Russian Japanology Review

Advanced search
Vol 4, No 1 (2021)
View or download the full issue PDF
5-34 28
The socio-economic consequences of regional unevenness remain one of the major problems of Japan’s development in the 21st century. Despite some success in regional economic policy, the main quantitative indicators of territorial-economic proportions or lack thereof have changed little over the past 30 years despite certain successes of regional economic policy. However, a number of internal and external factors have made it necessary to adjust approaches to regional strategic planning. These include globalization and the changing positioning of Japan in the world market, the partial loss of competitive positions in Asian markets, and increased competition between “international” cities for foreign investment. Internal factors include the decline of the Japanese population at a rate higher than previously expected, changes in people’s lifestyles and shifts in their value system, the increasing importance of such of its components as stability, security, favorable environmental conditions, attractive landscapes, and diversification of lifestyles. The new strategy of the 21st century is based on the idea of creating a multilayered “compact and networked territorial structure”, which should ensure the availability of social services for residents of all localities by optimizing the social infrastructure and forming “new urban cores”. The economic development of regions should focus on the development of industries that rely on local resources and take into account local specifics, as well as the creation of “ecosystems” of innovations. Along with vitalizing regional and rural economy, Japan’s New Spatial Strategy also aims to adjust the excessive concentration of population and economic potential of large megacities (primarily Tokyo) and at the same time strengthen their global competitiveness. As necessary conditions for achieving the ambitious goals, the Spatial Development Strategy calls for achieving economic growth, increasing industrial productivity, building innovation through regional resources and interregional cooperation, increasing the participation of women and senior persons in work and public life, using modern “smart” technologies, and sharing economy formats. The traditional imperative in formulating Japan’s spatial development strategy remains the obvious desire to solve the problems of territorial unevenness in conjunction with solving other socio-economic problems of the country, in particular, the problems of environment and demographic decline (which is especially noticeable in the regions), issues of upgrading economic and social infrastructure.
35-58 25
Japan is a developed country which, however, is facing an acute problem of population aging and demographic decline, including that of the number of working-age population, due to a combination of low fertility and high life expectancy. Most countries solve the problem of labor shortage by actively attracting labor migrants to the country. However, Japan - one of the most mono-ethnic countries in the world - is known for its strict migration legislation. The migration balance in 2018 amounted to a little more than 160,000 people, despite the fact that, in order to stabilize the population, the influx of people into the country should be about 500,000 annually. This situation is largely caused by limited migration attractiveness of Japan, where migrants still often face violations of their rights, difficulties in renting housing, employment and in everyday life due to the language barrier, complexity of administrative procedures, and socio-cultural characteristics of Japanese society. Given the demographic trends, the use of labor migration to fill the shortage of labor in Japan seems to be not only reasonable, but also an uncontested option. That is why the migration policy of Japan became one of the most important issues with regard to the well-being of the Land of the Rising Sun during the premiership of S. Abe, who decided to gradually move to liberalize migration legislation. Since 2012, initiatives and goals of Abe Cabinet in the field of immigration control, in fact, affected all categories of migrants - highly qualified specialists, students, low-skilled workers, medium-skilled workers, and illegal immigrants. The article will examine what measures were taken during Abe’s premiership to attract foreigners and how the liberalization of migration legislation correlated with the growth strategy of Japan, Abenomics.
