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Kokkiken Japan Study Award

Purport of the inauguration of the Kokkiken Japan Study Award

We estab-lished the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals with our sincere wish to rebuild the solid foundation 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

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. However, this provision does not apply in the case of a Japan Study Special Award.
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 Ninth [Kokkiken Japan Study Award]

The works of Recipients of Kokkiken Japan Study Award

Japan Study Award
Ewa Pałasz-Rutkowska
PhD, Professor, University of Warsaw
  • Historia stosunków polsko-japońskich, vol. I:1904-1945 (sairyusha,2019)
    Historia stosunków polsko-japońskich, vol. II: 1945-2019 (sairyusha,2021)
    ―Engrish translation:[ The History of Polish-Japanese Relations]
Japan Study Special Award
Lee Dae Keun
Professor Emeritus at Sungkyunkwan University
  • Kizoku Zaisan Kenkyuu Kankoku ni Umoreta “Nihon Shisan” no Shinzitsu(Bungei-shunju,2021)
Japan Study Special Award
Jason Morgan
PhD, Associate Professor at Reitaku University
  • LAW AND SOCIETY IN IMPERIAL JAPAN Suehiro Izutaro and the Search for Equity (Cambria Press,2019)

Remarks on the selection of award recipients

Ewa Pałasz-Rutkowska
Historia stosunków polsko-japońskich, vol. I:1904-1945 (sairyusha,2019)
Historia stosunków polsko-japońskich, vol. II: 1945-2019 (sairyusha,2021)
―Engrish translation:[ The History of Polish-Japanese Relations]

This year’s Kokkiken Japan Study Award-winning works comprising two volumes elaborate on the history of bilateral relations between Japan and Poland, going back more than 110 years. Volume I (whose enlarged and revised edition was translated into Japanese in 2019 to have 470 pages) and Volume II (translated into Japanese in 2021 with 605 pages) cover the periods 1904-45 and 1945-2019, respectively. They provide unprecedentedly exhaustive insights into the history of Japanese-Polish relations. The author is a leading Japanologist in Poland and a professor at the University of Warsaw. She coauthored Volume 1 with Andrzej Romer.

Edo-period scholar Arai Hakuseki (1657-1725) wrote “Seiyo Kibun” (Western Accounts) as early as the early 1700s, referring to Poland. Following the Meiji Restoration, author Sanshi Tokai (1853-1922) wrote in his political novel “Kajin no Kigu” (Unexpected Encounters with Beautiful Women) that Poland was in a tragic situation at the time because it remained partitioned by Prussia, Russia and Habsburg Austria. Enlightenment thinker Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901), too, mentioned Poland in his book “Seiyo Jijo” (Conditions in the West). Tanka poet Naobumi Ochiai (1861-1903) wrote a long poem titled “Kiba Ryoko” (“Journey on Horseback) in 1893 as he was so inspired by Imperial Japanese Army officer Yasumasa Fukushima’s (1852-1919) lone horseback ride from Berlin to Vladivostok — which I later will mention further. “Haran Kaiko” (Reminiscence of Poland), part of the poem, is introduced in the award-winning series. Ochiai composed that part in order to let the Japanese know about the tragedy of Poland and stay vigilant against aggression from abroad. Japan recognized Poland as an independent state in 1919, entering into diplomatic relations with it. But archival records in Poland contain information about Japan dating back much earlier. After establishing diplomatic relations, the two countries began exchanging intelligence officers and shared information about the Soviet Union in parallel with the promotion of diplomatic ties.

Japan and Poland are 11,000 kilometers apart — they are literally separated by Russia. Soon after establishing diplomatic relations, Japan and Poland got closer to each other in the political and military spheres against the background that they were exposed to threats from Russia, a geopolitical great power. One of the most well-known events in those years was Yasumasa Fukushima’s trans-Siberian horseback ride, during which the army officer came into contact Polish people in the territories partitioned to Prussia and Russia. His activities in Poland as an intelligence officer leveraged intelligence gathering operations led by Motojiro Akashi, a Japanese army officer who was based in Stockholm, during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). The award-winning works also detail how closely and clandestinely Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara and the Polish intelligence apparatus cooperated during World War II and how he issued transit visas to Polish Jews, allowing them to leave Europe and travel through Japan.

In the post-WWII period, Japan and Poland — which was under the influence of the Soviet Union — restored their diplomatic relations in 1957. Volume II of the series particularly depicts in detail how the Japanese-Polish diplomatic relationship has evolved since. Moreover, it gives an elaborate focus on cultural and personnel exchanges between the two countries, including Japanology and Japanese studies at the University of Warsaw. Every part of the series results from years of exploring historical material and interviewing a large number of relevant people.

