Russian Japanology Review

Advanced search
Vol 3, No 2 (2020)
View or download the full issue PDF
5-51 301
The article aims to study the process of formation and evolution of the territorial problem in the relations between the Soviet Union and Japan after the end of WWII up to the conclusion of the Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956. Under consideration are the agreements of the Allied Powers over the postwar territorial limits of Japan. The author insists that the position of the U.S. towards the territorial provisions of the 1945 Yalta Agreements was repeatedly altered before and after signing the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Changes took place, on the one hand, because of the deterioration in the U.S. relations with the USSR, and, on the other hand, in correlation with Washington’s aim to “protect” itself from Tokyo’s demands to return Okinawa. It is noteworthy that Japan’s attitude to the problem of South Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands was from the very beginning not immutable either and has undergone multiple corrections. The paper gives a detailed examination of the process of the Soviet-Japanese negotiations on the normalization of bilateral relations in 1955-1956, providing an analysis of the reasons for the Soviet leadership’s readiness to hand over the Habomai islands and Shikotan to Japan. The author assesses the significance of the conclusion and the ratification of the Joint Declaration of 1956 for both the Soviet Union and Japan, as well as the attitude of both the Soviet/Russian leadership and the Japanese government to the possibility of the implementation of its territorial article. After Prime Minister Abe had stated in November 2018 that the Japanese side is ready to hold negotiations on the basis of the territorial article of the 1956 Joint Declaration, Russo-Japanese negotiations on the conclusion of the Peace Treaty were launched. However, compared to the Japanese side, for which the pivotal aim is to fix an agreement on the ownership of the islands and the borderline, much more important in the Russian motivation is to acquire Japan’s recognition of the legality of the Russian possession of the Kuril Islands, to obtain guarantees that the Japan-U.S. security alliance would not be aimed against Russia’s interests, as well as to lay a base for a broader development of bilateral relations with Japan. Against the background of the unwillingness of the public opinion of the two countries to accept the 1956 Declaration as a base for resolving the territorial problem, the possibility to achieve a Peace Treaty in the forseeable future is seen as unrealistic.
52-67 130
The capture of servicemen of the Kwantung army by the Soviet troops in Manchuria in August 1945, their further detention in labor camps in the USSR, as well as their repatriation to Japan, which dragged on for nearly ten years, are among the most difficult and sensitive issues in relations between the USSR and Japan. They were not written about or discussed in the Soviet Union for many years until the early 1990s, when access to previously classified documents was opened. It was at that time that the issue became a matter for scholarly research by historians of the two countries and then put on the agenda of political negotiations at the head-of-state level. This first happened during the official visit to Japan of the first Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, in April 1991, and then this mission was taken over by the Government of the Russian Federation. However, there are still questions that absorb the attention of researchers and the public and that still need to be fully answered.
68-87 985
The article analyzes how the “comfort women” issue influences current relations between the Republic of Korea and Japan. In the early 20th century, Japan annexed Korea, and the memories of colonial-era humiliation are vivid in Korean collective consciousness. As a result, issues of the past often sour bilateral relations even today. Recently, Seoul has been actively pressing the issue of sexual slavery in Japanese military brothels, and differences over this seemingly irrelevant issue have impeded political and military cooperation. Articles on former sexual slaves (also called wianbu in Korean) have resurfaced time and again in Korean press throughout the 1940-80s, but the problem internationalized only in the 1990s, when a broad public discussion started. Although Japan maintains that the 1965 bilateral normalization resolved all issues of the past, Tokyo has several times offered official condolences and compensations to the victims, however Seoul found these steps or the tone thereof unsatisfactory. Most recently, in 2015, Abe Shinzō and Park Geunhye signed an agreement to close the wianbu issue, but the document irritated South Korean public and opposition, so Seoul abandoned it. President Moon Jaein, who came to power in 2017, continued this course and added pressure on related historical problems, such as Korean forced laborers in imperial Japan. As the crisis deepened, Tokyo introduced economic sanctions against South Korea (technically on unrelated grounds). Conflicts stemming from collective memory are a characteristic feature of North East Asian political culture. They are a popular tool in foreign and domestic policy of many countries. This, coupled with the irrational nature of nationalism and imperfection of regional security, makes issues of the past a very real threat to the present.
88-107 154
The article is mainly based upon the analysis of two Japanese texts, Jinkokuki 人国記 (Records of the People and the Provinces, 16th century) and its later revised version Shin Jinkokuki 新人国記 (New Records of the People and the Provinces), created by the Confucian scholar and cartographer Seki Sokō 関祖衡 in 1701. Shin Jinkokuki is often considered to be one of the first Japanese atlases, as Seki not only revised and enlarged the original text, but also added maps to the descriptions of all of the Japanese provinces. Both texts are valued by Japanese scholars as fruitful sources for studies in the history of environmental psychology, or geopsychology, and a careful study of their content provides some new information on the ideas and concepts of natural habitats’ influence on the formation of behavioral models and personal qualities typical of the inhabitants of certain areas within Japan in the 16th - 18th centuries. In the first half of the 20th century, some Japanese authors, many of them playing leading roles in the introduction of Western science into Japan, were obsessed with the idea of formulating a typically Japanese way of thinking and behaving that would not only differentiate the Japanese from others, but also make the nation consider itself better than others. The search for roots of yamato-damashii and Japanese uniqueness in terms of relations between the Japanese people and the country’s nature, just as an attempt to make some certain values of the samurai class nationwide, revitalized interest in Jinkokuki and Shin Jinkokuki, which were used as an instrument of state propaganda. The second part of this article analyses works by Watanabe Tooru 渡辺徹, a psychologist who issued the first scholarly publication of these texts and whose academic career seems to be one long road to the “Records of the People and the Provinces”.
108-130 161
This work studies the world map from the popular encyclopedia Tokai Setsuyō Hyakkatsū 都会節用百家通 (Complete Compendium of Urban Knowledge) (Osaka, 1801) from the perspective of borrowing sources, typological features, combination of European, Buddhist, Chinese, and Japanese geographic and spatial concepts. The map is a partial copy of the world map by Nagakubo Sekisui 長久保積水 (1717-1801), but has many features typical of the Buddhist world view. We consider in detail the representation of India, China, Europe, and mythical countries. Special mention is made of the representation of ships in the map.
131-151 206
Throughout his activity as an animation director, Hosoda Mamoru tackles important issues of present-day Japan - and of late modernity - with creative acuity and a keen sense of observation. From Digimon: The Movie and ONE PIECE: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island, in which Hosoda rehearses his directing skills in the field of animation by taking over popular and familiar elements from highly successful Japanese franchises and embedding them into a more mature and more profound context of addressing challenging topics, through The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars, in which Hosoda finds his way into the extremely competitive world of the Japanese entertainment industry with original storylines and powerful characters, to Wolf Children with its complex problematic of single motherhood, The Boy and the Beast with its combined topics of runaway children, of absent fathers, and of loss of masculinity addressed in a raw manner, and Mirai, in which Hosoda carefully avoids delving too deeply into the disturbing child-rearing and education politics of Japan, he constantly chooses a narrative of comfortable traditionalism, showing both that he understands Japan’s critical situation and that he does not regard it as his duty to offer alternative solutions, more in tune with the spirit of the 21st century.

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