These Islands Are Ours: The Social Construction of Territorial Disputes in Northeast Asia 9781503611900

Territorial disputes are one of the main sources of tension in Northeast Asia. Escalation in such conflicts often stems

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These Islands Are Ours: The Social Construction of Territorial Disputes in Northeast Asia

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­These Islands Are Ours

Studies in Asian Security series editors Amitav Acharya, Chief Editor American University

David Leheny, Chief Editor Waseda University

Alastair Iain Johnston Harvard University

Randall Schweller The Ohio State University

international board Rajesh M. Basrur Nanyang Technological University

Brian L. Job University of British Columbia

Barry Buzan London School of Economics

Miles Kahler University of California, San Diego

Victor D. Cha Georgetown University

Peter J. Katzenstein Cornell University

Thomas J. Christensen Prince­ton University

KhongYuen Foong Oxford University

Stephen P. Cohen The Brookings Institution

Byung-­Kook Kim ­Korea University

Chu Yun-­han Academia Sinica

Michael Mastanduno Dartmouth College

Rosemary Foot University of Oxford

Mike Mochizuki The George Washington University

Aaron L. Friedberg Prince­ton University

Katherine H. S. Moon Wellesley College

Sumit Ganguly Indiana University, Bloomington

Qin Yaqing China Foreign Affairs University

Avery Goldstein University of Pennsylvania

Christian Reus-­Smit Australian National University

Michael J. Green Georgetown University

Etel Solingen University of California, Irvine

Stephan M. Haggard University of California, San Diego

Varun Sahni Jawaharlal Nehru University

G. John Ikenberry Prince­ton University

Rizal Sukma CSIS, Jakarta

Takashi Inoguchi Chuo University

Wu Xinbo Fudan University

­T H E SE I SLAN DS ARE O UR S the social construction of territorial disputes in northeast asia

Alexander Bukh

stanford universit y press Stanford, California

stan ford u n i versit y press Stanford, California ©2020 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Ju­nior University. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system without the prior written permission of Stanford University Press. Printed in the United States of Amer­i­ca on acid-­free, archival-­quality paper Library of Congress Cataloging-­in-­Publication Data Names: Bukh, Alexander, author. Title: ­These islands are ours : the social construction of territorial disputes in   Northeast Asia / Alexander Bukh. Other titles: Studies in Asian security. Description: Stanford, California : Stanford University Press, 2020. |   Series: Studies in Asian security | Includes bibliographical references   and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2019033544 (print) | LCCN 2019033545 (ebook) |   ISBN 9781503611894 (cloth) | ISBN 9781503611900 (epub) Subjects: LCSH: Territory, National—­Social aspects—­East Asia. |   Nationalism—­East Asia. | East Asia—­Bound­aries. |   East Asia—­Bound­aries—­Social aspects. | East Asia—­Foreign relations—­   Citizen participation. | East Asia—­Politics and government—1945Classification: LCC DS504.7 .B84 2020 (print) | LCC DS504.7 (ebook) |   DDC 911/.5—­dc23 LC rec­ord available at https://­lccn​.­loc​.­gov​/­2019033544 LC ebook rec­ord available at https://­lccn​.­loc​.­gov​/­2019033545 Typeset by Westchester Publishing Ser­vices in 10/13.5 Adobe Garamond Pro Cover photo: Ulleungdont | Wikimedia Commons

For my ­family

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Objects or practices are liberated for full symbolic and ritual use when no longer fettered by practical use. Hobsbawm 1983:4

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Contents Acknowl­edgments Note on Transliteration and Names Introduction

xi xiii 1

1 Japan’s “Northern Territories”


2 Shimane Prefecture’s Quest for Takeshima


3 The “Protect Dokdo” Movement in South ­Korea


4 Taiwan’s “Protect the Diaoyutai” Movement




Bibliography Index

175 205

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This book is a result of over seven years of archival research, interviews, review of secondary lit­er­a­ture, and theoretical contemplations. It would not be pos­si­ble without the intellectual and financial support provided by numerous institutions and individuals. First of all, I would like to thank the individual activists and officials from the vari­ous organ­izations and institutions discussed in this book for sharing their thoughts, ideas, and publications with me. I am most indebted to Hong Seong-­keun and Hsiau A-­chin for sharing their extensive knowledge on civic activism in K ­ orea and Taiwan, respectively. Iwashita Akihiro and Han Jung-­sun provided me with invaluable insights into territorial disputes–­ related activism in Japan and ­Korea that ­were incorporated into my analy­sis. Many thanks to Raoul Bunskoek, Lai Yi-­sin, and Shaun McGirr for their superb research assistance at vari­ous stages of this proj­ect. I am very grateful to Michael Haas from the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zürich for allowing me to use his map of Japan’s territorial disputes, which originally appeared in his CSS Analyses in Security Policy no. 155, 2014. I am also thankful to (in alphabetical order) Ayca Arcilic, Simon Avenell, Robert Ayson, Fiona Barker, Frank Bille, Ted Boyle, David Capie, Amy Catalinac, Giacomo Chiozza, Timur Dadabaev, Stephen Epstein, Jon Fraenkel, Linus Hagström, Reto Hofmann, Xiaoming Huang, Christopher Hughes, Llewelyn Hughes, Hara Kimie, Higuchi Naoto, Lee Seok-­woo, Kate McMillan, Kimura Kan, Koo Min-­guo, Rotem Kowner, Oguma Eiji, Nissim Otmazgin, Richard Samuels, Soeya Yoshihide, Taku Tamaki, Ben Thirkell-­White, Manjeet Pardesi, Robert Pekkanen, Kathleen Robertson,


A c k now l­edg m ents

Gwen Robinson, Jason Young, Umemori Naoyuki, Yamashita Tatsuya, David Wolff, and Ran Zwigenberg for reading and commenting on the vari­ous drafts of this book’s chapters. I am also thankful for the ­opportunities I had to pre­sent and receive feedback on portions of this research at seminars and guest talks conducted at Victoria University of Wellington, Victoria University (Canada), Waseda University, University of Haifa, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of Auckland, Tsukuba University, Keio University, Kobe University, Korea University, H ­ okkaido University, Leiden University, LSE, University of Melbourne, ANU, UCLA, and the Pennsylvania State University. This book would not be pos­si­ble without the assistance I received from the editors of Stanford University Press Studies in Asian Security Series. I am particularly grateful to David Leheny for extensive guidance and support. Two anonymous reviewers provided me with exceptionally constructive and thoughtful comments on the first draft of this manuscript. I deeply appreciate Leah Pennywark’s assistance with formatting and preparing the manuscript for publication. I am also deeply grateful to Hugo Dobson and Saadia Pekkanen for their endorsements of this book. I am also thankful to my friend and colleague Nils Clauss, who directed and co-­ produced with me a documentary film on Dokdo/Takeshima activists in ­Korea and Japan, which became an integral part of this proj­ect. Generous financial support from several institutions helped make this book and the research ­behind it pos­si­ble. Royal Society of New Zealand’s Marsden Fund Fast-­Start grant enabled me to focus on this proj­ect, purchase reference material, conduct numerous research trips to the region, and to attend international conferences where I presented the preliminary findings of this research. I benefited greatly from the opportunity to refine this research thanks to an Acad­emy for Korean Studies (AKS) grant, an East Asia Institute (EAI) fellowship, and visiting fellowships at Northeast Asia History Foundation (NAHF), Hokkaido University’s Slavic Eurasian Research Center, and Taiwan’s Academia Sinica. A grant generously provided by my home institution, Victoria University of Wellington, at the final stages of the proj­ect, enabled its smooth completion. Last but not the least, I wish to acknowledge my wife, Sandy, my c­ hildren, Zoya and Timur, and my parents, Alla and Rem. I could not have accomplished this proj­ect without their patience, love, and support. A previous version of Chapter 1 was published in the International Relations of the Asia-­Pacific 12(3) as “Constructing Japan’s ‘Northern Territories’: Domestic Actors, Interests, and the Symbolism of the Disputed Islands.” An early version of Chapter 2 was published in The Pacific Review 28(1) as “Shimane Prefecture, Tokyo and the ­Territorial Dispute over Dokdo/Takeshima: Regional and National Identities in Japan.” Part of Chapter 3 was published in the Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs 3(2) as “Korean National Identity, Civic Activism and the Dokdo/Takeshima Territorial Dispute.”

Note on Transliteration and Names

Chinese, Japa­nese, and Korean names are given in the f­ amily name first order, except in citations to authors’ works published in Western languages, where they appear in the En­glish order and replicate the spelling used in the publication. Common place names appear in their usual English-­language spelling ­unless they appear in titles of vernacular publications or names of organ­izations. For Chinese names and sources, I use the Pinyin system, for Japa­nese sources and names, the Hepburn Romanization system, and for Korean sources and names, the Revised Romanization system. Names of the islands constitute an integral part of the disputes. ­Here I use names and spellings commonly used in the country which is the focus of the chapter in question. Thus, for example, in Chapter 2 I refer to the islets disputed between Japan and ­Korea as Takeshima and in Chapter 3 as Dokdo. This is done solely for the purpose of con­ve­nience and should not be interpreted as an expression of support for e­ ither side’s claims.

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­These Islands Are Ours

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One of the first historic sites a foreign visitor to South K ­ orea notices is neither the majestic Gyeongbokgung Palace nor the solemn Bulguksa ­Temple. Nor is it the expansive Gyeongju Historical Areas complex designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, but rather a group of remote and tiny disputed islets known as Dokdo in ­Korea and Takeshima in Japan. The exposure to Dokdo starts even before one reaches the capital, with a government-­sponsored video clip explaining the importance of the islets to K ­ orea, K ­ orea’s rights to owner­ship, and Japan’s hideous claims to the islets being played on the express train to Seoul from the Incheon airport. Prob­ably only a few of the foreign tourists make it to the islets, as the journey is cumbersome and can be quite costly. One, however, is continuously reminded of Dokdo while in ­Korea, as the islets are omnipresent in numerous posters, signs, and placards throughout Seoul and other Korean cities. In Tokyo, the presence of Takeshima is somewhat less noticeable. However, it features prominently in official publications, websites, and, recently, school textbooks as well. A pamphlet centrally placed on Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs webpage dedicated to Japan-­Korea relations states that the islets are indisputably part of Japan’s territory, illegally occupied by ­Korea. A video clip on the website of the Cabinet Secretariat’s Office of Policy Planning and Coordination on Territory and Sovereignty features a picture book that depicts the peaceful fishing activities by Japa­nese fishermen on the islets prior to the Korean takeover and the tragedy of their loss. In 2016, electronic copies of this book ­were distributed by the government to over thirty thousand primary and ­middle schools across the country.

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Hundreds of kilo­meters away from the centers of po­liti­cal power in Seoul and Tokyo, in a small h ­ otel in Japan’s Shimane Prefecture’s capital, Matsue, Choi Jae-ik, chairman of a Seoul-­based civic group called the National Front of Dokdo Guardians, holds a press conference. Together with a handful of supporters, he annually travels to Japan from K ­ orea to protest Shimane Prefecture’s “Takeshima Day” ceremony, aimed at commemorating Imperial Japan’s 1905 incorporation of the islets. During the press conference, Choi makes a placard written with his own blood in which he denounces Japan’s attempts to steal the islets and demands a revocation of the Takeshima Day ordinance. In the 1980s, Choi took an active part in K ­ orea’s democ­ratization movement and was an avowed socialist. In the late 1990s, he became one of the founding members of the “Protect Dokdo” movement. ­Today he makes a living as a kindergarten caretaker, while most of his ­free time and money is devoted to organ­izing demonstrations and holding vari­ous gatherings related to the “protection” of Dokdo. It is a twenty-­minute walk from Choi’s ­hotel to Shimane’s Prefectural Assembly, whose members enacted the Takeshima Day ordinance in 2005. Although the birthplace of numerous national-­level power­ful politicians, including one prime minister, Shimane Prefecture is one of Japan’s least eco­nom­ically developed prefectures and before enacting the Takeshima Day ordinance rarely appeared even in the national news. Before 2005, it had a multifaceted “­sister prefecture” relationship with ­Korea’s North Gyeongsang Province, which administers the disputed islets. The two regional governments conducted numerous cultural and expertise exchange programs and cooperated in facilitating tourism between the two regions. Most of ­these ties ­were severed ­after the passage of the ordinance, which did not bring any tangible benefits to Shimane residents. The somewhat extravagant actions of actors such as Choi’s National Front of Dokdo Guardians and Shimane Prefectural Assembly may look like manifestations of a nationalist propaganda campaign designed and crafted by the central governments in Seoul and Tokyo, respectively. This is not the case though. U ­ ntil the early 2000s, the Korean government was trying to prevent any involvement of civic groups in the dispute and even restricted civilian access to the islets. Neither the Korean nor the Japa­nese governments engaged in any kind of public campaign related to the dispute, and the efforts of both w ­ ere focused on keeping it on the back burner of bilateral relations. Accordingly, Seoul did not provide any funding to the groups that formed the early “Protect Dokdo” movement, and Tokyo applied considerable pressure on Shimane Prefectural Assembly not to enact the Takeshima Day ordinance. Thus, the emergence of Dokdo/Takeshima as one of the key issues in the domestic debates on bilateral relations in both countries was not a result of governmental policy. To the contrary, it happened despite the efforts of the po­liti­cal elites in Seoul and Tokyo to keep it away from the public eye and can be attributed to actions of actors such as the

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National Front of Dokdo Guardians and the Shimane Prefectural Assembly, which I refer to ­here as national identity entrepreneurs. Although the roots of the dispute go back to state-­level negotiations of the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951 with Japan, the narratives regarding the dispute and, even more impor­tant, their centrality in the public discourse in both countries are a relatively new phenomenon. In early 1960s, the Japa­nese and the Korean negotiators of a bilateral normalization treaty acknowledged the relative insignificance of the islets (they are no larger than ­Grand Central Terminal) and even considered blowing them up as a (quite radical) solution to the dispute. They would prob­ably have been bemused and perplexed by references to the islets as the heart of the nation or as a trea­sure box of natu­ral resources, which are integral to ­today’s depictions of Dokdo/ Takeshima in K ­ orea and Japan. In the following de­cades, ­there w ­ ere hardly any publications devoted to the dispute, and it rarely featured in bilateral negotiations. Half a c­ entury ­later, however, the Dokdo/Takeshima conflict became one of the key issues in Japan-­Korea relations, with hundreds of books, articles, TV programs, and movies devoted to the islets. ­Today, the dispute over tiny uninhabitable islets of ­little economic importance is an integral part of historical memory and debates about bilateral relations in both countries. National identity is a highly contested concept subject to numerous academic debates beyond the scope of this study. Most of the constructivist International Relations (IR) scholars as well as scholars of nationalism, however, agree that collective memory of the nation’s past plays a key role in what constitutes a national identity. Overall, identity and memory exist in a symbiotic relationship; the core meaning of any individual or group “self ” is sustained mostly by remembering (Gillis 1994, 3). Internalization and identification with the group’s collective memory by its members, therefore, is the basis of any social identity (Zerubavel 2003, 3). When it comes to a nation’s collective memory, stories about its past create the collective experience of the nation, define its bound­aries through differentiation from and in contrast to “­others,” and also serve as a basis for projections about the nation’s collective f­uture (Somers 1994, 38–39; Triandafyllidou 1998). As Anthony Smith, one of the pioneers of nationalism studies, has aptly put it, “one might almost say: no memory, no identity, no identity, no nation. . . . ​Only by “remembering the past” can a collective identity come into being” (1996, 383). ­These collective memories, though, are not some abstract stories but are built of specific narratives that depict and interpret certain events and issues in the nation’s interactions with its “­others.” The repertoire of ­these narratives is not constant but evolves and changes over time. Certain narratives dis­appear from the collective memory whereas o­ thers emerge as impor­tant markers of national identity (Kansteiner 2002, 192–93). The dispute over Dokdo/Takeshima has become one such issue,

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emerging in the 1990s and becoming an integral part of the widely accepted story regarding the nation’s collective past and pre­sent in both Japan and ­Korea. ­Needless to say, Dokdo/Takeshima is not unique but just one example of many other disputed territories in Northeast Asia and beyond that function as markers of national identity (e.g., Varshney 1991; Deans 2000; Goddard 2009; Bukh 2012; Bong 2013; Strate 2015). It is often assumed that national identities are forged by the power­ful as tools of control and domination. The foregoing example suggests that this is not always the case and the pro­cess of identities’ creation is not necessarily a top-­down one. Exploring ­these sociopo­liti­cal pro­cesses with par­tic­u­lar reference to disputed territories ­will enable us to gain a more nuanced understanding of how specific stories of which national identities are built emerge, the role of nonstate actors in t­hese pro­cesses, and the importance they assign to disputed territory in question. Moreover, the narratives on territorial disputes are po­liti­cally consequential—­they carry impor­tant implications for the policies related to the disputes in question as they create a frame of reference for the policy makers. The point of departure for this book is that territorial disputes are socially constructed, namely, that the meanings associated with ­these disputed territories and the narratives about them, emerged as a result of sociopo­liti­cal pro­cesses. Lit­er­a­ture on broad identity narratives and discourses of the national “self ” in Northeast Asia is abundant (e.g., Suzuki 2009; Tamaki 2010; Rozman 2011; Hagström 2015; Wachman 2016), but with few exceptions (e.g., Samuels 2010), it rarely explores the domestic micropro­cesses through which certain narratives and ideas that serve as the building blocks for t­ hese identity constructs emerge and gain prominence. Narratives do not simply appear out of thin air, and the social pro­cesses that result in a certain construct are neither anonymous nor abstract but can be traced to ­human agency (Thompson 2001). In the context of North Korean abductions of Japa­nese and South Korean citizens, for example, Samuels (2010) convincingly traced the social construction of the issue in both countries to interests and actions of specific actors, ranging from relatives of abductees to po­liti­cal associations and politicians. Focusing on the pro­cesses of construction of territorial disputes and the role played by nonstate actors, this book provides a comprehensive and comparative analy­sis of the emergence and transformation of such constructs in Japan, South ­Korea, and Taiwan. What are the ­factors that gave rise to national identity entrepreneurs and ­shaped their narratives related to the territories in question? Why and how do territorial disputes that at one point mattered l­ ittle, became salient? What are the domestic sociopo­liti­cal pro­cesses that propelled t­ hese narratives to the fore of public discourse? Th ­ ese are the main questions I seek to answer. Casual observers may think that territorial disputes–­related campaigns by nonstate actors and stories deployed in the pro­cess are about recovery or protection of

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national territory. In this book I argue that this is not the case. In all of the cases examined ­here, campaigns and related narratives originated at a time of crisis, as tools of contention or criticism against a perceived failure of the state. The actors that advocate the protection or return of a disputed territory may resemble each other in their rhe­toric and framing techniques, but the nature of the crisis they responded to as well as their goals differed greatly and often had ­little to do with the disputed territory per se. “Territory,” this book shows, can be an empty signifier. By this I do not mean that territory cannot have an impor­tant economic or strategic value to the state or the ­people whose livelihood depends on it. However, when a certain territory’s material value is negligible or simply non­ex­is­tent due to its location, l­ imited resources, or lack of ­actual control over it, just like other objects of no practical use, it is “liberated for full symbolic or ritual use” (Hobsbawm 1983, 4). In other words, a territory’s lack of tangible value expands and enhances its symbolic potential, which stems from the generally shared sentiment regarding the territory’s importance to the nation. Neither the symbolic meaning of “territory” nor norms associated with it, however, are predetermined or static. Similarly to the notion of the sacred, it “occurs to represent an indeterminate value of signification, in itself devoid of meaning and thus susceptible of receiving any meaning at all” (Lévi-­Strauss 1987, 55). This indeterminateness enables the actors to strategically attach meanings to the territory in pursuit of their goals while identifying themselves with the nation. Indeed, ­because of the widely shared agreement on a territory’s utmost importance to the nation, disputed territory is easily embraced by national identity entrepreneurs as a rhetorical resource aimed at positioning themselves as champions of the nation, garnering public support and, in some cases, avoiding sanctions from the government. This framing of the disputed territory, however, can lead to an often unintended outcome in which the territory emerges as one of the markers of national identity.

Analytical Framework The analytical framework used in this book treats the construction of a disputed territory as a bottom-up pro­cess, initiated by nonstate actors at a time of a significant change in their society. ­Here I distinguish between a territorial dispute per se and a social construction of the dispute and the disputed territory. The former refers to contending claims of owner­ship between two or more states over a certain territory. Social constructs, by contrast, are the widely shared perceptions of the disputed territory, the dispute itself, and the actions of the “self ” and the other party. ­These constructs are built from narratives. Narratives are stories that imbue certain real events, places, nations, and other phenomena with a certain symbolic value and meaning, by this making them socially meaningful (Mattern 2005, 83). The ­factors that generate such

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narratives related to disputed territories and the pro­cesses through which they are transformed and developed are the focus of this book. The narratives do not emerge from nowhere and are no doubt related to the disputes they depict. All of the territorial disputes discussed in this book involve Japan and its neighbors, and ­today they constitute one of the main sources of tensions between states in the region. Thus, it is not surprising that international relations, area studies, international law, and historical scholarship devoted to the state-­level ­causes and ramifications of t­hese disputes is abundant (e.g., Stephan 1974; Chung 2004; Fravel 2008; Emmers 2009; Schoenbaum 2009; Koo 2010; Lee and Lee 2011; Iwashita 2015). The roots of competing territorial claims in con­temporary Northeast Asia can be traced to several historical, geo­graph­i­cal, and po­liti­cal ­factors. One such ­factor was the virtual simultaneity of two proj­ects that ­shaped Japan’s modern history: nation-­state building and colonial expansion. Japan’s transition from a feudal society to a modern nation-­state with unified history and defined geo­graph­i­cal bound­aries began with the Meiji Restoration of 1868. It was only in 1875 that Japan delimited all parts of its northern border with the Rus­sian Empire. In 1876 Japan concluded an unequal treaty with ­Korea dealing mostly with opening ­Korea’s ports to Japa­nese trade and did not delimit the borders between the two countries. In the following years, as a prelude to formal colonization and settlement, Japa­nese started to migrate to the Korean Peninsula (see Uchida 2011 for a detailed discussion). Well into the 1880s, the borders of Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost prefecture, ­were still not fully determined. Similarly late, the Constitution of the Empire of Japan (the Meiji Constitution) was a­ dopted only in 1889. In 1895, a­ fter defeating Qing China, Japan gained control over Taiwan as its first formal colony. Only ten years l­ater, Japan acquired Southern Sakhalin as part of the spoils of the Russo-­Japanese War and made ­Korea its protectorate. This partial concurrence of Japan’s modern nation-­state building with the colonial expansion of the Japa­nese Empire resulted in certain ambiguity as to the borders of Japan proper. Further exacerbated by the geography of the region, where tiny and remote islands are abundant, this ambiguity created the potential for territorial disputes arising in the aftermath of Japan’s defeat in World War II and the dissolution of its empire. Historical and geo­graph­i­cal ­factors aside, the most impor­tant ­factor in the emergence of the disputes (see map) was the international politics of the Cold War, when the United States—­the main architect of the regional postwar order—­de­cided that ambiguity on the owner­ship of certain parts of the now defunct empire would best serve its interests in the region. One of the most germane works on territorial disputes in Northeast Asia, by Hara Kimie, traces the roots of all of the territorial issues in question to the Peace Treaty between the Allied Powers and Japan signed

Source: Center for Security Studies / ETH Zu­rich. https://­www​.­ethz​.­ch​/­en​/­news​-­and​-­events​ /­eth​-­news​/­news​/­2014​/­07​/­japan​-­turns​-­its​-­back​-­on​-­pacifism​.­html

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in San Francisco on September 8, 1951 (Hara 2006). The Peace Treaty was supposed to put an end to above-­mentioned indeterminateness, but the relevant provisions in what was supposed to be the main l­ egal document to delimit postwar Japan’s borders are rather brief and vague, leaving room for conflicting interpretations regarding the belonging of the islands in question. Looking at the numerous drafts and negotiations that preceded the conclusion of the treaty, Hara (2006) convincingly traced this ambiguity in the final text of the treaty to the Cold War policy of the United States, the main occupying power in Japan and the chief architect of the postwar settlement. The evidence offered by Hara related to the roots of the territorial disputes on the state level is indeed compelling. The international politics of the Peace Treaty, however, offer l­ ittle to explain the pro­cess of social construction of t­ hese disputes that can be traced to actions and narratives of nonstate actors. For example, in Japan, the perception of the territory ­today ­under Rus­sian administration as Japan’s “inherent territory” originated in civic groups whose activism predates the San Francisco Peace Conference. Contrastingly, the first wave of Chinese activism related to the Senkaku/ Diaoyu/Diaoyutai Islands took place only in the early 1970s, and, in ­Korea, the first “Protect Dokdo” groups appeared in the late 1980s. As such, one needs to look beyond the Peace Treaty for f­ actors that explain the emergence of such actors and the narratives they developed and deployed. Mobilization by po­liti­cal elites is one of the most commonly offered explanations for public interest in territorial issues (Huth 1996; Fearon and Laitin 2000). This argument, however, is not applicable to the cases examined h ­ ere b­ ecause the activism related to territorial disputes was spurred without any governmental support and the nonstate actors engaged in this activism, at least at the initial stage of their existence, criticized and contested the existing governmental policy rather than supported it. Whereas the rationalist IR scholarship locates the value of territory mostly in its economic or strategic properties (e.g., Fearon 1995, 408), the constructivist school focuses more on its intangible value and explores the vari­ous sentiments embedded in “national territory” as a social construct. Constructivist lit­er­a­ture suggests that actions and narratives related to territorial disputes are an expression of a “national consciousness,” a social construct whereby “our territory,” within which the ethnic or national group is located, is seen as an integral part of both the personal and the group identities (Newman 1999, 13). Bound­aries indeed create social entities and not the other way around (Abbott 1995). Thus, geo­graph­i­cal bound­aries between “our” territory and “their” territory, or bits of territory perceived as “ours” and occupied by “them,” function as symbolic markers of identity that produce and reproduce the “us” entity by differentiating it from “­others” (Paasi 1998, 80–81). What exactly are the symbolic meanings attached to a territory? In an extensive study of ethnic conflicts, Toft (2005) suggested that ­these meanings differ across

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actors, in her case, states and ethnic groups. Territory, according to Toft, is construed as a defining attribute of the ethnic groups’ identities, as a homeland where distinct culture and language are practiced, inseparable from the group’s past and intrinsically linked to its survival as a distinct entity (2005, 19–20). Although this identification of control over the “homeland” with the group’s survival is seen by Toft as a rational act (2005, 20), her conception of the symbolic meaning of territory is not dissimilar to the one offered by the “national consciousness” lit­er­a­ture. Namely, in both cases, territory is seen as an expression of an identity, national or ethnic, and as means to distinguish the “self ” from the “other,” be it a dif­fer­ent nation or the state. Similarly, Shelef (2015) drew on the theories of nationalism to argue that homelands are a specific kind of territory, constitutive of a nation and constructed as sacred in the nationalist discourse. Thus, he suggested, their value is not reducible to the territory’s material attributes, and the ideational value of the homeland is one of the main f­ actors considered by actors (state and nonstate) when calculating the costs and benefits of territorial conflict. It is beyond doubt that “homeland” or “territory” is one of the most impor­tant markers of national identity, formerly embedded in an “uncontested background of thought” (Lessig 1995, 951) in all modern socie­ties. “Territory” is an integral part of the nationalist discourse—­one of the key modern regimes of truth in Foucauldian terms. As a material object, “national territory” performs a twofold role in nationalism: it serves both as the material base for the projection of the nation and as an evidence for its existence (Koenigsberg 1977, 9). “Territory,” however, is also a social construct, and the same can be said about certain parts of the “national territory.” If we are to accept one of the fundamental claims of constructivism—­that pro­cesses determine identities (Mercer 1995, 231)—­the questions then arise as to when and how t­hese specific constructs of disputed territories emerge and how, why, and by whom the “national territory” discourse is activated in relation to a certain disputed territory. Focusing on the po­liti­cal pro­cesses that led to the construction of Jerusalem and Northern Ireland as indivisible in the Israeli-­Palestinian and Anglo-­Irish disputes, respectively, Goddard (2010) argued that the link between identity and a disputed territory is not a given. She traces the emergence of t­ hese two constructs to legitimation strategies deployed by politicians in the bargaining pro­cess. Goddard shows that the specific symbolic meaning (indivisibility in her case studies) associated with a certain territory is a structural effect, often unintentional, of po­liti­cal elites’ strategically chosen rhe­toric. This rhe­toric, she argues, is both a product of the domestic social and cultural networks in which the politicians are embedded and a strategic choice aimed at appealing to certain audiences and undercutting ­others. The value of Goddard’s use of network theory and its application to the cases of Northern Ireland and Jerusalem lies in its emphasis on pro­cess rather than on the final