A section in Volume shedding light on “activities of Polish missionaries to Japan” covers their presence in Japan in the years prior to World War II. It is interesting to learn that initially, the Polish population in Japan was mostly composed of missionaries with the number of those from various walks of life then increasing year after year. Likewise, it is intriguing to know about Japanese residents in Poland. On the diplomatic front, Volume II recounts the visits to Poland by then-Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu in 1990, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Takamodo in 1994, Their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress in 2002, then-PM Junichiro Koizumi in 2003 and then-PM Shinzo Abe in 2013 as well as those to Japan by then-President Lech Walesa in 1994, then-PM Jerzy Buzek in 1999, then-PM Marek Belka in 2005, then-President Lech Kaczyński in 2008 and then-President Bronisław Komorowski in 2014. Volume II has more details about mutual visits by Japanese and Polish foreign ministers and parliamentarians.

The author, Ewa Pałasz-Rutkowska, visited Japan in 1985 to study at the University of Tokyo for the first time — she actually attended my seminar. She was fluent in Japanese, having no difficulty reading Japanese material. I was impressed by her earnest way of scrutinizing historical material and written records pertaining to what happened to Japan during the early years of the Showa era, known as the prewar period. Her particular interest at the time was in Imperial Japanese Army General Jinzaburo Masaki (1876-1956). Eventually, she compiled theses on the subject she pursued.

By Takashi Ito
Director of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals,
Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo,
Japan Study Award Jury

Lee Dae Keun
Kizoku Zaisan Kenkyuu Kankoku ni Umoreta “Nihon Shisan” no Shinzitsu (Bungei-syunju,2021)

―English translation:[A Study on Vested Property]

An entire set of prerequisites that are available at the outset of the development of a nation is defined as “initially given conditions.” Thirty-five years of Japanese rule of Korea came to an end when Japan was defeated in World War II. Then, the United States Army Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK) directly governed the southern half of the Korean Peninsula for three years, until August 1948 when the Republic of Korea declared independence. For South Korea, the conditions given to it at that time was, namely, its initial ones for its development.

In 1945, all assets built during the era of Japanese rule there was requisitioned by and vested in the USAMGIK. They were therefore referred to as “vested property.” Upon the establishment of the Republic of Korea, those assets were handed over to the newly formed Korean regime with parts of the property placed under the state and public ownership and some others sold off to private entities. The vested property is said to have initially accounted for 80 to 85 percent of the gross value of Korea’s overall property. After the Korean War broke out, North Korea seized a considerable amount of the vested property. Nonetheless, South Korea still managed to make up for about half of manufacturing activity across the Korean Peninsula in terms of production value. South Korea’s remarkable development could not be irrelevant to the initially given conditions mentioned above, but no researcher had ever mentioned it.

Japan began ruling Korea by first conducting land surveys as a historic project. The land survey project was the first all-important step for Japan to introduce a private property system to Korea and ensure the ownership of land would be in place as a way of establishing a tax collection base. A myth that the Japanese Government-General of Korea confiscated about 40 percent of land across Korea through the land surveys is fed — without hesitation — into junior and senior high school textbooks in South Korea. The origin of the made-up account is traced to an academic theory developed by the Korean Historical Society. I am afraid that it is precarious for the South Koreans to base their identify on a lie. To break through this dangerous intellectual norm, an influential study has been released by Prof. Lee Dae Keun. The title of its Japanese version, published by Bungeishunju Ltd., can be translated as “A Study on Vested Property: The Truth about ‘Japanese Assets’ Buried in South Korea.” .

Prof. Lee says, “We should no longer tolerate the kind of intellectual climate that inspires outright denialism about or distortion of history as far as it was the history of our ancestors — even if it was a shameful one of being controlled by a foreign nation.

“To correct the South Korean people’s prejudice about the history of Japanese colonial rule, what should especially come first and foremost is a correct understanding of the real situations surrounding the vested property.”

