Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Kokkiken Japan Study Award

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Kokkiken Japan Study Award

Purport of the inauguration of the Kokkiken Japan Study Award

Ten years ago, we estab-lished the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals with our sincere wish to rebuild the solid founda-tion of Japan and let this nation embody its true self. What we envisage is a Japan that, while retaining the values unique to it, serves as a decent member of the international community by maintaining a broader perspective on world events. First and foremost, it was our earnest desire to contribute as much as we could to the rebirth of Japan by dealing squarely with national issues including the Constitution, national security and education. Indeed, this was the prime motivation for inaugurating our institute.

To make this aspiration a reality, it is imperative to help the international community deepen its understanding of Japan and generate mutual respect between this nation and the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this goal remains far off. Japan remains misunderstood on many accounts. This is particularly true in respect to issues of history, over which Japan is often confronted by a tall wall of misunderstanding even today. Even Western countries that share the same values as Japan are no exception in this regard.

What should be specifically done to dispel such misperceptions? The best answer is to help people abroad increase their knowledge of Japan. To do this, we were considering how to foster talented people as Japan study specialists or Japanologists. Just at that time, Ms. Mari Terada made a very kind offer to JINF. It is my great honor to have been involved in establishing the Japan Study Award, which reflects the great aspiration she shares with all of us.

We sincerely hope this new award inspires researchers in the 21st-century international community to undertake thorough academic research about Japan—everything from its features, history, culture and civilization to politics, the wartime past and values unique to it. We would be delighted if the Japan Study Award helps promote free and sincere studies on Japan.

I am confident that the candid findings—positive or negative—of these researchers on various aspects of Japan—including its successes and failures—can help break down the wall of prejudice toward Japan. Research backed by academic honesty and integrity will always provide a precious source for learning.

It is my sincere hope that the Kokkiken Japan Study Award will increase the number of genuine friends of Japan around the world. At the same time, I believe Japan’s culture, civilization and its values that shape Japanese people’s thinking can contribute to the betterment of the 21st-century international community.

By Yoshiko Sakurai
President of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

The Japan Institute for National Fundaments (JINF) is pleased and honored to announce that the Terada Mari Japan Study Award has been renamed to the Kokkiken (abbreviation for JINF) Japan Study Award in response to a kind request from Ms. Mari Terada, We at the Institute will continue to give further significance to the Japan Study Award as a token of our wholehearted gratitude to Ms. Terada and other philanthropists for their kind offers. On this occasion of the name change, the guidelines of the Japan Study Award have been partially revised to include as recipients of the award those first-generation foreigners who have acquired Japanese citizenship.

Outline of Kokkiken Japan Study Award

The Japan Institute for National Fundamentals encourages and honors outstanding works in the field of Japanese studies at home and abroad that contribute to the furthering of understanding of Japan in the areas of politics, national security, diplomacy, history, education and culture, among others.
Every year, the Institute bestows the Japan Study Award on an individual, in principle, and a prize of US$10,000. The annual Japan Study Award program also includes a Japan Study Encouragement Award, which carries a prize of US$5,000. A Japan Study Special Award may be added.
To be eligible for these awards, a research work must be published in book form or in a national or international journal in either Japanese or English in recent years by a researcher who is a foreign national including a first generation naturalized person.
Members of the Japan Study Award Recommendation Committee and relevant experts are asked to recommend a wide range of candidate works by the end of each year. Based on these recommendations, the Japan Study Award Jury selects winners of the Japan Study Award program by the spring of the following year.
An award ceremony and a reception for the winners are held in July each year.

The Fourth [Kokkiken Japan Study Award]

The works of Recipients of Kokkiken Japan Study Award

Japan Study Award
June Teufel Dreyer Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami
  • ”Middle Kingdom and Empire of the Rising Sun: Sino-Japanese Relations, Past and Present”(Oxford University Press, 2016)
Japan Study Special Award
Henry Scott Stokes Former Tokyo Bureau Chief, New York Times
  • ”Fallacies in the Allied Nations' Historical Perception as Observed by a British Journalist”(Hamilton Books, 2017)

Remarks on the selection of award recipients

June Teufel Dreyer:”Middle Kingdom and Empire of the Rising Sun: Sino-Japanese Relations, Past and Present”

“Sino-Japanese tensions have gone through several turbulent periods since the end of World War II. The Beijing government has attributed the problems to the Tokyo government’s insufficient expressions of remorse over Japan’s responsibility for the war and to politicians’ persistent refusal to foreswear visits to the Yasukuni Jinja, Japan’s shrine to its war dead. Relations will not improve, they warn, unless China receives adequate apologies and visits to the shrine cease. The central theme of this book is that these issues are merely symptoms of an underlying problem that stretches back to the beginning of relations between the two states: the unwillingness of either China or Japan to accept the other as an equal and the refusal of either to accept a position of inferiority to the other. The roots of this tension can be found as early as the seventh century, in some of the earliest contacts between the two cultures...”

What is quoted above is the beginning section of the introduction to Chapter 1, Part One of Prof. June Teufel Dreyer’s book, “Middle Kingdom and Empire of the Rising Sun: Sino-Japanese Relations, Past and Present.” If you read the quoted section with a composed state of mind, you will certainly agree that it depicts exactly what has happened between Japan and China. As I read that section, I asked myself if the two countries have had talks on an equal footing since the end of World War II. I have continued to feel sick of the lack of such scenes, but the opening passage of her book makes me feel reassured to a certain extent.

