The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 4. 2013    

January 28, 2013    
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Our home page has a number of important features. There is a powerful search engine that permits search by author, title, and keyword, found in top left of the home page. For most purposes, author's surname or a keyword entered in Title is most useful. Another is a regularly updated guide to the more than 100 articles we have published on the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power meltdown which is transforming Japanese politics and society, and is reshaping issues of nuclear power and energy policy in that nation and globally. Articles are arranged topically. In addition, we have added a guide to some of the most important, and liveliest, online and print sources on 3.11 including blogs and websites.  Second, the list of articles now indicates all those available in Japanese translation or original, as well as other languages.



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Peter Lee, Mongolian coal's long road to market: China, Russia and Mongolia

This article probes Mongolia's vast coal mining resources-the key to Mongolian development in light of the geopolitics and railroad politics of Mongol-Russia-China relations, and the challenges to Mongolian democracy. 



Peter Lee writes on East and South Asian affairs and their intersection with US global policy. He is the moving force behind the Asian affairs website China Matters which provides continuing critical updates on China and Asia-Pacific policies. His work frequently appears at Asia Times.


Recommended citation: Peter Lee, "Mongolian coal's long road to market: China, Russia and Mongolia," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 4, No. 1, January 28, 2013.

Read More. . .

Richard J. Smith, Mapping China and the Question of a China-Centered Tributary Trade System

Does it make sense to refer to a Chinese "tributary system?" A number of influential Western scholars, including John Wills Jr., James Hevia and Laura Hostetler, have argued that it does not-largely on the grounds that previous China scholars, John K. Fairbank "and his followers" in particular, have over-generalized its historical significance. The result, however, has been that much of Fairbank's painstaking and valuable research on the structure and function of the tributary system has been ignored.

Takeshi Hamashita provides a valuable perspective on tribute (gong) that avoids the extremes of both Fairbank and his critics. His China: East Asia and the Global Economy: Regional and Historical Perspectives (2008), makes a powerful case for the existence of a long-standing, vibrant, multifaceted and organically evolved "network of [tributary] relations linking the center and its peripheries, including the provinces and dependencies of the [Chinese] Empire, rulers of native tribes and districts, tributary states and even trading partners." In other words, the tributary system provided a framework-both land-based and maritime-for economic and other interactions in which multiple actors played multiple roles.

A balanced analysis of the so-called tributary system requires, then, a historically sensitive appreciation of its assumptions and its institutions, its theories and its practices, its goals and its actual outcomes. This kind of understanding compels us to consider, among other things, exactly how the offering and acceptance of "tribute" were conceived (by all parties; not simply the Chinese), and how much flexibility the system allowed.

Through the use of maps and paintings, Richard Smith provides a multi-centered and nuanced interpretation of the historic tributary trade system. 

Richard J. Smith is George and Nancy Rupp Professor of Humanities and Professor of History at Rice University, Houston, Texas. His book The I Ching: A Biography, was published by Princeton, 2012).

Recommended citation: Richard J. Smith, "Mapping China and the Question of a China-Centered Tributary Trade System," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 11, Issue 3, January 28, 2012.

Read more . . .  

Matthew Penney and "Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21," The Abe Cabinet - An Ideological Breakdown

"Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21" is a NGO formed in 1998 to resist historical revisionism and fight the removal of material critical of Japan's war record from textbooks.
PM Abe and other LDP members tend to present a moderate "economy first" face on television and during election campaigns. In order to spread awareness of some of the extreme ideas held by key conservatives and the changes that they wish to make to Japanese education and ideas of citizenship, Network 21 has prepared a list of the various Diet groups to which members of the current Abe Cabinet belong. Following the list is description and discussion of the Diet groups and their key positions on such issues as Constitutional revision, Yasukuni Shrime, war responsibility and war atrocities,, the comfort women. North Korea, and citizenship that clarify the core political principles of the Abe administration. 
January 28, 2013.

Read more . . .
Nakazawa Keiji, My Last Wish 

Know your target audience. Who are your most important customers, clients or prospects, and why? Know what is important to them and address their needs in your newsletter each month. Include a photo to make your newsletter even more appealing. Inserting a link in your article lets you track which topics attract the most interest.
Atomic bomb survivor, manga artist, and peace activist Nakazawa Keiji, the author of the influential manga Barefoot Gen which is famous for its harrowing depiction of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the struggle for survival in the aftermath, died after a struggle with cancer on December 19, 2012. Shortly before his death, Nakazawa finished a book entitled Watashi no Isho (My Last Will and Testament). The following is a translation of the conclusion of the work entitled "My Final Wish."

Jan. 28, 2013.

Read more . . .