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The Rhetoric of Power: Conceptions of Power in the Academic Post-Cold War Japanese Foreign Policy Discourse




The main purpose of this paper is to investigate how scholars have related to the term ‘power’ in their research of post-Cold War Japanese foreign policy; how they have filled the term with meaning, i.e. how they have associated it with a concept. This is done through an analysis of English and Japanese texts, both those that do not include an explicit definition of the term, but still use it extensively, and those that do define the term and purport to make use of it in empirical research. An analysis of the material shows inconsistency in the sense that power is implicitly understood in terms of resources and capabilities (cf. Realism in International Relations), but explicitly (e.g. in definitions) clearly in relational terms. The way to express power in Japanese, moreover, significantly differs from the English practice; in English there is merely one word – in Japanese several words are used to express the different concepts of power. An interesting feature of Japanese texts, moreover, is the frequent references to ‘powerization’, i.e. the process of becoming a power.

Suggested Citation

  • Hagström, Linus, 2001. "The Rhetoric of Power: Conceptions of Power in the Academic Post-Cold War Japanese Foreign Policy Discourse," EIJS Working Paper Series 110, Stockholm School of Economics, The European Institute of Japanese Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:eijswp:0110

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    Japanese foreign policy discourse; power; Okabe Tatsumi; Ming Wan; Reinhard Drifte; Christopher Hughes;

    JEL classification:

    • A00 - General Economics and Teaching - - General - - - General

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