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construct. This enables her to challenge simplistic, outcome-­focused constructivist explanations and to identify and analyze the complex pro­cesses of social construction of the two territories as indivisible and intrinsically linked to national identity. As with many other works on territorial disputes, however, Goddard’s analy­sis suggests a top-­down pro­cess in which the social construct and actors that identify with it are structural by-­products of politicians’ strategies. In this sense, it resembles the above-­mentioned po­liti­cal elites’ mobilization lit­er­a­ture. This kind of argument may indeed be true for Jerusalem and Ireland, but it would be a gross generalization to claim that it applies to all cases of disputed territories. As the chapters in this book ­will show, such constructs often emerge as tools of contention between nonstate actors that claim to represent the nation and po­liti­cal elites, advocated by the former and initially resisted by the latter. I suggest that, in order to be able to conduct a more multifaceted and multidirectional analy­sis of the social construction pro­cess of a disputed territory, one should explore the role of actors outside of the po­liti­cal elites, referred to h ­ ere, as mentioned previously, as national identity entrepreneurs. National identity entrepreneurs are nonstate actors (individuals, civic groups, or any other entity that is not part of the state and has a capacity for agency) who create and actively promote a certain narrative (related to territorial disputes for the purposes of this book, but overall not ­limited to such) that invokes the nation. In other words, national identity entrepreneurs are signifying agents who engage in linking of a certain issue or event with the nation and national interest. The concept of national identity entrepreneurship draws on the broader scholarship interested in the origins of ideational constructs and their diffusion. Lit­er­a­ture on norms’ emergence, for example, emphasizes the role of norm entrepreneurs. Norm entrepreneurs, also referred to as moral proselytes (Nadelmann 1990, 482) or meaning man­ag­ers (Lessig 1995, 1008), are agents that have strong notions about appropriate be­hav­ior or desirable be­hav­ior in their socie­ties and engage in promotion of ­these notions in their socie­ties through active persuasion. They play a key role in norm emergence through deployment of a cognitive framing that implies a fundamentally new understanding of appropriateness (Finnemore and Sikkink 1998, 896–97). National identity entrepreneurs are also similar to po­liti­cal entrepreneurs as analyzed by Tilly (2003, 34–35) in his work on collective vio­lence. Both claim to represent the nation and, while ­doing so, activate certain symbolic bound­aries, stories, and relations and connect certain groups and networks. National identity entrepreneurs are also not dissimilar to other identity entrepreneurs such as t­hose out-­group members who intentionally leverage their out-­ group identity to derive a certain social or economic benefit (Leong 2016, 2–3). The above-­mentioned lit­er­a­ture suggests that the motives for entrepreneurship are ­either instrumental or ideational. In other words, they are divided along the “strategy

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versus identity” line, which has dominated the broad debate on the motives b­ ehind social activism (Finnemore and Sikkink 2001, 409). Whereas the advocates of the strategy approach argue that actors invoke and promote certain ideational constructs as means for material or po­liti­cal ends, the identity approach traces ­these actions to the actors’ identities and their belief in the virtue of the ideas they advocate. Occasional references in the scholarship devoted to the territorial disputes in Northeast Asia usually treat such identity entrepreneurship as manifestations of nationalism (e.g., Valencia 2000; Choi 2005; Emmers 2010; Bong 2013), by this suggesting the ideational explanation for their actions. Several caveats, however, should be considered when thinking about the framework for analyzing the c­ auses of national identity entrepreneurship in territorial disputes and beyond. To start with, nationalism is a rather ambiguous concept. As Reicher and Hopkins have pointed out, the term nationalism has been used to denote a range of phenomena and wide-­ranging definitions of the nation and its interests (2000, 81–82). Writing more than half a c­ entury ago, Hans Kohn, the pioneer of nationalism studies, argued that “everywhere nationalism differs in character according to the specific historical conditions and the peculiar social structure of each country” (1955, 89). From a somewhat dif­fer­ent perspective, Calhoun (1997, 21) noted that an enormous range of other­wise dif­fer­ent movements is constituted through the usage of terms like nation, national, and national interest. Moreover, dif­fer­ent nationalisms can often exist concurrently within the same country, offering competing visions of the same nation. For example, Reicher et al. (2005, 629) showed how the essence of Scottish nation has been construed differently by dif­fer­ent po­liti­cal groups in Scotland. The left-­wingers depicted Scots as inherently egalitarian, communal, and welfarist, whereas for the right-­wingers, canniness, hard work, and entrepreneurship constituted the essence of Scottish national identity. More relevant to the topic of this book, the diversity of nationalist symbolisms associated with disputed territories has been exemplified in Zellman’s (2015, 2018) study of public attitudes in Serbia and Israel t­ oward lost or contested territories. His individual-­level experiments show not only the existence of multiple and concurrent valuations of disputed territories in the two nations but also the vari­ous ways their symbolism is tied with other dominant narratives in the two socie­ties. Thus, even if we assume that national identity entrepreneurs engaged in territorial disputes–­related activism are driven by nationalism, simply labeling them as nationalist obscures more than it reveals about their motives. To wit, the nationalist label fails to account for the exact vision of the nation ­these actors advocate as well as the par­tic­u­lar symbolic role ­these territories play as markers of national identity in dif­fer­ent narratives. Moreover, ideational motivation does not necessarily mean sameness of the invoked ideas and ­those actually pursued by the actors. Certain ideas and norms can

12 Int ro du c t io n

be used as framing techniques in pursuit of fundamentally dif­fer­ent values. Consider the following example as an illustration of this point. In early November 2018, Japa­nese prime minister Abe’s cabinet approved a revision to immigration legislation that w ­ ill enable more foreign blue-­collar workers to work in Japan. A few weeks ­later, an email from a Japan-­related mailing list drew my attention to an article that decried the slave-­like conditions of current foreign workers in Japan and came out strongly against the new legislation, arguing that it does not guarantee the ­human rights of the workers (Yamawaki 2018). The new immigration policy was criticized by many on similar grounds, but what made this article stand out was that it was published in the conservative Gekkan Nippon magazine. The magazine devoted an entire section to the new immigration legislation in its December 2018 issue, with many of the articles criticizing the conditions of foreign workers in Japan. It is indeed pos­si­ble that the editors of Gekkan Nippon w ­ ere genuinely concerned with the ­human rights of foreign workers when planning this special issue. However, bearing in mind the broader ideology espoused by the journal, it is more likely that the main motivation for the extensive criticism of the new legislation was its perceived threat to the ethnic homogeneity of Japa­nese society. The latter is seen as a unique and an ultimately positive feature of Japan by many in the conservative camp. Furthermore, the instrumental motivation in identity entrepreneurship should be neither dismissed nor taken for granted but explored inductively. Overall, it is quite dangerous to explain be­hav­ior by relying on the categories that the actors themselves employ (Gould 2003, 2–13). Individuals, collectives, and states often appeal to certain ideals and norms in pursuit of their rather mundane interests. As Bürkner (2015, 29) noted, ideas, symbols, and images are often introduced by agents to legitimize their objectives, create power resources, and rationalize their proj­ect. Tobacco manufacturers’ appeal to the notion of liberty enshrined in the American Declaration of In­de­ pen­dence as part of their efforts to preserve smoking as a social practice and maintain their profits (Lessig 1995, 1009) serves as a perfect illustration of this point. In cases of territorial disputes, symbolism associated with ­these territories may indeed be utilized by po­liti­cal actors in their rational calculations aimed at legitimizing their claim and boosting their domestic support (Goddard 2010). Instrumental use of “national territory,” however, is not ­limited to po­liti­cal actors. In one of the most insightful studies on nationalism and territory, Peter Sahlins (1989) showed how borderland villages along the French-­Spanish border in the Pyrenees in the early nineteenth ­century appropriated and utilized the emerging nationalist discourse. “National territory” was used by the villa­gers as part of a strategy to mobilize the state’s support for their cause in the land conflicts with their neighbors. At the same time, we should also not forget that territory can indeed be related to tangible benefits such as natu­ral resources, and often access to or possession of

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t­hese resources is the ­actual source of conflict (Hensel and Mitchell, 2005). On the sub-­state level, territory may provide real resource value to ­people (Starr 2005, 392), and its loss may also become an incentive for identity entrepreneurship. All this suggests that any kind of a priori theorizing regarding the motives b­ ehind national identity entrepreneurship is to be avoided. The motives should be explored inductively in each of the cases through a careful analy­sis of the entrepreneurs’ actions and narratives in the context of their broader social, po­liti­cal, economic, and ideological backgrounds. Furthermore, to fully understand the c­ auses of national identity entrepreneurship requires looking beyond the agent-­level ­factors. The latter provide us with certain immediate insights into motives for action, but structural f­actors are of utmost importance when trying to understand the broader conditions that enabled and ­shaped identity. The key importance of drastic social, po­liti­cal, or economic transformations in emergence of new ideas and agents that carry ­these ideas is one of the general themes of constructivist lit­er­a­ture (Finnemore and Sikkink 2001, 406). That theme also runs through other works concerned with social change across vari­ous disciplines. For example, social movements theorists have long argued that contentious collective action emerges in response to changes in po­liti­cal opportunities’ structure as well as appearance of new threats and incentives, all of which can be ­either material or ideational (Della Porta and Diani 2006, 33–62; Tarrow 2011, 7–16). The importance of broad structural transformations has also been emphasized in the lit­er­a­ture on norms emergence. In his analy­sis of the rise of global prohibition regimes, for example, Nadelmann (1990) pointed out the importance of changes in trade volume and the structure of diplomatic relations in late seventeenth-­century Eu­rope in the emergence of antipiracy norm entrepreneurship as well as the ascent of the Enlightenment in the emergence of antislavery norm entrepreneurship. Eric Hobsbawm, an acclaimed historian, observed that the pro­cess in which new national traditions (defined as social practices that seek to inculcate certain norms and values) are formalized and ritualized occurs more frequently when social patterns are weakened or destroyed as a result of a rapid and profound transformation. Hobsbawm referred to such times as critical junctures (1983, 4). In his classic work on social theory, Anthony Giddens used a similar term, critical situation, which refers to a radical disjuncture that threatens or destroys social routines. This kind of radical rupture in social routines, Giddens argued, results in impor­tant transformations of the affected subjects and often triggers a new identification pro­cess (1979, 123–27 and 1984, 61–64). Similarly, scholars working on discourse theory have suggested that disruptions in the structures of meaning threaten and undermine identities but at the same time create the foundation for the construction of new identities and enable po­liti­cal subjectivity

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(Howarth and Stavrakis 2000, 12–14). Applying this theoretical framework to the case of religious pop­ul­ism in Greece advocated by the Greek Orthodox Church in the early 2000s, Stavrakakis (2005) traced its emergence to the widely spread sense of crisis related to Greece’s membership in the Eu­ro­pean Economic Community. Overall, crisis as the main cause for the emergence of populist discourses and agents that promote them is one of the dominant tropes in the lit­er­a­ture on pop­u­lism (Moffitt 2015, 190–91), which can also be seen as a form of national identity entrepreneurship. Borrowing from Hobsbawm and the broader historical institutionalist lit­er­a­ture, I refer to such impor­tant transformations as critical junctures in analyzing the structural ­causes of national identity entrepreneurship. Although the concept of critical juncture has been defined in multiple ways (Capoccia and Kelemen 2007), the definition used ­here is a synthesis of Hobsbawm and the one offered by Soifer (2012) in his exploration of the causal logic of critical junctures. Critical juncture is defined as a period of significant social change that threatens or destroys social routines and creates both the permissive and the productive conditions for new agency. Permissive conditions stand for loosening of the constraints imposed by the structure and hence provide increased capacity for agency, whereas productive conditions are t­ hose aspects of the critical juncture that determine the shape and the content of new forms of agency. This definition of a critical juncture is broad enough to encompass not only social and discursive disruptions but also economic and po­liti­cal changes that may play a role in emergence of identity entrepreneurship. Another impor­tant point to keep in mind is that the pro­cess of social construction is complex, and the resulting construct may have ­little in common with the initial interests and motives of actors who triggered it. As Tilly (2005, 211) noted, interactions among parties can alter the stories and symbolic bound­aries initially invoked by the po­liti­cal entrepreneurs who initiated the pro­cess. Legitimation strategies deployed by actors and strategic interactions they engage in can transform the actors or turn into a focal point around which new actors and identities emerge (Goddard 2010, 36–37). One of the best examples of such a transformation is prob­ably the global antiwhaling regime. Initially driven by the long-­term economic interests of the whaling industry to conserve stock, over time the whaling regulation efforts evolved into a prohibitory norm (Nadelmann 1990, 517–19), still opposed by some states but actively advocated by many o­ thers, including former whaling countries such as Australia and New Zealand. Or consider the chronologically parallel pro­cess that led to the construction of whaling and consumption of w ­ hale meat as an integral part of Japan’s national culture. ­Today, the government of Japan and numerous conservative pundits in the country act as national identity entrepreneurs, advocating whaling and ­whale meat consumption as an integral part of Japan’s national tradition. The origins of this “national tradition,” however, can be traced to postwar efforts of the American

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occupation authorities aimed at popularizing ­whale meat as part of its efforts to eradicate widespread malnutrition (Hirata 2005; Arch 2016). The preceding examples suggest that the sociopo­liti­cal pro­cess that results in a certain social construct is not a linear one and that the interests of the actors that contributed to its emergence cannot be simply derived from the existing construct. As Tilly observed, ­there is no convincing general theory that explains the pro­cess by which po­liti­cally consequential narratives form, gain credibility, and transform (2005, 212). Such a theory is prob­ably impossible simply ­because the ­factors that shape such pro­cesses vary greatly from one case to another. As Tilly argued elsewhere, ­human affairs are far too complicated to be explained through a l­imited set of g­ rand laws (Tilly 2004, 9–10). Rather, ­these pro­cesses need to be explored inductively in individual cases through a careful examination of the actors involved, their interests, and their interactions. One last question to be considered is related to the ­factors that result in the social ac­cep­tance of a narrative. In her work on Jerusalem and Ireland, Goddard (2010, 37) referred to the elevation of the idea that t­hese territories are indivisible to the level of national identity as a yoking effect. She suggested that yoking occurs when two conditions are met. One is a presence of a power­ful actor with links to multiple parts of the society who acts as an identity bridge to connect other­wise disparate social groups. The other condition refers to the legitimation strategy deployed by this actor, who must be culturally inventive, combining existing symbols and histories into new legitimation strategies. Unfortunately, Goddard does not unpack t­ hese pointers and the exact meaning of cultural inventiveness as well the most effective combinations and choices of symbols and histories are not elaborated on. ­Here I draw on two distinct but not unrelated bodies of lit­er­a­ture to define the conditions for such narrative to become part of the national identity discourse. One is the social movements lit­er­a­ture. When it comes to successful consensus formation or social reception, social mobilization theory points out the importance of framing. Framing refers to the provision of interpretive packages that make a compelling case for injustice that the movement seeks to correct, but also, as in any identity discourse, distinguish “us” from “them” (Polletta and Jasper 2001, 291). The framing perspective views social movements as signifying agents, engaged in the production and maintaining of meanings in their respective socie­ties. It refers to this pro­cess of signifying or the assignment of par­tic­u­lar meanings and interpretations of the event or the situation that is the object of the movement’s activism or is intrinsically related to it (Snow 2004; Snow and Benford 1988, 198). Thus, framing is the pro­cess of invoking one set of meanings rather than another when communicating the movement’s grievances (Johnston and Oliver 2000, 45). To be successful and win attitudinal support, social movements theory argues, “frames” provided by the activists must resonate

16 Int ro du c t io n

with the “cultural narratives” (Snow and Benford 1988, 210), or what Klandermans (1988, 175–76) called “collective definitions,” dominant in their respective socie­ties. The other body of lit­er­a­ture with direct relevance to social ac­cep­tance of certain narratives is the one on ontological security. In sociology, ontological security is seen as a fundamental prerequisite for an individual’s ability to exercise agency. In a nutshell, ontological security refers to stability and continuity in the individual’s self-­identity (Zarakol 2010, 6). Building on so­cio­log­i­cal work by Anthony Giddens and o­ thers, the IR ontological security approach extrapolates the argument to the state level. Thus, in IR, ontological security refers to states’ need for a stable cognitive environment, which is achieved by developing a cognitive “cocoon” (or cognitive apparatus) through which they interpret their everyday real­ity and regularize their social life. Ontological security of the state is maintained through social relations with other states that are interpreted through, but also confirm, the veracity of the state’s cognitive apparatus (Mitzen 2006, 342–43). It is also maintained through the narratives about the state as a coherent “self,” created by state leaders or other agents acting on behalf of the state (Steele 2008, 19–20). The extrapolation of the notion of ontological security to the level of the state or any other collective actor is not without its dangers, as it implies that they are capable of a purposive and reflexive agency (McSweeney 1999, 151). If we assume the existence of national identity as a generally accepted discourse about the nation’s “self,” however, we can also treat the nation as if it ­were an agent with a coherent sense of the “self.” What happens then, when as a result of internal or external transformations, this construct of the “self ” is threatened or undermined? When the accumulation of outcomes that cannot be explained through the existing cognitive apparatus undermines its validity? This ontological insecurity is addressed through construction and reconstruction of historical symbols, myths, and chosen traumas which e­ ither stabilize the existing identity construct, or, alternatively, provide a dif­fer­ent story of the collective “self ” (Kinnvall 2004,763). Although the “framing” lit­er­a­ture pays more attention to the purposeful agency of social movements and the ontological security lit­er­a­ture focuses more on the structures of meaning, both suggest that the social ac­cep­tance of a certain narrative depends on its relationship with the dominant discourse. That is, a yoking effect is achieved not simply as a result of cultural inventiveness by the identity bridge actor, but when the narrative this actor advocates ­either feeds into the dominant identity construct or creates a modified and a more stable version of this construct. To summarize, the analytical framework used in this book treats the construction of a territorial dispute as a complex sociopo­liti­cal pro­cess in which national identity entrepreneurs play an impor­tant role. National identity entrepreneurs are defined

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as nonstate actors who create and actively promote a certain narrative in which a certain issue or event is linked with the nation and the national interest. ­Causes of such entrepreneurship lie in the interplay of structural and agent-­level f­actors. On the structural level, identity entrepreneurship is most likely to emerge during critical junctures: a period of significant social change that threatens or destroys social routines and creates both the permissive and the productive conditions for new agency. On the agent level, the motives b­ ehind identity entrepreneurship can be ­either ideational or instrumental and need to be explored empirically in each of the cases by examining the actors and the narratives they advocate in the context of their broader background, interests, and ideology. Neither the agent-­level motives nor the critical juncture defines the shape and content of the pro­cess of social construction of the dispute in question. Interactions among parties to the pro­cess can alter the narratives, transform the actors, and lead to emergence of new actors and identities. The yoking effect in which the construction of a territorial dispute becomes part of the national identity discourse is likely to occur when ­there is a power­ful actor that can reach multiple parts of the society and when the narrative advocated by this actor ­either resonates with the dominant national identity or, when the latter is severely undermined, provides an alternative vision of the national “self.” To reiterate, the main interest of this book is the pro­cess of construction of territorial disputes rather than the policy effects of ­those constructs. Social constructs and foreign policy are no doubt related, as the former create a frame of reference through which policy elites are socialized into a par­tic­u­lar mode of thinking to interpret the international environment (Tamaki 2010, 15). The relationship between identity and policy, however, is not in a ­simple straightforward causal relationship as often suggested by the constructivist lit­er­a­ture. Social constructs do set bound­aries for appropriate be­hav­ior, but rarely do they rise to the level of causal or principled beliefs (Oros 2008, 11). For example, most scholars of Japan would agree that the so-­called nuclear allergy has been an integral part of Japan’s national identity throughout the postwar de­cades. This widely shared social construction of nuclear weapons as the ultimate evil and Japan as its victim did not, however, prevent Japa­nese policy makers from conducting feasibility studies looking into the pros and cons of nuclear armament (Kase 2001; Hughes 2007). All of the empirical chapters do note some of the policy effects of constructs related to territorial disputes. Many of t­hese effects have already been examined elsewhere (e.g., Kimura and Welsh 1998; Choi SJ 2005; Bukh 2012; Iwashita 2015), and I try to avoid repeating t­hose arguments h ­ ere. Policy, in one form or another, does feature throughout the book, but my main concern h­ ere is with the pro­cess of social construction and the domestic policies that played a role in shaping it.

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Methodology Each of the chapters is devoted to examining the pro­cess of construction of one territorial dispute, analyzing the nature of the main national identity entrepreneurs involved and their claims, the ­factors ­behind their entrepreneurship, and the entrepreneurs’ interactions with their respective governments. The first two chapters focus on Japan and the construction of the Soviet-­occupied territories ­today known as the Northern Territories and the Takeshima islets currently administered by South K ­ orea. The third chapter is devoted to the “Protect Dokdo” movement in South ­Korea and the emergence of Dokdo as one of the main symbols of the Korean nation. The fourth shifts the focus to the Protect Diaoyutai (Baodiao) movement in Taiwan. Indeed, the state-­level importance of dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu/Diaoyutai Islands t­oday lies mainly in Japan-­China relations, but the chapter explores the initial ­factors that led to the emergence of Baodiao, the narratives that emerged from this movement, and its effects on Taiwanese society. Furthermore, Diaoyutai-­related activism in China is a relatively new phenomenon and has already been subjected to detailed studies (Chung 2007; Chen Weiss 2014). In this chapter, I also mention, although only in passing, the Japa­nese right-­wing organ­izations, such as the Japa­nese Youth League, that engage in activism on the Japa­nese side. The territorial dispute is only one of the c­ auses they champion, and their ideology, formation, and actions should be examined within the history of Japa­nese right-­wing activism, a more impor­tant task and beyond the scope of this book. What binds ­these cases together besides the obvious—­the commonly shared focus on disputed territories and geo­graph­ic­ al location? One aspect shared by all of the constructs examined h ­ ere is that they originated in actions of national identity entrepreneurs who w ­ ere in a contentious relationship with their government. Not surprisingly, in all of the cases, the narratives advocated by t­ hese entrepreneurs ­were critical of the existing governmental policies related to the territorial dispute in question. More impor­tant, though, all of the cases of national identity entrepreneurship examined h ­ ere originated at times when the society was g­ oing through some profound social, po­liti­cal, or economic transformation. In the cases of the Soviet-­occupied territories and Takeshima, the first identity entrepreneurs appeared immediately a­ fter Japan’s defeat in World War II. However, the second wave of Takeshima-­related entrepreneurship, which culminated in the Takeshima Day ordinance, occurred during a time of major po­liti­cal and economic turbulence in the early 2000s, dubbed by George Mulgan (2013) as Japan’s “failed revolution.” The “Protect Dokdo” movement in ­Korea began in the late 1990s, when the country was suffering from the devastating effects of the Asian Financial Crisis. The Taiwanese Baodiao emerged in the early 1970s, in the midst of the rapprochement between the United States and the P ­ eople’s Republic

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of China, which had a tremendous impact on the Republic of China’s standing in international society and in its relations with the world. As such, all of the cases of national identity entrepreneurship examined h ­ ere have their roots in critical junctures in the society. They reveal that national identity entrepreneurship related to territorial disputes was ­shaped by ­these critical junctures and emerged, to a large degree, as a response to a perceived failure of the state in tackling the crisis. Focusing on the most representative national identity entrepreneurs in each of the cases, I use primary sources such as pamphlets, reports, petitions, declarations, educational material, and similar documents produced by the organ­izations in question. I also use memoirs of, and, occasionally, interviews with, key individuals. When analyzing the ­factors that instigated the emergence of entrepreneurship in each case, the relationships between the national identity entrepreneurs and their governments, and other related issues, I make use of the relevant academic lit­er­a­ture, governmental sources, and newspaper and journal articles. Most of the national identity entrepreneurs examined h ­ ere are e­ ither individuals or civic groups, but in some cases, I also look into campaigns by regional governments that some may find somewhat puzzling. However, as the lit­er­a­ture on activism in Japan (e.g., Steiner 1980; Kamimura 2001; Muramatsu 2010) has shown, local governments should be seen as actors in their own right, to a degree in­de­pen­dent of other levels of the state, that can play an impor­tant role both as leaders of social change and as intermediaries between civil society and the central government. As Yeo’s (2011, 63–85) work has demonstrated, for example, an analy­sis of activism against US military bases in Japan’s Okinawa would be impossible without accounting for the role of the prefectural governors. In each of the cases, I engage in an interpretative analy­sis of the narratives advocated by the identity entrepreneurs. By locating the actors, their stories, and their arguments in the broader social, ideological, and economic context, I analyze the interplay of the agent-­level and the structural ­factors in spurring their entrepreneurship and the aim of the narratives they created and advocated. This approach is not dissimilar to the concept of “thick description” introduced to social disciplines by Clifford Geertz (1973). As did Geertz, I believe that ­causes and meanings of a similar act may differ depending on their social (broadly defined) context and the circumstances and it is impor­tant to go beyond the level of surface appearances to fully understand it. Given meanings are never static or fixed but evolve over time, historicity is a fundamental part of any constructivist analy­sis. As Pouliot has put it, “to say that X is socially constructed means that X is neither natu­ral nor inevitable: X is historical” (2007, 367). Each of the chapters, therefore, provides a diachronic narrative that traces the historical development of the social constructions of disputes in question and analyzes the social pro­cesses that ­shaped ­these developments. My goal ­here is not to establish positivist causality between certain variables but to understand the

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historical evolution of meanings associated with disputed territories and the social contexts in which they evolved.

Why Study National Identity Entrepreneurship Related to Territorial Disputes? My main goal in writing this book was to describe the pro­cess of social construction of disputed territories, and more generally, of national identities. Tracing the pro­cess initiated by national identity entrepreneurs rather than focusing on the final construct enables exploration of the ­causes of such campaigns, the meanings attached to disputed territory, and the f­ actors that s­ haped the construction of t­ hese territories as markers of national identity. Th ­ ese constructs are po­liti­cally consequential and have impor­tant ramifications for bilateral relations of the parties to the dispute. In this book I also seek to shed new light on the socie­ties and the domestic politics of the disputes in question. In the introduction to a volume on in­ven­ted traditions, Hobsbawm noted that national traditions and their invention are “impor­tant symptoms and therefore indicators of prob­lems which other­wise may not be recognized, and developments, which are other­wise difficult to identify and to date” (1983, 12). The same can be said about national identity entrepreneurship and the narratives created by t­hese entrepreneurs. In other words, a focus on nonstate actors’ engagement in territorial disputes provides us with a par­tic­u­lar a­ ngle to study the socie­ties in which they operate and to explore the tensions, contradictions, and conflicts that exist within ­these social realms and trigger identity entrepreneurship. A focus on nonstate actors also helps to overcome state-­centrism in the study of territorial disputes and to pre­sent a dif­fer­ent story of the disputes in question. This story—­the story of the p ­ eople who are affected, subjectively or objectively, by the disputes in question, or, alternatively, use the dispute for certain gains—­usually remains obscured when the importance of a disputed territory is construed as residing solely in international relations.

Plan of the Book The following chapter analyzes national identity entrepreneurship related to Japan’s territories occupied by the Soviet Union in the waning days of World War II in Asia and traces the transformation of the narrative. It argues that in its early phase the appeal to the nation was instrumental—­the main goal of the grassroots entrepreneurs who submitted petitions and or­ga­nized rallies demanding the return of the territories was alleviation of economic conditions. Defeat and subsequent developments created both the productive and the permissive conditions for this entrepreneurship. The permissive conditions created by this critical juncture ­were Japan’s loss of sovereignty and the subsequent demo­cratic reforms introduced by the occupation authorities.