Most Japanese expect to see an early improvement in strained relations between Japan and China. However, in the eyes of Tokyo, Beijing’s foreign policy towards Japan gives the impression that the Chinese side stubbornly believes that it needs to keep putting coercive pressure on Japan to make Japanese people obedient to China. Indeed, Japan has thus far kept either falling silent or offering apologies in one way or another whenever hearing China vociferously take issue with the Japanese side’s “historical perception.” China loudly opposes to Japanese politicians’ visits to Yasukuni Shrine to pay tribute to the war dead because of a lopsided resentment that the Class A war criminals tried by the Tokyo International Military Tribunal are enshrined there. In her book, the author has followed the evolution of relations between Japan and China with a particular interest in seeing if the two countries have dealt with each other on equal terms.

When Mr. Shinzo Abe started his second term as prime minister in December 2012, liberal U.S. newspapers such as The New York Times—which tend to interpret history only in terms of linear equation—joined China in making fuss about his election by calling him a “nationalist.” Nonetheless, the United States, Japan and member states of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) as well as other countries will certainly change their attitudes towards China if Beijing’s assertive behaviors remain unchanged. In fact, China has maintained two-digit annual growth of military spending, with just a few exceptions. In recent years, it has built military installations on artificial islands in the South China Sea.

Prof. Dreyer explores and analyzes 1,400 years of contacts between Japan and China, going back to the seventh century, from an even-handed standpoint. It is understandable that she needed a lot of courage to call for treating Japan and China “even-handedly” in the U.S. academia that has many scholars with left-leaning historical perceptions, as in the case of John W. Dower who is known for his book “Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II.”

It is also noteworthy that the professor provides a profound observation about the Imperial Family, which is the core of Japan’s national entity (kokutai), As the time went by, there occurred gradual devolution of power away from the Imperial court to bakufu, the commander-in-chief of the entire warrior class, with emperors assuming the role as the symbol of state authority. The Imperial Family has maintained the unbroken line of emperors as ritual kings, which is unprecedented in any other country. In this connection, Prof. Dreyer’s book teaches us that it does not make much sense to debate the future of the Imperial Family from the perspective of history dating back only to the Meiji period.

By Tadae Takubo
Vice President of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals
Vice Chairman of the Kokkiken Japan Study Award Jury
Professor Emeritus at Kyorin University

Henry Scott Stokes:”Fallacies in the Allied Nations' Historical Perception as Observed by a British Journalist”

Mr. Henry Scott Stokes recently published a book, titled “Fallacies in the Allied Nations' Historical Perception as Observed by a British Journalist” (Hamilton Books, 2017), more than 50 years after he first arrived in Japan in 1964. When he began covering Japan as the first Tokyo bureau chief for the Financial Times, according to his own account, he harbored a strong anti-Japanese sentiment. Nevertheless, the longer he stayed in Japan, for over half a century now, the more he understood about the host country.

An overwhelming majority of foreign correspondents assigned to Tokyo have been, and are, indoctrinated with the so-called Tokyo Trials-imposed view of history, without getting rid of such a historical perception to genuinely learn about Japan. In contrast, Mr. Stokes is one of the few foreigners who have got closer to the soul of the Japanese civilization. As mentioned in the aforementioned book, as Yukio Mishima had placed his faith in the Mr. Stokes, he sent what amounted to be a suicide note to the British journalist just before committing suicide.

With such a deep insight into Japan, Mr. Stokes departs from the Tokyo Trials-influenced perception of Japan as the villain in the Greater East Asian War and writes, “We (Britain) were not fair to the Japanese.” As regards the Japanese invasion of the Malay Peninsula, he says, “I felt that the Japanese occupation of the British colonies was a justifiable cause.”

What underlies Mr. Stokes’s latest book is his insightful view of history, which is comparable to Japanese novelist and critic Fusao Hayashi’s perception of the Greater East Asian War as the culmination of what he called Japan’s 100-year war against the Western occupation of East Asia. Mr. Stokes’s historical perception on which his analysis of what the Allied Nations had done is based deserves close attention.

By Yoshiko Sakurai
President of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals
Chairman of the Kokkiken Japan Study Award Jury

Award Jury

ChairYoshiko Sakurai President, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals (JINF)
Vice ChairTadae TakuboJINF Vice President and Professor Emeritus, Kyorin University
Takashi ItoProfessor Emeritus, University of Tokyo
Sukehiro HirakawaProfessor Emeritus, University of Tokyo
Toshio WatanabeExecutive advisor for academic affairs, Takushoku University
Katsuhiko TakaikeJINF Vice President and lawyer

Award Recommendation Committee

George Akita Professor Emeritus, University of Hawaii
James E. AuerProfessor Emeritus, Vanderbilt University
Brahma ChellaneyProfessor of Strategic Studies, Center for Policy Research, India
Kevin DoakProfessor at Georgetown University
Vassili MolodiakovRussian professor at the Institute of Japanese Identity, Takushoku University
Brandon PalmerAssociate professor of history at Carolina Coastal University
Koh Se-kaiProfessor Emeritus, Tsuda College
Arthur WaldronProfessor, University of Pennsylvania
Edward MarxAssociate Professor, Ehime University
David HanlonProfessor, University of Hawaii at Mānoa
Yang Haiying, aka Akira OhnoProfessor at Shizuoka University
Chen Rou-jinColumnist, former political reporter of United Daily News
Robert D. EldridgeFormer Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff (G-5), Marine Corps installations Pacific/Marine Forces Japan