59-80 24
Taiwan, a former colony of Japan (1895-1945), for a number of different factors still remains the only region in the world that does not place emphasis on the negative sides of a rather long period of Japanese colonial rule. Problems of the historical past do not directly affect the development of traditionally close relations between Japan and Taiwan, but they play an important role in forming the “Taiwanese identity” and are closely related to the current issues of the foreign and domestic policies of the Republic of China. The ongoing feud between Mainland China and Taiwan, coupled with the current international political situation, also has an effect on the assessment by the Taiwanese of their colonial past and the policies of the Japanese Empire in the first half of the 20th century, and the perception of contemporary Japan in Taiwan. The article discusses the approaches of Taiwanese authorities to problems of the historical past under President Ma Ying-jeou (2008-2016) - a period when the Kuomintang built up equally good relations with Japan and China on the basis of the new conception of “Taiwanese identity”. Making efforts to reconcile the pro-unification and pro-independence parties, the president tried to form in Taiwanese society a balanced approach to the understanding of the Japanese and Chinese periods of Taiwan’s history, as well as the role of Japan in the development of the modern Republic of China. Calling himself “the best friend of Japan”, Ma Ying-jeou continued to strengthen ties between Tokyo and Taipei, and at the same time took a hard-line stance on the territorial dispute with Japan - the issue of sovereignty over the Diaoyudao (釣魚島)/Senkaku islands (or Diaoyutai islands 釣魚臺 as they are called in Taiwan), which appeared again on the agenda of Japan-Taiwan relations. However, the issues of the historical past during the Ma Ying-jeou era did not hamper the development of cooperation between Tokyo and Taipei, and, in 2008-2016, the image of Japan in Taiwan remained constantly positive.
81-94 29
Travel diaries of the Edo period contain records about border posts and descriptions of illegal border crossing. Travelers resorted to paying bribes, changing clothes, and going around border posts if they did not have a tegata document, or for other reasons. For example, Kobayashi Kuzufuru (1793-1880) in his diary Gochi Mōde describes how he and his wife, with the help of a guide, went around the Sekigawa border post twice because his wife did not have a tegata. Furukawa Koshoken (1726-1807) writes in his work Saiyū Zakki (1783) how, in order to travel the Satsuma province, he pretended to be a pilgrim. Sakata Kisen’o mentions in his diary of a journey from Edo to Izu, Izu-no Kuni Futokoro Nikki (1835), that he asked his friend who worked at the Hakone border post to let him through without making him wait in line. Diaries by female authors do not contain detailed descriptions of going around border posts, but they do mention hardships suffered during checks at border posts and the expenses caused by this. Despite the fact that one needs to consider the documents and diaries preserved at border posts, as well as documents of court proceedings in order to create the full picture of border crossings, the travel diaries of the Edo period give the general idea of the difficulties of travel and of how the travelers dealt with them.
95-116 28
In 1802, upon the orders of the Russian-American Company, Ensign Davydov and Lieutenant Khvostov were sent to deliver food supplies to the Russian colonies in America. In 1804, the Company repeatedly ordered these two officers to make the voyage to America. Before their departure, they met Rezanov, who arrived to Kamchatka after his unsuccessful mission to Japan, where he was supposed to establish trade relations. Due to this failure and the attempt to save Russian colonies and expand the territory of the Russian Empire, Rezanov decided to start trading with the local inhabitants of the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin. This study will examine the information about the Japanese, their settlements in the Kuril Islands, and the local inhabitants of the Kuril Islands - the Ainu. This research is based on the unique historical document The Journal of the Voyage of an American Company Tender Avos’ in 1807, under the Command of Ensign Davydov, which gives a detailed description of the Japanese, the Ainu, their settlements and compares them to the Russian ones.
117-143 30
The article is devoted to the problems of the formation and development of military Japanese studies in the early 20th century. Its relevance is related to the fact that current problems of the Russian-Japanese relations are rooted in the political confrontation and numerous wars and armed conflicts between the two countries which erupted in the first half of the 20th century. The military have joined Japanese studies since its establishment in Russian higher education. Officers of the units of the Russian army stationed in the Far East studied Japanese and Japan together with university students - in the early 20th century the ratio of military and non-military students was almost 50:50. The first military specialists in Japanese studies either gave priority to research and education over military service, or successfully combined both. Joint training of officers and university students had a great impact on all aspects of life and work of the Oriental Institute, while causing criticism from both senior faculty managers and the high-ranked Russian military. Despite great success in the officers’ training at the Oriental Institute, the initial system of Japanese studies training was reformed, though its principles and traditions were preserved until the 1917 revolution. The article was written on the basis of archival and published documents of the Oriental Institute, with the use of academic works of the first Russian officers specializing in Japanese studies. The historical experience of the Japanese studies education and research is interesting and relevant for today’s Russian-Japanese relations.

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