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The severance of a sub-­regional economic zone that encompassed Eastern Hokkaido and parts of the territories that came u ­ nder the Soviet occupation was the main productive condition that ­shaped the content of national identity entrepreneurship. Using vari­ous data on the economic and social conditions of the activists before and ­after the defeat, memoirs of activists, and documents produced by the groups that formed the movement for the return of Soviet occupied territories, I show that their campaign was driven mostly by a sense of economic deprivation. The second part of the chapter analyzes Hokkaido Prefecture’s embrace of the irredentist cause. It argues that for the prefectural governor the territorial cause and the appeals to the nation ­were also instrumental and utilized as means to delegitimize the central government in the context of domestic rivalry between the ruling conservatives and the socialists. The final part analyzes Tokyo’s response to this campaign. It shows that, although Japan’s stance on the territorial dispute with the Soviet Union was ­shaped mostly by Cold War considerations, the central government a­ dopted certain mea­sures aimed at addressing the economic plight of ­those affected by the dispute. The chapter concludes by analyzing the ­factors ­behind the government’s cooptation of the movement from the late 1960s onward and traces the related transformations of the narrative from mainly economic into a nation-­centered one. Chapter 2 traces the emergence and transformation of the Takeshima-­related campaign in Shimane Prefecture from the early postwar days ­until the passage of the Takeshima Day ordinance in 2005. To a certain extent, the structural conditions that gave rise to this campaign ­were similar to ­those identified in the first chapter. However, I also show that the changes in the unique structure of economic rights in Takeshima and its surrounding ­waters in the pre-1945 period created the productive conditions for national identity entrepreneurship in which the Shimane prefectural authorities became the main advocates of the islets’ return. The chapter continues by examining the transformation of Takeshima from a perceived economic asset into a symbol of injustice vis-­à-­vis Tokyo in the aftermath of the normalization of Japan’s relations with South ­Korea in 1965. The second part of the chapter analyzes the pro­ cess that led to the passage of the prefectural Takeshima Day ordinance in 2005. It explores the structural f­actors that caused Shimane’s Prefectural Assembly to rebel against the central government. I argue that, whereas the 1999 Fisheries Agreement between Japan and K ­ orea played a certain role in enhancing the sense of frustration among Shimane’s fishermen and po­liti­cal elites, it was the decentralization and intraparty reforms pursued by then-­prime minister Koizumi that played a decisive role in instigating a “coup” by prefectural lawmakers against Tokyo. In other words, the Takeshima Day ordinance was largely a response to Koizumi’s reforms, and the pursuit of the Takeshima cause was instrumental in voicing prefectural discontent. The chapter concludes by reviewing the central government’s response to Takeshima-­related

22 Int ro du c t io n

demands and shows that the intense media and public attention to the dispute in the aftermath of the Takeshima Day ordinance brought about certain symbolic mea­sures ­adopted by the central government. Chapter 3 moves to South ­Korea and traces the development of the “Protect Dokdo” movement, which formed in late 1990s. Analyzing the Dokdo-­related narrative voiced by activists and juxtaposing it with the ideas advocated by K ­ orea’s democ­ratization movement demonstrates the ideological proximity of the two movements. The “Protect Dokdo” movement, whose members had no vested interests in the islets, was an attempt to reconstruct Korean national identity in the aftermath of democ­ratization. The critique of the government and the historical narrative proposed by the activists was ­shaped largely by the post-­democratization sociopo­liti­cal and economic transformations accentuated by the devastating effects of the Asian Financial Crisis. The second part of the chapter analyzes the Korean government’s response to the movement and the gradual institutionalization of the Dokdo issue. It traces the government’s embrace of the “Protect Dokdo” narrative and partial implementation of the movement’s demands to ­factors that include the mainstreaming of Takeshima in Japan but also economic concerns, the most impor­tant being the F ­ ree Trade Agreement with the United States, strongly opposed by Korean civil society. It also shows that the government’s policy was not ­limited to accommodation of the movement’s demands. Rather, it involved mea­sures aimed at reshaping the movement’s narrative through grants and close cooperation with certain groups in the movement. The chapter concludes by examining the effects of the government’s cooptation, as well as other po­liti­cal and socioeconomic developments in post-2005 K ­ orea, on the movement’s demands and the structure of its narrative. It shows that although the movement maintained its ideational character, the narrative has gone through impor­tant transformations. Both the criticism of the government and the people-­elite dichotomy that dominated the discourse of the early “Protect Dokdo” organ­izations has dis­appeared. In contrast, through the “othering” of Japan, the narrative advocated by the movement ­today responds to con­temporary issues in Korean society and pre­sents a construct of the nation as a socially, po­liti­cally, and eco­nom­ically homogeneous subject. Chapter 4 explores the Taiwanese Baodiao movement, focusing mostly on the 1970–72 demonstrations by Taiwanese students in the United States and Taiwan. The immediate triggers for the rise of the movement ­were the discovery of oil deposits in the vicinity of the Senkaku/Diaoyu/Diaoyutai Islands in 1969 and the US decision to return them to Japan as part of Okinawa. This chapter, however, shows that the main motives that drove the movement w ­ ere ideational and the potential economic benefits associated with the possession of the islands had ­little to do with its formation and narrative. The movement was to a large extent a product of two critical junctures: one was the “long 1960s” in the United States and the other was

Int ro du c t io n


the collapse of the nationalist ideology of the Kuomintang brought about by the US-­China rapprochement. The first part of the chapter analyzes the interplay of the ideas advocated by the radical left on US campuses and the collapse of Kuomintang nationalist my­thol­ogy in the formation of the Baodiao and its self-­positioning as the reincarnation of the May 4th movement. The chapter continues by examining the response of the governments of both the ­People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China to the movement, the attempts by the former to use its members as agents of influence, and mea­sures by the latter to pacify and suppress the activists. A ­ fter examining the broader effects of the Baodiao on domestic politics and its relationship with the democ­ratization movement, the chapter briefly examines the post-1990s transformation of Baodiao into an actor in cross-­strait politics. The last chapter summarizes the findings of the book. It draws conclusions regarding the f­ actors that spur the emergence of territorial disputes–­related national identity entrepreneurship and analyzes the f­ actors that account for the difference in the social reception of the narratives in the respective socie­ties. It also outlines the implications of ­these case studies for understanding the social construction of disputed territory as well as the broader constructivist IR lit­er­a­ture on national identity.


Japan’s “Northern Territories”

b i l l b oa rd s w i t h s lo g a n s l i k e “The day of Northern Territories” return, ­will be the day of peace,” “Northern Territories are Japan’s inherent territory,” or “Give back our Northern Territories!” are omnipresent in Japan and can be spotted at railway stations, in front of governmental buildings, and alongside major roads. They are particularly vis­i­ble in Japan’s northern province of Hokkaido, which prior to the Soviet occupation administered the disputed islands. ­There one can find numerous signs and references to the four islands but also to the Hokkaido-­based grassroots movement that champions their return. The over-­a-­century-­old Hokkaido Government Building, which is one of the main tourist attractions in the prefectural capital of Sapporo, has an entire display room dedicated to the dispute. Explanatory text on the movement states that vari­ous public programs have been or­ga­nized to “enhance public understanding” of the issue and to “support diplomatic negotiations of the Japa­nese government on this issue.” This passive structure of the text in both En­glish and Japa­nese omits the subject of the movement and does not provide any information regarding the groups that initiated ­these campaigns. At the same time, it implies a certain synergy and unity between the government and civic groups in their understanding of the dispute and actions aimed at facilitating the return of the islands. ­Today, ­there is indeed a symbiosis between reversion groups, the central government, and Hokkaido Prefecture in continuous reproduction of the “Northern Territories” as one of the markers of Japan’s national identity. However, this symbiosis, as well as the national symbolism of the disputed islands, is mostly a result of Tokyo’s cooptation of the grassroots movement and related policies, initiated in the early 1960s

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and continuing t­ oday. In the immediate postwar years, however, economic interests rather than nationalist ideology drove the movement, which was very diverse and had a complex relationship with the central government. The positions of the central and the prefectural governments also diverged greatly, and at one point the territorial dispute became an integral part of Hokkaido governor’s strug­gle with Tokyo for greater regional autonomy. It is this early period of the formation of the “Northern Territories” narrative when pragmatic interests s­haped the movement’s perceptions of the lost territory, which is the main focus of this chapter.

The Dispute over the Northern Territories / South Kuriles The Soviet Union joined the war in the Pacific on August 9, 1945, when it unilaterally abolished the USSR-­Japan Neutrality Pact and declared war on Japan. From mid-­ August through early September, Soviet troops occupied the southern part of Sakhalin (Karafuto in Japa­nese), the Kurile Islands (Chishima in Japa­nese), and the islands of Shikotan and Habomai, located close to Hokkaido. Th ­ ese two islands w ­ ere never considered part of the Kurile chain by the Japa­nese but ­were claimed as such by the USSR and, ­after the USSR’s dissolution, by Rus­sia. The two southernmost islands in the Kurile chain, Kunashiri and Etorofu, ­were also never part of the Rus­sian Empire. The rest of the Kurile Islands ­were ceded to Japan by Rus­sia in the 1875 Treaty of Saint Petersburg. Southern Sakhalin was ceded to Japan in the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo-­Japanese War. Thus, none of the territories that came ­under Soviet occupation was seized by Japan during the Asia-­Pacific War. With a pos­si­ble exception of Southern Sakhalin, none was taken by “vio­lence and greed” as per the Cairo Declaration of 1943, which stipulated the punishment Japan would face ­after its defeat. At the same time, the secret protocol signed by Roo­se­velt, Stalin, and Churchill during the February 1945 Yalta Conference stipulated both the return of Southern Sakhalin to the Soviet Union and the handing over of the Kurile Islands to the Soviets. By February 1946, the occupied territories had been incorporated into the Sakhalin Oblast region. Before the Soviet occupation, t­ here w ­ ere about 17,000 Japa­nese living on the four southernmost islands, which ­later came to be known as the Northern Territories, with about 70 ­percent of them engaging in fishery-­related industries (Hoppōryōdo mondai taisaku kyōkai 1996, 20–22). The permanent population of the central and northern part of the Kurile Islands consisted of only about a hundred p ­ eople, although a few thousand mi­grant anglers stayed t­ here during the summer season (Hokkaido Prefecture 1955, 6). Many of the Japa­nese residents escaped to mainland Japan just before or during the Soviet occupation. Th ­ ose that chose to remain w ­ ere expelled by the Soviet Union in 1946–48. On September 8, 1951, Japan signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty (the Peace Treaty with Japan) and regained its in­de­pen­dence. The Soviet Union was not a party


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to the treaty, but, according to Article 2c, Japan nevertheless renounced all rights and claims to Southern Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands. The treaty did not specify the geo­graph­i­cal scope of the Kurile Islands, however. During the immediate postwar years, Japan’s government showed l­ittle interest in the Soviet-­occupied territories and perceived most of them as lost. On the eve of the 1955 Japan-­USSR normalization talks, Japan hoped for the return of the two smaller islands of Shikotan and Habomai, which ­were historically considered part of Hokkaido. However, b­ ecause of domestic intra-­conservative rivalry and Cold War politics, the official position changed in the midst of bilateral talks to include also the Southern Kurile Islands of Kunashiri and Etorofu (Hellman 1969; Hara 1998; Hasegawa 1998). From the late 1950s onward, t­ hese four islands—­Shikotan, Habomai, Kunashiri, and Etorofu—­came to be known in Japan as the Northern Territories. From the late-1960s, the territorial dispute became one of the main issues in Japan’s relations with its northern neighbor and, ­until the pre­sent day, dominates Japan’s Rus­sia policy.

The Occupation, Reforms, and Deprivation The Critical Juncture The movement for the return of Soviet-­occupied territories emerged on Hokkaido in late 1945 and was prob­ably one of the earliest instances of social activism in postwar Japan. The formation of this movement should be understood within this context of the dramatic postwar po­liti­cal transformations in Japan and the impact the Soviet occupation had on Eastern Hokkaido’s economy. I argue that while the broad reforms created the permissive conditions for the movement’s emergence, the Soviet occupation can be credited with establishing the productive conditions that ­shaped the movement’s structure and narrative. Overall, spontaneous actions w ­ ere not uncommon immediately a­ fter Japan’s surrender. The defeat, the subsequent collapse of the old system, and the reforms introduced by the occupation authorities created prob­ably the most impor­tant critical juncture in modern Japan’s history. Th ­ ese dramatic changes led to an overall sharp increase in civic activism in the immediate postwar years (Tsujinaka 2010). In late 1945 and early 1946, ­there w ­ ere numerous strikes, meetings, and protests by vari­ous groups, including farmers, workers, and students, across the country. Many of t­ hese actions w ­ ere seeking redress for certain conditions of their livelihood and well-­being, but ­others also voiced broader po­liti­cal demands, such as democ­ratization, purging of war criminals, and suppression of corruption (Koschmann 1999, 18–22). This kind of activism had been impossible ­under the strict prohibitions stipulated in the Peace Preservation Law enacted in 1925. The reforms initiated by General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP), envisioned a revolutionary pro­cess of demo­cratizing Japan, and one of the first directives issued

J a pa n’s “ No rt her n T er rito rie s”


by SCAP, in October 1945, was the dissolution of all restraints on po­liti­cal expression, assembly, and speech (Dower 2000, 80–262). Another set of reforms impor­tant for the argument following was directed at local governments. Autonomy of local governments was seen as an impor­tant aspect of Japan’s democ­ratization, and the occupation authorities initiated decentralization reforms, which w ­ ere validated and further elaborated on in section 7 of the new constitution, the Local Autonomy Law of 1947, and a series of other laws. Th ­ ese reforms are discussed in detail by Stenier (1965) in his pioneering work on local government in Japan. For the purposes of this chapter, it ­will suffice to mention the abolition of the Home Ministry, direct elections of heads of local governments and assembly members, and certain financial autonomy attained by the regional governments. Groups that formed the early reversion movement ­were scattered across Hokkaido. While the town of Nemuro came to be known as the birthplace of the “return” movement, some groups ­were established also in Hakodate and Sapporo. As Sapporo is Hokkaido’s administrative center and its largest city, it is not surprising that many of the reversion groups chose to establish their headquarters ­there. Both Hakodate and Nemuro w ­ ere connected to the Kuriles by a ferry before the Soviet occupation of the islands and ­were the towns where the former islanders headed ­after escaping or being deported by the Soviet authorities. The groups that formed this movement differed greatly from one another in terms of their size, membership, demands, and the nature of their activities. Some had only a handful of members and ­were dissolved or merged with other groups within a very short period. Some, despite their miniscule size, had broad po­liti­cal goals, such as one organ­ization that advocated the return of Soviet-­occupied territories as part of its campaign for the in­de­pen­dence of Hokkaido. Another group, the Sapporo-­based League for Facilitating the Return of Karafuto and Chishima, consisted of local “intellectuals” and campaigned for the return of (Southern) Sakhalin and the Kuriles as part of advocating Japan’s democ­ratization, its return to the international society, and its contribution to the “global peaceful economy” (Kobayashi 1950, 10–13). Other reversion groups ­were established by entrepreneurial opportunists who tried to utilize the irredentist cause as a means of making a living. One such group, the Society to Promote the Return of Kurile Islands, was established in Hakodate in May 1950. It consisted of only ten members and was created by a former newspaper reporter deported from Sakhalin. According to a surveillance report on this group produced by the occupation authorities, the former reporter de­cided to create an organ­ ization for the return of the Kurile Islands as a means to make a living, which he hoped to achieve by selling periodicals and newspapers related to the islands (SCAP 1951). This society’s mission statement was a somewhat bizarre combination of the dominant frames of new Japan with ­those from its not-­so-­distant militarist past. It aimed at stressing the


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importance of the return of the Kurile Islands to “the ­whole of humanity,” an outcome depicted as the “lifeline of Japan” and crucial to “manifest patriotic w ­ holeheartedness and to maintain permanent peace of the world” (SCAP 1951). A majority of the reversion groups, however, ­were driven by economic interests directly related to the occupied islands. Reflecting the immediate interests of their members, the scope of the territory demanded by them varied from only the Habomais and Shikotan, through the four islands known ­today as the Northern Territories, to the ­whole Kurile chain (Kuroiwa 2009, 6). Some of the groups w ­ ere interested in the islands per se mostly due to property rights. Other groups, including not only former residents but also fishermen from villages on Hokkaido and Northern Honshu, had more interest in the w ­ aters surrounding the islands as a source of fisheries than in the islands themselves (Takahashi 1983a, 60; Kajiura 1989, 98–99). Economic ­factors played a decisive role in facilitating the emergence of the “return” movement, the nature of its demands as well as its concentration in Nemuro. To fully understand this productive aspect of the Soviet occupation, one should consider the place of the occupied islands in Hokkaido’s pre-1945 economy. Before the Soviet occupation, Hokkaido and the Kuriles w ­ ere connected both eco­nom­ically and administratively. Southern Sakhalin was an autonomous administrative unit, but the ­whole Kurile Archipelago was administrated as part of Hokkaido Prefecture. ­Because of ­limited infrastructure and a fisheries-­centered economy, the Kurile Islands ­were also an integral part of the Hokkaido regional economic zone. Within this regional zone ­there ­were two subzones. One encompassed Nemuro in Eastern Hokkaido, Shikotan, Habomai, and South Kuriles Islands; the other included Hakodate in Southern Hokkaido and the sparsely populated Northern Kuriles (Kuroiwa 2006, 249). The Soviet occupation of the islands decoupled both of ­these sub-­regional economic zones and dealt a severe blow to the livelihood of the residents of Nemuro and Hakodate. The economic situation was further aggravated by the restrictions of the so-­called MacArthur Line imposed by the occupation authorities. The line restricted the area of fishing activities by Japa­nese fishermen and placed the Kuriles outside of this permitted area (Honda 2006). As such, fishermen from Nemuro and Hakodate w ­ ere prevented from fishing in ­waters near the islands, not only by the Soviets who captured and seized their boats but also by the Americans and the restrictions they imposed.

Injustice and Relative Deprivation It was not only the objective economic situation that created the momentum for activism, however, but also the sense of relative injustice and deprivation experienced by many of the deportees. Scholarship on social movements often emphasizes relative deprivation as one of the main triggers of activism (Buechler 2011, 91–101).

J a pa n’s “ No rt her n T er rito rie s”


This argument is similarly valid in the case of the “reversion” movement. The sense of deprivation relative to the deportees’ previous life on the islands, and to that of other Japa­nese citizens, can be witnessed in some of the early texts produced by the activists. For example, writing in 1957, Takagi Jukichi, the first president of the League of the Residents of Chishima Archipelago, recollects favorably his life u ­ nder Soviet occupation, whereas his and fellow islanders’ life a­ fter repatriation to Japan proper is presented as full of hardships. Takagi (1957) voices strong disappointment with the reception of the deportees on mainland Japan and is highly critical of Japa­nese society, which is depicted as cold and unwelcoming. Takagi was not the only one to voice this kind of frustration and disappointment. Another repatriate, writing at the same time as Takagi, argues that even though he lost all of his h ­ orses and other property to the Soviets, the life u ­ nder Soviet occupation was much better than his life in Japan a­ fter repatriation (Nakamura 1957, 65). To fully understand this sense of relative deprivation of the former residents of the islands as well as t­ hose in Nemuro, which became the center of the reversion movement, one should briefly look at the conditions on Hokkaido in general, in the town of Nemuro, and on the Kuriles before and a­ fter Japan’s surrender. During the war, Hokkaido Prefecture was relatively better off than the rest of Japan. ­Because the prefecture was mostly rural with an agricultural economy, the food situation ­there was much more stable than in other regions of Japan. Hokkaido was one of the main destinations for evacuees from other areas of Japan during the war and in 1945 had the largest population among Japa­nese regions, surpassing even that of Tokyo (Takahashi 2015). Furthermore, during most of the war period, Hokkaido, which did not have many military installations, did not suffer much from US air raids (Oono 2015). Less than a month before Japan’s surrender, however, Hokkaido was bombed, and Nemuro was one of the main targets of the July 14–15 air raids. As a result, about 70 ­percent of the buildings in the town ­were burned down (Matsunagi 1993). Thus, in the immediate aftermath of Japan’s surrender, Nemuro was in a crisis and urgently needed to rebuild the town and its economy. The situation was further exacerbated by the arrival of over ten thousand repatriates from the Kuriles, who w ­ ere ­housed in local ­temples and former military barracks due to lack of proper accommodation (Kobayashi 1950, 43). Nemuro is located on the eastern tip of Hokkaido, less than four kilo­meters (two and a half miles) from the Kaigara Island in the Habomai Archipelago, which fell u ­ nder Soviet control. Thus, the short distance increased migration further, leading to almost 40 ­percent of the former residents of the Kuriles settling ­there, according to a survey conducted in 1963 (Miyoshi 1969, 56). Contrastingly, the Kuriles ­were not targeted by the air raids, and during the war years, the living conditions t­here w ­ ere much better than in other areas of Japan ­(Kuroiwa 2006, 250). The conditions ­there w ­ ere prob­ably even better than on mainland


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Hokkaido as, due to their remoteness, ­there was no influx of evacuees from other regions. Even a­ fter the islands came u ­ nder Soviet control, it seems that the living conditions of the Japa­nese residents who remained on the islands ­were relatively stable and comparable to, if not better than, ­those on the main islands of Japan (Miyazaki 1964, 42–44). Like Japa­nese settlers from Manchuria and other parts of the empire, the repatriates from the Kuriles had to leave their homes, land, and most of their belongings b­ ehind. Overall, the repatriation of Japa­nese settlers and soldiers from former colonies and occupied territories, which started immediately a­ fter Japan’s surrender, was a massive proj­ect that involved the return of over five million p ­ eople to Japan proper. The Ministry of Welfare created a special agency in charge of assisting the repatriates, which had regional “repatriation support centers,” located mostly in port areas where ships with repatriates arrived. Th ­ ere, the repatriates w ­ ere given a shower, a medical checkup, food, documents, some money, and a bed for a few days. Unlike other repatriates however, ­those from the Kuriles ­were not covered by the special laws that stipulated additional benefits to repatriates and thus received only the basic welfare benefits (Agency for Repatriation Support 1950, 95). Moreover, many of the former residents of the Kuriles did not apply for welfare benefits at all ­because they ­were unaware of the procedures involved (Report Bureau for Specific Areas 1959, 3). ­After settling down, the residents of the Kuriles, most of whom ­were fishermen, had to change their occupation. By 1958, the percentage of ­those engaged in fishing declined from 77 ­percent to 33 ­percent, with the majority becoming unskilled laborers or office workers (Kajiura 1989, 106). The poverty of the islanders as a social group relative to the national average persisted at least ­until the 1970s (Kajiura 1989, 101–2). Therefore, we can surmise that the relative stability of war­time life on the Kuriles and the immediate postwar situation in Nemuro, where most of the deportees settled, enhanced their sense of deprivation relative to their immediate past as well as to the rest of Hokkaido. The same can be said for the residents of Nemuro, whose conditions ­were much worse than in other areas of Hokkaido b­ ecause of the destruction caused by the air raids, the influx of deportees from the Kuriles, and, most impor­tant, the dissection of the regional economic zone.

Grassroots Movement and Japan’s “Inherent Territory” Petitioning General MacArthur from Nemuro Reversion groups that construed the return of Soviet-­occupied territories as part of broad ideals or aimed at generating profit for their members did not exist for long. The above-­mentioned Society to Promote the Return of Kurile Islands and the League for Facilitating the Return of Karafuto and Chishima, for example, ­were dissolved

J a pa n’s “ No rt her n T er rito rie s”


shortly ­after their creation. It was in Nemuro, the center of the decoupled economic zone that encompassed the South Kuriles and Eastern Hokkaido, that the movement continued to flourish. One of the key individual national identity entrepreneurs who played a decisive role in the creation of the movement was the mayor of Nemuro, Andō Ishisuke. As early as December 1945, he established and led the Nemuro-­based Commission for Entreating the Return of Islands Attached to Hokkaido (hereafter the Commission), which became the most famous organ­ization in the reversion movement. The Commission was one of the first organ­izations in the movement, as well as no doubt one of the loudest and most per­sis­tent. Initially, the Commission had only thirty members, including both former islanders and residents of Nemuro (Hoppōryōdo mondai taisaku kyōkai 1996, 44). Over the following years, however, the membership of the Commission expanded, and in 1951 the occupation authorities estimated its total membership at nine hundred (SCAP 1951). Andō held the mayoral position throughout the war­time period and was l­ater purged by the occupation authorities as part of its antimilitarist campaign. Before the Soviet occupation, Andō ran a farm on Shikotan and was also involved in operating a crab cannery ­there (Kuroiwa 2007). The leadership of the Commission included other members of the local elite who had vested interests in parts of the territory occupied by the Soviet forces, such as the heads of fishing cooperatives, and the headman of Habomai village (Takewaki in Seike and Imai eds. 2006). One of Andō’s associates stated in an interview that before the unexpected Soviet occupation of the islands, Andō planned to utilize their resources in rebuilding Nemuro’s economy damaged by the bombings. This, he argued, was the main incentive for Andō’s activism (Takewaki in Seike and Imai eds. 2006). Regardless of ­whether Andō indeed had such altruistic plans or not, some residents did see the Commission as an organ­ization driven by the interests of the wealthy members of the community who had personal interests in regaining control over the islands (Nemuro City 1997, 12–13). At the same time, this structure of the Commission explains its relatively large-­scale membership and ability to carry on its activism for almost a de­cade. Led by the mayor and other members of the local elite, the Commission was, no doubt, dif­fer­ent from the l­ abor u ­ nions and other social movements that sprang up in Japan in the aftermath of the defeat. This continuous dominance of prewar elites in what was supposed to be a purely grassroots movement shows that po­liti­cal and social changes at the local level in postwar Japan ­were much more gradual and ambivalent than t­ hose at the national one. The structure of the Commission reflected more the indeterminacy of the po­liti­cal structure in the immediate postwar period and a certain continuity with the pre-1945 system rather than a drastic departure from it. On one


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hand, the mayor’s ability to engage in activism not sanctioned by the central government was very much a result of the postwar reforms. On the other hand, mayors enjoyed a relatively extensive authority in the pre-1945 structure of Japan’s domestic politics, in which cities, towns, and villages w ­ ere seen as the main organs of national administration. During the war, all spontaneous or collective rights–­related activism was prohibited, but the mayors ­were nonetheless in charge of nominating leaders of neighborhood associations and patriotic youth associations, as well as controlling the activities of the latter (Steiner 1965, 58–60). Thus, they had the experience, the know-­how, and the networks necessary for organ­izing a local movement that other members of the community did not possess. The choice of strategy ­adopted by Andō and his followers also reflected the changes and continuities of postwar Japan’s society. Initially, petitioning to the highest authorities, which has a long tradition in Japa­nese society and was known as jikiso during the Edo period, was the main tool of the Commission. Incidentally, an outline of the history of the reversion movement published in 1970 explic­itly refers to Andō’s actions as jikiso (Hoppōryōdo fukki kisei dōmei 1970, 1). L ­ ater, along with petitioning and lobbying officials, the Commission’s strategy embraced such innovative tools as mass rallies and demonstrations. The funding for ­these activities came mostly from local businesses (Nemuro City 1997), which obviously had stakes in the islands but ­were also possibly driven by the desire to maintain good relations with the mayor and his associates. The first petition drafted by the Commission in December 1945 was addressed to General MacArthur but was never delivered due to logistical difficulties. In this petition, the request was framed in terms of Japan’s historical rights to the islands and emphasized their economic importance, while also appealing to humanitarian concerns and US economic interests. The petition requested the placement of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Goyomai (another name for the Habomai Islands) ­under the “protective occupation” of the United States. The main rationale for the request was the “anxiety” of the former residents on the occupied islands, as well as the severance of the contacts between the islands and Nemuro (Nemuro City 1997, 2–5). For Nemuro, the two South Kurile Islands along with Shikotan and the Habomais played a vital role in its fisheries-­centered economy. Their importance was so g­ reat that some even referred to the ­waters surrounding ­these islands as a “fishery colony” of Nemuro (Kuroiwa 2006, 248). Hence, the scope of the territory that became the object of the Commission’s activism was ­limited to ­these four islands. The request to place the islands ­under US occupation rather than to be returned to Japan, however, is somewhat puzzling. In an interview conducted de­cades l­ater, one of Andō’s associates suggested that this request for “protective occupation” was driven by the belief that the islands would eventually be returned to Japan a­ fter the

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end of the American occupation (Takahashi 1983, 17). In the immediate aftermath of the war, though, the f­uture of Japan as an in­de­pen­dent country was completely unclear, as the details and form of the final settlement between the United States and Japan ­were yet to be de­cided. Thus, neither Andō nor his fellows could be certain that the islands, if placed u ­ nder American occupation, would be returned to Japan ­after the peace settlement (I am grateful to Iwashita Akihiro for this point). As such, it is obvious that the petitioning activities ­were driven mainly by the desire to reinstate the economic zone interrupted by the Soviet occupation rather than by a sentimental longing for the return of national territory. The second petition was submitted to the occupation authorities in August 1946. This happened ­after the details of the Yalta Agreement, which ­until then had been kept secret, became known in Japan. On February 12, 1946, Hokkaido’s major newspaper carried an article on its first page that revealed the details of the secret agreement. The title read, “Karafuto and Chishima to be returned (to the Soviet Union), Lushun to be leased as a base,” and the subheading stated, “Soviet Union to recover all of its losses” (Hokkaido Shimbun 1946). As such, for the first time since the end of war, the residents of Hokkaido learned that the Soviet occupation was a result of an agreement between the Allies and might be of a permanent nature. The Commission’s second petition was actually a revised version of the first one. It took eight months for Andō and his fellow activists to make preparations and gather the necessary funds for their journey to Tokyo (Takahashi 1983, 18). Possibly as a response to the article in Hokkaido Shimbun, which presented the transfer of Japan’s territories to the Soviet Union as the latter’s recovery of its lost right, the revised version was much more detailed in its historical justifications of the islands belonging to Japan. Interestingly, in addition to a map of the islands, the revised petition also included numerous excerpts from English-­language and Russian-­language encyclopedias that depicted the Kurile chain as Japan’s territory (Nemuro City 1997, 15–32). In this regard, the petition is quite similar to a secret pamphlet published by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in the same year aimed at justifying Japan’s claims to Shikotan and the Habomais (Hara 1998, 23). Unfortunately, the existing documents do not allow a determination of w ­ hether this semblance was just a coincidence or if a sympathetic official in MOFA provided the excerpts. Recollections of the members of the del­e­ga­tion note only a visit to the Ministry of Interior before taking their petition to the SCAP office and the advice given to them by one ministry official to include a map of the islands in the petition (Takahashi 1983, 19). At the SCAP office, the del­e­ga­tion was received by the chief of the Government Section, Major General Courtney Whitney. Whitney stated that this territorial prob­ lem was very impor­tant for Japan, but, b­ ecause the United States already had disagreements with the Soviet Union regarding occupation of Germany, it could not be dealt


