Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

THE 7th(2020) Kokkiken Japan Study Award

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

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. 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 Seventh [Kokkiken Japan Study Award]

The works of Recipients of Kokkiken Japan Study Award

Japan Study Special Award
Rhee Kenji
Professor of Sociology at Kwansei Gakuin University
  • Rishi Chosen Saigo no Ou Rigin: Dai Ikkan, Daikan Teikoku 1897-1907,Dai Nikan ,Dainihon Teikoku (Meijiki) - English translation:[The Last King of the Lee Dynasty Lee Eun: the first volume Korean Empire 1897-1907,the second volume the Empire of Japan (Meiji period) 1907-1912](Sakuhinsha,2019)
Japan Study Encouragement Award
Minggad Bulag
Writer, Translator, Interpreter
  • Kusahara ni Homurareta Kioku “Nihon Tokumu” - Nihonjin ni yoru “Uchi Mongoru Kosaku” to Mongorujin ni yoru “Tainichi Kyoryoku” no Hikari to Kage - English translation:[ Japan’s” Tokumu” Special Duty Organs: The Past That was Buried in Steppe: The Bright and Dark Sides of ‘Espionage and Undercover Operations in Inner Mongolia’ by Japanese and ‘Cooperation with Japan’ by Mongolians](Kwansei Gakuin University Press, 2019)
The Kokkiken Japan Study Award Jury selected the seventh Kokkiken Japan Study Award toHannichi Shuzoku Shugi: Nikkan Kiki no Kongen - English translation: [Anti-Japan Tribalism: The Root of the Japan-South Korea Crisis] (Bungeishunjyu, 2019), but Dr. Rhee Young Hoon, the author and editor of the book, requested to decline and the Jury accepted it.

Remarks on the selection of award recipients

Rhee Kenji
Rishi Chosen Saigo no Ou Rigin: Dai Ikkan, Daikan Teikoku 1897-1907,Dai Nikan ,Dainihon Teikoku (Meijiki) - English translation:[The Last King of the Lee Dynasty Lee Eun: the first volume Korean Empire 1897-1907,the second volume the Empire of Japan (Meiji period) 1907-1912]

This is an extensive four-volume book. I was asked by the Award Jury to comment on the first two volumes that have already been published. The reason why my colleagues on the jury cannot wait until the publication of the remaining two volumes is very understandable. Historians, authors and book editors are all keen to know more about Lee Eun, the last king of the Joseon dynasty that ruled Korea for more than 500 years and the crown prince of the Empire of Korea. Following Japan’s annexation of Korea, he became a “quasi-royal family” member and married Princess Masako of the Nashimoto branch of the Japanese Imperial family. He led a life worth drawing so much attention that it should not simply encapsulated as a checkered one. Nowadays in South Korea, as pointed out by the author, Prof. Rhee Kenji, things bearing the words “Japan” and “Japanese” continue to come under attack for unaccountable reasons. In Korean society, blame is still being leveled against pro-Japanese Koreans who collaborated with Japan during the annexation period. Then, why has Lee Eun escaped bearing the brunt of blame even though it seems that no one else but him in South Korea has been so pro-Japanese?

In the first two volumes, the author narrates in detail how Lee Eun lived in his early days, covering the period from his birth to his enrollment in the Imperial Japanese Army Cadet School. As I read the parts pertaining to the Joseon dynasty’s court rituals, for example, it became clear to me that he must have really done backbreaking efforts to complete his work, spending massive amounts of time and energy for research. I think what is contained in his work is his love of Lee Eun. At the time, the geopolitical importance of the Korean Peninsula to Japan was on the rise in terms of dealing with Russia and China. Against such a backdrop, Emperor Meiji as well as Hirobumi Ito and other Meiji-era Japanese political elites treated Lee Eun well. Especially, Meiji Emperor and Ito are said to have loved him more than their own children and grandchildren.

Prof. Rhee Kenji, who is impeccably versed in affairs in Japan, regards Japan’s annexation of Korea as an unbearable humiliation for the Koreans. The author also interprets Ito’s love of Lee Eun almost as a mercy given to the Korean crown prince from the standpoint of the Japanese authority in Korea at the time. Ito forced Lee Eun’s father, Emperor Gojong, to abdicate the throne in 1907 in the wake of the so-called Hague Secret Emissary Affair. As such, it could have been Ito’s crooked love, according to the author.

