History of Japanese International Relations

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Course Information
Discipline(s): 
International Relations
History
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Credits: 
3
Language of instruction: 
English
Contact Hours: 
45
Prerequisites: 

None

Additional student cost: 

None

Description: 

This course examines the interactions of people in Japan with the rest of the world from the late-1550s to present day. The primary focus of our discussions will be on the relationships that have developed between Japan and its nation-state and colonial neighbours in the crucible of empire. Using different historical approaches and methods, we will trace the movement of commodities, people, ideas, and practices to write and tell stories of history of connection between peoples and “things” that circulate between Japan and other nation-states. What is the benefit of internationalizing, or worlding, Japanese history? I am hoping that following the flows and international politics of human migration, networks of knowledge production, commodities, and shared resources can help us unsettle the naturalized boundaries of Japan as both country and idea.

Attendance policy: 

Following the attendance policy of IES Abroad Tokyo, attendance of all class meetings is strictly required for the students. The three-hour format for classes makes missing a single class equivalent to missing a full week during a regular semester. Unexcused absences will therefore result in significant grade penalties.  The first unexcused absence will result in a penalty of one-third of a letter grade from your final grade; additional unexcused absences will result in a penalty of one of letter grade for each additional absence.  That is, one missed class turns an A into an A-, two missed classes turns it into a B-, three turns it into a C-, and so on. An absence is considered “excused” only if it is unavoidable due to illness or other health conditions, or for other reasons approved by the instructor in advance.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course students will:

  • Analyze critically historical primary and secondary materials on the international history of Japan
  • Discriminate different historiographical practices for writing about the Japan’s place in the world
  • Describe how the history late-nineteenth and twentieth century Japan intersects with other nation-state histories through historical accident, contingency, and conjuncture
Method of presentation: 

Lectures, discussions, student presentations, and field work.

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Participation - 10%
  • Weekly Reactions - 40%
  • Midterm Proposal and Presentation - 20%
  • Final Exam - 30%

Participation (10%)
Active participation is evaluated, and I evaluate participation qualitatively, not quantitatively. I realize that some people are more comfortable than others with speaking in class; therefore, students will be evaluated on their active listening as well as their speaking. I hope that those comfortable with talking in class will work on their listening skills, while those more comfortable listening will be prepared to talk as well. In-class discussion is your opportunity to work out your ideas with the other participants of the class.

Weekly Reactions 

  • You must turn in 5 out a possible 10 reaction “papers” for each week that we meet to talk about readings.
  • For each of these papers, I would like you to write a fairly focused response of the readings before our class. (This includes the field studies. However, for those weeks, you may write and submit a response the day after the field trip). The responses are meant to demonstrate an engagement with the readings and course themes of the week. So please focus on the readings.
  • As a place to start, your response essays may adhere to a basic three paragraph form. The first paragraph should summarize the key arguments in the readings and their significance. The second paragraph should analyze how the week’s readings relate to other course readings or issues that emerged in previous discussions. The third paragraph should offer the student’s critical assessment of the week’s readings: What was most persuasive? What was least persuasive? Which are the issues and questions and questions need more attention?
  • Please email me ([email protected]) your response by Sunday at 20:00.
  • LATE PAPERS POLICY: No late reactions will be accepted.

Final Paper 

  • For your final assignment, I would like you to produce a 8-10 page paper on some "Japanese" object or subject that travels. These "Japanese" things could travel regionally or globally. I scare-quoted “Japanese” because when we follow the movement of objects that travel, we might find that what we thought was “Japanese” is more transnational that we expected.
  • You can be creative when writing your paper, and I expect that the approaches that people will bring will be different as we all have different skill sets and different disciplinary interests and experiences. A good paper should bring together many different ways of knowing and doing. It can be wrote through a person, or it can focus on the object/subject itself.
  • Your paper should include a variety of sources. (We will go over “places” where you can look for those sources.) Please limit the number of internet sources that you use in your paper, and I encourage you to make use of primary sources. (In fact, I will reward you for using them.)
  • The final paper is due on 11 July 2013 by 23:59 JST by email ([email protected]).

Midterm Proposal and Presentation 

  • Before submitting your final paper, you need to write a 200-300 word proposal with a tentative bibliography in a standard bibliographic format (Chicago Manual of Style, MLA, etc.). At the beginning of your proposal, please write a tentative thesis statement or a historical problematic that you hope to solve. Limit your project by space and time. Telling me about the history of sericulture (producing silk) trade between Japan and the world would be too large. However, a paper on the history of the shipment of silk between the ports of Vancouver and Yokohama in the late nineteenth-century would be a little more “do-able”.
  • This proposal is due on 25 May by 23:59 by email ([email protected]). It will be worth 10% of your final paper grade. I must have this proposal for you to continue on with your project
  • The other 10% of the midterm proposal is a 5-minute presentation of their project.