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with it at that moment (Takahashi 1983, 19). During their visit to Tokyo, the del­e­ga­tion submitted another petition, this time to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, requesting relaxation of the fishing-­related restrictions imposed by the so-­called MacArthur Line. The reasoning again was economic and referred to the hardships of the local fishermen and the general protein deficiency of the Japa­nese population (Andō 1946). In late 1946, Andō was purged from his position as mayor of Nemuro but continued in his activism. In August 1947, the Commission or­ga­nized a citizens’ rally in Nemuro, which ­adopted a resolution, again addressed to General MacArthur, requesting the return of the four islands. The resolution emphasized the desire of the ­people to follow the spirit of the Potsdam Declaration and to build a “new Japan,” while at the same time stressing the economic and blood ties between Nemuro and the four islands. The resolution stated that the islands ­were developed by their ancestors, and, implying failure of the Japa­nese state to defend the ­people, appealed to the “clear sightedness” of General MacArthur to understand their “patriotism and brotherly love” (Hoppōryōdo mondai taisaku kyōkai 1996, 45). Petitions submitted in the following years also attempted to position the territorial issue within a broader question of postwar economic revival of Japan but at the same appealed to historical facts and international justice. Furthermore, drawing from the pre-1945 national mobilization discourse, with its emphasis on the ethnic nation, the petitions emphasized the deep ethnic/national (minzokuteki) connection of the islands to the city of Nemuro (Nemuro City 1997, 60–62). This was prob­ably the first time that the importance of the territories was narrated in terms of their connection to the nation. Note that the petitions w ­ ere addressed to the occupation authorities, meaning that in a somewhat ironic fashion they basically appealed to a foreign power to defend the nation in light of the state’s failure to do so. One petition sent to MacArthur dated September 15, 1948, was fundamentally dif­fer­ent from ­those written previously. In July 1947, the Soviet Union began to expel the remaining Japa­nese residents of the islands. Over nine thousand repatriates had reached Japan proper (Miyazaki 1964, 59–60), with the majority of them settling in Nemuro, thus further aggravating the economic situation in the town with its heavy dependence on fishery. The Soviet authorities also embarked on a policy of arresting Japa­nese fishermen found in proximity of the occupied islands and confiscating their boats. Against this background, the aforementioned petition carried very few historical or nation-­related references and was devoted mostly to depicting the economic plight of Nemuro. The wording of the text is quite ambiguous, reflecting both the members’ desire for the return of the four islands and their understanding that Kunashiri and Etorofu w ­ ere prob­ably lost forever. Thus, the petition focused on economic issues, arguing that the sudden increase in fishermen settling in the Nemuro area, combined

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with the prohibition on fishing in the w ­ aters surrounding the occupied islands and seizures of fishing boats by the Soviets, had made the living conditions unbearable. It contained two key requests: the return of the Habomai Islands (including Shikotan) and the release of the numerous fishermen captured by the Soviets (Nemuro City 1997, 86–90). A citizen’s rally or­ga­nized by the Commission in Nemuro in November 1949, however, resulted in a somewhat dif­fer­ent resolution addressed to the occupation authorities. It noted the “recent favorable change in international situation,” prob­ably referring to the announcement of a forthcoming peace conference, and again called for the return of the four islands, described for the first time as Japan’s “inherent territory.” The resolution prepared by the Commission appealed to international law and justice, arguing that the four islands should not be included in the scope of “Kurile islands” promised to the Soviet Union in the Yalta Secret Agreement (Hokkaidō fuzoku tōsho fukki konsei iinkai 1949). A de­cade ­later, this position was a­ dopted by Japan’s government in its negotiations with the Soviet Union. Overall, along with economic reasoning, historical rights and deep blood connection between Nemuro and the islands w ­ ere the main frames utilized by the Commission. Occasionally, the petitions and declarations also referred to international justice and morality. Both the nationalist and the internationalist terminology, however, ­were more of a rhetorical resource deployed by the Commission in its attempt to draw attention to Nemuro’s plight than the ­actual driver of the Commission’s activism. The main f­actor that instigated the Commission’s actions was economic, and the main parts of the petitions, as well as the debates within the Commission, show that the return of the islands was seen as a ­matter of vital economic importance for the Nemuro region (e.g., Nemuro City 1997, 64–65). This pragmatic rationale of the Commission’s activism can be also witnessed in a dif­fer­ent petition submitted by it to the Diet’s Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Committee in February 1950. This time, the Commission requested permission to reopen a h­ orse­racing track in Nemuro, using the loss of the islands and its negative impact on the town’s bud­get as one of the justifications (House of Representatives 1950). Incidentally, the government did not yield to this request, and the ­horse­racing track, which had been closed in 1939, was not reopened. On September 8, 1951, in San Francisco, Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru signed the Peace Treaty, officially ending the War in the Pacific. As already noted, Article 2c of the treaty stipulated that Japan had renounced all rights and claims to the Kurile Islands, without, however, specifying the islands’ exact geo­graph­i­cal scope. Si­mul­ ta­neously, the MacArthur Line was abolished. ­Because the Habomais and Shikotan ­were never considered part of the Kurile chain, many in Japan expected the return of ­these two islands to Japan’s jurisdiction. This understanding of the scope of the


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territory to be returned to Japan by the Soviet Union was also reflected in a speech by the US special envoy John Foster Dulles, who visited Japan in February 1951 and whose remarks ­were widely covered in the local press. Reflecting its generally pragmatic agenda, subsequent petitions of the Commission, this time addressed to the Japa­nese government, considered the two islands of Kunashiri and Etorofu as lost and focused solely on issues related to the Habomais and Shikotan (Nemuro City 1997, 219–20). Contrary to the expectations however, the Habomais and Shikotan ­were not returned to Japan, and the state of war between the Soviet Union and Japan was formally terminated only in 1956. In July 1953, the Commission a­ dopted a resolution stating that it had failed to achieve both of its goals—­the formation of a nationwide movement and facilitating the return of the islands—as its appeal had failed to reach the hearts of the Japa­nese ­people (Nemuro City 1997, 224–25). In October 1955, following the collapse of the first round of the Soviet-­Japanese peace treaty negotiations, as well as the sudden death of Andō, the Commission was officially dissolved and ceased its activities. By that time, however, another grassroots organ­ization with fundamentally dif­fer­ent structure and position on the dispute was active in Nemuro.

Fishing Rights before Territory “Nemuro Area Peace Preservation and Revival Alliance” (hereafter the Revival Alliance) was formed in 1953 as a challenger to the Commission’s claims of representing the interests of Nemuro residents. Like the Commission, the Revival Alliance was also a hybrid organ­ization. Togashi Mamoru, the Head of the Revival Alliance was a Nemuro local and held vari­ous administrative positions in the local fishermen cooperative. However, he was more of a ­union activist rather than a member of the prewar elite. Togashi was identified with the left, and in 1955 he was elected to the Nemuro City Assembly on a “reformist” platform. A de­cade ­later, Togashi actively participated in the anti-­Vietnam War movement, once even assisting a group of US soldiers to desert to Sweden via Nemuro and the Soviet Union (Honda 2004, 57). Other key positions in the Revival Alliance w ­ ere occupied by members of the Nemuro Town Assembly, mostly from leftist parties (Yomiuri Shimbun 1954). Unlike the Commission, the focal point for the Revival Alliance was not the occupied territory per se but rather the economic revival of the border zone around Nemuro, or what Togashi referred to as the solution of the “Nemuro prob­lem.” Togashi and the Revival Alliance saw trade relations with China and a fisheries agreement with the Soviet Union as key to resolving the Nemuro economic predicament. As a result of this understanding of the prob­lem, ­there ­were no attempts on behalf of the Revival Alliance to frame it in terms of historical rights or its ethnic/national importance. To the contrary, the narrative promoted by the Revival Alliance deactivated

J a pa n’s “ No rt her n T er rito rie s”


the connection between the Soviet-­occupied territory and the nation by framing the issue in purely economic terms and focusing solely on local prob­lems brought about by the dispute. Accordingly, its activities focused mostly on lobbying Diet members (MPs) from Hokkaido to support normalization negotiations with the two countries and conclusion of a provisional agreement with the Soviet Union that would enable local fishermen to fish in the ­waters surrounding the islands (Nemuro chihō heiwa suishin keizai fukkō domei 1954; Honda 2011, 79–80). The formation of the Revival Alliance resulted in a division among local residents between the followers of the compromising stance on territorial demands advocated by Togashi and associates and ­those who continued to support the “four islands” stance voiced by the Commission (Yomiuri Shimbun 1954). The emergence of the Revival Alliance could be attributed both to the intensification in the conservative-­reformist rivalry in national politics but also to a growing disillusionment with the territorial cause championed by the Commission among the residents of Nemuro. Many locals lost their belief in the return of the islands and came to focus on the possibility of engaging safely in fishing activities in the ­waters surrounding the islands and conducting trade with the Soviet Union (Matsuura Yoshinobu at Fisheries’ Committee, House of Councilors April 1st 1954 at NDL). Togashi criticized the approach taken by the Commission as unrealistic and as failing to improve the lives of Nemuro residents. Thus, he argued, “opening of fishing grounds” to Nemuro residents should be prioritized over demands for return of the islands (Hokkaido Shimbun 1954). Andō responded with a countercriticism, arguing that it would be unacceptable to request the Soviet authorities to “lease” the ­waters around the disputed islands that actually belonged to Nemuro residents. He also questioned the possibility of realizing such an agreement, arguing that the Soviet side had no motive to accept it (Nemuro Shimbun 1955a). As such, the question of the most ­viable option to address the economic predicament of Nemuro was the focus of the debate. The Revival Alliance was prob­ably the first if not the only grassroots organ­ization in the reversion movement that attempted to lobby the Soviet side. Frustrated by the impasse in Japan-­Soviet relations, Togashi visited Moscow in 1954 on his way back to Japan from the Soviet-­sponsored World Peace Conference in Stockholm to convey directly the plight of Nemuro residents. Teaming up with the secretary of Japan’s Peace Committee and a Marxist law scholar, Hirano Yoshitaro, Togashi succeeded in meeting with high-­ranking officials in Moscow. The two managed to secure several promises from the Soviet officials, the most impor­tant being negotiations for an agreement regarding “safe fishing” if the Japa­nese government sent a formal request. The local media described this promise as a “victory of public diplomacy” achieved by the Revival Alliance (Nemuro Shimbun 1954). A ­ fter returning to Nemuro, Togashi


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and his supporters or­ga­nized a “residents rally” in which demands for the government to negotiate with the Soviet Union and conclude a fisheries agreement w ­ ere voiced (Nemuro chihō heiwa suishin keizai fukkō domei 1954a). The appeal, however, was simply rejected by MOFA on grounds of non­ex­is­tent diplomatic relations between the two countries (Honda 2006, 68). Unfortunately, the existing documents and secondary lit­er­a­ture carry few details about the extent of the Revival Alliance’s activities. It seems, however, that it was seen as quite influential by the central government. In 1954, the Revival Alliance with its twenty-­two hundred members (Matsuura at NDL Fisheries’ Committee, House of Councilors, April 1, 1954) was almost four times bigger than the Commission. It was the first among other reversion groups to be invited to send a speaker to a Diet session. It also seems that the Hokkaido prefectural authorities saw the Revival Alliance as a threat, as the prefectural officials w ­ ere secretly informing the governor about its activities, the number of p ­ eople that attended the rallies, and the demands voiced ­there (Tada 1954). Rallies or­ga­nized by the Commission ­were occasionally attended by local politicians. ­Those or­ga­nized by the Revival Alliance in Nemuro, in contrast, ­were attended by Diet members and high-­ranking officials from the Japan-­USSR Friendship Association and drew up to a thousand participants (Nemuro chihō heiwa suishin keizai fukkō dōmei 1954 and 1954a; Nemuro Shimbun 1955). Togashi also took part in organ­izing similar large-­scale rallies in Sapporo and Tokyo alongside scholars, representatives of fishing u ­ nions and trading companies, Diet members, and heads of local governments (Nitchū nisso kokkō kaifuku zenkoku taikai 1955). The declarations ­adopted at t­hese rallies demanded the central government to establish diplomatic relations with the USSR and China, and, while working on a peaceful resolution of the territorial dispute, to conclude an interim fisheries agreement with the Soviet Union (Hokkaido Prefecture 1955, 64–65). Dif­fer­ent conclusions could prob­ably be drawn from this comparison between the Revival Alliance and the Commission. For the purposes of this book, however, the most impor­tant aspect of the former’s relative prominence is that in the mid-1950s, its flexible and mostly locally focused stance on the dispute was more appealing (and threatening to the authorities) than the rigid and nationalistic framing of the dispute used by the Commission. The Revival Alliance, however, did not exist for long, and according to the documents available to the author, it did not conduct any activities ­after the summer of 1955. The exact timing and the reasons for the Revival Alliance dissolution are not clear, but it is pos­si­ble that, like the Commission, it was dissolved when normalization negotiations with the Soviet Union began in London in June of that year. Nevertheless, the compromising position advocated by the Revival Alliance gained dominance in Nemuro, and, as discussed below, became the municipality’s official stance on the dispute, occasionally voiced ­until the pre­sent day.

J a pa n’s “ No rt her n T er rito rie s”


Hokkaido Prefectural Government and the Quest for the Kuriles Claiming All of the Kuriles In 1950, the Hokkaido prefectural government ­under the leadership of the socialist governor Tanaka Toshifumi became an impor­tant player in the reversion movement. Hokkaido Prefectural Assembly had passed a number of resolutions related to the Soviet-­occupied territories by 1947, but it was only three years l­ater that the prefectural government became actively involved in the issue. In February 1950, Governor Tanaka made a public statement related to the Soviet-­occupied territories in which he stated that the scope of the territory to be returned to Japan should include all of the Kurile Islands as well as Shikotan and the Habomais (Tanaka 1950). Soon ­after, he initiated creation of another major civic group devoted to the territorial cause, the Alliance for Petitioning the Return of the Chishima and the Habomai Islands (hereafter, the Alliance). The establishment of the Alliance signified the beginning of a pro­cess of gradual appropriation of the reversion cause and its institutionalization on the prefectural level. The structure of the Alliance was not dissimilar to the groups discussed above. Like the Commission and the Revival Alliance, it was also a hybrid organ­ization that included common residents as well as local politicians. It also issued petitions to the central government and published educational material related to the disputed territories. Unlike the Nemuro-­based groups, however, which w ­ ere led by members of local elites with vested interests in the islands or surrounding ­waters, the Alliance was headed by the former president of Hokkaido University, Itō Seya, who had no personal relations with the disputed territories. Furthermore, its board of directors was composed solely of the heads of the major municipalities of Hokkaido, and the funding came mainly from the prefectural bud­get. This enabled the Alliance to utilize local authorities’ logistical, financial, and communication resources when organ­izing a rally (Chishima oyobi Habomai shotō henkan konsei dōmei 1950). At the same time, its embedment in local po­liti­cal interests was much deeper than that of the Nemuro-­based groups. The Alliance’s official goal was to unite Hokkaido public opinion on the territorial issue and to transform the reversion movement from one at a local level into a national one, but in real­ity it was a tool in the prefecture’s pursuit of its po­liti­cal agenda, aimed at creating a semblance of public support for the prefecture’s policies. Replicating the prefecture’s stance, the Alliance championed the return of all of the Kurile Archipelago, as well as the Habomais and Shikotan. Between 1950 and 1955, it or­ga­nized rallies in major towns on Hokkaido as well as one “citizens rally” in Tokyo in 1952. One of the first rallies was conducted in Sapporo in December 1950, a year a­ fter the Commission or­ga­nized a similar rally. Stating that the Kuriles w ­ ere developed by the ancestors of the expelled residents, and noting their hardships and wish to return to the islands,


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the declaration issued at the rally demanded the return of all of the archipelago in the name of world peace and universal morality. As a justification for this demand, the petition referred to the Cairo Declaration of November 1943, which stated that Japan would be expelled only from territories taken by vio­lence and greed (Chishima oyobi Habomai shotō henkan konsei dōmei 1950a). A petition issued by the Alliance in November 1952, a year a­ fter the signing of the Peace Treaty, is particularly in­ter­est­ing, as it carried very detailed policy demands aimed at facilitating the return of the islands. As to the Habomais and Shikotan, the petition requested the government to take the case to the International Court of Justice, arguing that ­these islands ­were part of Hokkaido and thus not included in the territories renounced in Article 2c of the Peace Treaty. As for Kunashiri and Etorofu, the petition called on the government to submit the question of their owner­ship to the United Nations Security Council, arguing that the scope of the “Kurile Islands’ ” in the Peace Treaty could be interpreted as not including t­ hese two islands. As to the rest of the Kurile chain, the petition requested the government to consider the possibility of their ­future return to Japan according to the wishes of the Japa­nese ­people, as t­hese islands w ­ ere acquired through peaceful means (Chishima oyobi Habomai shotō henkan konsei dōmei 1952). To a ­great extent, this and other petitions of the Alliance ­were repeating the arguments made in a document on pos­si­ble peace settlement conditions previously prepared by MOFA in May 1946. This secret document, which was leaked to the press in December 1947, implicitly referred to the contradictions between the Yalta Agreement and the Cairo Declaration, noted Japan’s wish to retain control over the Southern Kuriles, Habomai, and Shikotan, and mentioned the possibility of placing the Northern Kuriles u ­ nder UN trusteeship. The idea that Kunashiri and Etorofu could be considered as not belonging to the Kurile Islands promised to the USSR ­under the Yalta Agreement also existed in Tokyo from the early days of the occupation (Tanaka 1990, 37–44). However, ­after the signing of the Peace Treaty, all of the Kuriles ­were perceived as lost by the government and the mainstream media. On July 31, 1952, the House of Representatives ­adopted the Resolution on Territories, in which it demanded the return of the Habomais and Shikotan but did not mention any of the other territories ­under Soviet control. Two months ­later, at a meeting of the House of Representatives’ Special Committee on the Peace Treaty and US-­Japan Security Treaty, on October 19, 1951, Nishimura Kumao, the director of MOFA’s Treaties Bureau, reneged on the idea of the Habomais and Shikotan belonging to Hokkaido while also confirming that the scope of the territory relinquished included both the Southern and the Northern Chishima (i.e., the whole Kurile Archipelago). As such, the Alliance was prob­ably the first among domestic actors to voice the interpretation that the two islands of Kunashiri and Etorofu w ­ ere not included in

J a pa n’s “ No rt her n T er rito rie s”


the scope of the Kurile Islands referred to in the Peace Treaty. It was only three years ­later, during the August 1955 normalization negotiations between Soviet and Japa­nese representatives, that this interpretation of Article 2c of the Peace Treaty became one of the cornerstones of Japan’s official claim for the return of four islands.

Sapporo-­Tokyo Confrontation The main explicit reason that drove Tanaka’s prefectural administration to engage in the territorial issue and to create the Alliance was the (justified) fear that despite the heavy investment of resources into the development of the Kuriles since the nineteenth ­century, the central government would give up the Soviet-­occupied territories during the peace settlement (Tanaka 1950 and 1955). In addition to historical justifications, Tanaka argued the importance of the islands based on the fisheries resources as a source of protein in the adjacent ­waters. Fisheries, he argued, became even more impor­tant ­after the defeat due to Japan’s large population and the shrunken territory (Tanaka 1950). As such, Tanaka’s explicit rationale for championing the return of the islands was not dissimilar to that of the Nemuro-­based activists. To wit, the importance of the islands was economic, as a source of protein for Japan and constituting an integral part of Hokkaido’s economic zone. An impor­tant question remains, however, as to the timing of the Alliance’s creation and the reasons for demanding the return of all of the Kurile chain as opposed to the central government’s position, which sought only the return of Habomais and Shikotan. In an interview given in 1980s, Tanaka stated that this position was part of his attempt to consolidate the reversion movement on Hokkaido and to find a compromise acceptable to most of the local groups (Takahashi 1983a, 59–60). Some of the reversion groups, such as the League of the Residents of Chishima Archipelago, headed by the above-­mentioned Takagi Jukichi, indeed supported the reversion of all of the Kurile Islands. The stance of the league, however, was much more compromising than the one taken by the Alliance and the prefectural authorities. For example, a petition issued by the League during the normalization talks stated that if the return of all of the Kuriles was not achievable, the government should negotiate some kind of compensation for the former residents’ losses as an interim mea­sure (Chishima kyojūsha renmei 1956). Contradictorily, statements and publications issued by Tanaka as Hokkaido’s governor and the Alliance did not allow for any compromise, framing the return of all of the Kuriles as a question of historic justice and a “deep desire” of all Japa­nese ­people (Hokkaido 1955, 1–2). Desire to consolidate the movement could indeed have been one of the f­actors that ­shaped Governor Tanaka’s position on the dispute. At the same time, however, it is impor­tant to remember that Tanaka was one of the three socialist governors elected in the 1947 elections and as such was in opposition to the conservative government in


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Tokyo. In 1950, the year the prefectural government embarked on its active participation in the irredentist movement, Tanaka’s administration engaged in a fierce conflict with the Liberal Party–­led central government over the latter’s plan to establish the Hokkaido Development Agency within the Cabinet Office. The rationale ­behind the creation of this administrative body, whose responsibilities overlapped with t­ hose of the prefectural administration, was generally understood as a conservative attempt to wrest control of the prefecture from the influence of the socialists and was fiercely contested by the Socialist Party and Tanaka (Hanno 2003). A ­ fter being reelected in the April 1951 gubernatorial elections, Tanaka went to Tokyo and engaged in fierce campaigning against the creation of the Development Agency. He used Hokkaido Prefecture’s Tokyo office as the headquarters for this campaign, lobbying SCAP and ministries’ officials, Diet members, businesses, newspapers, and intellectuals regarding the need for further autonomy for the regions (Jichi Tsushinsha 1969, 154 and Takahashi 1983, 53). In addition to the power strug­gle with Tokyo, a number of nationwide and local developments in 1951 further destabilized Tanaka’s position. In October 1951, the Socialist Party split into two parties over the question of Japan’s rearmament and ratification of the security treaty with the United States. Tanaka left the Socialist Party and became an in­de­pen­dent. Nevertheless, the division in the main opposition party further weakened his and other “progressive” governors’ position ­because they now had to negotiate with the central government dominated by the conservative Liberal Party without formidable backing in the Diet (Takahshi 1983a, 76). Locally, as a result of the April 1951 elections, the conservative Liberal Party became the largest party in the Hokkaido Assembly, with the United Farmers Party, which championed the return of four islands, coming second (Hokkaido Prefectural Assembly 1961). With Tanaka placed in this context of a conflict with Tokyo and a weakened position in local politics, it can be argued that he used the territorial cause as another platform to criticize the central government and at the same time enhance his support locally. Thus, ­after the conclusion of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in September 1951, the Alliance and the Hokkaido prefectural government continued to advocate the return of all of the Kuriles, invoking the Cairo and Potsdam Declarations. This time they admitted the renouncement of Japan’s rights to the Kuriles in the Peace Treaty, while at the same time arguing that this action did not reflect the wish of the ­people of Japan (Kuwabara 1962). By following this line of argument, Tanaka’s administration and the Alliance engaged in an implicit critique of Yoshida’s government for its lack of adherence to the demo­cratic princi­ples and for betraying the nation. Just as the conservative government brought the strug­gle with the left to Hokkaido by establishing the Development Agency, Tanaka and his affiliates utilized the territorial dispute in their attempt to bring their strug­gle with the central government to Tokyo. A mass rally, sponsored by the Hokkaido governor, the Hokkaido Assembly,

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and the Alliance, was held in Tokyo on July 19, 1953. The declaration issued by the rally contested the concession of the Kuriles in the San Francisco Peace Treaty. The official pamphlet of the rally stated that “historically and internationally” the Kuriles and the Habomais are “traditional” Japa­nese territories and that the concession had been enacted against the ­will of the Japa­nese ­people and against the princi­ples of the Potsdam Declaration. Appealing to the “instinctive desire” shared by all ­humans to protect a territory which was developed by shedding “sweat and blood,” it called for the correction of this injustice and demanded the return of all of the Kuriles, as well as the Habomais and Shikotan (Chishima oyobi Habomai shotō henkan konsei kokumin taikai 1953). As such, for Tanaka, the disputed islands had an impor­tant symbolic value in addition to their economic value, as evidence of the central government’s incompetence and betrayal of the interests of the p ­ eople. In other words, the quest for the Kurile Islands was not an end in itself but a legitimation strategy aimed at justifying Tanaka’s position in his strug­gle with Tokyo and with mobilizing support. His attempt to use the territorial issue as a po­liti­cal tool, however, was not met with much understanding by the ordinary residents of Hokkaido. Ironically, in his own prefecture, Tanaka faced the same critique he used against the central government. For example, on August 5, 1954, Hokkai Nichinichi Shimbun reported that at the “­people’s rally” in Hakodate held a few days ­earlier, Governor Tanaka was booed by the public when making a passionate speech about the need to continue the movement for the return of the Kuriles and the Habomais. According to the article, whose caption read “­People’s w ­ ill is not reflected,” the booing came ­after the governor ignored a question from the public regarding the exact meaning of supporting the reversion movement when t­ here w ­ ere still no diplomatic relations between Japan and the Soviet Union (Hokkai Nichinichi Shimbun 1954). Overall, by the mid-1950s, many among ­those affected by the territorial dispute began to question the utility of the territorial demand and came to ­favor a more compromising position that prioritized the fisheries agreement (Matsuyama 1962, 404–5). Especially a­ fter the failure of the first round of Soviet-­Japanese talks in 1955, in which the Soviet side proposed to return the Habomais and the Shikotan, the idea that the resolution of fisheries-­related issues should take priority over the scope of territory to be returned gained popularity on Hokkaido. For example, an editorial in the main local daily newspaper, published in September 1955, stated that the ­people of Hokkaido ­were not pursuing “territorial satisfaction” but seeking to establish their “right to life,” a right dependent on fisheries (cited in Sekai 1956, 207). An All-­ Hokkaido Citizens rally held in Sapporo in March 1956 issued a resolution focusing on the safe operation of fisheries but did not mention the return of the islands (Kuwabara 1962). Around the same time, the City Assembly of Hakodate, one of the largest cities on Hokkaido, also voiced its re­sis­tance to the prefectural position. It sent


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an opinion statement to Governor Tanaka arguing the urgency of reestablishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in order to secure “safe operation” in the ­waters surrounding the islands (Hakodate City Assembly 1956). A number of small reversion groups (Kuwabara 1962) also issued similar statements, emphasizing the importance of the fishery issues and arguing the need to s­ ettle on the return of the Habomais and Shikotan. A ­ fter the dissolution of the Commission and the death of Andō, Nemuro’s official position also changed, coming to resemble more that of the Revival Alliance. Local fishermen continued to suffer greatly from vessel seizures and related fines imposed by the Soviet authorities. Twenty ­percent of Nemuro fishermen experienced a vessel seizure, and more than half experienced it more than once (Kajiura 1989, 102). Thus, it is not difficult to understand the reasons ­behind their call to revise the rigid governmental stance, which in turn could lead to a conclusion of a fishing agreement with the Soviet Union. In March 1956, during the second round of Soviet-­ Japanese negotiations, Nemuro City Assembly a­ dopted a resolution that called for the Japa­nese government to swiftly resolve the disagreements with the Soviet Union and to conclude a fisheries treaty (Nemuro City Assembly 1956). Two months ­later, a resolution ­adopted by a mass rally in the town expressed its “understanding of the difficult international situation” and the townspeople’s satisfaction with the return of two islands and safe fishing (Kuroiwa 2009, 8). This kind of mood prevailed in Nemuro a­ fter 1956 as the vari­ous rallies held t­ here emphasized the importance of the safe operation of fisheries and called on the government to accept the return of the Habomais and Shikotan and conclude a peace treaty with the Soviet Union, the existence of which was set by the Soviet government as a condition for discussing the fisheries issue. Rallies promoting similar positions and arguing for the importance of concluding a peace treaty with the Soviet Union, as well as the inevitability of compromise on the return of only two islands, ­were held in both Sapporo and Tokyo (Kuwabara 1962). Notwithstanding the mounting re­sis­ tance from the vari­ous groups and other actors on Hokkaido not only to the “all of the Kuriles” stance but also to the “four islands” demand of the central government, the official position of the Hokkaido Prefecture u ­ nder Tanaka remained unchanged (Hokkaido Prefecture 1956). ­After the 1956 Joint Declaration, in which the Soviet Union promised to transfer Shikotan and the Habomais to Japan, many on Hokkaido believed that the two islands would indeed be returned soon. In February 1956, taking advantage of this widely spread belief, the prefectural administration established a new department, the Headquarters for Countermea­sures Related to Reversion of Territory and Fisheries within its General Affairs Division. The official purpose of this department was to collect data and to plan the reconstruction and development of the territories that

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would be returned by the Soviets. The Headquarters indeed produced a number of reports on Habomai and Shikotan and a plan for their development a­ fter the return (Ryōdo fukki hoppō gyogyō taisaku honbu 1956). The Headquarters had another purpose, however, which was to engage in “nurturing” and “guiding” grassroots organ­ izations that involved themselves in the territorial issue (Hokkaido Prefecture 2016). Thus, this further institutionalization of the territorial cause on the prefectural level can be seen as an attempt to capitalize on the pos­si­ble return of the two islands and to consolidate local public opinion ­under the banner of “return of all of the Kuriles” as a m ­ atter of historic justice. It must be noted that, overall, the effects of Tanaka’s territorial activism on his position in local politics was minimal. Regardless of the lack of popu­lar support for his “all of the Kuriles” position among Hokkaido residents, Tanaka scored an overwhelming victory in the 1955 gubernatorial elections. This victory is generally attributed to his agricultural policy, highly popu­lar among Hokkaido farmers and, as such, it is unrelated to his stance on the territorial issue (Takahashi 1983a, 221–31). In 1959, Tanaka de­cided not to run in the gubernatorial elections, and, ­after twelve years of progressive rule, Hokkaido residents elected the conservative Machimura Kingo, a former Liberal Demo­cratic Party (LDP) Diet member, as their new governor. Hokkaido was not the only place where the Socialists lost in t­ hese elections, and their stance on the territorial dispute with the Soviet Union was not among the main ­factors generally considered as impor­tant in the defeat (Takahashi 1983a, 507). ­Under Governor Machimura, the prefectural stance on the territorial dispute was reconceptualized in line with the governmental position. In 1963, the Alliance was renamed the Alliance for Achieving the Return of the Northern Territories, and its role was to consolidate the “return” movement ­under the banner of the four islands (Hoppōryōdo fukki kisei dōmei 1993, 66). This meant that from then on, the prefectural policy on the territories would be in line with that of the central government and that the vari­ous institutions established ­under Tanaka would now serve its interests.

