ICJS Event: David Leheny on "How Soft Power Became Universal: Japan, Values, and Doubts about Democratic Doubts"

Thursday, November 5th, 2009
7:00 p.m. (talk starts at 7:30 p.m.)
TUJ Mita Hall 503 (Access)
4-1-27 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0073
David Leheny
Open to general public.
Registration closed

About the Event

Prime Minister Hatoyama's pledge to build "fraternity" with other Asian nations is a deliberate step away from the policies espoused or expressed by his three most recent predecessors: Aso Taro, Abe Shinzo, and Koizumi Junichiro. Koizumi's strong alignment with US foreign policy, along with Abe's promotion of "values-oriented democracy" and Aso's "arc of freedom and prosperity," had suggested to observers not only coinciding interests but also a change in Japan's approach to the importance of "universal values" like democracy and free markets in its diplomacy. Are these values, often associated with the United States, spreading unproblematically? This lecture will challenge notions of "soft power," and the ability to persuade/attract rather than to coerce and cast doubt on the assumptions underlying recent claims about Japan's "gross national cool," the "Korea wave," and China's "charm offensive."

About David Leheny

David Leheny, is the Henry Wendt III '55 Professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton University. Prior to moving to Princeton, he taught in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1998-2007. He has also served as Regional Affairs Officer in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State, as well as a Research Associate in the Institute of Social Science at the University of Tokyo. In addition to articles in English and Japanese, Leheny is the author of two books: Think Global, Fear Local: Sex, Violence, and Anxiety in Contemporary Japan (Cornell University Press, 2006) and The Rules of Play: National Identity and the Shaping of Japanese Leisure (Cornell University Press, 2003). He is also the co-editor (with Kay Warren of Brown University) of the forthcoming Japanese Aid and the Construction of Global Development (Routledge 2009).

Moderator: Kyle Cleveland

Dr. Cleveland is Associate of Sociology at Temple University, Japan Campus and was the founding director of TUJ’s Institute of Contemporary Japanese Studies. His research interests focus on Japanese popular culture and ethnic identity in relation to globalization and social changes in contemporary Japan. He has supervised special programs in Japanese popular culture and visual media studies, organized a lecture series, and produced events and symposia related to contemporary political issues. Through the Wakai Project, he organizes a series of events in which students from various universities, scholars, activists, and media collaborate to address how globalization is affecting youth culture in Japan.

About ICJS
The Institute of Contemporary Japanese Studies (ICJS) is an organization dedicated to fostering study and research on various topics related to contemporary Japan and Asia.