Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

THE 8th(2021) – Recipients of Kokkiken Japan Study Award

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)

Recipient’s remarks

Toshi Yoshihara

I am truly humbled to receive the Kokkiken Japan Study Award. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Ms. Yoshiko Sakurai and the Award Jury for this great honor. I also wish to thank my many colleagues and friends in Japan who have supported my research over the years. I am gratified that my work, Dragon Against the Sun, and its translation in Japan have stimulated much needed policy debate on both sides of the Pacific.

I wrote Dragon Against the Sun to draw attention to the dramatic shift in the naval balance of power between Japan and China. For over a decade I watched with dismay as China’s naval modernization eroded Japan’s security. What worried me most was that key elements of the Chinese navy had already caught up to and, in some cases, surpassed that of Japan’s maritime service. Historically, severe local naval imbalances have preceded intense great power competitions and wars. Yet, this consequential power transition in East Asia occasioned little policy and scholarly commentary. I was especially troubled that Tokyo’s predicament was not receiving adequate attention in Washington, focused as it is on the bilateral Sino-American rivalry. These concerns motivated me to document the widening impact of China’s maritime ascent.

To me, the naval power shift is a symptom of a much more profound challenge to Japan and to its closest ally, the United States. Beijing’s ambitions to achieve primacy in Asia suggest that an even stronger China, if unthwarted, will unravel the long peace that Japan and the United States have presided over Asia. While Tokyo and Washington are fully committed to defending the current regional order against Chinese predations, China’s rise will demand ever greater allied resources and cooperation to frustrate Beijing’s plans. If Japan, the most capable and critical frontline state in the Western Pacific, cannot keep up with China, then the prospects for allied success will darken. That is why Japan’s relative decline is so worrisome. Dragon Against the Sun is a call for the Japan-U.S. alliance to work with alacrity to restore the military balance and to set the terms of the long-term competition with China.

My academic interest in China began in Japan. In 1991, when I was a freshman at International Christian University, I backpacked alone through China for about a month. To challenge myself, I traveled unconventionally: I departed Yokohama by sea to reach Shanghai and returned to Kobe from Tianjin on another ship. I caught a rare glimpse of China during its immediate post-Tiananmen isolation, just before paramount leader Deng Xiaoping doubled down on economic reforms that propelled his nation’s rise. It was a time when bicycles still filled Beijing’s streets and when foreign exchange certificates were the primary means of exchange for visitors like me. That fascinating trip, which started in Japan, supercharged my latent curiosity about China and set me on my intellectual journey that continues to this day.

I am indebted to Mr. Yoshihisa Komori of Sankei Shimbun for his unstinting support and encouragement. It was his initial reporting of Dragon Against the Sun that generated the momentum to translate the study. I am also grateful to Admiral Tomohisa Takei, JMSDF (ret.), the former Chief of Maritime Staff, for his terrific translation of Dragon Against the Sun. His reputation and stature lent credibility to the book while his fluency in naval affairs produced an accessible and engaging translation for a wide audience across Japan.

Finally, I would like to recognize my parents, Tsuneo and Yoshiko Yoshihara, who reside in Sakura City, Chiba. My father and mother tirelessly kept me up to date on all things Japan, helping to close the vast distance that separated me from my birthplace. My regular visits home immersed me in the culture and the national mood, reminding me that Japan’s security is not an abstraction. Japan’s defense is about the Japanese people. It is about their well-being, prosperity, freedoms, and way of life. This simple truth will continue to inform my work on the long-term competition with China.

Recipient’s biography

Toshi Yoshihara is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). He was previously the inaugural John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies and a Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Naval War College.

Dr. Yoshihara’s latest CSBA publications include “Seizing on Weakness: Allied Strategy for Competing with China’s Globalizing Military” (CSBA, 2021) and “Dragon Against the Sun: Chinese Views of Japanese Seapower” (CSBA, 2020). Dragon Against the Sun was subsequently translated by Admiral Tomohisa Takei, JMSDF (ret.), the former Chief of the Maritime Staff, and published by a major Japanese press in September 2020. He is the co-author, with James R. Holmes, of the second edition of “Red Star over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy” (Naval Institute Press, 2019). The book is listed on the Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program, the Indo-Pacific Command Professional Development Reading List, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps Professional Reading Program. The first edition of “Red Star over the Pacific” (Naval Institute Press, 2010) has been translated in Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Germany. In 2016 Dr. Yoshihara was awarded the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award in recognition of his scholarship on maritime and strategic affairs at the Naval War College.

Dr. Yoshihara served as a visiting professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; the School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California, San Diego; and the Strategy Department of the U.S. Air War College. He currently teaches a graduate course on seapower in the Indo-Pacific at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, an M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, and a B.S.F.S. from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

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.

Recipient’s remarks

Lee Woo Young

The current situation in the Republic of Korea is appalling. I am deeply concerned that my country is under the shadow of a nation-ruing administration that has been repeating political, economic, defense and foreign policy failures.

