The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 8. 2013    

February 25, 2013    
New Articles Posted
Quick Links
In This Issue
Quick Links
Quick Links
This issue examines two dimensions of Japan's historically fraught relations between mainstream and minority peoples, past and present. Tessa Morris-Suzuki examines recent example of hate campaigns directed against Zainichi Koreans, a phenomenon linked to anger directed against North Korea (kidnappings, the bomb) and South Korea (the Dokdo/Takeshima territorial conflict in particular). She reflects on the relationship between current hate campaigns and the newly elected Abe regime with its proclaimed intention to amend the Constitution. Komoro Yoichi, Michele Mason and Helen Lee examine the critical moment more than a century ago in subordinating the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido and Northern Honshu, to Japanese mores, language and ownership practices, with reflections on the continued impact of legislation of an earlier era.

What have been the most widely read articles at APJ? To find out, click on "Top Ten Articles" at the top of the home page, for the top articles of the last month, last year, last five years and last decade.

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.

Many thanks to all who contributed to our annual fund-raiser. APJ will continue to be available free to all in 2013. If you missed the opportunity to join our sustainers, you can still do so by going to the red sustainer button on our home page to contribute via Paypal or credit card. Or, if you prefer, we can accept checks on US banks: write to us at  Thank you for your support. 

Our subscribers via this Newsletter, as well as through Facebook and Twitter now number 6,000. We invite you to  help us expand these numbers by informing colleagues, associates, students and friends who might find our work useful. The best way to do so is to send along a recent article of interest and invite them to subscribe via our homepage either to receive the Newsletter or to receive notification via Facebook or Twitter. Another good way is to include APJ in your syllabus.

More than 6,000 people now subscribe to APJ, either through our Newsletter or the more than 2,700 who follow us  through Twitter or Facebook, whose numbers are growing steadily. Please consider joining them by clicking at the appropriate link on our home page.       


We invite authors, publishers and directors to bring their books, films and events on East Asia and the Pacific to the attention of our readers. See the home page for information about presenting relevant books and films at our site and for examples of authors, publishers and filmmakers who are presenting their work at the Journal.

Contact Japan Focus by email at

To access our full archive with more than 2,000 articles, and to view the most widely read articles through their titles or via our index, go here. 
Subscription information
The Asia-Pacific Journal is freely available to all. We invite those who wish to support our work by allowing us to make technical upgrades, defray technical, mailing and maintenance fees, and to enable us to expand our output since the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami. Recommended support level: $25 ($10 for students and residents of developing countries); $40 for institutions including libraries, research centers, government offices. If you experience difficulty in subscribing, write to us with the error message at 
Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Freedom of Hate Speech; Abe Shinzo and Japan's Public Sphere 


Japan's diplomacy must always be rooted in democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. These universal values have guided Japan's post-war development. I firmly believe that, in 2013 and beyond, the Asia-Pacific region's future prosperity should rest on them as well. (Abe Shinzo, Prime Minister of Japan, proclaiming Japan "Asia's Democratic Security Diamond", 27 December 2012)  


The vision is beautiful. Japan indeed has something to be proud of. Though its democratic constitution was partly composed by postwar allied occupiers, it has been embraced by the Japanese people and has stood the test of time.
Japan's democracy is not perfect. (Which country has a perfect democracy?) The political system has been lopsided, and has generally failed to generate vigorous two-party competition; some topics of debate - particularly relating to the Emperor - have long been the subject of media self-censorship. All the same, freedom of thought has thrived for more than half a century, and Japan has developed an impressive array of small scale grassroots social movements, willing to take up challenging reformist and human rights causes.  


But now, ironically, the loud proclamations of "democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights" are being accompanied by the rise of practices that suggest the opposite. A combination of soft repression and hard hate speech is creating a troubling reality in Abe Shinzo's Japan.  



Tessa Morris-Suzuki is Professor of Japanese History in the Division of Pacific and Asian History, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, and a Japan Focus associate. Her most recent books are Exodus to North Korea: Shadows from Japan's Cold War, Borderline Japan: Foreigners and Frontier Controls in the Postwar Era and To the Diamond Mountains: A Hundred-Year Journey Through China and Korea.


Recommended Citation: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, "Freedom of Hate Speech; Abe Shinzo and Japan's Public Sphere," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 11, Issue 8, No. 1, February 25, 2013.


 Read More. . . 

Komori Yoichi, Michele M. Mason and Helen J.S. Lee, Rule in the Name of Protection: The Japanese State, the Ainu and the Vocabulary of Colonialism


Introduction to and Selection from Reading Colonial Japan: Text, Context, and Critique  


Michele M. Mason and Helen J.S. Lee  

By any measure, Japan's modern empire was formidable. The only major non-Western colonial power in the twentieth century, Japan at the height of its empire controlled a vast area of Asia and numerous archipelagos in the Pacific Ocean. Its reach extended from Sakhalin Island north of the Japanese archipelago to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific and expanded into Manchuria, areas of China, Korea, and much of Southeast Asia and Micronesia. Over the more than seven decades of Japanese colonial rule (1869-1945), Japan successfully naturalized two colonies (Ainu Moshir/Hokkaido and the Ryukyu Kingdom/Okinawa) into its national territory. The massive extraction of resources and extensive cultural assimilation policies radically impacted the lives of millions of Asians and Pacific Islanders. The political, economic, and cultural ramifications of this era are still felt today.


Reading Colonial Japan aims to further deepen knowledge of Japanese colonialism(s), providing both an eclectic selection of translated Japanese primary sources and analytical essays that illuminate the specificities of Japan's many and varied colonial projects. The primary documents, which span a variety of genres, serve to highlight the centrality of cultural production and dissemination to colonial endeavors and to accentuate the myriad ways colonialism permeated every facet of life. In the essays, the contributors are primarily concerned with representation and rhetoric and how these intersect with operations of power. They investigate the workings of imperialist discourse through close readings of cultural representations in colonial narratives and imagery, revealing how the Japanese imperial project was understood, imagined, and lived.   

Michele M. Mason is assistant professor of Japanese literature at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research and teaching interests include modern Japanese literature and history, colonial and postcolonial studies, gender and feminist studies, masculinity studies, and the history and literature of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She is the author of Dominant Narratives of Colonial Hokkaido and Imperial Japan: Envisioning the Periphery and the Modern Nation-State.


Helen J.S. Lee is assistant professor of Japanese studies at the Underwood International College, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. Her research focuses on Japanese settlers in colonial Korea, and her projects employ the popular media, such as satiric poetry (senryu), travel narratives, and cartoons to investigate the race relations between Japanese and Koreans in the colonial context. Her publications include "Writing Colonial Relations of Everyday Life in Senryu" (positions: east asia cultures critique, 2008), and "Dying as Daughter of the Empire" (positions: east asia cultures critique, forthcoming).

Recommended citation: Komori Yoichi, Michele M. Mason and Helen J.S. Lee, "Rule in the Name of Protection: The Japanese State, the Ainu and the Vocabulary of Colonialism," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 11, Issue 8, No. 2, February 25, 2013.



Read More. . .