Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

THE 8th(2021) 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 Eighth [Kokkiken Japan Study Award]

The works of Recipients of Kokkiken Japan Study Award

Japan Study Award
Toshi Yoshihara
Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
  • Chugoku Kaigun vs Kaijo Jieitai (business-sha, 2020)
    Dragon against the Sun: Chinese Views of Japanese Seapower (CABA,2020)
Japan Study Special Award
Lee Woo Young
former Research committee member at the Naksungdae Institute of Economic Research
  • Achievement in translating the book titled “Decchiage no Choyoko Mondai (A Complete Fabrication: The Issue of Wartime Requisitioned Workers)” by Tsutomu Nishioka into Korean.
Japan Study Special Award
CEO, Hwang Ui Won
  • Achievements in the publication of the Korean version of “Decchiage no Choyoko Mondai (A Complete Fabrication: The Issue of Wartime Requisitioned Workers) ” by Tsutomu Nishioka.

Remarks on the selection of award recipients

Toshi Yoshihara
Chugoku Kaigun vs Kaijo Jieitai (business-sha, 2020)
Dragon against the Sun: Chinese Views of Japanese Seapower (CABA,2020)

In his Japan Study Award-winning book titled “Dragon against the Sun: Chinese Views of Japanese Seapower,” Mr. Toshi Yoshihara honestly depicts the national security crisis Japan now faces. Japanese publishing company Business-sha has turned his study into a Japanese book under the Japanese title: “Chugoku Kaigun vs Kaijo Jieitai” (The Chinese Navy vs the JMSDF). The author points out that China has already overtaken Japan’s naval power — to a level that is so irrecoverable for Japan that our country can no longer take on threats from China at all. Mr. Yoshihara goes on to say: Unless Japan embarks on strengthening its naval power by drastically increasing defense spending, China will likely leave behind permanently Japan. He refers to the attitudes of Japan’s government and many of its population to choose to look away from the harsh reality and remain inactive because the issue is too grave despite knowing in their heads what they must do. As a result, he warns repeatedly that Japan is becoming increasingly inferior to China.

Mr. Yoshihara is a Japanese American who was raised in Taiwan. As he is fluent in Chinese, he has combed through a really enormous amount of literature in Chinese. We Japanese have to take to heart the Chinese views he introduces in his book. Today, China has greater confidence against Japan. The Chinese Navy’s assessment of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s strength reflects China’s growing confidence. In the past, the Chinese were reluctant to admire the JMSDF’s superiority. But now they are so self-confident that they readily acknowledge the JMSDF’s capabilities.

Mr. Yoshihara’s study clearly shows what China’s Communist Party leadership aims to achieve. They strongly believe that it is crucial for China to acquire the potential to bend the Japanese government to its will. To that end, China has wholeheartedly endeavored to build up such power. Consequently, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) — which used to be an insignificant maritime force — has possessed overwhelming military superiority over not only Japan but also the United States, albeit in the limited sea areas surrounding the Taiwan Strait.

The shocking message of this award-winning study actually came up about 10 years ago. At that time, Mr. Yoshihara and his U.S. Navy War College colleague, Mr. James Holmes, published a book titled “Red Star over the Pacific.” Its Japanese version was published by Japanese publisher basilico under the Japanese title of “Taiheiyo no Akai Hoshi: Chugoku no Taito to Kaiyohaken heno Yabo” (Red Star over the Pacific: China’s Rise and Its Ambition for Maritime Hegemony).

In their book, Mr. Yoshihara and Mr. Holmes pointed out that China’s leaders diligently learned from Alfred Thayer Mahan about naval strategies and combined the Mahanian doctrines and Mao Zedong’s strategic and tactical theories to formulate a new maritime strategy for the PLAN.

The military theories of Mao, known as a matchless agitator, was touted as a defensive strategy, but, in reality, it was very offensive. What would happen to China’s possible military operations in the wake of the fusion of the theories of Mahan and Mao? In their book, Mr. Yoshihara and his co-author left some room for further discussion on this particular point. In a nutshell, nonetheless, the answer to the question would depend on how correctly the Chinese would have comprehended Mahan’s doctrines.

Mahan thought that taking command of the sea should not be pursued as a zero-sum game only in wartime and emphasized the utmost importance of command of the sea in relation to sea commerce in peacetime. No single country can keep command of the sea in reality and, therefore, it is normal for countries to always have disputes in the maritime domain. Mr. Yoshihara wrote that if the Chinese were able to correctly subscribe to such a common-sense theory, China’s maritime strategy might turn out to be relatively moderate.

The publication of the book “Red Star over the Pacific” was followed by the rise of Mr. Xi Jinping to power in China in November 2012. He began gradually adopting high-handed policies. As of June 2021, he is widely thought to be ambitiously aiming to rise to the status of a second Mao Zedong.

In his award-winning study, Mr. Yoshihara points out as follows: “The accumulation of naval power has furnished warfighting options hitherto unavailable to China” and “China is increasingly convinced that it possesses the means and skills at sea to bend Japan to its will.”

We have to get further prepared for a situation in which Mr. Xi will be stiffening his anti-Japan and anti-U.S. posture. The mindset of the Mao-like absolute, despotic ruler and China’s growing naval power “bodes ill for the future stability of Indo-Pacific maritime affairs.”