Even while feeling depressed this much, it is happy indeed to receive this award. It is because the fact that the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals has decided to give an award to Mr. Hwang Ui Won and me with the Korean pair receiving it with gratitude does mean the dawn of a joint campaign by liberal rightists in Japan and the Republic of Korea against the ideologically self-tormenting view of history. In other words, it is a declaration of a war over history issues.

When we came up with our plan to publish a Korean version of the book “Decchiage no Choyoko Mondai” (A Complete Fabrication: The Issue of Wartime Requisitioned Workers), the first thing we realized seriously was the need for liberal rightists in the Republic of Korea and Japan to exchange views and have discussions. Whereas such communication is the ideological basis of the aforementioned joint campaign, none of the Japanese side’s research outcomes had been known in my country.

The Moon Jae In administration has effectively nullified the 2015 agreement between the Republic of Korea and Japan on the issue of comfort women. In 2018, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Korea, handing down a judgment regarding the issue of wartime laborers (requisitioned workers), dismissed the legal foundation of the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations between the Republic of Korea and Japan, the basis for their bilateral relationship. As a result, relations between the two countries are in an unprecedentedly fragile state. It was quite regrettable that none of research works done by liberal rightists in Japan had been translated into Korean.

For my part, while I studied at a graduate school in the late 1990s, I began strongly feeling something wrong with nationalism in the Republic of Korea, especially anti-Japan tribalism. At that time, I made no in-depth studies yet into this matter. In 2005, when I was working on my PhD thesis, I came to realize the falsehood of what the Korean academia specializing in national history had alleged as “the plunder of Korean forests and fields by Japan during its colonial era.” I consequently felt further antipathy toward those Korean thought leaders who were advocating anti-Japan tribalism.

To be honest, of late, I feel “antipathy” toward those advocates in various parts of Japanese society of the “self-tormenting view of history.” In 2016, I released a thesis focusing on “wages for Korean coal miners brought to Japan under the labor mobilization plan and inequality between the races during the war period (1937-1945).” I am currently studying the issue of comfort women. Through those studies, I have learned in detail the fact that those two particular issues — which are the most notable of the disputes between the Republic of Korea and Japan — originated in Japan, not the Republic of Korea, and then propagated to the Republic of Korea, inspiring Korean leftists and igniting anti-Japan sentiment. That is why I feel antipathy toward those Japanese people advocating the “self-tormenting view of history.” In this connection, I owe special thanks to Prof. Nishioka Tsutomu, the author of the book “Decchiage no Choyoko Mondai.”

As a Korean researcher, I have to confront not only those Koreans who advocate the “self-tormenting view of history” for their part but also their Japanese counterparts. I believe that liberal rightist researchers in Japan are in the same situation.

My front has now widened. I mean that it is hard to win a victory as long as I keep fighting in one place. liberal rightists in the Republic of Korea and Japan must be united further and strengthen their solidarity. I am sure that the decision to give this award to Mr. Hwang Ui Won and me can be a good starting point for enhancing our solidarity. I wish to express my deep appreciation to President Yoshiko Sakurai of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals; Prof. Tsutomu Nishioka, the author of the Japanese book; Mr. Hwang Ui Won, the co-awardee; and Mr. Byun Hee Jae, who serves as an advisor to Mediawatch.
(note; Japanese names are written as given name first and family name following)

Recipient’s biography

Lee Woo Young, born in Gwangju, South Jeolla Province, the Republic of Korea, in 1966, taught at Korea National Open University from March 1998 to August 1999 as an assistant professor of the Department of Economics. He was at Harvard University as a visiting researcher from October 2001 to September 2002.He earned a doctoral degree at the Faculty of Economics of Sungkyunkwan University in August 2000 with a thesis titled ’A Study on the Forest Ownership System and Forest Physiognomy Changes from the Korea Period to the Colonial Period.’ He was a research committee member at the Naksungdae Institute of Economic Research in Seoul from August 2005 to February 2021. He was a visiting professor at the Research Center for Korean Studies of Kyushu University from April 2017 to July 2017.

His books include: “Changes in Wages in the Agriculture Sector, 1853-1910,”Korea Economic History, Vol. 29, (December 2000); “Precis: Unpublished Audio Recordings of Remarks by Government-General of Korea Officials (10)/Korean Forest Management Policy,” Toyo Bunka Kenkyu, Vol. 11 (Gakushuin University’s Research Institute for Oriental Cultures, March 2009); (Ilchokak Publishing Co., June 2010); “Community, Commons and Natural Resource Management in Asia,” co-authored (Singapore National University Press, 2010); “Anti-Japan Tribalism,” co-authored (Milaesa, 2009); “Soru no Chushin de Shinjitsu wo Sakebu,” (Shouting Out the Truth in the Center of Seoul), (Fusosha Publishing Inc., 2020), etc.

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.