Tokyo’s Response Tokyo’s Stance on the Territorial Dispute Overall, the reversion groups had a non-­univocal relationship with the po­liti­cal establishment. Some MPs elected from Hokkaido shared the economic concerns of the reversion groups from the early postwar days and voiced them in the Diet. For example, in 1947, Handō Kōtarō, an MP from Hokkaido, initiated one of the first parliamentary discussions of the prob­lem of the Soviet-­occupied territories. The statement Handō made during the discussion in the Diet was almost identical to the initial petition submitted by the Commission, suggesting that he may have interacted with


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its members. The discussion, however, did not lead anywhere, as a number of other MPs noted that the prob­lem was of a “delicate” nature and MOFA representatives argued that, ­under the pre­sent conditions, ­there was nothing to be done about it (Matsuoka 2008, 25). Some influential politicians, such as Ashida Hitoshi, also extended their support to the irredentist cause (Takagi 1970, 131–45). Ashida, as the minister for foreign affairs in the short-­lived Katayama cabinet (May 1947–­March 1948) actually announced that Japan would request the return of all of the Kurile Islands at the San Francisco Peace Conference (Jiji Tsushin in Tomaru 1993, 2). At the same time, the reversion groups received neither official endorsement nor support from the central government (Nemuro City 1997, 218). This was particularly evident in MOFA’s quite ambivalent relations with the irredentist movement in the early years. Although engaging in discussions and sharing certain information with the grassroots organ­izations, MOFA officials occasionally tried to restrain the movement and demanded that representatives of the Commission stop sending petitions to foreign embassies (Nemuro City 1997, 232). During the occupation, Japan’s official position regarding the Soviet occupied territories was ­shaped mostly by its relations with the United States. In his speech at the San Francisco Peace Conference, Prime Minister Yoshida did state that Japan came into possession of the Kuriles and Southern Sakhalin through peaceful means and that its owner­ship over the South Kurile Islands of Etorofu and Kunashiri had not been questioned by Rus­sia since 1855. He also stated that the Habomais and Shikotan ­were part of Hokkaido. It is unclear, however, ­whether this statement was in one way or another influenced by the reversion movement, or w ­ hether it was simply a reflection of the preceding discussions in the government. ­After San Francisco, the government generally saw all of the Kuriles as being lost, and when the normalization talks started in June 1955, was hoping for the return of only the Habomais and Shikotan. Secret instructions to the negotiators explic­itly stated the return of the two islands as a precondition to a peace settlement but implied flexibility on the return of other territories seized by the Soviet Union, including the South Kurile Islands of Kunashiri and Etorofu (Tanaka 1990, 165–68). The “four islands” demand to which Japan’s position changed during the 1955 negotiations corresponds to the scope of territory that was the object of the Commission’s activism. For that reason, ­today Andō is referred to as the “­father” of the reversion movement and is often mentioned in governmental and other publications related to the Northern Territories. The overlap in territorial demands, however, is more of a contingency than evidence of the Commission’s influence. The domestic po­liti­cal pro­cess that led to the sudden change in Japan’s position, and the emergence of the “four islands” demand during the negotiations, is thoroughly examined in Hellmann’s (1969) classic work. Hellmann and o­ thers trace the emergence of the demand for the four islands to the anticommunist and anti-­Soviet sentiments of the right-­leaning

J a pa n’s “ No rt her n T er rito rie s”


faction of the conservatives, who ­were not enthusiastic about the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. Thus, the demand for the four islands had ­little to do with the arguments of the Commission or other domestic actors, instead emerging as a tool in an attempt to torpedo the negotiations by the prudent faction inside the LDP and their supporters in MOFA (Hellmann 1969; Hasegawa 1998). Although the territorial claims of the reversion movement had ­little impact on the central government’s decision regarding the scope of territory to be demanded, it could be argued that the narrative created by the Alliance did exert certain influence. Specifically, the idea that Kunashiri and Etorofu are not included in the “Kurile Islands” renounced in the San Francisco Peace Treaty and voiced by the Alliance in 1952 was embraced by the government and became an integral part of the official justification of the claim for the four islands. The existing documents do not reveal the ­legal justifications for the demand for the four islands that had been forwarded by MOFA officials when debating the change in Japan’s position in August 1955. The first post-­San Francisco reference to the idea that Kunashiri and Etorofu are not part of the “Kurile Islands” was made in the Diet by Utsunomiya Tokuma in 1958. It was only in 1961 that it was fully explained by a member of the cabinet (PM Ikeda at Bud­get Committee, House of Representatives, 03.10.1961at NDL). Thus, it could be argued that the stance initially voiced by the Alliance in the early 1950s was utilized by the government in justifying its claim for the four islands.

Economic Policy Following is an examination of the central government’s mea­sures aimed at addressing the economic plight of ­those that suffered from the Soviet occupation, the most impor­tant being the former residents of the islands and the fishermen of Nemuro. Besides the ­actual return of the islands, which was beyond Tokyo’s control, other policy options could have led to an improvement of the economic conditions of ­those affected by the Soviet occupation. One involved some form of governmental compensation for lost property and the loss of access to fishing grounds. Demands for compensation for lost fishery rights gained support from the influential Japan Fisheries Association, which submitted a related petition to the central government in 1959. The petition strongly criticized the government’s ignorance of the plight of Nemuro fishermen and called on it to provide nine billion yen in compensation to the fishermen affected by the dispute (Matsuyama 1962, 403–4; Miyoshi 1969, 64). Despite this power­ful endorsement, Tokyo consistently ignored the demand for compensation but implemented certain mea­sures aimed at stabilizing the livelihood of Nemuro fishermen, as discussed below. Another option was a compromising arrangement with the Soviet Union that would allow fishing in w ­ aters adjacent to the islands as advocated by the Revival


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Alliance. This option was manifested in the expression “safe operations” and appeared first in a petition submitted to the central government by fishermen cooperatives from the Nemuro area in February 1952 (Honda 2006, 67). Safe operations referred to the ability of Japa­nese fishermen to fish and collect kelp in w ­ aters adjacent to the disputed islands without being detained by Soviet border guards. Overall, detentions and boat seizures ­were one of the main prob­lems faced by Nemuro fishermen. As of 1968, the Soviet authorities captured 1,250 Japa­nese fishing boats and over 10,500 crew members ­were detained (Hokkaido Prefecture 1968, 19). Along with fishing, kelp was an impor­tant source of income for Nemuro residents. One of the main places for kelp harvesting was Kaigara Island, which is actually a reef in the Habomai archipelago located less than four kilo­meters from Nemuro. In 1950, Kaigara Island’s importance further increased due to a poor harvest on mainland Hokkaido and the growth in the number of harvesters (Sasaki 1980, 5). At the same time, the Soviet authorities began to detain Japa­nese boats that tried to approach the island. Between 1956 and 1962 alone, over 70 vessels ­were seized, with about 170 crew members detained near Kaigara Island (Itō 1974, 107). Although reluctant to deal with the fisheries issue, the central government tried to address the prob­lem of kelp harvesting by implementing two mea­sures. First, in 1962–63, in cooperation with Hokkaido Prefecture, Tokyo sponsored the construction of an artificial reef in w ­ aters near Nemuro. The effects of this proj­ect, however, ­were rather ­limited (Sasaki 1980, 5). The second mea­sure was a conclusion of an agreement with the Soviet Union, in which the chairman of the Japan Fisheries Association, Takasaki Tatsunosuke, played a leading role. Scholarship on social movements notes the existence of power­ful allies among the elites as one of the ­factors that enhance their chances of succeeding in their demands (Guigni 2004, 4–5; Shipper 2012, 691). This argument did not always hold true for the reversion activists, but, in the case of the kelp-­related agreement with the Soviet Union, Takasaki’s involvement proved to be crucial in its success. Takasaki visited Nemuro in 1959 and witnessed the plight of its residents, who ­were precluded from reaching Kaigara Island or, when attempting to do so, w ­ ere detained by the Soviet border guards. Deeply moved by this predicament of Nemuro residents, Takasaki initiated and played a key role in the conclusion of the 1963 Kaigara Island Kelp Agreement, which fi­nally enabled the collection of kelp in exchange for a certain fee. The agreement was concluded a­ fter years of active lobbying of Japa­nese politicians and government officials by Takasaki and against initial strong re­sis­tance from MOFA. The agreement was designed as a nongovernmental arrangement between Japan’s Fisheries Association and the Soviet Council of National Economy in order to avoid undermining Japan’s territorial claims as feared by MOFA. The conclusion of the agreement had a significant positive impact on the lives of Nemuro’s residents,

J a pa n’s “ No rt her n T er rito rie s”


bringing an average gross annual income of 130 million yen from kelp alone in the mid-1970s (Ito 1974, 108; Honda 2006, 67–72). A similar agreement on fisheries, initially envisioned and advocated by the Revival Alliance in the early 1950s, was concluded only de­cades l­ ater, in 1998. This agreement, formally called as the Framework Agreement on Operations by Japa­nese Fishing Vessels in ­Waters Surrounding the Northern Territories, was formally concluded between the city of Nemuro and Rus­sia’s Sakhalin district. It is a complex ­legal arrangement designed to enable Japa­nese fishing activities near the disputed islands in return for a fee, while not undermining Japan’s territorial claims. As with the kelp agreement, its conclusion was made pos­si­ble mainly due to efforts of one power­ful individual. This time it was Suzuki Muneo, an MP from Eastern Hokkaido and at that time one of the LDP heavyweights, who managed to override the generally negative stance of MOFA and push through with such an arrangement (Honda 2006, 121–29). Although the government had shown consistent reluctance to provide compensation for lost property and reach a fisheries agreement with the Soviet side, its response to the plight of the deportees and residents of Nemuro was not ­limited to the kelp agreement. In 1952, the government had already passed a number of laws aimed at providing assistance to fishermen detained by the Soviet authorities (Miyoshi 1969, 61–64). In 1958, perhaps partially in an effort to boost the chances of Machimura Kingo in the gubernatorial elections on Hokkaido, the government of Kishi Nobusuke established the Report Bureau for Specific Areas. The purpose of this organ­ization was to coordinate the governmental efforts related to the “Northern Areas.” In 1959, the bureau conducted an extensive examination and published a report regarding the living conditions of the former residents (Report Bureau for Specific Areas 1959). In the same year, a law regulating the establishment of the government-­sponsored Relief Committee for Southern Territories Compatriots was amended to include the “Northern Areas” as well. The funds allocated to the irredentist movement through this organ­ization, however, w ­ ere miniscule (Takagi 1970), and the committee’s activities mainly focused on Okinawa. In 1961, the government further deepened its policy by establishing a semi-­ governmental agency called the Northern Areas Association to administer the distribution of low-­interest loans to ­owners of the “former fishing rights”—­pre-1945 exclusive fishing rights in w ­ aters adjacent to the disputed islands. The government also encouraged the fishermen to purchase “seizure” insurance and, to a certain degree as a response to numerous requests from Governor Machimura, started to provide “condolence money” payments, along with Hokkaido Prefecture, to the families of fishermen detained by the Soviet authorities (Hokkaido Prefecture 1968, 1–8). The impact of ­these mea­sures on the lives of Nemuro residents was quite ­limited. The “condolence money,” over a third of which came from the prefectural bud­get,


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was provided only to a small portion of the families. For example, in 1965, 468 fishermen and crew members ­were detained by the Soviet authorities, but “condolence money” was paid only to 94 families (Hokkaido Prefecture 1968, 20). Moreover, the payments did not include compensation for seized vessels or property lost while detained (Matsuyama 1989, 405). It was only in 1980 that the government initiated an extensive program of economic assistance to ­those affected by the dispute, when Prime Minister Suzuki Zenkō declared that assistance to the Nemuro area was a “critical issue” for the government. This initiative emerged as part of the broader co-­optation of the reversion cause, discussed in the following section. Suzuki’s government established an intra-­ministerial “sync-up meeting,” which was decide on development proj­ects for the Nemuro area based on requests from Hokkaido Prefecture (Shibukawa 2004, 5). Two years ­later, the government passed the Law on Special Mea­sures to Promote the Solution of the Northern Territories Prob­lem. This law stipulated mea­sures for supporting former residents and their decedents to be de­cided by the relevant cabinet minister in consultation with heads of local governments. ­Under this new law, the government also established a fund of one billion yen, which was to be used to assist areas adjacent to the disputed territories, including Nemuro and other nearby towns, in developing infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, and medical care (E-­Gov 2016). The law continues to be implemented t­oday. Thus, for example, in the years 2004–12, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) annually provided one hundred million yen in subsidies to a proj­ect for the construction of a fish-­processing fa­cil­i­ty in the Nemuro area (MLIT 2012). Many of the provisions in the Special Mea­sures Law, however, w ­ ere devoted to mea­sures aimed at educating the public about the dispute, supporting the reversion movement, and nurturing a new generation of activists. As such, while addressing some of the needs of the residents affected by the dispute, the law and related mea­ sures ­were an integral part of the government’s co-­optation of the reversion cause and turning the “Northern Territories” into one of the symbols of Japan’s national identity. Most impor­tant, the government has continuously refused to compensate the former residents of the islands for their property and land on the disputed islands. Together with compensation for former fishing rights (as opposed to loans), t­ hese two issues continue up u ­ ntil the pre­sent day to be the main points of contention between the organ­izations that represent the former residents and the government (Chishima Habomai Shotō kyojūsha renmei 2010).

“Northern Territories” as a National Mission The term “Northern Territories” was first used in March 1956 by MOFA’s director of Treaties Division, Shimoda Takesō, at the Diet’s Foreign Relations Committee, while

J a pa n’s “ No rt her n T er rito rie s”


arguing the consistency of the Japa­nese demand for the return of the four islands with the San Francisco Peace Treaty (House of Representatives, March 10th, 1956 at NDL). It was only in 1963, however, that the term was officially ­adopted by MOFA, and from that point on became the official term of reference to the disputed territories (Iwashita 2005,12). The po­liti­cal underpinning of this term and its symbolism are obvious, as “northern” underlies the importance of the islands’ location vis-­à-­vis Tokyo, as opposed to their eastward location from Hokkaido. In 1969, the newly established Association for Countermea­sures Related to the Northern Territories (hereafter the Association), a new quasi-­governmental agency in charge of the domestic activities related to the Northern Territories absorbed the Northern Areas Association. The Association continued to distribute low-­interest loans to former residents but also embarked on an extensive public educational campaign related to the dispute. In 1972, the Headquarters for Countermea­sures Related to Northern Territories was established within the Cabinet Office. The rise to dominance of “Northern Territories” as a sole signifier of the disputed territory, along with the creation of the two organ­izations, symbolized the formal institutionalization of the idea of the “Northern Territories” and the final appropriation of the irredentist cause by the central government (Iwashita 2005, 204). Thus, almost three de­cades a­ fter the defeat and the loss of territory, Tokyo became the main national identity entrepreneur in the Northern Territories cause. Domestic po­liti­cal calculations played an impor­tant, if not decisive, role in the government’s embracing the reversion cause. An American diplomat reported that, based on private conversations with officials from MOFA and other governmental bodies, the creation of the Association had very l­ ittle to do with facilitating the return of the islands. The ­actual reason, he argued, was to be found in domestic politics and the Japan-­US negotiations regarding the reversion of Okinawa. Specifically, through activities of the Association, the ruling LDP was hoping to sway public support away from the Socialist Party, which opposed the reversion of Okinawa with American bases (David L. Osborn cited in Ikeda, 2003, 42–43). This argument is quite plausible, as already in the early 1960s, in publications by government-­affiliated organ­izations, supporters of a territorial compromise ­were portrayed as playing into the hands of the Soviet Union and betraying the national mission (e.g., Machimura 1962). Furthermore, judging from the parliamentary interpolations related to the rationale ­behind the establishment of the Association, the need to “enlighten” the public regarding the Northern Territories prevailed over the need to assist the affected residents (e.g., House of Councilors, Special Committee for Okinawa and Northern Territories, February 12th, 1969 at NDL). Related public opinion polls administered by the government also reveal the ultimate importance of the domestic spread of “knowledge” related to the territorial dispute (e.g., Cabinet Office 1969).


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Thus, the territorial dispute, which already served as a tool in a number of domestic po­liti­cal rivalries, gained further importance in the LDP’s rivalry with the Socialist opposition. Importantly, though, in the pro­cess of the government’s appropriation of the reversion cause, the economic rationale of the vari­ous groups affected by the territorial dispute was replaced by po­liti­cal calculations, this time on the national level. Now, the symbolic meaning of “Northern Territories” resided mainly in its association with the Soviet Union and, by default, with the domestic progressive forces, which included the Socialist and the Communist Parties. In its national identity entrepreneurship, the central government borrowed heavi­ly from the “reversion” movement, which by that time was on the verge of extinction. In terms of strategy, the government not only embraced the idea of enlightening the ­people and nurturing and guiding the reversion movement but also co-­opted the terminology introduced by the activists, such as “inherent territory,” as well as the techniques of distributing pamphlets and organ­izing “­people’s rallies, ” all aimed at deepening ­people’s knowledge of the issue. The government-­led campaign to “enlighten” the public quickly diffused throughout the country. Newspapers, magazines, and even department stores quickly became mouthpieces of the reversion cause, featuring and depicting the miseries of the former residents (Stephan 1974). In a somewhat ironic fashion, the institutionalization of the irredentist cause on Hokkaido initiated by Governor Tanaka in the early 1950s as a tool of strug­gle with the central government now became an integral part of the government-­led Northern Territories campaign, coming to serve the interests of his former foes. ­Under Governor Machimura Kingo, the prefectural position regarding the Northern Territories was reconceptualized in line with the governmental position, and the Alliance became another tool of the “Northern Territories” mission. The government further enhanced its Northern Territories-­related domestic policy in the late 1970s, when the so-­called thaw in relations between the USSR and the Western bloc ended and the Cold War entered its second and final stage. In 1978, for the first time, MOFA published its Our Northern Territories booklet, which provided detailed explanations of the illegality of the Soviet occupation and Japan’s inherent rights to the four islands. In the late 1970s to early 1980s, the government also built a number of Northern Territories-­related facilities, including the hundred-­million-­yen observatory-­cum-­museum on Hokkaido’s Nosappu Cape, and in 1981 the Diet enacted a national Northern Territories Day. During the same period, numerous books, pamphlets and articles by government-­affiliated organ­izations and sympathetic scholars, as well as reports in the media, ­were published, drawing public attention to the historical injustice inflicted on Japan by the Soviet Union (e.g., Yoshida 1978; Kimura 1981). The economic rationale of the original irredentist movement gradually dis­appeared from the narrative. In the case of the early grassroots groups, spreading the knowledge

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about the territorial issue was perceived as means to achieve economic ends. In the governmental discourse, nationwide awareness of the dispute became an end in itself. Public opinion polls became an impor­tant tool not only in mea­sur­ing the p ­ eople’s knowledge of the dispute but also in creating a very par­tic­u­lar interpretation of it. For example, the 1969 public opinion poll on the territorial dispute contained one question regarding the polled knowledge of the “reversion movement.” By not specifying the demands of the movement and omitting its economic rationale, it actually engaged in the diffusion of the narrative on the primacy of the territory and the conflation of the reversion movement with the government. This estrangement of the irredentist narrative from its economic origins can also be witnessed in the vari­ ous government-­sponsored publications designed to “enlighten” the Japa­nese public about the issue. For example, the natu­ral resources of the islands, which ­were initially perceived in purely economic terms, ­were transformed into pastoral depictions of the flora and fauna of the lost homeland, with “resources” replaced by the idyllic “nature” (Hoppōryōdomondai taisaku kyōkai 2003, 4–5). The embracement of the irredentist cause by the central government and its framing in terms of a national mission facilitated the emergence of numerous national identity entrepreneurs from among conservative pundits. Their publications on the dispute and Japan-­Russia relations have continued to produce and reproduce the narrative on “Northern Territories” as a national mission, as a case of grave injustice inflicted upon the Japa­nese nation by the Soviet/Rus­sian “other” (e.g., Kimura 1980; Hakamada 1993). Even the personal stories of some of the activists have gone through some impor­tant transformations and become an integral part of the newly emerging national narrative on the dispute. For example, the recollections of the Soviet occupation published by Takagi Jukichi, the president of the League of the Residents of Chishima Archipelago, in 1970 are contrastingly dif­fer­ent from t­hose espoused in his 1957 memoirs. The ­later narrative is void of both positive depictions of the Soviet Union or life u ­ nder Soviet occupation and criticism of the treatment the former residents received in Japan. To the contrary, and in line with the national narrative promoted by the government, the USSR is depicted as the traitor that betrayed Japan by breaching the neutrality treaty, with the Red Army featuring as the ­enemy, juxtaposed with the Japa­nese residents living in “captivity” (Takagi 1970, 55–75). Unlike the ­earlier narrative that expressed disappointment with the Japa­nese government and society, the ­later text is full of patriotism and nationalistic phrases like “during the four years of being ruled by a foreign race (iminzoku) we have never disgraced the name of our fatherland” (1970, 96). Already by mid-1970, however, the nostalgia and desire to correct the inflicted injustice was far from the ideas held by t­hose whose “ardent wish” (MOFA 2010) for the return of the territories should be beyond doubt, that is, the common


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former residents of the islands. Whereas in the late 1950s an overwhelming majority (82 ­percent) of them expressed their desire to relocate back to the islands as soon as pos­si­ble (Gyōsei shiryō chōsakai 1977, 565), the situation changed drastically over time. Less than two de­cades l­ ater, in 1974–75, a poll conducted on Hokkaido showed that less than half of the original residents and their direct descendants ­were interested in relocating back to the islands, in case they ­were returned to Japan. Furthermore, among ­those that stated that they would return, it was not the longing for a lost homeland but more pragmatic reasons, such as property rights and the possibility to engage in fishing that prevailed in the explanations for their choice (Hokkaido Prefecture 1977, 16). Nevertheless, the pro­cess of homogenization of the narrative and of the “return” movement continued. As in other cases (Pempel and Tsunekawa 1979, cited in Garon 2003, 50; also Pekkanen 2006), subsidies played an impor­tant tool for the government in its co-­optation of civic groups. ­Those organ­izations that survived ­until the pre­sent day are fully dependent on governmental assistance. The existence of ­these groups and Hokkaido’s prefectural institutions contributes to the continuous reproduction of a semblance of synergy among the central government, the prefectural administration, and the p ­ eople. This creates a certain illusion of the central government’s position as enjoying broad public support. However, t­hese days the noncompromising stance can hardly be traced to any par­tic­u­lar interests. ­Today, the “return of the islands” movement consists mainly of three organ­izations with overlapping membership. The first is the Association for Countermea­sures Related to the Northern Territories, which was established by the central government and, despite the nominal in­de­pen­dence, is fully financed and controlled by it. The other two are the above-­mentioned Alliance for Achieving the Return of the Northern Territories and the League of the Residents of Chishima and Habomai Islands. The league was formed in 1958 as a result of a merger between the League of the Residents of Chishima Archipelago and other, smaller organ­izations. In the same year, it was given the status of a charity and became the only formally recognized organ­ization that represents the former residents of Soviet-­occupied territories. Both of ­these organ­izations are financially and structurally dependent on the central government and Hokkaido Prefecture (Williams 2010). The Alliance’s bud­get is spent mostly on educational and promotional activities related to the “Northern Territories,” such as vari­ous public events, exhibitions, talks by former residents of the islands, and related publications. About 55 ­percent of the bud­get comes from Hokkaido Prefecture, 35 ­percent from the central government, and the rest from membership fees (Hoppōryōdo fukki kisei dōmei 2009). The bud­get of the League is structured similarly, with 55 ­percent subsidized by the central government and 37 ­percent by Hokkaido Prefecture (Hamana 2005, 288).

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As such, although many of the individual activist’s positions, especially ­those from Shikotan or the Habomais, go against the “four islands at once” governmental stance, they rarely voice it publicly, fearing sanctions from the government (Hamana 2005, 279). The overall de­pen­dency of the activists on the government was perfectly captured in a statement made by one of the local leaders of the irredentist movement at a meeting between Hokkaido-­based activists, local authorities, and a group of Diet members in Nemuro in September 2010. Voicing the fear that the movement is gradually fading out, this second-­generation activist argued that the government must provide more financial support to the vari­ous grassroots organ­izations if it (the government) wants the movement to survive. The petitioning activities that occur during annual meetings between Diet members, Hokkaido Prefecture, and Hokkaido-­based activists have been ritualized and resemble a theatrical per­for­mance in which each party performs its role. Representatives of the activists voice their demands, among which the demands for compensation for property and former fishing rights are the only issues that go against existing policy. Other­wise, the demands of the activists and representatives of Hokkaido Prefecture are mostly in line with the dominant discourse, demanding that the government work t­ oward the return of the four islands, facilitate unity of public opinion, deepen educational campaigns, and, ironically, nurture the next generation of activists (Chishima Habomai Shotō kyujūsha renmei 2010; Hokkaido Prefecture 2010). Overall, small numbers and lack of in­de­pen­dent sources of funding make it hard for the existing organ­izations to have leverage over governmental policy. In Nemuro, the pragmatic approach driven by an economic rationale continued to exist throughout the Cold War years (Natsubori 1963). During the Cold War tensions in the 1970s and 1980s, the voices of Nemuro residents received l­ittle attention. In recent years, however, their frustration with the rigidity of the governmental ­position has become more vis­i­ble (Iwashita 2005, 2006; Williams 2010). In 2006, this dissatisfaction and a call to reconsider the “four islands at once” stance ­were explic­itly voiced by the mayor of Nemuro (Fujiwara 2006). Notwithstanding the changes in public opinion and, even more impor­tant, in domestic and regional politics that make the national mobilization role of the dispute redundant, the domestic discourse on the Northern Territories did not change significantly throughout the post–­Cold War years. Initially a product of domestic and international politics of the Cold War, the idea of the Northern Territories became an end in itself, a “national mission” that paradoxically prevents the government from pursuing Japan’s pragmatic national interest (Iwashita 2005). Arguments that suggested the need to compromise on the scope of the territory sought from the USSR/Rus­sia have occasionally appeared in the public discourse, starting in the mid-1980s. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, when it seemed that the domestic changes in the Soviet Union would lead to a resolution of the dispute, the possibility of a “two islands”


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resolution and other scenarios ­were often mentioned in the domestic press. Over the next de­cade, a number of politicians voiced the need for a compromise. Importantly, however, neither in the 1990s nor a de­cade ­later, the debate involved a discussions of the a­ ctual national interests associated with the islands. Any suggestion of a territorial compromise was immediately dismissed by MOFA officials and hardline conservatives as undermining Japan’s “basic princi­ples” (e.g., Tamba 2007, 240). Since the series of corruption-­related scandals in MOFA that erupted in 2002 and virtually para­lyzed Japan’s Rus­sia policy, the bilateral negotiations entered a dormant season with Japan maintaining the “return of four islands at once” position on the territorial dispute (Bukh 2009). It was only a de­cade ­later, ­under Abe Shinzō’s second premiership, that Japan’s Rus­sia policy started to evolve as part of a broad attempt to fundamentally revise Japan’s international standing. In 2016, the Japa­nese media reported that the government was considering a settlement of the territorial dispute involving a transfer of the two small islands of Shikotan and Habomai to Japan, and a joint administration of the other two (Nikkei Shimbun 2016; 2016a). The existence of such plans was rebutted by the government (Ishida 2016), but behind-­the-­scenes negotiations have continued, and in November 2018 Abe and Putin agreed to facilitate the conclusion of a peace treaty based on the 1956 Japan-­USSR Joint Statement. This announcement resulted in widely spread speculations in the media that Prime Minister Abe is now seeking the return of the two small islands and some kind of face-­saving arrangement regarding the remaining two islands (Satō 2018). Vari­ous public opinion polls in Japan show that the idea of “two islands first” is gaining support (e.g., Nikkei Asian Review 2018). However, it remains to be seen ­whether Abe ­will manage to overcome the constraints imposed by the Northern Territories construct. If successful, as with Northern Ireland in the 1990s (Goddard 2009, 208–33), Japan’s Northern Territories may indeed become divisible. For a breakthrough to become a real­ity, the Kuriles would also need to become divisible on the Rus­sian side. At this point, it seems that President Putin is reluctant to take such steps as they w ­ ill undermine his carefully cultivated image of the collector of Rus­sian lands and may lead to further decline in support ratings. When thinking about the pos­si­ble changes a resolution of the territorial dispute might bring, one should remember that the overall impact of the “Northern Territories” on Japan-­Russia post–­Cold War relations has been rather ­limited. As presented in detail elsewhere (Bukh 2009), economic relations between the two countries have been ­shaped mostly by other f­ actors unrelated to the territorial dispute or the lack of a formal peace treaty between the two countries. The most impor­tant impact of the territorial dispute has been in the security realm. Although Japa­nese policy makers no longer view Rus­sia as a military threat, the very l­ imited nature of security cooperation between the two countries can be partially attributed to the predominance of

J a pa n’s “ No rt her n T er rito rie s”


the territorial issue in any security-­related negotiations between the two countries. Regardless of the pro­gress in the territorial dispute, close security ties between Japan and Rus­sia are rather improbable as long as the security treaty with the United States remains the main pillar of Japan’s foreign policy, and Rus­sia and China remain in a “soft” alliance aimed at curtailing US power and influence. Nevertheless, Japan can definitely benefit from settling a decades-­old dispute with its geo­graph­i­cally closest neighbor during this period of drastic regional transformations brought about by the rise of China. Originating in the critical juncture created by the defeat, the Soviet occupation, and the domestic reforms, the “inherent territory” framing of the occupied islands was initially utilized by the grassroots national identity entrepreneurs as part of an attempt to draw attention to their economic plight. In early 1950s, Hokkaido Prefecture embraced the irredentist cause as means in its po­liti­cal strug­gle with Tokyo, utilizing the symbolism associated with national territory to criticize the central government for failing the nation in giving up the Soviet-­occupied islands. From late 1960s on, as a result of Tokyo’s appropriation of the “Northern Territories” and co-­optation of the grassroots organ­izations, the narrative has changed significantly. From legitimation strategy, the “inherent territory” has gradually transformed into an end in itself, a symbol of injustice inflicted upon the nation. Originating in the central government’s po­liti­cal calculations, gradually this construct took a life of its own, shaping and restricting Tokyo’s policy ­until the pre­sent day.


