How Japan sees China

What does China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) mean for Japan? On the one hand, China’s infrastructure investments in Asia, Africa, and Europe pose challenges to Japan’s political and economic influence. On the other hand, despite the reservations and scepticism, the Japanese government seems to recognise that BRI is now the “only game in town”— an international political and economic “fact on the ground” that Tokyo has no choice but to accept.

In this talk, Dr Taku Tamaki will explore the possibility of borrowing the ideas of Japanese philosopher Tetsurō Watsuji as a way to start conceptualising what BRI means for Japan. He posits that BRI involves a subject-subject dynamic involving Japan, on the one hand, with China and the US, among others, on the other. Furthermore, the re-designation of geographical signifier from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific implies an environment-subject dynamic in which Japan’s existential space has been recalibrated. In short, there is a possibility that BRI poses a new international reality for Japan.

Watsuji’s idea of aidagara suggests that human existence is comprised of a complex web of inter-relationships involving subject-subject, as well as environment-subject, inter-relationships. This means that Watsuji’s philosophy is well-suited to provide us with a conceptual framework for understanding how Japan is seeking to respond to the challenges of BRI. Through Watsuji, we can see that BRI represents Japan’s aidagara with the international environment. 

Watsuji’s idea of aidagara suggests that human existence is comprised of a complex web of inter-relationships involving subject-subject, as well as environment-subject, inter-relationships. This means that Watsuji’s philosophy is well-suited to provide us with a conceptual framework for understanding how Japan is seeking to respond to the challenges of BRI. Through Watsuji, we can see that BRI represents Japan’s aidagara with the international environment. 

Date: 27 November 2019, 6:00pm – 8.00pm
Venue: Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13 – 14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

London United Korean Fan Club

London United Japanese Fan Club