H-US-Japan: Asia-Pacific International Relations Seminar at Osaka University

Yone Sugita's picture


14 May 2017

from: Yone Sugita (yone@sugita.us)


Dear Colleagues:  

You are welcome to the Asia-Pacific International Relations Seminar at Osaka University on 20 May.

Seminar papers are available only for those who will participate in the seminar.


Yone Sugita




International Studies Seminar at Osaka University

Date: 20 May 2017 (Saturday)

Venue: Quartier Multilingue, Center for Education in Liberal Arts and Sciences, Toyonaka Campus, Osaka University

http://www.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/access/index.html#toyonaka (access map: Toyonaka Campus)

http://www.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/access/toyonaka/toyonaka.html l (campus map: 1st floor of #30)

(http://www.celas.osaka-u.ac.jp/facilities/ in Japanese only)


Session 1:13:00-14:00

Professor Sayuri Guthrie-Shimizu (Dunlevie Family Professor of History, Rice University)



The Nation-States, International Organizations, and the Maritime Order: From the League of Nations to the United Nations



The distinctive feature of the planet earth is its abundant water. It covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface and has been of major importance in all aspects of the development of civilization. In addition to its crucial role in moderating global climate, the world’s ocean has served as a source of food, a medium for transportation and commerce, a protective physical barrier and a receptacle for waste disposal. This paper surveys the history of human endeavors to impose legal orders on this shared physical space replete with possibilities for international conflict as well as wealth creation and ecological destruction.




Professor Marie Thorsten (Doshisha University)

Professor Thomas French (Ritsumeikan University)



Session 2: 14:15 – 15:15

Professor Marie Thorsten (Professor, Faculty of Global Communications, Doshisha University)




The Iraq War Aftermath in US and Japanese Geopolitical Narratives



In 2003, PM Koizumi sent Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to work in a humanitarian capacity serving the American-led “coalition of the willing” in Iraq. At the time, he summoned the rhetoric of the bilateral alliance to make his points. What about in the aftermath of the conflict, widely perceived to be a failure? Textbooks mark the end of the Iraq War as 2011, but in some sense, it never ended. This presentation will explore how officials in both nations contextualize the aftermath of the invasion in geostrategic narratives.



Professor Thomas French (Associate Professor, College of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University)



Session 3:15:30-16:30

Professor Thomas French (Ritsumeikan University)



Fiats and Jeeps: The Occupation, Jeeps, and the Postwar Automotive Industry



The importance of the Occupation within Japanese economic history is beyond doubt, however there still remain various partially explored regions within the scholarly landscape of the period. One subject which falls into this category is the impact of small four-wheel-drive passenger vehicles, or jeeps, during the Occupation. This subject can be considered ‘partially explored’, as within the scholarship its cultural impact is clearly mapped out, and often linked in the process to the power of the Occupation itself, but within the economic sphere, the jeep remains all but invisible, somewhat akin to the censorship of the jeep (and all other visible symbols of the Occupation) from Japanese films produced at the time. The reasons for this curious partial absence of perhaps the most visible symbol of the Occupation vary, as detailed below. Indeed, the jeep could be said to be in some ways a mechanical embodiment of the Occupation; an alien, militarised, and undeniably American presence in postwar Japan. The jeep, being the omnipresent transportation of General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander of Allied Powers (GHQ) personnel, also traverses the entire landscape of Occupation. As well as being the ‘steed’ which bore everything the Occupation brought, the jeep itself also exerted other direct influences on Japan during the years 1945-1952. Some of these were cultural, influencing many Japanese people’s ideas about personal transportation and automobiles in general. Others were clearly economic, with the maintenance, refurbishment, and later, manufacture of jeeps, forming a major but rarely examined, element within the development of the postwar Japanese automotive industry. This highly symbolic (and literal) reconstruction an iconic piece of Americana in Japan was also one which laid some of the foundations of the subsequent success of several of Japan’s postwar automotive giants. This paper attempts to examine the impact of the jeep from both of these perspectives, reassessing the already well established cultural interpretations of the jeep’s impact, and detailing the hitherto neglected economic influences of the jeep during the era.


Thomas French is an Associate Professor of Modern Japanese History in the College of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University. He is a specialist on the Occupation of Japan, and his broader research interests include US-Japan relations, the Japanese automotive and arms industries, and the Japanese Self Defence Forces. He is the author of National Police Reserve: The Origin of Japan’s Self Defence Forces (Global Oriental, 2014).



Professor Sayuri Shimizu (Rice University)