Asian Studies Conference Japan

Saturday, June 19 - Sunday 20, 2004
Ichigaya Campus of Sophia University

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 Contact the organizers: Asian Studies Conference (ASCJ) c/o Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, International Christian University 3-10-2 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181

Session 10: Room 208

Individual Paper Session: Society and Politics

Chair: M. William Steele, International Christian University

1) Melanie Czarnecki, Hokkaido University.
Being Human, Being Women, & Being Children: The Development of Hiratuska Raicho’s Thinking Toward Social Rights

In her autobiography, “In the Beginning, Woman was the Sun,” Hiratsuka Raicho (1886-1971), the founder of Seito (1911-1916), notes that the journal placed importance on women’s position as “human beings” before serious consideration of their position as women.

Following the beginning of the Motherhood Protection Debate (1915-1919), women’s position as women started to gain critical attention from women’s advocates. Raicho, along with Yosano Akiko, Yamakawa Kikue, and Yamada Waka, were the main participants in this public debate. Raicho made a conscious effort to focus her thoughts on the position of women as women. While championing women’s unique position as mothers, she recommended that the solution for women’s freedom and independence to be sought through state-sponsored motherhood protection. In the next phase of her life’s work, Raicho focused on social activism as a member of the New Women’s Association (1920). Just as Raicho had been positively impacted by the Christian educator, Naruse Jinzo, and his stance to educate women as human beings, so too did Raicho expand that philosophy to include children. The necessity to respect children as human beings became a significant theme in Raicho’s writings from the 1920s.This paper analyzes the terms and conditions that affected the evolution of Raicho’s thinking toward children. By doing so, I intend to evaluate the significance her writings had on the development of children’s rights in Japan.

2) Simon Avenell, National University of Singapore.
Beheiren: Challenging the Codes of Activism and Daily Life

This paper explores the single-share opposition movement carried out by Beheiren, the Federation of Citizens for Peace in Vietnam, during the early 1970s. Herein, Beheiren activists purchased single shares in Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in order to gain entrance to shareholders' meetings where they could openly criticize the company for its production of armaments for use in the Vietnam War. On one level this mobilization certainly fell into to a decade-long process of antiwar, pacifist, activism in Japan. Yet, at a deeper level, it also spoke to an amorphous, yet nonetheless emerging, realization among activists that the very structures of daily life were profoundly connected to the "sins" of the state and corporate Japan. Without even realizing it, through such mobilizations activists were beginning to challenge not only the hegemonic codes of conservative rule, but more importantly, the seemingly innocuous codes of daily life. In the process, together with other cohort movements, Beheiren activists began to open new conceptual pathways in the realm of grassroots activism. Change was not only about opposing the state or corporate Japan, activists realized; it was also about interrogating the "ordinary citizen."

3) Shunichi Takekawa, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.
Rise of Japanese Nationalism or Civil Society?: National Dailies and the New History Textbook Controversy

Japan specialists often point out that national dailies fail to play a watchdog role for Japan’s democracy. On the other hand, few Japan specialists have focused on the independent role of those national dailies in influencing the direction and quality of Japanese nationalism. This paper addresses that deficiency. I will explore how the two largest newspapers try to shape Japanese nationalism through their news coverage and editorials. I examine the two commercial newspapers, Yomiuri and Asahi, particularly their news coverage and editorials on or the New History Textbook controversy (Atarashii rekishi kyokasho mondai) . Written in 2001 by conservative scholars and writers, The New History Textbook for middle school students created a hot discussion between conservatives and liberals in Japan and international disputes between Japan and other Asian countries like China and South Korea.

My content analysis shows the two dailies’ attitudes toward the textbook were presented through not only their editorials but also news coverage. Yomiuri supported the textbook and its authors while Asahi criticized them. In line with evidence from my content analysis, I further infer that Yomiuri and Asahi actively participate in this political debate in Japanese civil society. Each of these newspapers seeks to form its preferred nationalism. That is, they subscribe to two sorts of postwar Japanese nationalism--orthodox nationalism and internationalism, respectively. Because of their different views of nationalism, they may play a crucial role in Japanese nationalism reconstruction as well as civil society development although they violate their self-claimed impartiality.

