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Geopolitics and Soft Power: Japan's Cultural Policy and Cultural Diplomacy in Asia

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Abstract:

Japan's cultural policy and cultural diplomacy in Asia has changed dramatically over the past one hundred years, from actively introducing and imposing Japanese culture during its empire-building period, to essentially avoiding the promotion of Japanese culture in Asia for most of the postwar period due to fears of being seen once again as engaged in cultural imperialism, and more recently, to supporting and encouraging the export of Japanese contemporary culture and lifestyle in order to attain “soft power.” Looking at the fluctuations in Japan's cultural policy over these three periods allows us to understand how Japan has used cultural policy to further its geopolitical goals and more basically how it has viewed the role of “culture” in the context of its relations with Asian neighbors. In a broader sense, the Japanese experience shows that cultural policy, even when inward-looking, is not isolated from a country's geopolitical position and its ambitions in the world, regardless of the political system under which it operates.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13439006.2012.678629

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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