Shimane Prefecture’s Quest for Takeshima

i n 2 0 0 5 , Japan’s Shimane Prefecture, with support from a local citizens’ group, passed the infamous Takeshima Day ordinance, which designated February 22 as Prefectural Takeshima Day. The passage of the ordinance and the fierce reaction from South K ­ orea brought the territorial dispute over tiny rocky islets to the fore of Japan’s relations with South K ­ orea. For de­cades, the dispute played a marginal role in Japan-­Korea relations, and most Japa­nese p ­ eople w ­ ere not even aware of the existence of a territorial dispute between the two countries. The Takeshima Day ordinance was not some kind of whimsical move by the Prefectural Assembly but a culmination of a decades-­long campaign that started in the immediate postwar years. This chapter examines the ­factors and pro­cesses that triggered the campaign focused on tiny and remote islets and led to the subsequent enactment of the ordinance six de­cades ­after their loss. While initially seen as an impor­tant economic asset for the prefecture, the meaning of Takeshima for local politicians went through a number of transformations. The escalation in the prefecture’s Takeshima-­related national identity entrepreneurship in the early 2000s and the passage of the ordinance can be attributed to the critical juncture created by Prime Minister Koizumi’s intraparty and decentralization reforms.

The Dispute over Takeshima/Dokdo Takeshima/Dokdo (also known as Liancourt Rocks) is a group of tiny, rocky islets located in the Sea of Japan (East Sea in ­Korea) approximately 150 kilo­meters from Japan’s Oki Island and 90 kilo­meters from ­Korea’s Ulleung Island. The volcanic rocks with a very thin layer of soil have some sources of fresh spring w ­ ater, although they

S him a ne Pref ec t u re’s Q u est fo r T ake s him a


are not drinkable due to guano contamination. The islets ­were officially incorporated into Japan’s Shimane Prefecture by a cabinet decree issued on February 8, 1905, in the midst of the Russo-­Japanese war and nine months before the conclusion of the Japan-­ Korea Protectorate Treaty (Eulsa Treaty), which laid the groundwork for the official colonization of K ­ orea by Japan in 1910. U ­ ntil Japan’s surrender to the Allied Powers in 1945, the islets ­were part of its Shimane Prefecture and administratively belonged to Shimane’s Oki Island. During the Japa­nese rule, the islets never had a permanent population, but t­oday ­there are two permanent Korean residents (a fisherman and his wife) and about thirty-­five Korean coast guards who rotate ­every few months. Like the “Northern Territories” dispute, the roots of the dispute over Takeshima/ Dokdo can be traced to the ambiguities of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which did not carry any specific references to the islets. This omission can hardly be seen as unintentional, as most of the previous treaty drafts did specify their belonging, and during the period that preceded the conclusion of the treaty, both the Japa­nese and Korean governments lobbied the US authorities and argued their historical rights to the islets (see Hara 2006, 14–50; Choi 2011, 413). The exact reasoning used then by both of the parties is unclear. Since the early 1950s, however, Japan’s official position has been that Japa­nese owner­ship over the islets was established in the mid-­seventeenth ­century, and the 1905 incorporation was simply an act of confirmation of historical possession, unrelated to Japan’s ­later colonization of the Korean Peninsula. The Korean side, however, refers to documents that date back to the early sixth ­century to argue that historically the islets ­were part of ­Korea and that Japan’s incorporation in 1905 was the first step in its colonization of the peninsula. The documents on which both sides rely can hardly be considered to provide univocal evidence regarding e­ ither side’s historical possession of the islets. Just as with the case of the Soviet-­occupied territories, the so-­called MacArthur Line restricted access of Japa­nese fishing vessels to the islets during the occupation period. Unlike the Northern Territories dispute, however, Japan’s official position on possession of Takeshima was clear and consistent from the early days of the occupation. It seems the US government believed that the islets belonged to Japan and refused to include them in the peace treaty as part of ­Korea’s territory renounced by Japan (Young 1952), but due to Cold War considerations the United States did not state this position explic­itly in the peace treaty. ­After the conclusion of the peace treaty and the subsequent lifting of the Mac­ Arthur Line, many in Japan, including members of government, believed that Takeshima had returned to Japan’s possession (e.g., Statement by Vice-­Minister Sakaba Ryūen at Peace Treaty and Japan-­US Security Treaty Special Commission, House of Representatives 22.10.1951at NDL; Asahi Shimbun 1951). In April of the following year, Shimane Prefecture issued the Prefectural Fisheries Regulation, which implied that


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Takeshima was part of the prefectural territory. However, in January 1952, in the midst of Korean War and three months before the peace treaty with Japan went into force, South ­Korea’s government issued the Presidential Proclamation of Sovereignty over the Adjacent Seas, ­under which ­Korea declared national sovereignty over the seas within the designated line, known as the Peace Line or Rhee Line. The Rhee Line included Dokdo/Takeshima within Korean territory, and the Japa­nese government protested immediately, arguing its territorial rights to the islets. A ­ fter incidents of firing at Japa­ nese vessels that tried to reach the islets in the early 1950s, the Japa­nese government gave up its attempts to exercise sovereignty over Takeshima but continued to argue that Korean occupation was illegal. Prob­ably again due to Cold War considerations, the United States de­cided not to get involved in a dispute between its two closest allies and since 1953 has maintained neutrality on the owner­ship of the islets (Panda 2014). When Japan and South ­Korea normalized their relations in 1965, the territorial dispute was shelved. A fishing agreement that accompanied the treaty enabled fishermen from both ­Korea and Japan to fish in the ­waters adjacent to the islets. Tensions flared again in the mid-1990s when both Japan and South ­Korea ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which allowed maritime states to claim exclusive economic zones (EEZs). The parties concluded a new fisheries agreement in 1998 and thus managed to avoid a confrontation. In March 2005, Shimane Prefecture, which has continuously lobbied the central government to restore Japan’s territorial rights to the islets, passed a prefectural ordinance that designated February 22 (the day the islets ­were incorporated into the prefecture in 1905) as Takeshima Day. The ordinance was met with strong protests from the Korean government and civil society groups. U ­ ntil the pre­sent day, the Dokdo/Takeshima issue remains one of the main sources of tensions in Japan-­Korea relations.

Defeat, Reforms, and Fisheries Continuity and Change Overall, Shimane Prefecture’s Takeshima campaign is not unique and should be seen as just one example of identity entrepreneurship by Japan’s local governments in their pursuit of material, po­liti­cal, or ideational interests. Besides the case of Hokkaido Prefecture examined in the previous chapter, the two other obvious examples are the anti-­US bases campaign on Okinawa, in which certain governors and mayors have played a key role, and the 2012 campaign to purchase parts of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands initiated by Tokyo metropolitan governor Ishihara Shintaro (Jain 2005; ­Inoue 2007; Shen 2014). Both the agent-­level and the structural ­factors that bring about such a campaign however, differ from one case to another and need to be explored inductively. The structural roots of the Takeshima campaign share a number of impor­tant

S him a ne Pref ec t u re’s Q u est fo r T ake s him a


similarities with the Hokkaido-­based reversion movement examined in the previous chapter. The collapse of the Japa­nese Empire and related domestic po­liti­cal transformations and reforms created both the permissive and the productive conditions that facilitated the emergence of the two campaigns in areas that had certain economic connection to the territory in question. Unlike the case of the Soviet-­occupied territories however, the number of actors in Takeshima campaign was quite ­limited. Largely this was ­because the tiny and rocky Takeshima was not inhabited, and thus ­there w ­ ere no groups of former residents to demand redress. Another f­actor is the par­tic­u­lar structure of economic rights to the islets. In the case of Takeshima, the prewar economic connection to the disputed territory was fundamentally dif­fer­ent from the one between Hokkaido and the Kurile Islands. The place of Takeshima and adjacent w ­ aters in Shimane Prefecture’s economy during the pre-1945 period was unique and is outlined in detail in the following section, as it played a decisive role in the structure and the content of the Takeshima campaign. First, Takeshima demands ­were initiated by fishing ­unions of Oki Island. Similarly to the Nemuro-­based Commission for Entreating the Return of Islands Attached to Hokkaido, they resorted to petitioning as their main tool of expressing their demands. The first petitions, signed by the heads of three Oki fishing ­unions, w ­ ere submitted in May 1951 to the Shimane Prefectural Assembly and the central government and sought the abolition of the MacArthur Line restrictions on fishing around Takeshima. Like the petitions from Nemuro discussed in the previous chapter, the ones submitted by the Oki ­unions justified their demand by outlining the grave economic situation of the local residents. The narrative lacked any references to historical rights or national territory but rather focused mainly on the economic situation aggravated by the sudden rise in general population, and fishermen in par­tic­u­lar. The petition argued that as a result of the massive post-­defeat repatriation of soldiers and civilians to Japan’s mainland from former colonies, Oki Island had experienced a sudden increase both in general population and in the number of fishermen. This, the petitions argued, brought the urgent need to develop “new fishing grounds” in order to sustain the economy of the island, which was completely dependent on fisheries. The petitions also noted that restrictions related to the MacArthur Line prevented the execution of the new economic plan being developed by Oki’s fishing ­unions and asked for the removal of restrictions on fishing activities in ­waters around Takeshima (Oki Fishing Union 1951; Shimane Prefectural Assembly 1951, 60). The appeal to a sudden rise in population was not a mere rhetorical tool, nor an exercise in framing. The petitions noted a 40 ­percent increase in Oki’s population from the prewar years. Indeed, Shimane Prefecture as a w ­ hole suffered from both a rapid increase in population and a housing shortage. According to a report prepared


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by the occupation authorities, as of February 1948, the total number of repatriates in Shimane Prefecture stood at 8,700, with almost 55,000 ­people in need of housing (Headquarters of Shimane Military Government 1948, 8–10). The available statistical data for Oki also show a significant increase in the island’s population in the postwar years. In 1947, it stood at 42,400 residents, or 33 ­percent more than the 31,794 residents in 1940 (Shimane Prefecture 2011). It is also pos­si­ble that against the background of postwar mayhem and food shortage, many of t­ hese new mi­grants engaged in illegal fishing, further aggravating Oki’s economic situation. As such, in the immediate postwar years, the situation on Oki was quite similar to that of Nemuro, which also experienced a sudden increase in refugees and ­those deported from the Soviet-­ occupied Kuriles. One impor­tant question, however, arises from the Oki petition as to the reasons for referring to the ­waters adjacent to Takeshima as “new fishing grounds.” Such terminology seems to contradict the perception of Takeshima as an impor­tant fishing area for Oki fishermen before Japan’s defeat, which is dominant in ­today’s discourse on the islets in Japan. It also contradicts the references to Takeshima as the “base” for Oki fishing that appeared in l­ater petitions from Oki (Oki Association of Town and Village Assemblies 1963). This perception of Takeshima as a “new” fishing area was not simply a ­matter of wrong wording, as it also featured in the prefectural assembly debates regarding a related resolution in 1953 (Abei Setarō in Shimane Prefectural Assembly 1953, 82). The following historical excursion outlines the reasons Takeshima fishing grounds ­were perceived as new by Oki residents and how the deprivation experienced by them fundamentally differed from that of the residents of Nemuro. It w ­ ill also highlight the productive role of certain postwar reforms both in instigating the interest in the islets on Oki and in the l­imited number of actors in the Takeshima campaign.

Takeshima in Shimane’s Pre-1945 Economy Economic activities on and around Takeshima by the Japa­nese predate the official incorporation of Takeshima in 1905. The migration of Japa­nese from Oki as well as other parts of Shimane and beyond to K ­ orea’s Ulleung Island started in the late 1880s, over two de­cades before ­Korea’s formal annexation by Japan (Park BS 2010, 33–35). Unlike the case of the nineteenth-­century migration to the Kurile Islands, which, at that time, ­were undisputedly ­under Japa­nese administration, Ulleung Island was part of ­Korea, and Japa­nese migration to the island was not sanctioned by the Japa­ nese government. In response to complaints from the Korean side, in 1883 the Japa­nese government apologized and evacuated all Japa­nese nationals from the island (Hori 1987, 107). Despite the official prohibition, however, illegal migration to Ulleung continued, and, in the late 1890s, ­there ­were a few hundred Japa­nese permanently living on the island (Hori 1987, 109).

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In the early 1900s, some of t­ hese Japa­nese settlers used Ulleung as a base for seal hunting on Takeshima and for abalone harvesting (Park BS 2010, 33–40; Fukuhara 2013, 6–18). ­After the 1905 official incorporation of Takeshima, the Takeshima Fishing and Hunting Com­pany established in 1905 by Nakai Yōzaburō and three other partners from Oki legally monopolized both seal hunting and abalone gathering. Nakai was the one to petition the Meiji government in 1904 to annex Takeshima and to be granted exclusive rights to it. ­Today, his petition constitutes one of the key documents in the dispute and is used by both Japan and ­Korea to support their respective positions. A pamphlet on the Takeshima prob­lem published by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in 2008 states that Nakai’s petition was driven by the desire to “stabilize seal hunting” in response to “excessive competition.” “Mono­poly” and “profit,” however, seem to be more adequate terms when explaining Nakai’s motives and the subsequent state of affairs. Nakai was the first to start hunting seals on Takeshima, in 1903, but soon other hunters from Oki joined him. Excessive hunting led to a drastic decline in the seal population within one year (Hayamizu 1953, 2–3), and Nakai’s request for exclusive rights to Takeshima seems to be an attempt to eliminate competition in a situation where the resources ­were becoming scarce. The history of Nakai’s com­pany is complicated, but ­there are certain facts particularly impor­tant for understanding the origins of the postwar Takeshima campaign on Oki. In 1911, the Takeshima Com­pany was granted exclusive rights by Shimane Prefecture not only to seal hunting on Takeshima but also to abalone and kelp harvesting in surrounding w ­ aters. At the same time, the prefectural authorities imposed a comprehensive ban on fishing in surrounding ­waters (Park BS 2011, 24). Thus, the Takeshima Com­pany obtained mono­poly on all economic activities related to the islets. The rights to this mono­poly changed hands a number of times, and in 1928, they w ­ ere held by a member of the Shimane elite, Yawata Shiro, at that time a member of the Shimane Prefectural Assembly. Yawata and his partners continued to hold the mono­poly over seal hunting but leased the fishing rights to a Japa­nese colonial entrepreneur named Okumura Heitarō, who was one of the Oki residents that had moved to Ulleung Island (Hayamizu 1953, 12). As such, although it is pos­si­ble that some other fishermen from Oki did defy the mono­poly by crossing over to Takeshima and engaging in fishing or seal hunting ­there, in prewar years the rights to exploiting natu­ral resources on the islets and adjacent ­waters ­were held exclusively by a few members of the Shimane elite. In 1941, the Imperial Navy became the official administrator of the islets while maintaining Yawata’s mono­poly over the fisheries in adjacent ­waters (Shimane Prefecture 1965). Okumura, who continued to lease the rights from Yawata, continued to engage in fishing and abalone gathering u ­ ntil Japan’s defeat, mostly relying on Korean workers and divers from Ulleung (Hayamizu 1953, 14–18). According to a 1951 petition from


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Oki, between 1943 and 1948, the fishing and hunting activities on Takeshima w ­ ere conducted by only five boats and w ­ ere l­imited to kelp, sea cucumber, and abalone gathering and seal hunting (Oki Fishing Union 1951). It seems that during the war, some fishermen from Oki also occasionally fished in w ­ aters near Takeshima, defying both the navy-­imposed ban and the exclusive rights granted by the prefecture, but their number was small and the visits to Takeshima rare (Sugihara 2010). The preceding historical account comes mostly from a secret report titled “Development of Takeshima’s Fishery” (Hayamizu 1953), commissioned by MOFA’s Asia bureau in 1953, prob­ably as part of Japan’s preparations to submit the dispute to the International Court of Justice. For the purposes of this chapter, however, the evidence provided in the report clarifies the reason for referring to ­waters adjacent to Takeshima as a “new” fishing area, as well as the reasons for the timing of the first petition and the l­imited scope of the Takeshima campaign. It also explains the prevalence of the myth of Takeshima as a “trea­sure box” of maritime resources widely shared by Oki residents, despite the conclusion to the contrary made by the June 1953 investigation conducted by Shimane Prefecture’s Fisheries, Commerce and Industry Division (Park BS 2011, 29; Fukuhara 2012, 6). That is, most Oki residents never had access to Takeshima, and their perception of the islets and their resources was rather vague, prob­ably based more on rumors and stories than on personal experience. Thus, it can be surmised that the sense of deprivation by Oki residents related to their inability to access Takeshima was quite dif­fer­ent from the one experienced by ­those whose livelihoods ­were affected by the Soviet occupation. In the case of the former, it did not derive from an a­ ctual loss of property or previously frequented fishing grounds, but more from the imaginary benefits that could be gained if Takeshima ­were placed ­under Japan’s control. Most impor­tant, the depiction of pre-1945 fishing and hunting on Takeshima elucidates the prewar position of the islets in the local economy, which together with postwar developments s­ haped the campaign on Oki. In prewar years, Takeshima was an integral part of the colonial economic subzone that included Oki and the Ulleung Islands as well as other areas in mainland Japan. The economic structure of this subzone mirrored both the colonial and the domestic relations of power, with the economic activities ­there monopolized by members of the Shimane prefectural elite and colonial entrepreneurs. In March 1950, as part of the broader postwar reforms, the government passed a new fisheries law that abolished the previous system of fishing rights. U ­ nder the Meiji fisheries-­related legislation, villages held exclusive rights to fishing in adjacent ­waters. The new legislation, seeking to de­moc­ra­tize fisheries, abolished many of ­these exclusive rights and introduced a new structure u ­ nder which local governments w ­ ere to issue licenses to ­unions and individuals for fishing in vari­ous areas. It is pos­si­ble that one reason the first petition appeared only in 1951 was the desire to highlight

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Oki’s connection to Takeshima, which was prob­ably not self-­evident even to many Oki residents. This would have guaranteed the provision of fishing licenses for ­waters adjacent to the islets to Oki u ­ nions. It was only in 1953, however, a­ fter the announcement of the Rhee Line, that Shimane Prefecture formally abolished the prewar mono­ poly and indeed granted fishing rights to the Oki Fishing Union. It seems that some fishermen from Oki defied the Rhee Line and crossed over to Takeshima for abalone and kelp gathering at least ­until 1954 (Oki Kōron 1954). Most of them, however, ­were never able to enjoy this newly acquired right. Moreover, the introduction of the new fisheries legislation enabled trawlers from other prefectures to fish in Oki w ­ aters, further aggravating the economic situation on the island (Nakagawa and Wakabayashi 1965). The perception of Takeshima as a new fishing ground that could alleviate the economic hardships of Oki residents, however, remained intact throughout the immediate postwar years.

Shimane and Takeshima before the 1965 Normalization Treaty The conclusion of the Treaty of San Francisco in September 1951 and the subsequent abolition of the MacArthur Line was met with high expectations by Oki residents and manifested in a number of festive activities (Sugihara 2011) celebrating the expected “resumption of fishing on Takeshima” (Oki Town Hall HP 2012). The exact scope of ­these festivities is not clear, but the expectations for the return of Takeshima to Japan ­after “a de­cade of hiatus” ­were expressed in the national media as well. In November 1951, a vessel for a fisheries high school in neighboring Tottori Prefecture carry­ing school instructors, a reporter from Asahi Shimbun, and a camera operator made a trip to Takeshima (Asahi Shimbun 1951). In July 1952, however, due to its remote location and lack of permanent residents, Takeshima was designated by the US-­Japan Joint Commission as a special area to be used for bombing practice for US aircrafts that participated in the Korean War. Thus, although certain individual fishermen conducted trips to Takeshima, Japa­nese fishing and other vessels ­were officially prohibited from approaching the islets ­until March 1953. At that time, the territorial rights to the islets had been already subject to heated disputes by Japan and ­Korea for almost a year. Thus, the Shimane Prefectural Assembly, feeling the urgency of the issue, a­ dopted a resolution on March 10, 1953, a week before lifting of the “special area” mea­sures. Like the petitions from Oki, the unanimously ­adopted resolution carried no references to historical rights or national territory. It simply argued that the islets are an integral part of the Oki Island’s Goka village administrative area and in need of further development u­ nder the forthcoming Remote Islands Development Law. It called on the central government to recognize the importance of Takeshima as a fishing area and to take all pos­si­ble mea­sures to protect it (Shimane Prefectural Assembly 1958, 81–82). Three months ­later, prefectural


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authorities sent an investigative team to the islets to explore the potential for fisheries in adjacent w ­ aters. Contrary to the “trea­sure basket” myth prevalent on Oki, the report concluded that the economic value of the islets and adjacent w ­ aters was rather ­limited (Fukuhara 2012, 54). Moreover, in contrast to the case of the Soviet-­occupied territories, the prefectural and the central government’s positions on the Takeshima dispute w ­ ere identical. The Japa­nese government often protested what it saw as illegal occupation of the islets by ­Korea and demanded their return. ­Because of this understanding of the marginal economic value of Takeshima and the central government’s policy aimed at regaining control over the islets, the Shimane prefectural authorities’ actions in the 1950s w ­ ere quite l­ imited. In 1951, the Prefectural Assembly sent a petition to the Minister of Foreign Affairs asking confirmation of territorial rights over Takeshima and, in March 1953, passed a resolution requesting the government to continue its efforts to bring Takeshima ­under Japan’s control (Shimane Prefectural Assembly 1953, 82). The two governments also cooperated in a May 1954 attempt to establish control over the islets when they or­ga­nized a trip for Oki fishermen to Takeshima. While being guarded by Japan’s Coast Guard, the fishermen managed to harvest some kelp and abalone (Shimane Prefecture 1965). With K ­ orea’s subsequent boosting of its control over the islets, however, this was the last official attempt by Japan’s central government and local authorities to exercise their own control (Park BS 2011, 33–34). Overall, in the de­cade between the announcement of the Rhee Line and the resumption of normalization negotiations a­ fter Park Chung-­hee’s military coup in South ­Korea in 1961, the question of Takeshima was a rather minor issue on the prefectural agenda. It was occasionally mentioned in a context of a bigger prob­lem, such as the detentions and seizures of Japa­nese fishermen that crossed the Rhee Line. The negative impact of the Rhee Line on the prefecture’s commercial fisheries features in numerous prefectural documents from that time (e.g., Shimane Prefecture 1957, 167–70). In real­ity, the number of boats from Shimane Prefecture captured by the Korean Coast Guard was relatively low. Overall, during the period between the declaration of the Rhee Line and the signing of the Japan-­Korea Normalization Treaty in 1965, only 11 out of the 233 Japa­nese boats captured by the Korean Coast Guard belonged to Shimane fishing ­unions. Most impor­tant, however, all Shimane-­based boats ­were seized in ­waters far from Takeshima (Park BS 2011, 25), with only six ­percent of all the detentions of Japa­nese boats happening near the disputed islets (Shimane Prefecture 1967, 226–27; Fukuhara 2012, 70–71). Furthermore, the wording in Prefectural Politics annals for the years 1961–62 suggests that the Rhee Line and the Takeshima prob­lem ­were perceived as related but still distinct issues by the prefectural authorities (Shimane Prefecture 1963, 172). As such, the impact of the Rhee Line on prefectural fisheries was relatively small and only indirectly related to the question of owner­ship over Takeshima.

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Nevertheless, the question of Takeshima continued to appear occasionally on the prefectural agenda and was one of the key issues in Tokyo’s Korea-­related policy. The main f­actor that kept the issue on the t­able for both actors was the belief that Takeshima rightfully belonged to Japan. ­There is nothing in the available documents to suggest that ­either the central government or the prefectural authorities questioned the legality of Japan’s claims to the islets. Japan’s governmental proposal to submit the dispute to the International Court of Justice in 1954, which was rejected by the Korean government, can be seen as proof of this belief. In addition to the belief in Japan’s rightful owner­ship of Takeshima, t­here is prob­ably one more ­factor that kept the territorial issue on both the prefectural and the central government’s agendas, namely, the widespread fear that, stripped of its colonies, Japan would not be able to feed its population. The need for additional fishing grounds was an integral part of Shimane Prefecture’s narrative on Takeshima (Shimane Prefecture 1965). It was also shared by many national politicians and was one of the main rationales for the passage of the Remote Islands Development Law in 1953 (Tsunashima Seikō statement at Economic Stability Commission, House of Representatives, June 29, 1953, at NDL). This fisheries-­related anxiety was especially acute in Shimane b ­ ecause, a­ fter Japan’s defeat, its fishermen lost access to Korean ­waters (Shimane Prefecture 1965, 6). Overall, the fishing industry in colonial ­Korea was of vital importance for Japan and accounted for almost 30 ­percent of Imperial Japan’s overall annual catch. In 1939, for example, the overall catch in ­Korea’s ­waters surpassed that of the US fishing industry (Fujii 2007, 2008). Arguably, the loss of access to ­these old fishing grounds contributed to the sense of urgency to secure new fishing grounds regardless of their ­actual importance and should be seen as another productive condition that stemmed from the defeat and enabled the Takeshima campaign. Another key ­factor that kept Takeshima on the prefectural agenda was the role of a local po­liti­cal heavyweight, Nakagawa Hidemasa (Sugihara 2011a). Nakagawa, a Prefectural Assembly member from the Liberal Demo­cratic Party (LDP), served six terms in the Prefectural Assembly from 1947 ­until 1971. A one-­time chairman and vice-­chairman of the assembly, Nakagawa was a native of Oki, elected from the Oki constituency, and also owned the Oki ferry that connected the island with the mainland. In the 1950s and 1960s, he was one of the main initiators of the resolutions and petitions related to Takeshima (e.g., Shimane Prefectural Assembly 1953, 81–82). Nakagawa continued his Takeshima activism even a­ fter his retirement from politics in his capacity as chairman of the Oki Fishing Union. Existing documents do not explain the motives for Nakagawa’s devotion to the Takeshima issue. It is pos­si­ble that ­factors such as Nakagawa’s personal sense of righ­teousness or nationalism played a role in this devotion. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that Nakagawa and other members of the Oki elite tried to use the Takeshima issue strategically as a tool to obtain fiscal


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privileges for the island. For example, in 1953, a Prefectural Assembly resolution initiated by Nakagawa and another assembly member from Oki argued that Takeshima should be developed along with Oki ­under the Remote Islands Development Law (Shimane Prefectural Assembly 1953, 82). If Takeshima w ­ ere to come u ­ nder Japan’s control, it would mean an increase in the prefectural bud­get allocated to Oki. A ­later petition from October 1965, signed by Nakagawa, at that time head of the Oki Fishing Union, as well as the mayor of Oki, requested funding for large construction proj­ects on the island, such as development of the harbor and improvement of roads, as compensation for the loss of Takeshima’s fishing grounds (Nakagawa and Wakabayashi 1965). Regardless of the nature of his motives, Nakagawa was a po­liti­cal entrepreneur who played a central role in keeping the issue on the prefectural po­liti­cal agenda throughout his ­career (Sugihara 2011a).

