Japan’s modern history sheds light on the ambiguous nature and effects of soft power as power of persuasion and power of assimilation—the former rested centrally upon its rapid adoption of Western institutions so as to gain equality with the Western powers, as is epitomized in Japan’s success in the revision of the unequal treaties; the later depended largely on the imperial policies in the process of overseas expansion. It is noticeable that Japan’s historical legacies of soft power have left a series of both positive and negative resources that would facilitate or hinder Japan’s contemporary soft power policies, which implicitly reveal Japan’s different stance toward the West and East Asia. The continuity of Japan’s soft power provides insights for our understanding of Japanese national identity involved and the conditions necessary in the process of establishing and wielding soft power in inter-national relations.
Yilun Jin, University of Edinburgh, UK
Stream: Social History
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