4) Shiu Hing Lo.
Institutional Design in the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime: The Cases of Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong

The "one country, two systems" designed for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) is characterized by not only the need to preserve political, social and legal uniqueness of the two places, but also the institutional cooperation of police apparatuses in their joint efforts at controlling trans-border and transnational organized crime. Since the HKSAR's return of its sovereignty to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in July 1997, and since the MSAR's reversion of its administration to Beijing in December 1999, the police organizations in the two places have been forging close links with the Guangdong Public Security Bureau (PSB) in their fight against cross-border triad activities, criminal operations, drug trafficking and commerical crime. The anti-triad and anti-crime operations have become a policy pattern prior to the anniversaries of the handover dates of the HKSAR and MSAR, as well as the annual celebration of the national day of the PRC. These policy initiatives and institutional cooperation have succeeded in stemming the tide of rising criminal activities across the border of Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong as the three places are integrating economically in an unprecedented manner. As economic integration has generated increasing opportunities for criminal elements and organizations to profit themselves, police organizations have been forced by the changing circumstances to adapt to the increasingly complicated circumstances. The ways in which the police organizations in these three places have been cooperating will be discussed in detail in this paper, including regular meetings of middle-level police officers responsible for various criminal activities, high-level meetings held by the three sides, the exchange of criminal intelligence, and the interactions at other informal and cultural levels. The institutional design and cooperation of the police organizations in the HKSAR, MSAR and Guangdong serve as a model for the joint combat against trans-border or transnational organized crime. Nevetheless, the paper will also discuss the potential problems behind the overall success in the combat against organized crime in Greater South China. These problems include the internal complexities of organizations dealing with organized crime in the HKSAR, MSAR and Guangdong, as well as the difficulties of coordination amongst all these organizations apart from the police forces. From the perspective of political science, institutional design and cooperation amonst the police forces in Greater South China (referring to the HKSAR, MSAR and Guangdong) represent a successful model in the fight against cross-border organized crime, but the internal complexities of the relationships between police forces and other agencies in each of the three regions pinpoint potential limitations on the success of this model. If the "three systems" can cooperate well in their fight against trans-border organized crime, the internal diversities and complexities within each of the three systems pose a constraint on the political drive against the proliferation of criminal activities in the rapidly integrated economies of the Greater South China regions.

5) Florence Padovani, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
Planned Migration in China: How to Handle Migrations Due to Economic Development in Today’s China?

After the big migration wave due to the construction of the Three Gorges dam, which attracted world attention, an even bigger wave is reaching Chinese cities. Development programs are huge in today's China and require relocating an increasing number of people. This is not a new phenomenon but the scale of the movement and the reactions of people are new. In this paper I would like first to explain today’s phenomenon putting it in historical perspective. Since the Deng Xiaoping era, the development of cities has advanced at high speed, transforming the urban landscape and pushing locals away from their homes. In the second part of the paper I will show what has changed in the authorities’ attitudes towards planned migration, demonstrating that new entities are moving in as the government is backing out. Lastly, I will examine popular ways of resisting what is imposed on them. Resistance has become more organized. Local communities are springing up everywhere to defend what they consider as their rights.

6) Victor Chan, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University.
Building an East Asian Community: Myth and Reality

The community-building process has been officially kicked off under the Tokyo Declaration since December 2003. Japan and ASEAN 10 agree to establish a regional community, which also include China and South Korea. In this paper, there are two major themes – (1) assessing the ongoing progress of an East Asian community-building and (2) explicating the driving forces behind East Asian regionalism. The paper utilizes three important concepts of international relations: ‘power’, ‘interest’ and ‘identity’ to demonstrate the myth and reality in the progress of East Asian regionalism. It seems to realize some important steps in building a community, but it is very easy to overlook its significances and contributions. Most importantly, the problem of ‘myth’ and ‘reality’ is rooted from our misinterpretation of the driving forces of regionalism behind. Economic interdependence and institutionalization of regional mechanism are commonly regarded as the engines of East Asian regionalism. They are however not sufficient to get rid of the stumbling stones such as diversity in economic development and domestic political and security considerations. The paper therefore argues that the new wave of East Asian regionalism is driven by a series of crises such as financial crisis of 1997-1998 and regional public health crises like SARS and Avian flu. The crises facilitate to redefine the power measurement, interest calculation and identity formation and hence call for community-building.

 


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