Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

THE 5th(2018) Kokkiken Japan Study Award

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 Fifth [Kokkiken Japan Study Award]

The works of Recipients of Kokkiken Japan Study Award

Japan Study Award
Robert Morton Professor at Chuo University
  • ”A.B. Mitford and the Birth of Japan As a Modern State: Letters Home” (Renaissance Books, 2017)
Japan Study Special Award
Choe Kilsung  Professor Emeritus, Hiroshima University,Professor University of East Asia
  • ”Chosen Syussin no Chobanin ga Mita Ianhu no Shinjitsu – Bunka Jinrui Gakusya ga Yomitoku ‘Ianjo Nikki’”- English translation: “The Truth of Comfort Women: As Seen by a Brothel Receptionist from Korea / ‘Comfort Staion Diaries’ Scrutinized by a Cultural Anthoropologist”(Heart Syuppan, 2017)

Remarks on the selection of award recipients

Robert Morton:“A.B. Mitford and the Birth of Japan As a Modern State: Letters Home”

In 1866, A.B. Mitford (1837-1916), a British aristocrat and foreign service officer, left Beijing for Edo to take up his new post as the number two diplomat, next to Harry Parkes, in the British Legation in Japan. He made exceptionally strenuous efforts to learn Japanese. In the years around the Meiji Restoration, the British Legation was run by a most competent team, comprising Minister Parkes, Mitford and interpreter Ernest Satow, who was six years Mitford’s junior, as well as William Willis, a doctor. Both Parkes and Satow have been quite well known in Japan. As for Mitford, published S. Nagaoka’s two Japanese translations entitled in Japanese as “Eikoku Gaikokan no Mita Bakumatsu Ishin” (The Last Days of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Meiji Restoration as Seen by a British Diplomat) in 1998 and “Mittofodo Nihon Nikki” (The Diaries of Mitford in Japan) in 2001 were published. (Tokyo: Kodansha). In 2017, Professor Robert Morton appeared a remarkable study, “A.B. Mitford and the Birth of Japan as a Modern State,” which is an excellent English read. Morton’s book is full of an insightful historical analysis.

Mitford left Japan for home after three-years and a half biographical assignment. In 1871, he wrote “Tales of Old Japan,” making the rest of the world known about the Forty-seven Ronins for the first time. Later in his life, he gained a further reputation with his “Memories by Lord Redesdale.” In 1915 The descriptions of the impressions he had of Japan during the early days of his stay around the years preceeding the Meiji Restoration as a young diplomat and those of what he mentioned late in his life in “Memories” differed considerably in many ways. These have been swings A typical case of love-hate relationship with Japan. Professor Morton’s book vividly reveals the depth of Mitford’s love-hate relationship with Japan. I feel throughout his book that Professor Morton empathetically understands what Mitford had in mind to the extent that the professor, too, may have alternating emotions toward Japan.

Mitford was obliged to lead a hard life in Yokohama, Shinagawa and Tozenji and Sengakuji temples in the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate, exceptronel experiences. The turning point came to him in 1868 when he witnessed a harakiri ceremony in which Taki Zenzaburo killed himself to take responsibility for ordering Japanese troops to fire on foreign diplomats. The event was described in detail, and I could not help remembering Mori Ogai’s historical novel, “Sakai Jiken” (The Sakai Incident). Professor Morton provides a comprehensive biography of Mitford, referring to the diplomat’s later years and his descendants. The book gives us a lot of insight into the British upper society and British diplomacy of Mitford’s age. Professor Morton gives us many incisive comments free from West supremacist and Christian supremacist preconceptions.

In the years following Japan’s defeat, the leftist scholars in Japan praised the Canadian historian and diplomat E.H. Norman’s book, “Japan’s Emergence as a Modern State.” To me, the title of Professor Morton’s book, “A.B. Mitford and the Birth of Japan as a Modern State,” is very effective as a counteractant. Indeed, Professor Morton’s book gives more real and concrete impressions. Because Mitford forged close relations with Japanese people of various classes. Moreover, in his book, Professor Morton sheds new light on the past from a historical perspective. His intellectual sophistication makes his assessment of the Meiji Restoration intriguingly different from the simple one given by Normans followers such as by historian John Dower and other.

The 2018 Kokkiken Japan Study Award will be presented to Professor Morton in recognition of his excellent humanistic approach to history. He depicts the past Anglo-Japanese relations as seen by an individual. The 2017 award was given to June Teufel Dreyer, professor of political science at the University of Miami. I hope that these selections will help the Kokkiken Japan Study Award gain further prestige, dispel any misunderstanding about the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals and have a good impact on foreign professors living in Japan and Japanologists in Japan and elsewhere in the world.

By Sukehiro Hirakawa
Director of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals and
Professor Emeritus pf the University of Tokyo,
Japan Study Award Jury

Choe Kilsung:“Chosen Syussin no Chobanin ga Mita Ianhu no Shinjitsu – Bunka Jinrui Gakusya ga Yomitoku ‘Ianjo Nikki’”- English translation: “The Truth of Comfort Women: As Seen by a Brothel Receptionist from Korea / ‘Comfort Staion Diaries’ Scrutinized by a Cultural Anthoropologist”

For many years now, there has been a political debate over what comfort women who provided sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II mean. Needless to say, it is more important to first of all know the actual circumstances surrounding the comfort women than to continue such a political debate without insights into the facts. Memoirs and the like have been released by some former comfort women.

Around 2000, a private museum in South Korea bought a collection of numerous diaries a Korean man had kept, using a mixture of hangul, Chinese and Japanese characters, while working as a comfort station receptionist in Burma (now Myanmar) and Singapore. In August 2013, Professor Emeritus Ahn Byung Jik of Seoul National University published a Korean translation of the diaries. In the same year, a Japanese version, translated from the Korean version, became available on the Internet (http://texas-daddy.com/comortwomendiary.pdf). .

The Korean man randomly used hangul and kanji as well as hiragana and katakana in his diaries. The Korean translation is said to differ somewhat from what had been written in the three types of characters used in the Japanese writing system. Then, Professor Choe Kilsung’s award-winning book came out, culminating his efforts to thoroughly analyze the diaries. He combed through and read them deeply while conducting cultural anthropological research that took him to the locations in Myanmar and Singapore where the author of the diaries had worked.

Professor Choe is also known for his research papers on war and sex, especially during the Korean War. His book on the diaries of the comfort station receptionist is said to be an extension of his research on war and sex.

Professor Choe’s book gives a very objective and fair analysis. It concludes that “The Republic of Korea must not use the issue of comfort women as a political card.”

By Katsuhiko Takaike
Vice President of the Japan Institute for National Foundations,
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
June Teufel DreyerProfessor of Political Science at the University of Miami
Henry Scott StokesFormer Tokyo Bureau Chief, New York Times