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SEJJIR: Volume 5, 2009





Shingetsu Electronic Journal of Japanese-Islamic Relations,
Volume 6, 2009
Research Papers

Egyptianizing Korea: The Role of the Egypt Analogy in Meiji Japanese Political Thought
By Michael Penn

Abstract: During the Meiji era, analogies involving Egypt appeared repeatedly in elite political discussions in Japan. The precise content of these Egypt analogies changed dramatically as Japan’s own circumstances transformed. In the early days, Japan was compared to Egypt as an Eastern nation attempting to Westernize itself in the face of threatening European pressures. In later years, the Egypt analogy was directed at the Korean Peninsula, and Japanese leaders began to see themselves as playing the role of Great Britain in East Asia. All along, Japanese political discourse was deeply influenced and even shaped by British commentators. This paper traces the evolution of the Egypt analogy over the period of a half century and discovers that the Japanese elite of that period looked to Egypt, not to see a foreign nation, but to see themselves.

Michael Penn is the Executive Director of the Shingetsu Institute for the Study of Japanese-Islamic Relations.

"Problematic" Foreign Policies: How the United States Came to Resemble Imperial Japan
By Rustin Gates

Abstract: This paper draws an analogy between post Cold War American policy in Iraq and prewar Japanese policy for the region of Manchuria (northeastern China), arguing that both the United States and Japan became obsessed with “solving” a perceived foreign policy “problem” that had plagued them for decades. In both cases, the “problem” grew in proportion to the fear that domestic radicals and ideologues were successful in instilling in their fellow citizens. However, the perception of threat often existed in an inverse relationship to any actual threat presented to national interests. The rising level of fear—as well as the posting of ideologues to serve in key policy positions—resulted in efforts by both prewar Japan and post Cold War America to “solve” its perceived problem through the use of military force.

Rustin Gates is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Bradley University, in Peoria, Illinois.


Source: Shingetsu Institute