Shimane, Tokyo, and Takeshima ­after Japan-­Korea Normalization The 1965 Agreement South ­Korea (as well as North ­Korea) was not a party to the San Francisco Peace Treaty and ­there was thus a need for a separate bilateral agreement that would normalize relations between Japan and its former colony. From 1952 onward, representatives of the two countries met to resolve the vari­ous complex issues that precluded normalization of bilateral relations, including the question of Takeshima. Resolving ­these issues proved to be impossible ­under the strongly anti-­Japanese Yi Seung-­man (Syngman Rhee), but the situation changed for the better a­ fter the advent of Park Chung-­hee, a one-­time lieutenant in the Japa­nese Imperial Army, who ruled ­Korea from the aftermath of the May 16, 1961, coup ­until his assassination in 1979 and viewed Japan’s economic assistance as vital to K ­ orea’s development. Park embarked on developing closer ties with ­Korea’s former colonial ruler almost immediately ­after the coup. On the Japa­nese side, the rapprochement was driven by the so-­called Korean lobby, a loose association of business executives and strongly anticommunist conservative politicians that formed around former prime minister Kishi Nobusuke (Roh 2008). Bureaucrats conducted the official part of negotiations, but the final agreement was ­shaped mostly through informal talks between confidants from both sides (Roh 2008; Choi 2011). Roh (2008) argues that, during the negotiations in the early 1960s, which culminated in the conclusion of the normalization treaty, the Japa­nese side came to view the rights to Takeshima as secondary to the common strug­gle with communism and the potential economic benefits of closer relations with South ­Korea. On dif­fer­ ent occasions, both sides even mentioned the possibility of blowing up the rocks as a way to resolve the territorial prob­lem (Choi 2011, 415). ­After prolonged negotiations, the two sides reached a secret agreement to shelve the territorial dispute, what Roh

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(2008, 121) calls the “non-­solution as a solution.” According to this agreement, K ­ orea was to continue administering the islets. Both governments w ­ ere to continue to hold their respective interpretations regarding their owner­ship of the islets and officially protest the other side’s claims, but also to maintain the status quo and avoid escalation of the dispute (Roh 2008, 208). Roh’s account of the negotiations and the “secret pact” is based mostly on interviews with participants in the negotiations and does not provide any official documents to support his claims. ­There are no known rec­ords of the informal talks conducted, and t­ oday both governments deny the existence of any secret agreements regarding Takeshima. The existence of such an agreement was confirmed, however, by an LDP heavyweight, Nakasone Yasuhiro, who also took part in the normalization talks (Nakasone 2012, 160–62). Moreover, t­ here is sufficient indirect evidence to suggest that the Satō Eisaku–­led LDP at the very least wanted to keep the territorial dispute on the back burner of the bilateral negotiations and away from public attention. For example, in the early 1950s, conservative MPs from Shimane often raised questions related to Takeshima in parliamentary interpolations devoted to negotiations with ­Korea. A de­cade ­later, however, none of the LDP MPs, including t­hose from the Shimane constituency, raised the issue during the numerous debates in the Diet related to normalizations talks with South ­Korea. Satō’s own statements in the Diet also testify to his desire to prevent the territorial issue from obstructing the conclusion of the treaty and to leave the solution for a f­ uture time (e.g., Satō Eisaku at House of Councilors, Plenary Session on 19.11.1965 at NDL). Another power­ful member of Satō’s faction was Takeshita Noboru, elected from Shimane Prefecture. Although the Takeshima issue had direct relevance to his constituency, Takeshita did not raise it even once during the Diet interpolations related to the treaty. Additional indirect evidence of the LDP’s desire to keep the Takeshima issue away from public attention can be found in a booklet on Japan’s territorial disputes published in the midst the of negotiations. A Story of Japan’s Territories, devoted to outlining the history of Japan’s territories ­under foreign administration, was published by the Society for Support of Compatriots in the South. ­Until the late 1960s, this organ­ization was the sole semi-­governmental agency devoted to dealing with Japan’s territorial prob­lems. The booklet details the history of Japan’s possession and its rights to Okinawa, the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands, and the Northern Territories, but Takeshima is simply omitted from the narrative (Nanpō Dōhō Engokai 1965). The most impor­tant piece of evidence regarding the demise of Takeshima’s importance in the Japa­nese central government’s agenda was prob­ably a 1962 statement by Ōno Banboku. In a December 1962 interview related to Japan-­Korea relations, Ōno suggested joint owner­ship by Japan and K ­ orea as a pos­si­ble solution to the dispute (Asahi Shimbun 1963). It should be noted that Ōno was not just another MP, but a


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close associate of Kishi Nobusuke (the leader of the “Korean lobby”). Ōno played a leading role in the bilateral negotiations and at that time also served as the vice-­ chairman of the LDP. Regardless of the mutually shared desire to foster closer ties and the secondary importance allocated to the disputed territory by leaders in both countries, they opted for a shelving agreement rather than for a final resolution to the dispute. The reasons for such a decision could be found in the domestic politics of both countries. On the Korean side, Park Chung-­hee’s dictatorial rule was perceived as illegitimate by many of his compatriots. Furthermore, his policy of rapprochement with Japan was quite unpop­u­lar in South ­Korea, and during the talks, ­there ­were numerous demonstrations against normalization of relations (Hyon 2006). As such, although not ascribing any par­tic­u­lar importance to the disputed islets, if Park had yielded to Japan’s demands, this would have led to further decrease in his domestic support and large-­scale disturbances. On the Japa­nese side, the reasons for the government’s reluctance to give up its claims to Takeshima ­were similar to ­those ­behind the escalation in the domestic Northern Territories campaign a few years ­later. It was fear of the Socialist opposition in the Diet, which, in the early 1960s, held about 30 ­percent and 25 ­percent of the seats in the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors, respectively. The Socialists generally opposed normalization of relations with Park’s regime, perceived as dictatorial and illegitimate. During the negotiations, the Socialist Party in the Diet demanded a final resolution of the Takeshima issue (Choi HS 2011, 417) and often used the territorial dispute to criticize the LDP-­led government (e.g., Nakamura Hideo comments at House of Councilors, Special Committee on Japan-­Korea Treaty, December 3, 1965, at NDL). Already in 1963, Japan’s representative to negotiations with ­Korea, Sugi Michisuke, had argued during talks with his Korean counter­parts that, although the islets w ­ ere not impor­tant, the Socialists might preclude ratification of the normalization treaty if the territorial prob­lem was not solved (cited in Choi HS 2011, 416). Furthermore, according to Roh’s interviews, Foreign Minister Ōhira and the LDP’s secretary-­general Maeo explic­itly referred to the Socialists as the reason for Japan’s continuing to insist on referring the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice (Roh 2008, 119). As such, Tokyo’s insistence on maintaining its claims to Takeshima had l­ittle to do with e­ ither nationalism or economic interests but was mostly related to the worry among the LPD politicians that the Socialist opposition might preclude ratification of the normalization treaty altogether. The conclusion of the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of ­Korea (the Basic Treaty hereafter) in June 1965 resulted in abolition of the Rhee Line, which had harmed Japan’s fishing industry and was one of the most impor­tant

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issues during the negotiations. The treaty was also accompanied by a bilateral fisheries agreement officially known as the Agreement between Japan and the Republic of K ­ orea Concerning Fisheries, which was a compromise between the Korean desire to maintain the Rhee Line and the Japa­nese demand to abolish it all together. The compromise was creation of a “joint regulation zone,” open to fishermen from both countries, between the now obsolete Rhee Line and the twelve-­miles of w ­ ater that delineated ­Korea’s “exclusive fishing zone.” This way, the Korean side could domestically maintain the claim that the Rhee Line was not abolished but only modified, while the Japa­nese side could claim that it was abolished (Roh 2008, 196–202). Most impor­tant, the joint regulation zone resolved the practical issues that stemmed from shelving the territorial dispute, as it included w ­ aters around Takeshima and enabled fishermen from Shimane and other parts of Japan to fish in the islets’ vicinity.

Origins of National Identity Entrepreneurship, Takeshima, and the Northern Territories From the perspective of Japan-­Korea relations, shelving the territorial dispute and passing the fisheries agreement provided an ideal solution to a dispute that both sides did not perceive as impor­tant to their respective national interests, but over which neither could afford to yield to the other’s demands for domestic po­liti­cal reasons. Moreover, the joint regulation zone enabled fishermen from Shimane Prefecture and other areas of Japan to engage in fishing in ­waters adjacent to Takeshima that ­were part of the zone u ­ nder Japa­nese laws and regulations. From the perspective of Shimane fishermen, the Fisheries Agreement had certain downsides. For example, some of the fishing grounds near Tsushima Island that previously w ­ ere frequented by them came now ­under Korean jurisdiction. Furthermore, the agreement stipulated quotas on fishing in the joint regulation zone. In 1965, the number of vessels from Shimane allowed to fish in the zone was ­limited to two-­thirds of the number requested (Shimane Prefecture 1967, 1217). Overall, however, the Basic Treaty and the Fisheries Agreement brought an end to seizures of Japa­nese fishing vessels, and ­until 1978 the Japa­nese ­were able to fish freely in the ­waters around Takeshima. Furthermore, in the 1960s and 1970s, the Korean fishing industry was still in a nascent stage and inferior to that of Japan. Thus, Korean fishing activities in ­waters around the disputed islets ­were ­limited mostly to kelp and abalone gathering, while the Japa­nese maintained a de facto mono­poly over fishing of squid, which was abundant in the area (Kim SH 2012, 138–42). It seems that the situation during this period was quite acceptable to Shimane’s fishing industry. For example, Takeshima-­related “territorial rights and safe fishing” petitions submitted by Shimane Prefecture to the central government in 1980s, ­after ­Korea introduced a twelve-­mile territorial ­waters restriction, urged


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the government to reverse the fishing zone around Takeshima to its “pre-­April 1978 condition” (Shimane Prefecture 1987, 8). The latter refers to the conditions established ­under the 1965 agreement which enabled Japa­nese fishing vessels to operate within the joint regulation zone including ­waters adjacent to Takeshima. Nevertheless, the Takeshima campaign in Shimane continued in the 1960s and 1970s, although in a somewhat transformed form. In February 1963, a residents’ rally was held on Oki in response to Ōno’s statement about joint owner­ship. A petition ­adopted at the rally and addressed to both the prefectural and the central governments noted the illegality of Korean occupation of the islets, although its main criticism was directed at the central government. It is h ­ ere that references to the importance of defending national territory begin to appear for the first time, but, as with the ­earlier petitions, the emphasis was on the economic importance of Takeshima’s ­waters for Oki. The petition stated that the idea of joint owner­ship was “absurd” and insulting to the residents of Oki, whose livelihood depended on the fishing industry. It thanked the prefectural authorities for their continuous engagement with the issue and called on the central government to protect the islets and surrounding ­waters, vital to the survival of Oki’s residents (Oki Association of Town and Village Assemblies 1963). Interestingly, an almost identical petition from the Prefectural Assembly, at that time headed by Nakagawa Hidemasa, to the central government was submitted a month ­earlier (Shimane Prefectural Assembly 1963). This suggests that the prefectural petition was not a response to demands from Oki residents but that the residents’ rally on Oki was prob­ably initiated and or­ga­nized by Nakagawa and his associates. As such, it could be surmised that the instrumental nature of the campaign persisted, and its main goal lay in securing additional fiscal benefits for Oki. In 1965, a number of prefectural assembly members proposed to establish an “Alliance for Securing the Territorial Rights to Takeshima.” In the final version of the proposal, “Alliance” was replaced with “Council of Prefectural Citizens.” According to the proposal, the alliance/council was to be headed by the governor of Shimane Prefecture and have an executive body comprising high-­level prefectural politicians and the heads of the prefectural fishing ­unions. Its purpose was to act as an advocacy agent aimed at mobilizing both residents of Shimane as well as the broader public in Japan and exercising direct and indirect pressure on the government “not to abandon” territorial rights to Takeshima in the pro­cess of negotiating with ­Korea (Shimane Prefectural Assembly 1965). Despite the detailed plan, however, the organ­ization did not materialize. The foregoing mea­sures could be seen as an attempt by the prefecture to exercise pressure on the government in the context of ongoing bilateral negotiations. The petitions from Oki and the Prefectural Assembly, however, continued ­after the conclusion of the Basic Treaty and the Fisheries Agreement. In 1965, a­ fter the signing of

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the Basic Treaty, Oki and the Prefectural Assembly issued a number of petitions and resolutions voicing dissatisfaction with the lack of a resolution of the Takeshima issue. The petitions again emphasized the importance of the ­waters adjacent to the islets for the fishing industry and demanded swift establishment of territorial rights over them (Shimane Prefectural Assembly 1965a). In the following years, almost annually, the prefectural authorities submitted a petition to MOFA demanding the government establish territorial rights to the islets. Arguably, the reason for this per­sis­tence can be found in the central government’s Northern Territories–­related policy. The 1965 plan for the creation of the Alliance for Securing the Territorial Rights to Takeshima suggests that Shimane po­liti­cal elites followed closely the domestic developments related to the Northern Territories dispute. The name, proposed structure, and activities envisioned in the plan suggest that the idea was strongly influenced by the Hokkaido-­based Alliance for Achieving the Return of the Northern Territories discussed in the previous chapter. If established, in form and content the two organ­ izations would have been almost identical. Overall, one of the main features of Japan’s postwar domestic politics was the competition among local governments for a greater share of the central government’s spending allocated to the vari­ous regions (Hijino 2017, 43). As discussed in the previous chapter, the central government’s Northern Territories–­related policy started to develop in the early 1960s and over the following two de­cades turned into a full-­fledged domestic campaign that included certain bud­getary allocations for Hokkaido. In contrast, in adherence to the secret agreement, Tokyo officially maintained its claims to Takeshima but ignored the issue in its domestic policy and did not allocate any bud­get to it. Hence, one could plausibly argue that the difference in attention and, hence, the bud­get allocated to the two territorial disputes, created a sense of injustice among the po­liti­cal elites in Shimane. Thus, although the main goal of the prefectural campaign continued to be instrumental, seeking additional bud­getary allocations for the prefecture, the campaign started to attain a certain ideational character, becoming an expression of prefectural identity based on a sense of injustice vis-­à-­vis Tokyo. Indeed, references to governmental policies on the Northern Territories by Shimane politicians ­were voiced explic­itly much ­later, during the deliberations that led to the Takeshima Day ordinance. Most of the petitions from Shimane in the 1970s and 1980s simply reiterated the historical and l­ egal arguments that justified Japan’s claims to the islets and demanded establishment of territorial rights over them. However, certain evidence suggests that the prefectural authorities followed the developments in the “Northern Territories” related campaign. For example, Shimane Prefecture’s Governor Tsunematsu Seiji (1975–1987) continuously opposed Tokyo’s demands to establish a prefectural organ­ization devoted to the return of the “Northern Territories.” Central government’s reluctance to engage in the Takeshima issue was the


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main justification for this opposition (Honda 2011, 422). An October 1976 petition provides a further glimpse into this sense of injustice among Shimane elites and the ­actual goal of the movement. The petition came from Oki and was signed by all the heads of local villages as well as Nakagawa Hidemasa, who had by then retired from prefectural politics but headed the Oki Fishing Union. Although the demands voiced in this petition w ­ ere not new, its main section was devoted to denouncing the sharp difference in the policies of the government related to the Northern Territories and Takeshima (Oki Town Assembly 1976).

Shimane Prefecture, Takeshima, and Economic F ­ actors In 1977, following the US and Soviet declarations of two-­hundred-­mile exclusive fishery zones, both Japan and K ­ orea declared a twelve-­mile territorial w ­ aters zone and a two-­hundred-­mile exclusive fishery zone. In this context, the question of territorial rights to Takeshima resurfaced in the domestic po­liti­cal debates of both counties and resulted in exchanges of rival claims and denouncements. Tokyo was ­eager to subdue the tensions and promptly announced the exclusion of K ­ orea (and China) from the application of the two-­hundred-­mile rule. In April 1978, however, K ­ orea proclaimed a territorial ­waters zone of twelve nautical miles around the islets. In 1978 and 1979, Japan and K ­ orea negotiated access of Japa­nese fishing vessels to the twelve-­mile area. It is unclear ­whether any kind of agreement was reached, but the dispute dis­appeared from the bilateral agenda (Kajimura 1997, 471–73). During this period, Shimane Prefecture made a number of attempts to revive the Takeshima issue and apply pressure on the government to bring it back to the negotiation ­table with K ­ orea. In February 1977, the Prefectural Assembly passed another resolution calling on the government to “maintain territorial integrity and secure safe fishing.” Its actions this time, however, ­were not ­limited to petitioning, as it also established a special committee with the purpose of developing a prefectural policy related to the two-­hundred-­mile EEZ (Shimane Prefecture 1979a). Furthermore, the prefecture planned to send a ship to “inspect” Takeshima but was ­stopped by the central government (Ishida 2001). In the same year, Shimane Prefecture established the Prefectural Council for Facilitating the Solution of Takeshima Prob­lem. As with the Council of Prefectural Citizens for Securing the Territorial Rights to Takeshima envisioned in the 1965 proposal, its purpose was to coordinate Takeshima-­related activities of the vari­ous bodies involved, such as the prefecture, municipal authorities, and fishing u ­ nions, and to engage in petitioning and enlightenment activities (Shimane Prefecture 1983). The establishment of the Prefectural Council can be seen as the starting point for educational activities conducted by the prefecture, whose previous actions w ­ ere ­limited to passing resolutions and submitting petitions to Tokyo. The educational activities included the publication and distribution of pamphlets and the construction

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of road signs that called for the return of Takeshima. They ­were directed at the prefectural residents, with the purpose of “raising residents’ awareness and deepening their understanding” of the Takeshima prob­lem (Shimane Prefecture 1983). Th ­ ere is l­ittle doubt that the prefectural Takeshima campaign was influenced by the one on the Northern Territories conducted by the central government. The correlation between the two campaigns can be observed in the resemblance of the names and missions of the bodies in charge of the campaigns, in the published materials, and in other symbolic mea­sures, such as the erection of road signs and monuments. This resemblance is particularly noticeable in the Takeshima and Northern Territories pamphlets published respectively by Shimane Prefecture and MOFA in the late 1970s. The two publications are almost identical in form and content. Both texts state that the territory in question is Japan’s “inherent territory”; both provide a brief outline of Japan’s ­legal and historical rights; both describe the economic activities conducted by Japa­nese before the seizure of the territory; and both outline the estimated richness of the islands’ marine resources (MOFA 1978; Shimane Prefecture 1979b). It may seem that this escalation of the prefectural campaign and the increase in nationalistic frames in the narrative ­were stimulated by material losses endured by its fishing industry that resulted from Korean exclusion of Japa­nese fishermen from the twelve-­mile zone around Takeshima. In June 1978, Shimane Prefecture published a report that supports this conclusion. It estimated the prefectural losses from the Korean application of the territorial sea rule to w ­ aters around Takeshima at 320 million yen (cited in Fukuhara 2012, 48). In 1979, Shimane Prefecture, for the first time in alliance with neighboring Tottori Prefecture, actively lobbied Tokyo to solve the fishing predicament and compensate for the losses suffered by the fishermen. Arguably, though, the function of references to material losses was similar to that of depictions of the islets as Japan’s inherent territory and a m ­ atter for national concern—­that is, they ­were more of a framing tool, aimed at demonstrating the injustice brought about by Tokyo’s negligence and possibly extracting some additional funding, than a reflection on the ­actual effect of ­Korea’s policy. Evidence provided by Japa­nese fishermen that approached Takeshima during this period is anecdotal and contradictory—­some have suggested that the pre-1978 arrangement was intact, but o­ thers have argued that they w ­ ere expelled from the twelve-­mile zone by Korean border guards (Kajimura 1997; Fujii 2011; Fukuhara 2012, 72). More impor­tant, however, are the statistical figures gathered by vari­ous governmental agencies. ­These suggest that the loss estimates in the prefectural report ­were grossly exaggerated and that Shimane’s fishing industry did not suffer from any major negative impacts in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Overall, from the late 1960s onward, the ­waters around Takeshima ­were impor­tant mostly to Japan’s squid-­catching industry. In 1972, ­these ­waters accounted for over


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25 ­percent of all squid catch by the Japa­nese fishermen in the western part of the Sea of Japan area and for about 40 ­percent of Shimane Prefecture’s squid catch (Fujii 2011, 85). The catch of squid in the Takeshima area started to decline by 1973, and in 1977 decreased six times from its 1972 peak. In 1977, it accounted for only 11 ­percent of the western part of the Sea of Japan area overall squid catch of Shimane Prefecture and stood at 818 ton, down from 6,317 ton in 1972 and 2,307 in 1973. ­Factors such as the migration of squid shoals and development of other fishing areas, along with rapid improvement in fishing equipment and a decrease in p­ eople engaged in fishing, could have accounted for the drop in squid catch (Fujii 2011, 90). A report published by the Chugoku Regional Agricultural Administration Office in 1984 shows that the overall squid catch for Shimane Prefecture actually increased in 1979 and reached a rec­ord of 10,258 ton in 1980 and 10,272 ton in 1981. It declined the following year, although the report suggests that the expiry of Japan’s fishing agreement with North ­Korea is to be blamed for this decrease and does not refer to the Takeshima issue at all. The report also shows that Shimane Prefecture’s catch of other fish species similarly increased in 1979 over the previous year (Chugoku Regional Agricultural Administration Office 1984, 12–18). Therefore, one can conclude that the impact of South ­Korea’s twelve-­mile exclusion zone (even if it was enforced) was far less painful for the squid and other fishing industries of Shimane than the report produced by the prefectural authorities suggests. As such, the fisheries-­related losses and the educational campaign ­were prob­ably strategies used to voice dissatisfaction with the central government, rather than a reflection on ­actual damages suffered by the prefectural fishing industry. Besides the government’s duplicity in domestic policy related to the Takeshima and the Northern Territories disputes, further reasons for dissatisfaction with Tokyo could be surmised by looking into the broader set of relations between the two governments. In 1972, Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei published his famous Remodeling of Japan’s Archipelago plan, which became the backbone of his government’s policy (Tanaka 1972). The plan envisioned industrialization and economic alleviation of underdeveloped areas of Japan through improved infrastructure and connectivity. Shimane was one of ­these areas, but the benefits it gained from the new plan ­were modest. For example, the plan for the San’in Shinkansen bullet train line that was supposed to connect Shimane’s capital of Matsue with Osaka was put on hold and had still not materialized as of 2019. In the late 1970s, Shimane’s position as one of the least developed and eco­nom­ically backward areas in Japan remained intact. Plausibly, the overall disparity in the execution of the “remodeling” plan also stimulated and ­shaped the Takeshima campaign as an attempt to draw the central government’s attention to the economic plight of the prefecture.

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The Takeshima Day Ordinance The New Fisheries Agreement and Shimane The Takeshima/Dokdo territorial dispute flared up again in the mid-1990s and culminated in the 2005 Takeshima Day ordinance, which has brought Takeshima to the center of public attention in Japan. Th ­ ere are two generally shared assumptions about this phase of the dispute. One is that it started in 1996, when both Japan and ­Korea ratified UNCLOS (e.g., Launius 2002). Another related assumption, which features prominently in the Japa­nese publications, suggests that it was dissatisfaction with the new bilateral fisheries agreement of 1998 that reignited Shimane Prefecture’s campaign and prompted it to enact the Takeshima Day ordinance (e.g., Hosaka and Togo 2012, 109). As ­will be shown, however, the pro­cesses that culminated in the Takeshima Day ordinance w ­ ere more complicated than that, and the main f­actor for passage of the ordinance was the set of drastic reforms initiated by Prime Minister Koizumi that created both the permissive and the productive conditions for its passage. Fisheries related tensions between Japan and ­Korea began to rise in the mid-1980s and had roots in the changes that took place in ­Korea’s fishing industry, which tilted the balance between the two fishing fleets in ­Korea’s ­favor. In the 1970s, Japan was still superior to ­Korea in fishing equipment and the capabilities of its boats. Thus, the number of Japa­nese vessels engaged in proximity to ­Korea exceeded the number of Korean vessels fishing in ­waters that could be designated as the Japa­nese EEZ. Therefore, the reciprocal exclusion from the application of the two-­hundred-­mile exclusive fishing zone (pre­de­ces­sor of EEZ) that took place between Japan and South ­Korea was actually beneficial to Japa­nese fishermen. The situation changed drastically in the early 1980s, however, due to rapid developments in the Korean fishing industry and the exclusion of Korean vessels from the Soviet exclusive fishing zone. This led to a rapid increase in Korean fishing activities in Japan’s coastal ­waters, including ­those off Shimane Prefecture, and frequent clashes with Japa­nese fishermen (Sankei Shimbun 1996; Commission for Comprehensive Application of 200 Miles Zone 1999, 11–12; Kataoka and Nishida 2007). ­Because of this structural change in the fisheries related “balance of power,” in the late 1980s the Japa­nese fishing u ­ nions started to seek governmental protection of their fishing grounds and initiated campaigns for the implementation of the two-­ hundred-­mile exclusive fishing zone vis-­à-­vis ­Korea and China. Shimane Fishing Union members actively participated in this campaign or­ga­nized by the All Japan Federation of Fishing Unions (Commission for Comprehensive Application of 200 Miles Zone 1999, 19–20). Within this context, the prob­lem of Takeshima, which was one of the main reasons for the reciprocal exclusion, resurfaced in the prefectural agenda. In a 1989 general policy speech, Governor Sumita Nobuo promised to appeal


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strongly to the central government to establish territorial rights over Takeshima and to implement the two-­hundred-­mile exclusive fishing zone princi­ple comprehensively (Shimane Prefectural Assembly 2001). From 1990, the prefectural “Citizens Assembly to Demand the Return of Northern Territories and Takeshima” or­ga­nized a number of Takeshima and Northern Territories “residents rallies” most of which w ­ ere held on Oki (Nikkei Shimbun 1990; Nagai 2012). In the media, t­ hese rallies ­were reported as manifestations of the local fishermen’s frustration, but it is impor­tant to remember that the Northern Territories “citizens assemblies” throughout Japan ­were fully ­under the control of their respective prefectural governments and headed by local politicians. The Shimane Citizens Assembly in the late 1990s was headed by Sasaki Yūzō, a Prefectural Assembly member from the LDP. The rallies w ­ ere or­ga­nized in cooperation with Oki’s mayor and attended by the governor or his representatives (Mainichi Shimbun 1997). As such, the rallies should prob­ably be seen as the prefectural government’s messages to Tokyo to amend its exclusive fishing zone policy and to implement it vis-­à-­vis ­Korea as well. In 1996, both Japan and K ­ orea ratified UNCLOS and declared their respective EEZs. In accordance with their claims, both countries included the disputed islets as their sovereign territory. This led again to both Japa­nese and Korean politicians arguing their respective country’s historical rights to the islets and denouncing the other side’s claims. A ­ fter two years of angry exchanges and tensions, the parties reached a solution not dissimilar to that of 1965. They agreed to separate claims of sovereignty from fisheries-­related issues and demarcated their respective quasi-­EEZs in a new fisheries agreement, signed in 1998. These quasi-EEZs, however, had an exception, which generally replicated the joint regulation zone, this time reestablished as a provisional zone. The rules that regulated the fishing activities in the new zone remained largely unchanged, but the ­actual extent of the provisional zone was one of the most difficult issues in the negotiations. From the Korean perspective, establishment of respective quasi-­EEZs was overall an unfavorable development ­because, since the late 1970s, Japan’s coastal ­waters, which ­were to be included in Japan’s exclusive zone, had become an impor­tant fishing ground for Korean fishermen (Hanafusa 1998, 11–12). Nevertheless, in September 1998, a compromise was fi­nally reached with Japan agreeing to include a large part of the Yamato Bank, which had been an impor­tant area for the crab fishing industry in West Japan, in the new provisional zone (Sankei Shimbun 1998; Takaya 1998). Japan’s compromise and the conclusion of the agreement occurred against a background of an overall sharp improvement in Japan-­Korea relations. In October 1998, only one month ­after North ­Korea’s first launch of a ballistic missile over Japan, South ­Korea’s president Kim Dae-jung visited Japan. Kim and Prime Minister Obuchi Keizō issued a historical declaration on a new partnership between the two countries for the twenty-­first c­ entury. As such, although the Japa­nese government

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realized that expansion of the provisional zone was disadvantageous to Japa­nese fishermen, it prob­ably saw it as a necessary sacrifice for maintaining the new positive “flow” in bilateral relations (Sankei Shimbun 1998a). The new agreement was unpop­ul­ar among Japa­nese fishermen, who came out strongly against the re-­creation of the joint regulation/provisional zone. Japan’s Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives continued to advocate the need to establish a comprehensive EEZ as a means to protect Japa­nese fishermen from competition with their Korean counter­parts. Representatives of Shimane fishing ­unions also took part in this campaign and came out against the separation of the territorial dispute and fisheries-­ related issues. At the same time, it seems that they ­were also quite realistic about the prospects of resolving the territorial dispute. In the midst of bilateral negotiations, in an interview with Asahi Shimbun, the chairman of the Oki Fishing Unions Federation stated that they ­were demanding a resolution of the territorial dispute, but inclusion of Takeshima in the provisional zone was the largest compromise they ­were willing to consider (Asahi Shimbun 1997). The new agreement indeed had a strong negative impact on the Oki fishing industry. As a result of exclusion from many fishing grounds in Japan’s newly created quasi-­EEZ, cases of Korean boats engaging in illegal fishing in w ­ aters near Oki, just outside of the provisional zone’s line, became frequent (Japan Fisheries Agency 2012). Statistical data collected by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries show that between 1999 and 2003 the crab catch of Oki fishermen declined by 50 ­percent and the overall catch declined by 30 ­percent (Chugoku Shikoku Regional Agricultural Administration Office 1999, 176; 2005, 4). This decline in overall catch could possibly have additional reasons unrelated to Korean incursions, but nevertheless the new fisheries agreement did enhance the sense of dissatisfaction with the central government among Oki fishermen (Yamashita 2017, 19) With the exception of Oki, however, the a­ ctual impact of the new fishing agreement on Shimane Prefecture is rather complex. Officials from the prefecture’s Fishery Division suggested that for the prefecture as a ­whole, the new agreement has brought both benefits and harm. ­Because of the new agreement, the maritime zone corresponding to the EEZ was extended to thirty-­five nautical miles. This led to a sharp reduction in Korean fishing boats in w ­ aters near the prefecture’s shores (Anonymous A 2013; also Yamashita 2017, 16). Two years ­after the agreement came into force, the head of the prefectural Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department noted the prob­lems inside the provisional zone but stated that ­there was significant improvement in the fishing conditions inside the informal EEZ, with an average of 20 ­percent increase in catch from the pre-­agreement period (Inada Hikaru at Shimane Prefectural Assembly Regular Meeting 27.02.20041 at SPAA). Besides the above-­noted impact on Oki, the harm has been felt mostly in the crab industry (Anonymous A 2013;


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Anonymous B 2013). The crab industry occupies quite an impor­tant place in the neighboring Tottori Prefecture’s fishing industry (Tottori 2008). However, it is relatively unimportant for Shimane, where the overall number of fishermen engaged in crab catching is very ­limited and the number of crab-­catching boats is less than a dozen (Shimane Prefecture 2001). Furthermore, it is impor­tant to remember that fisheries overall have come to play a minor role in Shimane Prefecture’s economy. In 2003, for example, fisheries accounted for only 0.7 ­percent of the prefecture’s gross product (Development Bank of Japan 2006, 19). Moreover, a closer look at the petitions submitted by Shimane Prefecture to the government show that it was only ­after the passage of the Takeshima Day ordinance that the issues related to the fisheries agreement and Takeshima came to be presented as interrelated. For example, in 2002, Shimane Prefecture submitted two separate petitions. One, submitted to MOFA, repeated the years-­long demand for establishing the territorial rights to Takeshima (Shimane Prefecture 2002, 1). The other petition, submitted to MOFA but also other agencies, outlined the damage suffered by the prefecture’s fishing industry as a result of the new Japan-­Korea fishing agreement and demanded enforcement mea­sures that would prevent abuses by Korean fishermen in the provisional zone. It did not refer, however, to the Takeshima issue (Shimane Prefecture 2002, 44). It was only from 2006 onward, a­ fter the passage of the Takeshima Day ordinance, that Shimane started to include references to the new fishing agreement in its Takeshima campaign and the two issues became linked in the prefecture’s petitions and other activities (e.g., Shimane Prefecture 2006). As such, although the agreement indeed had a certain negative impact on the prefectural fishing industry and exacerbated the feeling of injustice among Oki fishermen, it should not be seen as the main f­ actor b­ ehind the 2005 Takeshima Day ordinance. As shown below, the ordinance was mostly a manifestation of a broader crisis in the prefecture’s relations with Tokyo.