 

content: 
Week Content Assignments
Week 1 Introduction: Japan in the World System

Readings

  • Kazui Tashiro and Susan Downing Videen, "Foreign Relations During the Edo Period: Sakoku Reexamined," Journal of Japanese Studies 8, no. 2 (1982).
  • Bruce Batten. “Frontiers and boundaries of pre-modern Japan,” Journal of Historical Geography. 25, no. 2 (1999): 166-182
Week 2 Imperialism and Worlds Converging

Readings:

  • Masao Miyoshi. As We Saw Them: The First Japanese Embassy to the United  States (1860). Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979. 1-141
Week 3 Maritime Relations and the Expansion of Japanese Territoy

Readings:

  • Tsutsui, William. "The Pelagic Empire: Reconsidering Japanese Expansion." In Japan at Nature's Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power, edited by Ian J. Miller, Julia Adeney Thomas and Brett L. Walker, 21-38. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2013.
  • Lin Man-houng, "Taiwan and the Ryukyus (Okinawa) in Asia-Pacific Multilateral Relations – a Long-term Historical Perspective on Territorial Claims and Conflicts" The Asia-Pacific Journal, 11, No. 3 (May 2014).

Recommended:

  • Muscolino, Micah. "The Yellow Croaker War: Fishery Disputes between China and Japan, 1925-1935." Environmental History 13 (April 2008): 305-24.
Week 4 Japan's Korea

Readings:

  • Peter Duus, "Economic Dimensions of Meiji Imperialism: The Case of Korea, 1895-1910," in The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945, ed. Ramon H. Myers and Mark R. Peattie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984).
  • Devine, Richard. "Japanese Rule in Korea after the March First Uprising: Governor General Hasegawa's Recommendations." Monumenta Nipponica 52, no. 4 (Winter 1997): 523-40.
  • Cummings, Bruce. “Colonial Formations and Deformations: Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam” in Paralax Visions: Making Sense of American-East Asian Relations Durham: Duke University Press, 1999., 69-94.

Recommended:

  • Yŏng-ho Ch’oe. “Japan’s 1905 Incorporation of Dokdo/Takeshima: A Historical Perspective” Japan Focus, 13, No. 1, (March 2015)
Week 5  Trip to Yokohama

Readings:

  • Dennys, N.B., William F. Mayers, and Charles King. The Treaty Ports of China and Japan. London: Trübner, 1867., 579-611.
Week 6 Japanese Diaspora

Readings:

  • Steve Rabson “Moving for a Better Life (1921-1937)” in The Okinawa Diaspora in Japan Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2011.
  • Azuma, Eiichiro. "The Politics of Transnational History Making: Japanese Immigrants on the Western "Frontier," 1927-1941." The Journal of American History 89, no. 4 (2003): 1401-30.
Week 7 Japan's China

Readings:

  • Jung-Sun Heur, Rationalizing the Orient: The “East Asia Cooperative Community” in Prewar Japan. Monumenta Nipponica, 60, no 4, (Winter 2005): 481-514.
  • Selections from Haruko Cook and Theodore F. Cook, ed. Japan at War: An Oral History. New York: New Press, 1992.
Week 8 Memories of War

Readings:

  • Mikyoung Kim. “Myth and Fact in Northeast Asia’s History Textbook Controversies” Japan Focus (2008), 1-8. http://japanfocus.org/-Mikyoung-Kim/2855
  • John W. Dower. “The San Francisco System: Past, Present, Future in U.S.- Japan-China Relations” Japan Focus 12, No. 2, (Feb. 2014)., 1- 18.
  • Zheng Wang, “Old Wounds, New Narratives: Joint History Textbook Writing and Peacebuilding in East Asia. History & Memory, Volume 21, Number 1, Spring/ Summer 2009, pp. 101-126
Week 9 Yasukuni

Readings:

  • Shaun O’Dwyer. “The Yasukuni Shrine and the Competing Patriotic Pasts of East Asia” History & Memory, 22, No. 2, (Fall/Winter 2010): 147-177.
Week 10 Borderland Japan

Readings:

Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Borderline Japan: Foreigners and Frontier Controls in the Postwar Era. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.52-146

Week 11 Cold War Japan

Readings:

  • Dower, John W. "Occupied Japan and the Cold War in Asia." In Japan in War and Peace: Essays on History, Culture and Race, 155-207. London: HarperCollins, 1993.
  • “Japan Under Occupation,” in David John Lu, ed. Sources of Japanese History. Vol. 2. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974.
Week 12 Student Presentations  