The professor’s book reveals, through thorough fact-verifying research, that the legal norms and order — the private property system and the market economy system, in particular — Japan brought to Korea when it annexed the Korean Peninsula turned out to be a series of major contributing factors for facilitating the modernization of South Korea. Indeed, Korea transformed itself from a traditional farming society to an industrial society thanks to a range of social overhead capital projects, including the construction of railways, electric power stations and ports, among others, and the launch of heavy and chemical industrial infrastructure. The transformation led South Korea to emerge as a front-runner in the developing world in seeking post-World War II economic development. In fact, as early as in the 1930s, Korea already followed Japan in experiencing industrialization, a development Prof. Lee referred to as its “first industrial revolution.” already followed Japan in going through This fact is evidenced by “A Study on Vested Property” owing to the professor’s fine and robust analysis of primary source material. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep respect to Prof. Lee for being highly faithful to his principles as a researcher in a social climate that is prone to label as ethnic rebels people like Prof. Lee. He rigidly scrutinized related material and finally presented a very coherently written book full of facts that became known only after his exhaustive scrutiny.

The Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, with a unanimous decision by its president and all members of the Kokkiken Japan Study Award Jury, selected the aforementioned book authored by Prof. Lee Dae Keun as the winner of the Ninth Edition of the Japan Study Special Awards.

By Toshio Watanabe
Director of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals,
Executive advisor of Takushoku University,
Japan Study Award Jury

Jason Morgan
LAW AND SOCIETY IN IMPERIAL JAPAN Suehiro Izutaro and the Search for Equity (Cambria Press,2019)

The author of this award-winning book is an American historian. One day, he found that the Japanese jurisprudential society has certain customs analogous to “equity” that exists in Anglo-American law. That is why he chose to study Suehiro Izutaro. The book, converted from his doctoral thesis on Suehiro Izutaro with additional material, is an excellent academic read — it is exhaustive and has theoretical depth. Suehiro was a scholar of civil law, sociology of law and labor law. He is remembered as a pioneer of Japanese sociology of law and labor law. He founded “Horitsu Jiho,” a monthly law journal that remains well-known in Japan.

While many monographs on Suehiro have been published in Japan, the author says his book is the first one on the Japanese law specialist in the English language. Not only is this book insightful of who Suehiro was and what he did, but it also is unique in that it explains that the tradition of Japanese law has something in common with equity in Anglo-American law. Equity, a concept peculiar to Anglo-American law, has developed as a step to remedy inconvenient results in common law systems. The author asserts that Suehiro’s legal theory emphasized the importance of equity in Japan.

The Meiji government threw off the pre-Meiji Restoration legal system as a “feudal” legacy and, instead, tried to adopt Western law. While legal hermeneutics, a system of rules for the interpretation of laws, incorporated the theory of legal evolution due to the influence of the Darwinist theory of evolution on the one hand, legal practices encountered a host of contradictions on the other hand as seen in conflicts with customs that could hardly be discarded and strains associated with the evolution of industrialization.

Suehiro criticized the then-prevailing interpretation of laws in Japan for mirroring rigid legal hermeneutics in the Germano-French legal 4style. He aimed to promote the interpretation of the “living law” that attaches importance to precedents and customs. As for his law-and-society field activism, he cooperated with Hozumi Shigeto, a professor of civil law, in the Tokyo Imperial University Settlement project for the poor.

The author of the award-winning book notes that Suehiro studied the correlation between law and society and admires him for harkening back to Tokugawa-period magistrate Ooka Tadasuke, Echizen-no-kami. The author refers to Ooka’s method of jurisprudence as a case of kind of ensuring equity by means of living law interpretation.

Suehiro sought to create harmony between foreign law, adopted after the Meiji Restoration, and the domestic legal customs that had existed in the Tokugawa period’s legal landscape. The author thinks Suehiro’s studies have sufficient meaning to society of today as Japan needs to understand the meaning of equity since it is still grappling with conflicts between Japanese customs of the past and the circumstances resulting from the current Constitution of Japan and other laws introduced to Japan by the occupation forces following its defeat in the war during the Showa period.
This book deserves this year’s Kokkiken Japan Study Special Award.

By Katsuhiko Takaike
Vice President of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals,
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, 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
June Teufel DreyerProfessor of Political Science at the University of Miami
Henry Scott StokesFormer Tokyo Bureau Chief, New York Times
Robert MortonProfessor, Chuo University
Choe KilsungProfessor Emeritus, Hiroshima University Professor, University of East Asia
Tosh MinoharaProfessor, Graduate School of Law and Politics, Kobe University
Pema GyalpoProfessor, Takushoku University
Ikuhiko HataModern Historian
Rhee KenjiProfessor of Sociology at Kwansei Gakuin University
Minggad BulagWriter, Translator, Interpreter
Toshi YoshiharaSenior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
Lee Woo Youngformer Research committee member at the Naksungdae Institute of Economic Research