Response to Ogawa on Japan’s PD

Just a few thoughts in response to the article “Origin and Development of Japan’s Public Diplomacy”  by Tadashi Ogawa.

“The goals of public diplomacy in the Middle East should include recovery of traumatized self-pride in this region in the process of modernization through multidimensional dialogue based upon mutual respect for culture and traditions.”…

…”The Japan Foundation’s initial measures were projects contributing to rehabilitative treatment for wounded pride in the war-damaged countries.”

Japan may have a unique non-western connection to countries in the middle east, but Ogawa’s article seems to overlook the risk inherent in rebuilding war-damaged countries through nationalism(of course he doesn’t suggest that, but Japan is trending very nationalist) . I vaguely remember that strategy going wrong somewhere else in history…

Japan knows a lot about traumatized self-pride, no one is calling this into question. However, I question the wisdom of imparting their self help tips to other wounded nations. Reconciling hurt feelings should come with the healthy reconciliation of one’s history. And I argue the extent to which Japan has healthily rediscovered its identity.  Ogawa’s explanation of the concerning nationalist behavior seen now and in the past, sort of passes the buck to the west.

“Japan’s 19th-century decision to promote modernization was not a self-initiated choice, but the only solution to avoid colonization by a Western power and to maintain its sovereignty in the era of Imperialism. In order to achieve  modernization, it was essential for Japan to dissolve the traditional local kindred communities into more industry-wise organizations. In that process, numerous small traditions were lost. Some suffered from an identity crisis. Because of such embedded spiritual identity crisis, modern Japan sometimes inclines toward a quest for self-assurance through nationalism”

Germany should really be the example for other countries needing find their identities again, Japan hasn’t seemed to agree on theirs yet. One one hand many cultural and intellectual exchanges are being funded, on the other,  the findings of joint historical commissions are rejected when it turns up something ugly about Japan’s past.

There are an alarming number in Japan who have trouble understanding Japan’s role as an aggressor in its imperialist stage, and its victim complex is exemplified by its struggle to recognize its past with China and Korea  .

So naturally, this conversion on Japanese PD focuses on its success with others.

“According to a BBC World Service Poll, Japan is one of the most positively viewed countries worldwide. In particular, Southeast Asia has quite a positive view of Japan, including Indonesia (84 percent) and the Philippines (70 percent)”

In response to that, I’d like to invite you to looks at the results of a recent Pew poll on nations’ opinions of Japan on a scale of favorability. Iraq was not an aggressor the Iraq war like Japan in WWII but what does this mean for us pd prospects in Iraq?



Data from Pew Research Center.

Data from Pew Research Center. 7/11/2013





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