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Rethinking Japan in mainstream international relations

Koyama, Hitomi and Buzan, Barry (2019) Rethinking Japan in mainstream international relations. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, 19 (2). pp. 185-212. ISSN 1470-482X

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Identification Number: 10.1093/irap/lcy013


Located geographically in the East, but often identified with the West, Japan's role as a world power over the last century and a half remains curiously inconsistent in mainstream international relations (IR). By examining Japan's often under-appreciated role in the international history of wealth and power, we argue that this tells us more about the distorting impact on IR theory of Eurocentrism and realism than it tells us about Japan's role in world history. Symptomatic of these distortions are Japan's exclusion from or marginalization within, the first round of modernization before 1914, and the accompanying under-recognition of its role as a model and hub for Northeast Asia's capitalist development. Also occluded is Japan's key post-1945 role in both underpinning America's superpower status, and promoting the capitalist world order in Asia. Mainstream IR theory provides poor foundations for both academic and policy analysis of Japan's important world role.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 Oxford University Press
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
Date Deposited: 21 May 2020 15:24
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:50

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