On Wednesday, October 23rd, the 21st Century Japan Politics and Society Initiative (21JPSI*) hosted Dr. Takako Hikotani (Columbia University) in its Fall 2019 “Japan Politics & Society” interdisciplinary public speaker series. Prof. Hikotani is the Gerald L. Curtis Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy and a leading expert on Japanese domestic politics, foreign policy, and comparative civil-military relations. Dr. Hikotani’s public talk was entitled “Japan’s Value Diplomacy and the Rise of China.” As part of her campus engagement activities, she also met with Japan-focused faculty and grad students from across IU’s campus and presented and received critical feedback on a draft academic manuscript at a workshop co-sponsored with the Department of Political Science’s World Politics Research Seminar.
On a day of exceptionally beautiful autumn weather, Dr. Hikotani’s afternoon talk proved extremely popular--75 students, faculty, and members of the community packed into an (over-capacity) classroom in the Global and International Studies building to hear her thoughts Japan’s value diplomacy.
During her remarks, which themselves were based on a project with Prof. Andrew Nathan (Columbia University), Dr. Hikotani identified four key values of Japan’s post-war diplomacy: universal values, Asianism, developmentalism, and pacifism. Dr. Hikotani defined each of these in turn, and discussed examples of the ways they have shaped Japanese decision-making. Universal values include democracy, for example, as articulated by Occupation-era Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru. Asianism can be found in the 1977 Fukuda Doctrine, which established that Japan is committed to peace and rejects a role as a military great power and aimed to consolidate with Southeast Asian nations relationships of mutual confidence, equality, and trust. Developmentalism is reflected in some Japanese leaders’ penchant for often emphasizing economic development as a prerequisite for democracy, rather than the other way around. And, finally, pacifism can be found in the persistence of and continued constraints on Japan’s military posture and security policy due to Article 9 and widespread pacifist sentiment within large sections of the Japanese public.
Ending her remarks with a discussion of contemporary vicissitudes in Japan’s foreign policy, Dr. Hikotani argued that aspects of all four of these values can be found in Japan’s contemporary “Free and Open Indo Pacific Strategy.” Dr. Hikotani also raised important questions about the extent to which the rise of China and, more recently, unique aspects of President Trump’s policies and rhetoric have served as a catalyst for bringing discussion of values in Japanese diplomacy to the fore..
After concluding her 45-minute talk, Dr. Hikotani answered a variety of questions from students and faculty for roughly thirty minutes. The following day, she presented a separate (work-in-progress) project for feedback from a dozen faculty and graduate students.
On the afternoon of November 8, 21JPSI will host its first-ever National Conference on US-Japan Relations (1-5:30pm) in the Hamilton Lugar School’s Shreve Auditorium (GA 0001). This event is not one to miss, and will bring together leading experts on US-Japan relations from the U.S. and Japan, as well as other influential voices from Indiana, to discuss the current state and desired future of this crucial bilateral relationship. Please see our conference webpage for details.
*The 21st Century Japan Politics and Society Initiative (21JPSI) was launched at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies in 2018. Under the leadership of Founding Director and HLS faculty member Adam Liff, 21JPSI aims to invigorate and expand research, teaching, and programming on contemporary Japanese politics, society, and international (esp. U.S.-Japan) relations, and to educate, raise awareness, and debate policy responses to the various political, social, and foreign policy challenges that Japan faces in this extremely dynamic era of 21st-century change. Supported by a generous $900,000 grant from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, in its first five years 21JPSI will enable a new tenure-track faculty search in summer/fall 2019; two new courses on contemporary Japan; a speaker series on Japanese Politics and Society; biennial conferences on U.S.-Japan relations; graduate research fellowships, and faculty travel grants. For more information, please see https://jpsi.indiana.edu/ or write to firstname.lastname@example.org