Recipient’s remark


I always venerate and respect the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, the think tank that is formed by liberal conservatives in Japan. Therefore, I am deeply moved to receive this prestigious award from the Institute. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Prof. Tsutomu Nishioka and Dr. Lee Woo Young. I am not a “researcher” — I am a “research facilitator” or “research supporter.” Yet, the Institute has chosen to give me this award entirely thanks to their academic achievements and their consideration to me. I also would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Park Ji Young, the editor who was instrumental in completing this great book; and Mr. Byun Hee Jae, the project sponsor and owner/representative advisor of Mediawatch.

Mediawatch’s publishing unit, of which I am the CEO, published a Korean version of the Japanese book “Decchiage no Choyoko Mondai” in December 2020. In April this year, it published a Korean version of the Japanese book “Yokuwakaru Ianfu Mondai” (“Kankoku Seifu to Masukomi ga Kataranai Ianfu Mondai no Shinjitsu”) — “An Easy-to-understand Guide to the Issue of Comfort Women / The Truth of the Issue of Comfort Women Never Told by South Korea’s Government and News Media,” Just when we were preparing for the publication of the Korean version of the book focusing on the truth of the issue of comfort women following that of the Korean version of the book about the issue of wartime requisitioned workers, we were told of the Institute’s decision to award us. The news was something I had never imagined of hearing of. As such, I would like to tell you that it is a really great encouragement to us. I thank the Institute once again.

The Republic of Korea has been plagued by the issue of censorship — censorship primarily by the “rightist political force” until the 1990s and that by the “leftist press power” between the 1990s and now. It has been pointed out that the latter is the most “cancerous” factor that has been preventing Korean society from fostering national and public opinions and its people from making right decisions concerning national interests. This new censorship regime has kept manipulating information in our society. The campaign has been carried out against overseas targets as well. With regard to overseas targets, it has been waged most vehemently against liberal conservatives in Japan,” especially the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and others that represent the liberal conservative camp in Japan. Its consequences have been so serious that even in 2018 — just three years ago — a public opinion poll found that in the Republic of Korea, North Korea’s “Kim Jong Un” was two times more popular than Japan’s “Shinzo Abe.”

The way of thinking of Mediawatch, which speaks up on behalf of ’ liberal conservatives in the Republic of Korea, has been greatly different from that of the majority of the Korean public. We at Mediawatch have continued firmly believing that there are no other groups and comrades in the world than liberal conservatives in Japan that share not only ideological values and norms but also interests with those in the Republic of Korea who “think of the future of a Free and Unified Korea.” What we conceive can be apparent to every Korean if we are free from the oppression of the censorship regime. As such, Mediawatch has kept fighting the censorship regime by providing a range of “anti-anti-Japan” content. Also, as mentioned earlier, Mediawatch published Korean-language books to let Korean society know the truth about the issue of requisitioned workers and that of comfort women.

Mediawatch plans to continue introducing to the Republic of Korea what liberal conservatives in Japan say through exact translation into Korean in the “Voices of World Freedom and Conservatism Series. ” We, as liberal conservatives in the Republic of Korea, would like to learn as much as possible from liberal conservatives in Japan about the civilized way of fighting and the culture of promoting discussion that have been successfully deployed in Japan to overwhelm their political enemies with unequivocal logic and facts, in lieu of either agitation based on falsehood or resorting to any coercive method. On the other hand, we, as liberal conservatives in the Republic of Korea, would like to convey to liberal conservatives in Japan correct information about why liberal conservatives in the Republic of Korea were active and what they experienced during the Korean War and the Cold War. It is significantly noteworthy that liberal conservatives in the Republic of Korea and Japan have begun communicating with each other effectively for the first time in seven decades after World War II was over. In the world of today, there are no other regions than East Asia that most urgently needs to ensure that such values as freedom, democracy, market economy, the rule of law and human rights are in place. The only viable approach to develop and propagate such values is to establish an alliance of truth between Japan and the Republic of Korea with liberal conservatives in both countries being at the center of it as a force challenging both the anti-Korea view of history and the anti-Japan view of history.

Let’s move forward together. Thank you.
(Japanese names are written as given name first and family name following)

Recipient’s biography

Hwang Ui Won, born in Daegu, the Republic of Korea, on September 8, 1977, is the CEO of Mediawatch. After graduating from Korean National Railroad University in 2009, he worked at Bombardier Transportation Korea from 2009 to 2010 and Busan Transportation Corporation from 2010 to 2011. He served as the division team leader responsible for medicine/science at the Korea Internet Media Association while he was with it from 2011 to 2016. He assumed the following posts: Head of the Institute for Science-Based Medicine and an advisory member for the Special Committee for Countermeasures Against Oriental Medicine of the Korean Medical Association (2012-2015); a member of the audience panel of KBS (September 1, 2013 to August 31, 2014); and a technical support member for Water Fluoridation Program of the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017). He also assumed his current posts of director of the Center for Scientific Integrity in 2013 and of CEO of Mediawatch in 2016.