Skip to main content

A National Identity Approach to Japan’s Late 2013 Foreign Policy Thinking

  • Chapter
Asia’s Alliance Triangle

Part of the book series: Asan-Palgrave Macmillan Series ((APMS))


Japanese national identity drew more attention in 2013 than at any time since the collapse of the bubble economy accompanied by the discrediting of Nihonjinron (the theory of the inherent superiority of Japanese culture) in the early 1990s. For the first time since 1945 Japan had a prime minister, Abe Shinzo, both unabashed in his commitment to transform national identity and optimistic that recent elections and public opinion polls give him a mandate to achieve this goal. More than at any time since they had normalized relations with Japan in 1965 and 1972, respectively, South Korea and China were obsessed with the negative nature of Japanese national identity. While taking satisfaction in what is viewed as Japan’s unprecedented embrace of realism, loosening the grip of the pacifist streak in national identity more than six decades old, US officials were unavoidably drawn into the disputes over Abe’s rhetoric and symbolic gestures, nervous about their impact on ties to neighbors beyond anything seen in recent East Asian history. At a time when advocates of realist theory might have been claiming vindication that rising tensions over territorial disputes and arms buildups confirmed their predictions and liberal theorists might have been salivating about accelerating tendencies to establish the TPP and a China-South Korea FTA, constructivist theorists pointing to the potency of elements of national identity were taking center stage in the analysis of international relations in East Asia linked to Japan.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Gilbert Rozman, ed., East Asian National Identities: Common Roots and Chinese Exceptionalism; Gilbert Rozman, ed., National Identities and Bilateral Relations: Widening Gaps in East Asia and Chinese Demonization of the United States; and Gilbert Rozman, The Sino-Russian Challenge to the World Order: National Identities, Bilateral Relations, and East vs. West in the 2010s. All are published in Washington, DC and Stanford, CA by the Woodrow Wilson International Press and Stanford University Press in 2012, 2013, and 2014, respectively.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Kitaoka Shinichi, Gurobaru pureiya toshite no Nihon (Tokyo: NTT shuppan, 2010).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Suzuki Nobuhiro, “TPP de idenshi kumikae shokuhin ga tairyoni ryunyusuru,” in Nihon no ronten 2014 (Tokyo: Bungei shunju, 2013), 42–43.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Abe Shinzo, Atarashii kuni e, utsukushii kuni e kanzenban (Tokyo: Bunshun shinsho, 2013).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Murotani Katsumi, Bokanron (Tokyo: Sankei shimbun shuppan, 2013).

    Google Scholar 

Download references


Editor information

Gilbert Rozman

Copyright information

© 2015 The Asan Institute

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Rozman, G. (2015). A National Identity Approach to Japan’s Late 2013 Foreign Policy Thinking. In: Rozman, G. (eds) Asia’s Alliance Triangle. Asan-Palgrave Macmillan Series. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics