Special Lecture: "Japan's Public Diplomacy in the 1970s: Rebuilding Japan's Image in Southeast Asia"
On Thursday, June 20th, 2019, a special lecture by Dr. Nobuhiro Ihara was held at Kinugasa Campus, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, hosted by the University’s Asia Japan Institute, Graduate School of International Relations (GSIR), and Institute of International Relations and Area Studies (IIRAS). Dr. Ihara is an associate professor affiliated with the Global Media Research Center, Graduate School of Informatics, Nagoya University. Dr. Ihara received his PhD degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and his research interests are communication and political signaling between states, Japanese public diplomacy as well as the relations between Japan and ASEAN member states—with numerous academic works related to those issues, both in English and Japanese.
Dr. Ihara's lecture was titled "Japan's Public Diplomacy in the 1970s: Rebuilding Japan's Image in Southeast Asia". He kicked off the lecture by explaining the reasoning behind his decision to conduct research regarding the topic, arguing that the connection between individual public diplomacy acts and positive increase in state image is not yet studied extensively. He also provided several examples—such as the World Cosplay Summit—to familiarize the audience with the concept of public diplomacy. The second part of the lecture divulges Japan's public diplomacy in the 1970s and Japan’s negative image among ASEAN states. Dr. Ihara noted the strategies typically employed by the government at the time did not do much to alleviate the fear of Japanese military resurgence, diplomatic ambiguity and resentment towards Japanese economic activities in Southeast Asia. The third and last part analyzes the turnaround for Japanese public diplomacy in Southeast Asia, which was initiated by a series of strategies introduced by Prime Minister Fukuda Takeo in the late 1970s. Those strategies—commitment to peace, heart to heart diplomacy and mutual dependence—would form the so-called "Fukuda Doctrine", which will form the basis of Japanese public diplomacy towards ASEAN states and the positive image Japan enjoyed for the years to come.
The lecture concludes with a Q&A session, during which Dr. Ihara and members of the audience went back and forth to dissect several concepts and events surrounding Japanese public diplomacy, which was not limited to Southeast Asia but also towards its neighboring states, namely South Korea and the PRC.
On Thursday, June 6th, 2018, a special lecture by Ms. Jessica Alexander was held at Kinugasa Campus, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, hosted by the University's Graduate School of International Relations (GSIR) and Institute of International Relations and Area Studies (IIRAS). Ms. Alexander is a humanitarian aid professional whose career includes deployments all over the world, with experience in large-scale evaluations, assessments and policy research, as well as the author of “Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid”. She is currently staying in Japan to research Japan's approach to disaster risk reduction on a Fulbright fellowship.
Ms. Alexander's lecture, titled "Accountability in Humanitarian Aid", started off by providing a snapshot of the humanitarian aid system as well as the looming fiscal crunch in light of the plateauing of donor funding, which—coupled by contemporary demands posed by increased media coverage, government regulations and past scandals—factored into the pressures for accountability revolution as part of the larger drive to professionalize humanitarian aid. Subsequent findings uncovered by systematic evaluations suggests that humanitarian aid was in dire need to get things right by putting more efforts to get in touch with the real needs of aid recipients—downward accountability—in addition to the upward accountability towards donors. This proves to be a difficult endeavor however, due to the systemic and logistical barriers which precludes humanitarian aid workers from identifying the needs and concerns of aid recipients. Regardless, Ms. Alexander asserted that communication, involvement of locals and consideration towards local culture—especially in needs assessment and strategic planning—are vital, and that innovative steps such as the use of social media platform and big data are being taken to improve the accountability of humanitarian aid moving forward.
Overall, Ms. Alexander’s lecture was a thought-provoking divulgence into the complex world of humanitarian aid, which is reflected during the Q&A session, during which several students in turn asked several thought-provoking questions regarding the issues surrounding the lecture topic.
During Professor Acharya's time at Ritsumeikan, he gave a special lecture at the GSIR on Global International Relations on May 30th, 2019. It is a nascent topic that grows along with the number of talks given in its name. Besides promoting his book The Making of Global International Relations which Professor Acharya co-authored with Barry Buzan of the London School of Economics, he gave a critical account on the genealogy of the discipline of International Relations (IR) which underlined the rather Eurocentric as well as US-centric nature of this social science.
Professor Acharya's non-cosmological, but nonetheless non-mainstream categorization of the development of the thoughts and waves of International Relations focused on key trends within the history of the past century and a half. The emergence of IR – the so-called genesis period, emerged in pre-WWI times in a context of scientific racism and imperialism. The shaping of this discipline took place during the creation-period (1919-1939). During this period, inter-state conduct as well as inter-human relations (particularly diplomatically) are seen to have considerably influenced IR-thinking. The outcome of the political and diplomatic turmoil of that period has led to the Americanization of IR (1945-1989) and provided fruitful ground for the disciplines susceptibility to events such as the Cold War and European Integration. It is here where IR manifested itself as an American social science by means of streamlining its theories. The post-Cold War term, circumscribed as a pluralization from the core and periphery (1989-2008), is seen to be markedly more critical and post-positivist and eventually developed into what Professor Acharya refers to as the Globalization of International Relations (2008 ~). In regard to the latter, a phenomenon worth noting is the increasing resistance to academic Western dominance. Here, however, Professor Acharya emphasized that one is advised not to engage in resistance, but rather in the emancipation of one's mind and one's ways of understanding.
Overall, Professor Acharya's lecture was a great enrichment to Ritsumeikan's academia and that of the realm of IR, more generally. He provided the audience with inspiring assumptions which certainly left its post-positivist mark on some students and faculties. Criticism appeared to be encouraged for the sake of the aforementioned academic emancipation, and Professor Acharya's insights more generally provided a great foundation for follow-up research or equally critical academic endeavors.
On Thursday, May 16th, 2018, a special lecture by Professor Tsuyoshi Kawasaki (Simon Fraser University, Canada) was held at Kinugasa Campus, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto. Professor Tsuyoshi Kawasaki specializes in international relations generally and Japan foreign policy in general. The lecture was hosted by Ritsumeikan University's Graduate School of International Relations and Institute of International Relations and Area Studies.
Prof. Kawasaki’s lecture, “Designing Grand Strategy for Reiwa Japan”, was based on his recently published book titled 大戦略論 (On Grand Strategy). Prof. Kawasaki divided into two main parts, with the first part laying out the basics of grand strategy and how it differentiates itself from military strategy due to its all-encompassing nature, which could include economic, political and cultural aspects. Prof. Kawasaki also explained how grand strategy is used by status quo powers—such as the United States—to maintain its standing in the existing international order vis-à-vis revisionist powers—such as the PRC—who seeks to increase its standing. Prof. Kawasaki further spoke of how grand strategy is built upon a combination of elements of order—which includes territorial arrangements, legitimacy and institutions—as well as base of power, which includes military might and economic prowess.
In the second part, Prof. Kawasaki shared his vision on how Japan should build its grand strategy in the new Reiwa era and maintain its standing as a status quo power by answering the unique challenges to Japan’s elements of order and base of power. Prof. Kawasaki especially warned how Japan’s worsening demographic problems could potentially cripple any attempts at building a grand strategy in the future. However, Prof. Kawasaki conceded that there are also wild-card factors outside of Japan’s control—such as climate change, which was brought up by a student during the Q&A session at the end of the lecture.
Welcome to the College and the Graduate School of IR!
New Undergraduate, graduate students, and 5 faculty members newly joined our programs this April. In the welcome ceremony new Dean Kawamura encouraged students to make use of three ‘C’s: Circumstance, Chance and Community to the full extent to have a successful college life.
Welcome, New students and faculty members!
*Please check the University Matriculation ceremony news
On March 20, the Ritsumeikan University Undergraduate and Graduate School Graduation Ceremony was held. There, 264 students from the College of International Relations and 18 students from the Graduate School of International Relations were awarded Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
In the ceremony, Dean Kimijima, Dean Masuda and a alumni representative gave messages.
By reflecting diverse community of college, student representatives from International Relations Major(from Japan) and Global Studies Major (from Thailand) made address in Japanese and English.
Many family members and friends of graduates, faculty and staff members were there to celebrate. Graduates will soon start their new careers here in Japan and around the world.
Graduates, congratulations and good luck on your future!
For details please access to Ritsumeikan Website
We'd like to inform you about the application guideline for "Post-master's Research Student & Doctoral Research Student".
1) Applying for spring semester enrollment/ the whole academic year: (Wed) Mar 6 2019 – (Wed) Mar 13, 2019
2) Applying for fall semester enrollment: (Thu) Sep 5, 2019 – (Thu) Sep 12, 2019
"Post-master's Research Student & Doctoral Research Student" System is a system for graduates of our graduate schools to continue doing research at our facilities.
Post-master's Research Student and Doctoral research student cannot receive research instruction from faculty.
If you would like to apply, please submit application documents to IR office.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
A special meeting between students of Ritsumeikan University and young Israeli and Palestinian professionals who were visiting Japan under the Youth Invitation Program by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan was held at Kinugasa Campus of Ritsumeikan University on Friday, February 15. The purpose of the Program is to promote mutual confidence-building between the Israelis and the Palestinians and to deepen their understanding of Japan's efforts for the Middle East peace, with a view to helping both parties to realize a peaceful coexistence (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan).
10 young Israeli and Palestinian professionals from the government organizations, media, and IT and other business industries and 20 undergraduate and graduate students including the international students from India and Indonesia discussed the issues to come to a settlement in Israeli and Palestinian territories and the involvement of the international community under the direction of Prof. Mitoji Yabunaka, a former Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs. The exchange of opinions on the situations that Ritsumeikan students have understood from the media etc. helped them to think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at deeper level.
The College of International
Relations at Ritsumeikan University has been actively working on human
resources development in the area of Foreign affairs, international
cooperation, and official business through the establishment of the International
Civil Service Program, the lecture by Prof. Mitoji Yabunaka, the support by the
Extension Center, and so on. Two alumni who will start working at the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs of Japan also joined the special meeting.
"Youth Invitation Program from Israel and the Palestinian Territories in 2019" (Japanese only)
To read the article, please click here.
"Foreign Minister Kono received a courtesy call from young Israeli and Palestinian professionals who were visiting Japan under the Youth Invitation Program" (Japanese only)
To read the article, please click here.
Our Graduate School will expand SEISEKIYUSHUSHA scholarships from enrollment April 2019.
Please see below the more details.
In Jan 7th2019,Prof. Keiji Nakatsuji, who will finish his tenure in March made his farewell lecture in Kinugasa campus. Prof. Nakatsuji made an lecture titled “The End of the Cold War, Decline of Historicism, and My Scholarly Life"..
For students and colleague professors, who packed the classroom, Prof. Nakatsuji emphasized importance of “the deep and extensive knowledge of history” and “the decline of historicism is too dangerous to take for granted”. Prof. Nakatsuji joined Ritsumeikan in 1998 and contributed to various key programs for its internationalization like “Ritsumeikan International Institute".
Prof. Nakatsuji will continue his teaching at College of IR as a professor emeritus.
On October 18th, a special lecture by Prof. A. Carl Le Van was held at the Graduate School of International Relations. Professor Carl Le Van is a political scientist and a visiting professor from American University in Washington, D.C. He is a leading researcher on African politics and has written three books on Nigeria including the Oxford Handbook on Nigerian Politics published this year.
The lecture was based on a set of photographs related to Professor Le Van’s research and delivered in an interactive way so that participants could ask questions anytime. He covered three main topics: 1) choice of the research topic, 2) research ethics, and 3) how researcher’s personal connections and experiences could become professional and intellectual, and the other way around.
First, he talked about his work appointment at an NGO in Nigeria and his study at the University of Ibadan and how those experiences impacted his research interest in the future. Besides major experiences, he noted an influence of smaller and seemingly accidental events like attending a conference with Attahiru Jega, the head of Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC), a highly respected scholar and independent thinker, not involved in the corruption who enabled 2011 elections to become the freest and fairest elections up to that point in the country. Professor Le Van explained that foreign aid industry around election was massive and it was easy to get wrapped up in the excitement. However, unlike many other scholars, he didn’t focus on electoral process but chose instead to study displacement issues and housing and property right in Nigeria. The government removed informal settlements regularly, and each removal rendered thousands of people homeless or without businesses. He considered it his duty as a scholar and a human to see with empathy and solidarity and bring visibility to this issue.
To illustrate this point, Prof. Le Van showed a picture at an informal restaurant called “buka” in Nigeria explaining that most people see just poverty there but after doing his research, he also started seeing uncertainty, meaning that people did not want to invest in their property knowing that it might be destroyed next week. Another illustration was a series of photos of ethnic and religious associations providing safety net for newcomers from rural areas when they move to the cities because “the state failed them completely”. One of the questions from the audience was to clarify the meaning of this statement, to which he explained that this was said in a narrow sense meaning that the state provided no legal employment, access to health care etc., not in a Weberian sense meaning the lack of coherence and good governance. Professor Le Van also commented that colonial authorities facilitated ethnic and religious associations because they replaced the state to some extent. To make sure that they are independent from the state, the associations emphasize their political neutrality and keep out of politics. Another question from the audience was whether any of those ethnic associations were involved in ethnic conflicts. Professor Le Van explained that although they live in small ethnic ghettoes and hate the current Muslim president, they are also perfectly integrated and have very good relationships with their new Muslim neighbors in the city.
