Article Title

Asia Pacific Perspectives Vol. 8 No. 1, June 2008

Document Type

Full Issue



Jack London Reporting from Tokyo and Manchuria: The Forgotten Role of an Influential Observer of Early Modern Asia by Daniel A. Métraux

ack London is regarded as one of America’s most popular writers for his novels and short stories. Less known today is the fact that he was also a first-rate observer of East Asian politics, societies, and peoples. Working as a journalist for several newspapers and magazines, he filed numerous articles and essays covering the Russo-Japanese war and even foresaw the rise of Japan and China as world powers. This paper provides an overview of his journalistic and literary contributions about Asia, his insights into Asian ethnic and political complexities, and his vision for pan-Asian/American cooperation.

Gender Ideology Crossing Borders: A 'Traditional' Spouse in the U.S. International Migration Context by Suzanne M. Sinke

Images, even false ones, can create desire. In the case of U.S. citizens and residents seeking marriage partners across borders, ideas about female purity, male dominance and women’s rights, marriage arrangement patterns, and family responsibilities contributed to an (often inaccurate) juxtaposition of foreign, especially Asian, women as “traditional” compared to U.S. counterparts, just as it marked foreign, especially Asian, men as more patriarchal than men in the U.S. Immigration law, which favored dependent female spouses from the outset, helped foster this image. The stereotypes of current “foreign bride” websites reflect ideas that are more than a century old, ideas found in migrants’ letters and soldiers’ stories, though they are now used for more commercial purposes. This paper illuminates how gender ideals shaped marriage patterns across borders, encouraging more cross-national matches by the late twentieth century, and how migration helped shape U.S. gender roles related to marriage.

The Redefinition of Japan's National Security Policy: Security Threats, Domestic Interests and a Realist-Liberal Approach by Elena Atanassova-Cornelis

This article examines the redefinition of Japanese national security after the Cold War by emphasizing the role of domestic political interests in security policy-making. It also analyzes the combined impact of international and domestic variables on the process of policy formulation.

The article suggests a realist-liberal perspective and argues that although Japanese national security policy has been underpinned by the goal of "survival" in the anarchic international system, this policy has served the primary interest of the dominant decision-makers to maintain their power. With the emergence of non-conventional security threats after the Cold War, ensuring national security has gradually turned into a tool for strengthening the policy-making power of political actors and hence for a steady expansion of Japan's security role. However, seeking to avoid jeopardizing their policy-making position, Japanese leaders have pursued policies within the scope of the Japanese public's anti-militaristic acceptance of their country's expanded security presence.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO): An Asian NATO? by Loro Horta On August 17th 2007, China and Russia conducted their largest ever joint military exercise. The exercise, held under the umbrella of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), led many observers to conclude that the exercises may mark the beginning of an alliance between Beijing and Moscow to balance American and NATO influence in their respective spheres of influence and the world at large. However, expectations of such an alliance may be misplaced and based on a superficial assessment of the interests of the parties involved. While China and Russia may seem to share a wide range of common interests, closer analysis reveals many areas of possible contention that are likely to undermine the prospects for a solid and durable alliance.

America, Don't Count on Our 'Followership' by Masahiro Matsumura

This paper warns against the tendency among policymakers in Washington to take Japan’s “followership” for granted. Among the issues currently in play that could drive Japan to a more independent role in East Asia are the North Korean nuclear and abduction issues, the Six Party Talks, and the question of foreign aid to North Korea if and when it denuclearizes its programs. The author believes that the legislative power of the newly ascendant Democratic Party of Japan—a party whose leaders are increasingly critical of U.S. policies – could very well lead to a strategic shift in East Asia that would have lasting consequences for trade and security throughout the region.