 

Required readings: 
  • Kazui Tashiro and Susan Downing Videen, "Foreign Relations During the Edo Period: Sakoku Reexamined," Journal of Japanese Studies 8, no. 2 (1982).
  • Bruce Batten. “Frontiers and boundaries of pre-modern Japan,” Journal of Historical Geography. 25, no. 2 (1999): 166-182
  • Masao Miyoshi. As We Saw Them: The First Japanese Embassy to the United States (1860). Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979. 1-141
  • Tsutsui, William. "The Pelagic Empire: Reconsidering Japanese Expansion." In Japan at Nature's Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power, edited by Ian J. Miller, Julia Adeney Thomas and Brett L. Walker, 21-38. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2013. Lin Man-houng, "Taiwan and the Ryukyus (Okinawa) in Asia-Pacific
  • Multilateral Relations – a Long-term Historical Perspective on Territorial Claims and Conflicts" The Asia-Pacific Journal, 11, No. 3 (May 2014).
  • Muscolino, Micah. "The Yellow Croaker War: Fishery Disputes between China and Japan, 1925-1935." Environmental History 13 (April 2008): 305-24.
  • Peter Duus, "Economic Dimensions of Meiji Imperialism: The Case of Korea, 1895-1910," in The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945, ed. Ramon
  • H. Myers and Mark R. Peattie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984).
  • Devine, Richard. "Japanese Rule in Korea after the March First Uprising: Governor General Hasegawa's Recommendations." Monumenta
  • Nipponica 52, no. 4 (Winter 1997): 523-40. Cummings, Bruce. “Colonial Formations and Deformations: Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam” in Paralax Visions: Making Sense of American-East Asian
  • Relations Durham: Duke University Press, 1999., 69-94.
  • Dennys, N.B., William F. Mayers, and Charles King. The Treaty Ports of China and Japan. London: Trübner, 1867., 579-611.
  • Steve Rabson “Moving for a Better Life (1921-1937)” in The Okinawa
  • Diaspora in Japan Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2011.
  • Azuma, Eiichiro. "The Politics of Transnational History Making: Japanese
  • Immigrants on the Western "Frontier," 1927-1941." The Journal of American History 89, no. 4 (2003): 1401-30.
  • Jung-Sun Heur, Rationalizing the Orient: The “East Asia Cooperative Community” in Prewar Japan. Monumenta Nipponica, 60, no 4, (Winter 2005): 481-514.
  • Selections from Haruko Cook and Theodore F. Cook, ed. Japan at War: An Oral History. New York: New Press, 1992.
  • Mikyoung Kim. “Myth and Fact in Northeast Asia’s History Textbook Controversies” Japan Focus (2008), 1-8. http://japanfocus.org/-Mikyoung-Kim/2855
  • John W. Dower. “The San Francisco System: Past, Present, Future in U.S.-Japan-China Relations” Japan Focus 12, No. 2, (Feb. 2014)., 1- 18.
  • Zheng Wang, “Old Wounds, New Narratives: Joint History Textbook Writing and Peacebuilding in East Asia. History & Memory, Volume 21, Number 1, Spring/ Summer 2009, pp. 101-126
  • Shaun O’Dwyer. “The Yasukuni Shrine and the Competing Patriotic Pasts of East Asia” History & Memory, 22, No. 2, (Fall/Winter 2010): 147-177.
  • Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Borderline Japan: Foreigners and Frontier Controls in the Postwar Era. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 52-146
  • Dower, John W. "Occupied Japan and the Cold War in Asia." In Japan in War and Peace: Essays on History, Culture and Race, 155-207. London: HarperCollins, 1993.
  • “Japan Under Occupation,” in David John Lu, ed. Sources of Japanese History. Vol. 2. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974.
  • Yŏng-ho Ch’oe. “Japan’s 1905 Incorporation of Dokdo/Takeshima: A Historical Perspective” Japan Focus, 13, No. 1, (March 2015)
Notes: 

Policies on Electronic Devices

  • Policy on Phones: The use of mobile phones to either make calls or to send text messages is a major distraction to both the instructor and your fellow students. Mobile phones must be turned off during class. Students who send emails or personal messages on their phones during class or receive any phone calls will be required to leave the class for the remainder of the lecture.
  • Policy on Laptop/Tablet Computers: The use of laptop computers in class is permitted for taking notes only. Students found to be using their laptop/tablet for other purposes (email, browsing websites) will be asked to leave the class. Students using laptops/tablets must be seated in the front row of the classroom.