Concepts of the Japanese Policy

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During the changing history of humanity we were witnesses of many events: from the rise of nations and culture, establishment of common balance and peace to its collapse. These events influenced people, psychology, relations and strategies. The critical point came the Second World War and its consequences, which are imprinted in memory of many generations for a long time. But it is obvious that old reminiscences sometimes don't become a thing of the past, their shadow still exists in a modern world. The shift of a nation's paradigm replacing "hard power" by "soft power" is connected to this fact. The representative of these "new concept" oriented countries is Japan striving to overcome the prewar image of Japan as a militaristic country for the sake of attaining certain goals.

The definition of cultural, public diplomacy and "soft power"

The study of cultural diplomacy and other related means or strategies is a new and large field, whose definition is still a controversial issue. There is hardly a single accepted one. It is also worth mentioning that except cultural diplomacy there are two other terms, which are overlapping in some spheres; nevertheless they differ as conceptions - public diplomacy and "soft power".

The best explanation of cultural and public diplomacy is given in the article by Kazuo Ogura: "Cultural diplomacy is the use of cultural means to enhance a nation's political influence"[1]. He says, that "there is a subtle difference between the two because public diplomacy is usually linked with an effort to improve the nation's image for some specific strategic purpose"[2].

So far as the "soft power" is concerned it was first defined in 1990 by J. Nye. According to Ney, «soft power is the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction rather than coercion or payment. A country's soft power rests on its resources of culture, values, and policies»[3].

The connection between these terms is getting a little bit more clear: if the "soft power" is an opportunity to achieve certain political results with the help of authority and attraction, the public and cultural diplomacy are tools to increase the popularity. In conclusion I want to emphasize that there are no apparent differences.

The origin and development of Japan's cultural diplomacy

When we remember that the cultural diplomacy strives to enhance a nation's image using various culture aspects, language promotion and traditions, the first question that emerges is "What kind of image is Japan seeking to produce through cultural diplomacy?."

The evolution of cultural diplomacy comprises several shifts during the period of 1950-2006 and at every stage Japan was facing various obstacles.

The first stage began in the 1950s - the aim of cultural diplomacy was to "transform the prewar image of Japan as a militaristic country into a new image of Japan as a peace-loving democracy"[4] promoting traditions and arts such as the tea ceremony and ikebana, distributing brochures and calendars featuring images of Japan's landscapes among organizations and people. But these attempts emphasizing ancient traditions were unsuccessful, more than that language education abroad was perceived by Korea and China as propaganda of formerly imperial Japan.

The second shift is seen in the late 1960s and early 1970s and is connected to the idea that "the Japanese economy was about to reach a new stage and to project the image of Japan as a technologically and economically advanced nation"[5] instead of dispelling the prewar image. This shift came in response to negative attitude and even accusations of dumping and market disruption. Another positive change was the establishment of the Japan Foundation, which was responsible for supporting the Japanese studies abroad (especially in the USA and China). Later to overcome anti-sentiment in Asia against the Japanese economic onslaught new offices of Japan Foundation were established...
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