When seen from the Japanese side, what the author says, as cited above, looks like a prejudice. But, as I read the following parts in his work, I have no choice but to say that there is a difference between Japan and South Korea over historical perceptions. Prof. Rhee Kenji writes: “The Japanese military utilized the Korean Peninsula effectively as a ‘bridge girder’ - perhaps, ‘abused’ may be the word that can better describe what happened. In addition, Japan took away the ‘rights and interests of the Korean Peninsula’ just like a thief at a fire. It is hard to find any grain of ‘beautiful Japan’ spirit as illustrated by Ryotaro Shiba in his historical novel, ‘Saka no Ue no Kumo’ (Clouds Above the Hill).”

Meanwhile, the author’s work has a scene that is so interesting that we are able to put our difference aside. In December 1907, Lee Eun arrived in Japan to study in Tokyo. In October of the same year, Japan’s Crown Prince Yoshihito, 28 at the time, (who later became Emperor Taisho) met Lee Eun during his tour of Korea. So, despite having a cold, Yoshihito, who wanted to see Lee Eun again as soon as possible, went to Tokyo’s Shinbashi Station to welcome the 10-year-old Korean prince. The author depicts the scene in a detached tone: “No sooner had Lee Eun found Yoshihito than he pulled his hand free of Resident-Governor Ito [who accompanied him all the way from Seoul] and ran up to and salute Yoshihito with an affectionate smile.” I was moved by it.

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

Minggad Bulag
Kusahara ni Homurareta Kioku “Nihon Tokumu” - Nihonjin ni yoru “Uchi Mongoru Kosaku” to Mongorujin ni yoru “Tainichi Kyoryoku” no Hikari to Kage - English translation:[ Japan’s” Tokumu” Special Duty Organs: The Past That was Buried in Steppe: The Bright and Dark Sides of ‘Espionage and Undercover Operations in Inner Mongolia’ by Japanese and ‘Cooperation with Japan’ by Mongolians]

Following the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War, Japan continued to deepen relations with the Asian continent. As such, the establishment of Manchukuo in the seventh year of the Showa era (Showa 7) or 1932 - only 64 years after the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Then, Japan’s defeat in the Great East Asia War came only 13 years later.

Manchukuo came into being following the Manchurian Incident of Showa 6 (1931). Some historians argue that the Manchurian Incident led Japan to take a wrong course and eventually move toward a wrong war until the nation was lost in it. Can history be assessed like cutting the Gordian knot?

The author of the award-winning book asserts from the point of view of Japan’s relations with Inner Mongolia that the Manchurian Incident can be defined as an extension of the Russo-Japanese War. All we know about Inner Mongolia does not go beyond a few facts including the establishment of a pro-Japanese government by Demchugdongrub, a.k.a. Prince Dewang, there. This book shows us how close relations between Japan and Inner Mongolia were.

For instance, the author cites the fact that the origin of Calpis Co.’s popular lactic acid beverage goes back to the early 20th century when the founder of the Tokyo-based firm visited Inner Mongolia and found people drinking cultured milk. He also writes that Japan relied on Inner Mongolia as an alternative supply source for importing horses for its military as war-horses were unavailable elsewhere because of the Russo-Japanese War. Indeed, following the war, Japan made its presence in Inner Mongolia, setting up “tokumu kikan” or special duty organs to advance its policy toward the Asian continent. Japan gave education and military training to local residents. As a result, there were not a few Mongolians who cooperated with Japan. Mongolian people say those Japanese with whom they cooperated disappeared all too soon after Japan was defeated in World War II.

This is an oral history book with narratives from many Mongolians, including relatives of the author, who experienced contact with Japan, and Japanese people who had lived in Inner Mongolia. The author says he combed through a vast variety of related materials to correct wrong memories or remarks given by people he interviewed.

This book tells us parts of the history of Inner Mongolia, which had been surrounded by China, Russia (the Soviet Union) and Japan and continued to be at the mercy of them. Without possessing real sovereignty, Inner Mongolia remains persecuted. The author says he chose the Japanese word “kusahara,” literally meaning “grassland,” for the subtitle, hoping that people in Japan would not forget that their country once had close relations with Inner Mongolia. I feel solemnly bound to listen to him.

By Katsuhiko Takaike
Vice President of the Japan Institution for National Fundamentals,
Member of the Kokkiken Japan Study Award Jury and Lawyer

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
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