How should Japan deal with the fast-changing situation? In March 2021, the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (Japan-U.S. “2+2”) was convened to reaffirm that Tokyo and Washington would strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of Japan-U.S. Alliance. In April this year, after holding a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that Japan resolves to bolster its own national defense capabilities and that Tokyo and Washington will further strengthen the Alliance. His remarks are Japan’s pledge with the international community. This means that Mr. Yoshihara’s warning to Japan thus has finally led the Japanese government to make an official pledge with the international community.

The government and people of Japan must bear seriously in mind what Mr. Yoshihara has manifestly introduced: the Chinese people’s harsh views of Japan; China’s massive naval power with which Beijing intends to force Japan to succumb to its pressure and inevitably bend to its will; and the Chinese deep-rooted belief in power that keeps them strengthening military power.

If Japan makes no effort to address the naval imbalance between Japan and China, such inaction will result in impeding the Japan-U.S. Alliance itself. If Japan continues to avoid exerting to demonstrate its capabilities and fulfilling its natural obligations to defend itself, both the United States and Asian countries will eventually distance themselves from Japan. If that is the case, the stability of the Indo-Pacific will be affected to a great extent. Above all else, the future of Japan will be very bleak. Mr. Yoshihara’s super study on China is the most honest warning to Japan.

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

Lee Woo Young
Achievement in translating the book titled “Decchiage no Choyoko Mondai (A Complete Fabrication: The Issue of Wartime Requisitioned Workers)” by Tsutomu Nishioka into Korean.

Achievements in the publication of the Korean version of “Decchiage no Choyoko Mondai (A Complete Fabrication: The Issue of Wartime Requisitioned Workers) ” by Tsutomu Nishioka.

In its process of choosing the winners of the eighth Kokkiken Japan Study Award, the jury made an unprecedented decision. Its members decided to present this year’s Special Award to a South Korean translator and a South Korean publishing company.

The original Japanese book, titled Decchiage no Choyoko Mondai (A Complete Fabrication: The Issue of Wartime Requisitioned Workers), was authored by Mr. Tsutomu Nishioka and published by Soshisha Publishing Co., Ltd. Dr. Lee Woo Young, a researcher at the Naksungdae Institute of Economic Research in Seoul, translated the Japanese book into Korean and South Korean online media outlet Mediawatch, whose CEO is Mr. Hwang Ui Won, published the Korean version.

Decchiage no Choyoko Mondai is a superb book, which was published just after the South Korean Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (later changed to Nippon Steel Corporation) must pay 100 million won (about 10 million yen) to each Korean plaintiff in compensation for their wartime labor. In both theoretical and practical terms, the book completely revealed the lies on which South Korea’s top court ruling were based. There would have been no question if the jury had chosen this book. However, the author, Mr. Nishioka, was likely to refuse to receive the award because he is a council member of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals.

Then, members of the jury became inclined to think in a different way. In South Korea of today, those who make “anti-Japan” remarks are treated like heroes as Japan-South Korea relations have descended to the worst state since the end of World War II. Therefore, there is no room in South Korean society to tolerate any remarks that acknowledge that what Japan says is correct. Even under such circumstances, there emerged a South Korean translator to translate Mr. Nishioka’s book into Korean and a South Korean publisher to publish the Korean version. The jury thought that their courage ought to be praised and that giving a Special Award to them could be an acknowledgment, albeit indirect, of the excellence of the original Japanese book.

Mr. Lee Woo Young was one of the six authors whose essays were contributed to the book, Anti-Japan Tribalism: The Root of the Japan-South Korea Crisis. The book, edited by Mr. Lee Yong Hoon, and translated into Japanese, became a bestseller in both Japan and South Korea. Mr. Lee Woo Young earned a doctoral degree at Sungkyunkwan University with a thesis on the changes in forests and forest ownership systems since the late Lee Joseon Dynasty period. He was at Harvard University as a visiting researcher and at Kyushu University as a visiting professor. He also published, among others, History of the Forest Ownership System and Policies of Korea, 1600-1987” (Ilchokak Publishing Co., June 2010) and Community, Commons and Natural Resource Management in Asia (co-authored, Singapore National University Press, 2015).

To tell the truth, the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals in 2020 decided to present the seventh Kokkiken Japan Study Award to Prof. Lee Yong Hoon, who edited Anti-Japan Tribalism: The Root of the Japan-South Korea Crisis. Prof. Lee Yong Hoon planned to attend the 2020 award ceremony in Tokyo. However, just prior to his departure for Tokyo, we were told, to our surprise, that the professor had to cancel his planned participation in the award ceremony. South Korean law-enforcement authorities charged him for his past remarks. We thus learned firsthand a tip of the reality of the situation in South Korea. After all, against this background, Mr. Lee Woo Young now receives a Kokkiken award effectively for the second time.

Mr. Hwang Ui Won, who is the CEO of the South Korean company that published the Korean version of Mr. Nishioka’s book, has told the Daily Shincho: When he started as a young science/arts reporter, he had nothing to do with Japan. But he soon encountered a situation in which the whole of South Korean media outlets systematically and periodically became full of false reports about a specific foreign country — Japan. He thought that the situation meant that there must be an unfathomable aspect in the South Korean press, not misinformation or illusion. He then began pursuing freedom of press. He kept accusing Yoon Mee Hyang, the leader of the then Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (Jungdaehyup), for six years of using its funds to line her own pockets. She quit the post in 2020. I believe that Mr. Hwang decided to publish the Korean version of Mr. Nishioka’s book, as translated by Mr. Lee Woo Young, because of his determination to let as many South Koreans possible read it. In that sense, Mr. Hwang has played a great role in indirectly supporting the promotion of studies on Japan.

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

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