On the Persistence of the Japanese History Problem: Historicism and the International Politics of History, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

On the Persistence of the Japanese History Problem

Historicism and the International Politics of History, 1st Edition

By Hitomi Koyama

Routledge

158 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-06-19
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Description

In Japan, people often refer to August 15, 1945 as the end of "that war." But the duration of "that war" remains vague. At times, it refers to the fifteen years of war in the Asia-Pacific. At others, it refers to an imagination of the century long struggle between the East and the West that characterized much of the 19th century. This latter dramatization in particular reinforces longstanding Eurocentric and Orientalist discourses about historical development that presume the non-West lacks historical agency. Nearly 75 years since the nominal end of the war, Japan’s "history problem" – a term invoking the nation’s inability to come to terms with its imperial past – persists throughout Asia today.

Going beyond well-worn clichés about the state’s use and abuse of discourses of historical modernity, Koyama shows how the inability to confront the debris of empire is tethered to the deferral of agency to a hegemonic order centered on the United States. The present is thus a moment one stitched between the disavowal of responsibility on the one hand, and the necessity of becoming a proper subject of history on the other. Behind this seeming impasse lay questions about how to imagine the state as the subject of history in a postcolonial moment – after grand narratives, after patriotism, and after triumphalism.

Table of Contents

Introduction Rethinking Persistence in Impatient Times: The International Politics of History in East Asia,

Chapter 1 On the Recursivity of the Politics of History,

Chapter 2 On the Rise and Demise of Civilizational History in Meiji Japan,

Chapter 3 The Assertion: Japan as the Subject of World History,

Chapter 4 On the Postwar Palimpsest Subject of History,

Conclusion

About the Author

Hitomi Koyama is a University Lecturer at Leiden University, The Netherlands.

About the Series

Interventions

The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.

 

We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

  • Jenny Edkins (jennyedkins@hotmail.com) and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (N.Vaughan-Williams@Warwick.ac.uk).

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA

 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POL000000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / General