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Michal Kolmaš: National Identity and Japanese Revisionism


Over the course of the twentieth century, Japan has experienced a radical
shift in its self-perception. After World War II, Japan embraced a peaceful
and anti-militarist identity, which was based on its war-prohibiting
Constitution and the foreign policy of the Yoshida doctrine. For most of the
twentieth century, this identity was unusually stable. In the last couple of
decades, however, Japan’s self-perception and foreign policy seem to have
changed. Tokyo has conducted a number of foreign policy actions as well as
symbolic internal gestures that would have been unthinkable a few decades
ago and that symbolize a new and more confident Japan. Japanese
politicians – including Prime Minister Abe Shinzō – have adopted a new
discourse depicting pacifism as a hindrance, rather than asset, to Japan’s
foreign policy. Does that mean that “Japan is back”? In order to better
understand the dynamics of contemporary Japan, Kolmaš joins up the dots
between national identity theory and Japanese revisionism. The book shows
that while political elites and a portion of the Japanese public call for re-articulation of Japan’s peaceful identity, there are still societal and
institutional forces that prevent this change from entirely materializing.

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Author Biography

Jakub Harašta

Jakub Harašta, PhD, is an assistant professor at the Institute of Law and
Technology, the Faculty of Law, Masaryk University. He earned Master’s
degrees in Law (2013) and Security Studies (2020), and a PhD in Law (2018)
at Masaryk University. Jakub focuses on cyber security and legal informatics
in his research.