mobilized by the cabinet in order to secure the achievement of these goals by means of modifying the tendencies which had solidified during the previous two decades, and bringing fresh stimulus and dynamism to the Japanese economy. The author briefly reviews the results of economic performance following several years of practicing Abenomics by the government and monetary authorities and possible explanations of the lack of significant progress in achieving the goals that had been initially set. The author traces the evolution of the priorities in the economic tasks formulated by the Abe cabinets, which have been shifting from stimulating demand and reflation to promoting growth of productivity through dissemination of new technologies and ensuring an adequate supply of labor resources. The article notes the reassessment in 2015-2016 of potential effectiveness of monetary policy instruments as a means of supporting and accelerating economic growth, as well as the awareness of limited potential of additional input of public funds through government efforts as a tool for invigorating investment activity in the economy. A change in priorities is pointed out, both in the public presentation of the government’s economic and social policies and, to a lesser extent, in their practical implementation, which was the logical consequence of the reevaluation of effectiveness of former tools. Recent government documents setting larger goals, in particular the annual Future Investment Strategy, are analyzed as a reflection of the new vision of the economic role of the state. This vision includes less concern for current short-term macroeconomic indicators and more responsibility of the government for the fundamental characteristics and quality of the resources laying the foundation for national economic activities. The article concludes that the Japanese government’s policy regarding social and business activities has been seriously adjusted to raise Japan’s global competitiveness and ensure conditions for long-term sustainable growth of its economy. The said adjustment includes the abandonment of the traditional “industrial policy” concept.
22-41 168
The article discusses the attitude of Japanese government towards the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which was introduced in the United Nations’ agenda in 2017. The case of Japan is special and even unique, due to the fact that, in spite of its historical experience of atomic bombings and the position of its civil society, which supports the idea of a nuclear ban, Tokyo refuses to sign the Treaty. Moreover, the rejection of the TPNW does not correlate with Japan’s active participation in the international nuclear non-proliferation initiatives. As far as Japan is undoubtedly an influential member of world community and a threshold state, possessing advanced nuclear technologies and ready to transform its peaceful nuclear program into a military one, its position regarding the TPNW can have a significant impact on the prospects of the nuclear non-proliferation regime in Asia. The author concludes that Japan has demonstrated an obvious refusal to sign the TPNW, in spite of all factors which could have produced the alternative position. However, its views remain ambiguous, as Tokyo adheres to international nuclear non-proliferation regimes and comprehensive nuclear disarmament. On the one hand, Japan is one of the U.S.’ main allies, remaining under the U.S. security guaranties, being protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella from external threats, and incorporated in the global system of nuclear deterrence. On the other hand, there is certain support for ideas of nuclear non-proliferation and prohibition of nuclear weapons in Japanese society, which is demonstrated by the activity of Japanese anti-nuclear nongovernmental organizations. Consequently, in relation to the TPNW, Japan demonstrates an inconsistent course, involving the reliance on the U.S. nuclear umbrella in order to provide its security and active participation in the international nuclear non-proliferation initiatives simultaneously.
42-64 171
Despite the strong economic gravity between Japan and China, there are still many social factors that pull the countries apart. One of such factors is the negative image of the partner, which is largely related to the memory of World War II. The perception of China in Japanese society has been changing over the post-war decades. After Japan’s surrender and occupation of the country by the Allied Powers, political, economic, and cultural distance between the two countries grew. This led to a “lapse of memory” related to China among the post-war generation of the Japanese. Interest towards China in Japan started growing noticeably after some time had passed since the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations (1972) - from the late 1980s-early 1990s, as the contacts between the countries on different levels became increasingly active. The image of China in Japan deteriorated dramatically for the first time after the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, which demonstrated that China was an unsafe country with a repressive state machine. The attitude of Japanese society to China has been worsening since then for various reasons. Starting from the 1990s, as the Sino-Japanese relations were developing and becoming increasingly complex, new problems shaping the negative image of China emerged, including the struggle for geopolitical influence, global competition, negative influence of China on the environmental situation in the region, insufficient quality of Chinese products, problems of communication with Chinese business partners, the growing number of Chinese tourists in Japan, etc. As Sino-Japanese relations became more complicated, the problem of historical memory was felt more and more acutely. This problem fits into the whole picture of controversies accumulated in the Sino-Japanese relations and intensifies some of them. Despite the unfavorable perception of China by Japanese society, signs of improvement can be seen in the last few years. In particular, many young Japanese view China and the prospects of developing the bilateral relations positively. Contacts with China give them ample opportunity to understand that country better, and closer economic ties make the influence of political factors less pronounced.
65-76 145
The article discusses training manuals for military personnel which were the basis of the ideological education of soldiers and officers in the Imperial Japanese Army. These manuals, being an important instrument of ideological education, played an important part in the life of Japanese society in the Meiji period. Their authors took into account all possible aspects of the military service, seeking to give answers and explanations to all questions of spiritual, legal, and practical character. Those manuals regulated every movement of the soldiers, shaping their consciousness and way of thinking.
77-96 231
In the late 19th - early 20th centuries we see active search for the national characteristics of the Japanese people. This article analyzes the book by a famous expert on Japanese literature Haga Yaichi (1867-1927) Ten Essays on National Character (1907). This book was, to a large extent, a response to the work by Kishimoto Nobuta, Five Features of the Japanese (1902), who was a Christian. A number of similarities are observed in these works (they appreciate the cleanliness of the Japanese, their cheerfulness and activity, ability to adapt borrowings, their sense of beauty, politeness, and etiquette behavior). However, there are radical differences too. For Kishimoto, “the Japanese” was an independent entity, while Haga described the Japanese in their relation to the state and as its attachment. Kishimoto talked about the character of the Japanese in peaceful times, while Haga Yaichi interpreted the peculiarities of the national character primarily from the viewpoint of readiness for war and death for the emperor and the motherland. Kishimoto’s writing was not popular and was forgotten. But the views of Haga Yaichi were adopted by the propaganda machine and became one of the main sources for the Kokutai no hongi, the fundamental text of Japanese totalitarianism.
97-129 228
This article is devoted to the memory of Serge Elisséeff (Sergey Grigor’yevich Eliseev), a prominent Japanologist of the 20th century; a globally recognized researcher and educator; founder of the Far Eastern school of research in the USA and academic Japanese studies in France; one of the first Russian experts on Japan and an emigrant from Soviet Russia. It describes different stages of his life and work in several countries of the world, and scientific and educational institutions he was connected with. The author also focuses on Eliseev’s contribution to the dissemination of knowledge about Japan and Japanese mentality in the Western world.

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