Yet another question from the audience related to Jega’s experience before becoming the head of electoral committee: whether he had any relevant practical experience or only academic background. After answering, Prof. Le Van moved on to another series of photographs taken in the slums of Abuja explaining that 200, 000 people lived in one area alone and he felt his mission as a researcher inspired by a sense of social justice. He also gave advice to those doing field work to “have friends in high places and low places” and not to get flattered in the hierarchy. He showed photographs of his interviewees showing mainly men and explained that they always wanted him to talk to the person on top as he is the one to control the narrative. However, his task as a researcher was to get to those left behind without angering the first participants and to recreate the entire story.
Professor Le Van demonstrated how his perspective was influenced by co-authors he got to work with. For instance, one of his projects was carried out jointly with an anthropologist of religion, and thanks to him, he became aware of witchcraft being practiced alongside with the oil boom and dramatic changes in Nigerian economy. This experience also helped him realize the importance of the words, e.g. a minority group was commonly called Gwari meaning “stupid people” and they reclaimed their original name Gbagyi by writing it on their housing legally protected from demolition. Another series of photos showed the process of demolition in detail. An audience member wished to know why they couldn’t build legally, to which Professor Le Van explained that the city grew too fast on oil revenues and secondly, it was difficult to get a legal certificate to build from the authorities.
Next experience shared by Professor Le Van was working in the archives at National Centre for Arts and Culture in Gambia. According to the UNESCO, 90% of the world languages are not on the internet, while the archives in Gambia contained recordings and manuscripts of those disappearing languages. The beaches in Gambia were known to have male sex workers which seems an interesting topic for the feminists.
Professor Le Van answered to two more questions from the participants: first, which impact foreign aid had on elections in the developing countries, and second, whether NGOs and development agencies still selected attractive and media-relevant projects for funding. He explained that during the Cold War, the Western aid was not provided to parties sympathetic to communists. However, with time, the election observation has become more objective, not taking sides and allowing local indigenous knowledge to lead. Secondly, he replied that some foundations (e.g. Gates Foundation) still had the same approach: finding where we are most likely to be successful and replicate the same model in other places. However, the US Aid went to places where it was most difficult to succeed. Another problem was that recipients tended to talk about their successes more than failures and lessons learned, and that current US administration was no longer using their “empirically based policy”.
The second part of Prof. Le Van’s lecture related to the research ethics and safety in the country with some of deadliest terrorist organizations like Boko Haram. He displayed the photos of the IDPs who fled from Boko Haram’s violence and were hosted by a neighboring community for several years. The host community started to feel resentment only at the point when foreign aid agencies got interested in the IDPs and helped them and not the poor locals. Professor Le Van mentioned that some Boko Haram members were well educated and resisted Western education not as knowledge but as a source of moral illness and corruption in their country. He introduced a book by a young scholar Hillary Matfess Women in War and Boko Haram arguing that some women joined Boko Haram because they learned to read and write, and they couldn’t get access to education from the government. Professor Le Van encouraged students to go beyond conventional wisdom and question the existing assumptions, i.e. that Almajris, boys from poor families would join Boko Haram when they grow up.
The final series of photographs illustrated his current research project on pastoralists and their conflict with farmers. As pastoralists are predominantly Muslims and most farmers are Christians, the tension is often portrayed as religious conflict. However, Prof. Le Van thinks that a deep ecological crisis is overlooked, the problem is over-simplified, and reminds us of Foucauldian tradition as terminology becomes important. The media commonly refers to pastoralists as “herders” or “Fulani militants” and silences the fact that the rural population massively moves to cities, can no longer take care of the farms but still want to eat meat, and they get meat from those pastoralists. The final question from the audience related to the resource trap of certain countries, and Professor Le Van reiterated a strong correlation observed between resources and democracy: namely, that by not having oil and having agriculture and services, countries are better able to survive challenges and develop democratic regimes.