Background to the Takeshima “Coup d’État” The passage of the Takeshima Day ordinance by the Shimane Prefectural Assembly in March 2005 was dubbed by one of Japan’s scholars-­cum-­activists in the Takeshima issue as a coup d’état of Shimane Prefecture against the central government and the LDP headquarters (Shimojo 2012). Some caveats need to be kept in mind when considering this evaluation. Most of the initiators of the ordinance w ­ ere also members of the LDP, some of whom had strong personal connections to influential core members of the party. Furthermore, neither the prefectural lawmakers that initiated the ordinance nor, prob­ably, the LDP elders that opposed it fully anticipated the extent of domestic attention and Korean reaction to the ordinance. Nevertheless, referring to passage of the ordinance as a “coup” is not as much of a gross exaggeration as it

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may seem. This was prob­ably the first time in Shimane-­Tokyo Takeshima-­related interactions that the center openly tried and failed to prevent the prefecture from initiating a Takeshima-­related policy. Moreover, its domestic effects and its short-­term impact on bilateral relations w ­ ere not dissimilar to t­ hose of the 2010 Chinese trawler incident (Smith 2015, 190–219). Both cases led to fierce reaction of the other side and created a crisis in bilateral relations. In both cases, the widely shared perception of the government failing to ­handle the crisis led to an eruption in the nationalist media and fierce critique from right-­wing pundits and activists, rallying around “national territory.” The remaining part of this section provides an outline of the events that culminated in the passage of the ordinance, with the f­ actors that brought about this “coup” examined in the following section. In 2002, amid fisheries-­related tensions and provoked by the Korean governmental plans to establish a national park on Takeshima, the League of Shimane Prefectural Assembly Members for Establishing Territorial Rights over Takeshima was formed. During the same time, the heads of villages and fishing u ­ nions on Oki Island formed the Oki Association for Establishing Territorial Rights over Takeshima. Together with the Citizens’ Assembly and the Oki Association, the league or­ga­nized a “citizens’ rally” on Oki in 2003 ­under the title “Come Back, Islands and Seas!” The rally participants included a high-­ranking LDP members of Parliament and representatives from MOFA and the Fisheries Agency. In their speeches, numerous local politicians, including Governor Sumita, expressed their dissatisfaction with the government’s negligence of the Takeshima issue and argued for the need to have a “national movement” for the return of Takeshima similar to the one for the Northern Territories (Citizens Rally for the Return of Northern Territories and Takeshima 2003). Comparable sentiment was voiced by one of the local LDP heavyweights, Jōdai Yoshiro, the secretary-­general of the League and ­later one of the initiators of the Takeshima Day ordinance. At the Prefectural Assembly meeting that took place the day ­after the rally, he stated that “it is desirable to have a national Takeshima Day similarly to the Northern Territories Day, as a tool in enhancing the national movement [for the return of Takeshima]” (Shimane Prefectural Assembly Regular Meeting 16.11.2003 at SPAA). In other words, the prefectural elites reiterated the decades-­old grievance regarding the discrepancy in the government’s policy related to the two disputes. This was also the first time that the idea of Takeshima Day was voiced and the starting point for the prefectural ordinance. In early 2004, the Korean government announced a plan for the issue of a Dokdo memorial stamp. This prompted the Prefectural Assembly to escalate its Takeshima actions. Importantly, however, the anger of the prefectural authorities was directed at the central government, rather than at K ­ orea. Furthermore, the Northern Territories have become the main point of reference for Prefecture’s subsequent demands from Tokyo. Thus, although the Memorandum on Territorial Rights to Takeshima a­ dopted


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by the Prefectural Assembly on March the 4, 2004, does mention Korean actions, its main focus is on the government of Japan. It demanded the establishment of an official organ­ization similar to the Northern Territories Mea­sures Headquarters ­under the Cabinet Office, enactment of a national Takeshima Day, inclusion of the Takeshima issue in history textbooks, and governmental efforts to create a “national movement” for the return of Takeshima (Shimane Prefectural Assembly 2004). In October and December, Governor Sumita traveled to Tokyo to convey ­these demands to the government. MOFA bureaucrats and LDP heavyweights, including Abe Shinzō (then the party’s Acting Secretary-General), however, ­were against the initiative and turned down Shimane’s request for a national Takeshima Day (Asahi Shimbun 2005; Yokota 2005). At that time, the LDP heavyweights likely did not see any reason to breach the above-­mentioned tacit agreement, as they did not want to further aggravate Japan’s relations with ­Korea, which ­were already tense ­after Prime Minister Junichirō Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni Shrine. ­After the government’s refusal to yield to t­ hese demands, the memorandum became the basis for the Takeshima Day ordinance. Despite pressure from MOFA not to proceed with the ordinance (Sankei Shimbun 2005), it was a­ dopted almost unanimously on March 16, 2005, by the Prefectural Assembly, which designated February 22, the day that the islets ­were officially incorporated into the prefecture in 1905, as Prefectural Takeshima Day. In the same year, the prefecture established the Takeshima Prob­lem Research Group headed by Shimojo Masao, a professor at Takushoku University and an ardent supporter of the Takeshima cause. The group, which continues its activities t­oday, is composed mainly of local intellectuals, and its main purpose is to engage in research of the Takeshima prob­lem and related issues. The Group’s publications, which can be viewed on the prefectural website, are generally supportive of Japan’s claims. Two years ­after passage of the ordinance, the prefectural authorities built the Takeshima Reference Room on the grounds of the prefectural governmental compound, with exhibits related to the islets and evidence of Japan’s rightful owner­ship. By that time, however, the Takeshima issue was already in the fore of the public debate in Japan, propelled by the wide media coverage of the ordinance and ­Korea’s fierce reaction.

The Critical Juncture of the Early 2000s and the Takeshima Day Ordinance As already noted, Shimane’s dissatisfaction with the new fisheries agreement is usually considered the main f­ actor in the passage of the ordinance. Indeed, the fisheries agreement, as well as certain symbolic actions of the Korean government, exacerbated the Takeshima-­related sense of injustice directed at the central government that existed among the prefectural elites. As demonstrated above, however, the negative impact

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of the new fisheries agreement on Shimane was rather ­limited. The citizens’ rallies and similar events ­were or­ga­nized by the prefectural authorities and cannot be seen as a source of pressure on the Prefectural Assembly. Moreover, before passage of the ordinance, the fisheries treaty and Takeshima ­were perceived as interrelated but separate issues by the prefectural authorities. Thus, the most impor­tant ­factors that triggered and enabled the “coup” lie elsewhere. To fully understand them requires examining some impor­tant structural transformations that took place in Shimane’s relations with Tokyo and inside the LDP in the early 2000s. Koizumi Junichirō became Japan’s prime minister ­after a surprising defeat of the head of the LDP’s most power­ful faction, Hashimoto Ryūtarō, in the LDP presidential elections of April 2001. Koizumi was considered an eccentric and an outsider inside the LDP, but in the presidential elections he managed to mobilize party members not affiliated with major factions and gained exceptional popularity among the general public. Koizumi came to power with a revolutionary agenda and a leading slogan of “destruction of the LDP.” Obviously, Koizumi did not intend to altogether abolish a party that he headed, and the meaning of “destruction” relates to the par­tic­u­lar structure of the LDP before Koizumi’s ascendance. Since the LDP’s creation in 1955, factions that formed around power­ful politicians have dominated the party, and impor­tant policy issues ­were de­cided through behind-­the-­scenes negotiations among the faction leaders. In 1972, the Satō (Eisaku) faction came ­under the leadership of Tanaka Kakuei and became the strongest faction within the LDP. In 1987, its name changed to the Takeshita faction (also known as Keiseikai), but its central role in the party governance remained intact. In 1992, the Takeshita faction split into two (the Ozawa group and the Obuchi group) as the result of growing dissatisfaction with Ozawa Ichirō, who by that time became the most power­ful figure in the faction. The importance of the factions somewhat fell into demise ­after the 1994 electoral system reform (Kitaoka 1995), but Keiseikai bosses continued to play a central role in the LDP ­after the split and the elections reforms throughout the 1990s. For example, ­until Koizumi’s ascendance, all of the prime ministers (except for the brief period of the Socialist Murayama) w ­ ere from the former Takeshita faction. As such, the “destruction of LDP,” one of the main slogans of Koizumi, who originated from a rival LDP faction (Seiwakai/Fukuda faction), should not be understood literally. It did not mean an ­actual de­mo­li­tion of the LDP as a party but implied disempowerment of the Keiseikai (Kabashima and Steel 2007, 79; Nonaka 2008, 60). In addition to intraparty restructuring, another drastic reform championed by Koizumi was the decentralization of the government. The pro­cess had been initiated in 1992 by then-­prime minister Hosokawa Morihiro. In 1994, the Local Autonomy Law was amended in such a way that it strengthened the authority of the municipalities. In 1995, the Decentralization Law was enacted, and this was


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followed by the establishment of the Commission for Promotion of Decentralization, whose purpose was to recommend to the government the exact mea­sures that would enable decentralization (Muramatsu 2010, 31–32). In 1999, the Comprehensive Decentralization Law, which introduced 475 ­legal amendments to the vari­ous laws that governed relations between the central government and the local autonomies came into force. ­These amendments further enhanced the powers of local authorities and their relative in­de­pen­dence from the central government. In 2001, however, Koizumi initiated further and comprehensive decentralization ­under the name of a “trinity reform.” The purpose of the reform was to enhance the bud­getary in­de­pen­dence of local governments through the abolition of state subsidies, relocation of tax revenues from the center to the local authorities, and revision of the local allocation tax. Thus, in the name of deregulation and self-­sufficiency of the regions, central government subsidies and grants to the regions declined sharply. Overall, the decentralization and fiscal reforms had a double effect on intergovernmental relations in Japan. On the one hand, they resulted in the decoupling of the previously integrated interests and incentives of national and local governments (Hijino 2017, 6). The reforms not only weakened the de­pen­dency of local governments on the center and “partisan linkages” between the two levels (Hijino 2017, 30) but also led to growing divergence in interests between two governments. On the other hand, the abolition of the state’s subsidies resulted in a “fiscal shock” in many of the prefectures whose bud­get was heavi­ly dependent on the subsidies. Not surprisingly, many local governments strongly opposed the reforms, arguing they w ­ ere an abandonment of the regions by the center (Hijino 2017, 5). An additional reform initiated by Koizumi, which turned out to be the most controversial one, was the privatization of Japan Post. Koizumi’s plan to privatize this mammoth organ­ization, which had almost forty thousand employees, had been one of the main power bases on the LDP and had close links with Keiseikai, split the party into two rival camps. Privatization of Japan Post, however, was one of the main goals of Koizumi’s po­liti­cal c­ areer, and despite the mounting opposition from inside the LDP, he showed no signs of giving up. As the prime minister, Koizumi first declared the privatization of Japan Post the most impor­tant issue on his cabinet’s agenda in September 2003 and the following April created the Postal Privatization Preparation Room within the Cabinet Office. The strug­gle within the LDP between Koizumi and the opponents of privatization reached its peak in late 2005, culminating in the September Lower House “postal elections,” in which Koizumi’s opponent suffered a crushing defeat. However, already by 2004, the LDP was divided into two rival camps over the issue (Nonaka 2008, 85–98). The relationship between the critical juncture in Japan’s domestic politics created by Koizumi’s radical reforms and Shimane’s Takeshima Day ordinance is not

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an obvious one. Arguably, though, the reforms created both the permissive and the productive conditions for the emergence of the ordinance and its passage. In terms of the latter, the role of Koizumi’s reforms was not dissimilar to the conservative’s attempts to wrestle the control over Hokkaido from the Socialist Tanaka in the 1950s. Specifically, the “trinity reforms” and the Japan Post privatization plan significantly enhanced the sense of deprivation and dissatisfaction with the center among the local elites. Shimane was one of the prefectures most significantly affected by the decentralization reform. Throughout the postwar de­cades, Shimane continually had one of the lowest income per capita figures among Japan’s prefectures and had been heavi­ly dependent on governmental subsidies. In the 1980s and 1990s, for example, Shimane had one of the highest levels of central government subsidies per capita (e.g., Shimane Prefecture 1986), and the cut in subsidies dealt a severe blow to the prefectural bud­get (Shimane Prefecture 2014, 68). In areas most dependent on ­these subsidies, such as Oki Island, it was felt even more painfully (San’in Chūō Shimpō 2004) and further increased dissatisfaction with the center. The postal privatization plan was strongly opposed by many of the Shimane LDP heavyweights. In many ways, this was part of a broader trend of growing discrepancies between the LDP leadership and local chapters on impor­tant policy initiatives that began in the early 2000s. Postal privatization was one of the most divisive issues, with twenty six LDP prefectural branches voting against the 2005 bill (Hijino 2017, 57–72). The LDP’s prefectural chapter did vote in support of Koizumi in the 2003 LDP’s presidential elections, but this was mostly a result of pressure and promises from one of the LDP bosses, Aoki Mikio, elected from one of Shimane’s districts (Yamashita 2017, 25). In June 2004, the LDP-­dominated Prefectural Assembly a­ dopted a resolution opposing the privatization plan. Among the opponents was Jōdai Yoshirō—­one of the initiators of the Takeshima Day ordinance who also had a close connection to the local citizens’ group named the Association for Protecting Prefectural Territory Takeshima, established in the same year. During the Prefectural Assembly meeting in September 2004, which took place one month before Governor Sumita’s unfruitful trip to Tokyo, Jōdai harshly criticized the privatization plan as potentially leading to a decrease in postal ser­vices in the countryside and bringing about further rural depopulation. Importantly, in the same speech, Jōdai also criticized the governmental policy related to Takeshima and voiced a demand for including the Takeshima issue in the school curriculum, as well as for the enactment of a national Takeshima Day (Shimane Prefectural Assembly Regular Meeting 16.09.2004 at SPAA). As such, in 2004, Shimane Prefecture ­adopted a strategy not dissimilar to the one implemented by Hokkaido Prefecture in the early 1950s. It was in a conflict with the center and de­cided to utilize the territorial dispute as another tool to criticize the central government. Ironically, however, although Hokkaido Prefecture in the early 1950s, as well


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as Osaka City in the early 2010s (Shen 2014), utilized the territorial disputes with the USSR and China, respectively, to pursue further autonomy from the center, Shimane Prefecture used Takeshima for the opposite reason—to rail against Tokyo’s perceived abandonment of the regions. Koizumi’s reforms created not only the crisis to which the Takeshima Day ordinance responded but also the permissive conditions that enabled its passage. That is, the radical transformations inside the LDP and the internal strug­gle over the Japan Post privatization severely weakened the party’s crisis management mechanisms. Thus, one of the side effects of the reforms was the destabilization of the intraparty governance, which created an opportunity for the LDP-­dominated Prefectural Assembly to adopt an ordinance strongly opposed by the party’s headquarters. ­There is no direct evidence to suggest that in the past LDP leaders had obstructed any Takeshima-­related initiatives of the Shimane Prefectural Assembly members. At the same time, it can be argued that the importance of consensus in policy making (Nonaka 2008, 134–36), the emphasis on solidarity, and the strict top-­down relations that characterized Keiseikai (Ferkov 1997), as well as the importance of the party in mobilizing funding for politicians, made the emergence of any local-­level initiative that went against the party policy structurally impossible. Factional politics have long been blamed as the source of corruption and pork barreling in Japan’s politics, but at the same time, the factions have contributed greatly to the effective management of the LDP as an organ­ization, most notably in the functions of crisis management and information channeling (Park CH 2001, 444; Nonaka 2008, 116–22). Koizumi’s reforms—­most notably the concentration of policy making in the Prime Minister’s Office, as opposed to the previous center of gravity, located in the offices the faction’s leaders, and the ongoing strug­gle over the privatization of Japan Post—­have significantly weakened the party’s crisis management capability. As such, the collapse of the intraparty governance brought by Koizumi’s reforms can be seen as the key ­factor that enabled a group of prefectural LDP lawmakers to initiate and pass an ordinance that went again the existing party policy. To summarize, the “Takeshima coup,” which was the culmination of Shimane Prefecture’s decades-­long campaign, utilized the territorial dispute to respond and express its discontent with the perceived failure of the state in its relations with the periphery. In a somewhat ironic fashion, this “coup” was also enabled by Koizumi’s own “coup” inside the LDP headquarters.

The Association for Protecting Prefectural Territory Takeshima The Prefectural Assembly was not the only national identity entrepreneur in the Takeshima Day campaign. In May 2004, a citizens’ group called the Association for Protecting Prefectural Territory Takeshima (hereafter the Association) was established in Shimane’s prefectural capital, Matsue. ­Today, according to the Association’s

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own estimates, it has about one thousand members nationwide. The Association has become the first and only actor devoted to the Takeshima cause consisting solely of common residents, without formal connections to local-­or national-­level politicians. The leaders of the Association attribute the passage of the Takeshima Day ordinance almost entirely to their lobbying activities directed at the prefectural authorities and demonstrations on the streets of the prefectural capital (Kajitani 2014; Suwabe 2015). However, it seems that the Association’s ­actual role in the pro­cess was more modest and it was more of a by-­product of the prefectural Takeshima campaign rather than its driving engine. According to a former chairman of the Prefectural Assembly and one of the ordinance’s initiators, the ordinance was introduced by the Federation of Prefectural Assembly Members for Establishing Territorial Rights over Takeshima, and the Association’s role was rather marginal (Hara 2013). Moreover, during the ordinance-­related discussions in the Prefectural Assembly, certain assembly members used the existence of the Association more as evidence of public support for such an initiative rather than as its cause (Shimane Prefectural Assembly Regular Meeting 16.09.2004 at SPAA). Even more impor­tant, the Association’s first petition to Shimane’s governor was not submitted ­until September 2004 (Kawatani 2004), when the Takeshima issue was already in the center of the prefectural agenda and about six months ­after the Prefectural Assembly had ­adopted the Takeshima-­related memorandum discussed above. Thus, although the exact role of the Association in the initiation of the passage remains unclear, it seems that its creation was a result of the national identity entrepreneurship strategy deployed by the prefectural authorities rather than the other way around. ­After the ordinance’s passage in March 2005 and the subsequent rise in public interest in the issue, it gained its relative importance as evidence of public support for the Takeshima cause. ­Today, the Association is led by Suwabe Yasutaka, a local Shinto priest, and Kajitani Mariko, a h ­ ouse­wife, who took over from her husband a­ fter his death in 2014 (Kajitani 2014). The first head of the Association, however, was Hayashi Tsunehiko, also a native of Shimane, but, according to his profile on Japan’s Sakura Channel website, he has a long history of involvement with the nationalist Japan Conference organ­ization. ­Today, Hayashi leads another Shimane-­based conservative organ­ization that campaigns against the government’s apologizing to the so-­called comfort w ­ omen (Sakura Channel 2013). All of the core members of the Association are from mainland Shimane. The exact reasons for replacing Hayashi with Suwabe in 2009 as the head of the Association are not clear, but possibly it was done to distance the Association from the openly nationalistic Japan Conference. None of the core members of the Association are fishermen by trade, have any economic interests in Takeshima, or w ­ ere affected by Koizumi’s reforms, and thus the ­factors that led to the establishment of the Association


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are ideational. According to Kajitani Mariko, secretary general of the Association, their activism is aimed at tackling a “national crisis,” the weathering away of the Takeshima issue from Japan’s collective memory and governmental policy (Yamagiwa 2005, 84). The group is no doubt located on the conservative side of the po­liti­cal spectrum and in terms of its ideological beliefs is not dissimilar to t­ hose new nationalist advocates that emerged in Japan during the Senkaku/Diaoyu crisis of the early 2010s (Smith 2015, 55). However, the Association explic­itly distances itself from openly racist organ­ izations such as the Association for Abolishing Special Rights of Korean Residents (Zaitokukai) and other right-­wing groups that have embraced the Takeshima cause. Thus, it should not be seen simply as a new member in Japan’s right-­wing movement. Initially, the group was involved in petitioning activities related to ­people abducted by North K ­ orea. According to the Association’s current chairman, the group de­cided to focus on Takeshima ­after they ­were expelled from the National Association for Saving ­Those Kidnapped by North ­Korea for breaching the nonpartisanship rule and supporting a local politician (Suwabe 2015). The Association’s first action was to create postcards depicting Takeshima in response to Japan Post’s refusal to print a Takeshima stamp. This initiative proved to be quite a hit with the conservative audience in Japan, and the Association received over two thousand o­ rders from across the country to purchase the postcard set and become a member (Yamagiwa 2005, 83). In 2004 and 2005, the group, whose members per­sis­ tently refer to themselves as “regular citizens,” often paraded on the streets of Matsue using loudspeakers to announce the belonging of Takeshima to Japan. Operating on a rather modest annual bud­get of approximately one million yen that comes from membership fees and donations, the Association organizes vari­ous Takeshima-­related events, such as talks, seminars, and gatherings in Shimane and beyond and submits petitions to the Prefectural Assembly and the national Diet. The Association also publishes a newsletter called Takeshima News, which pre­sents vari­ous developments related to Takeshima in both Japan and K ­ orea (Kendo Takeshima o mamoru kai 2011). The demands voiced by the Association and directed at the central government are identical to ­those of the Shimane Prefecture—­firmer governmental stance on the territorial issue, submission of the dispute to the International Court of Justice, enactment of a national Takeshima Day, nationwide educational activities on the Takeshima issue, and establishment of a governmental agency similar to the one in charge of the Northern Territories (Kajitani 2014; Suwabe 2015a). Its main role, however, seems to be more performative rather than that of an active and in­de­pen­dent player in shaping the Takeshima-­related narrative on the prefectural and national levels. Petitions, talks, participation at vari­ous Takeshima-­related events, and citations of the activists by the conservative media create a semblance of active public support for the Takeshima cause and serve as a source of legitimization of prefectural and governmental policies.

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As discussed previously, the Association can be seen largely as a by-­product of the prefecture’s Takeshima campaign and its legitimation strategy. To fully understand the broader structural f­ actors that led to its creation, however, requires looking into two impor­tant, interrelated developments in Japan’s po­liti­cal discourse. ­These are the mainstreaming of historical revisionism and the rise to the fore of the North ­Korea abductees’ issue. Historical revisionism is not a new phenomenon in Japan and has existed in vari­ ous forms since the early days of the postwar era. However, the emergence of “liberal historiography” and its main advocate, the Japa­nese Society for Historical Textbooks Reform (JSHTR) in the mid-1990s, brought conservative historical revisionism from the fringes of society to the center of public debate on Japan’s not-­so-­distant past. “Liberal historiography” was very much a post–­Cold War phenomenon that appeared in the ideological vacuum created by the retreat of the leftist ideology as the main framework for critique against the mainstream (Oguma and Ueno 2003, 35–39). JHSTR, which has become one of the main agents of the revisionist interpretation of Japan’s past, was formed in 1996 and included a number of scholars from prestigious universities. Its main mission was to correct what t­ hese scholars argued to be a “masochistic view” of Japan’s colonial past and war­time actions that prevailed in history textbooks. In the late 1990s, JHSTR published a series of books titled History That Textbooks Do Not Teach, in which they provided a somewhat nuanced but nevertheless generally whitewashed account of Japan’s modern history. Numerous books, articles, and comics followed, and eventually JHSTR published a textbook that advocated a similar view of Japan’s past and questioned the validity of existing historical narratives and demands for apologies and repentance that came from K ­ orea, China, and other countries. This wave of historical revisionism in Japan has been extensively examined in English-­language academia (e.g., Hicks 1997; Hein and Selden 2000; Beal et al. 2001; Nelson 2002; Clifford 2004; Saaler 2005), and I ­will refrain from repeating the arguments h ­ ere. From the perspective of Takeshima activism in Shimane, the most impor­tant structural transformation in Japan’s public discourse that followed this wave was the removal of the “right-­wing” label from the revisionist critique and its mainstreaming, epitomized by the 2001 approval of a JHSTR textbook by the Ministry of Education. In discussions with the author, the leaders of the Association often referred to JHSTR and similar publications as a source of “proper” historic knowledge that functions as the basis of their activism. Like participants in JHSTR-­organized study groups (Oguma and Ueno 2003, 196–97), members of the Association also often refer to themselves as “normal citizens” (Clauss and Bukh 2016), thereby creating the identity of a “normal Japa­nese” person as opposed to both left-­wing and more radical right-­ wing activists. It is definitely pos­si­ble to see the Association as another manifestation


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of post–­Cold War grassroots conservativism, which, despite the existence of a certain common vocabulary and a set of antagonists, lacks coherent ideology (Oguma and Ueno 2003, 209–20). In the case of the Association, “territory” replaces ideology and provides a certain illusion of coherence and identity. In this sense, members of the Association share certain common traits with their Korean counter­parts, as discussed in the following chapter. Another ideational ­factor to be considered is the North ­Korea abductions issue, which was the initial trigger that brought the members of the Association together. The rumors about Japa­nese citizens being abducted by North Korean agents from certain areas in Japan circulated for de­cades. In October 2002, however, during Prime Minister Koizumi’s visit to North K ­ orea, its leader, Kim Jong-il, admitted to the abductions, and the issue immediately gained dominance in the domestic po­liti­cal discourse. As a result, groups formed by parents of the abductees, ­until then ignored by the establishment, gained national recognition. Through alliances with right-­wing activists and right-­leaning politicians inside the LDP, they managed to push the abductions issue to the fore of Japan’s po­liti­cal agenda. In the 2000s, the abductions issue came to dominate Japan’s North ­Korea policy, overshadowing the concerns related to North ­Korea’s nuclear weapons development (Samuels 2010; Williams and Mobrand 2010; Hagstrom and Hanssen 2015). The importance of the abductions issue for Takeshima activism lies beyond its contribution to the formation of the Association. Besides further enhancing both the mainstreaming of revisionist agenda and the dissatisfaction with the government’s somewhat passive approach to international affairs, it has also provided an example of a successful conservative national identity entrepreneurship. The obvious similarity between the arguments about the government’s inaction in regard to kidnapped citizens and occupied “national territory” made the transition from the abductions issue to Takeshima almost natu­ral (Kajitani cited in Clauss and Bukh 2016) when the latter resurfaced in the prefectural po­liti­cal agenda.

Tokyo’s Response The case of Takeshima is quite dif­fer­ent from that of the Soviet-­occupied territories examined in the previous chapter. During the five de­cades of Japan’s rule, the islets had no permanent population, ­there was no private property on the islets, and Japa­nese entrepreneurs who resided on K ­ orea’s Ulleung Island conducted most of the economic activities t­here and in the surrounding w ­ aters. A ­ fter Japan’s defeat, the mono­poly over economic activities on Takeshima and in adjacent w ­ aters was abolished, and in 1953, Shimane Prefecture granted the fishing rights in Takeshima w ­ aters to Oki fishing ­unions. As the result of ­Korea’s de facto control over the islets, Oki fishermen ­were never able to enjoy ­these rights, and therefore their exact value, and thus the damage suffered from the inability to exercise them, was never established. While the

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prefectural authorities published a number of studies that estimated both the value of the ­waters adjacent to Takeshima and damages resulting from Korean mea­sures, ­there is no evidence to suggest that they demanded a financial compensation from the central government. The petitions that came from the prefecture and occasionally from Oki ­were rather general, as they demanded the government to secure territorial rights over the islets and surrounding ­waters and enable safe fishing. From the early postwar days, Tokyo’s position on Takeshima was identical to that of Shimane Prefecture. During the peace treaty negotiations, the government actively lobbied US officials to allocate Takeshima to Japan. However, ­after the announcement of the Rhee Line, which unilaterally designated Takeshima as Korean territory, the only pos­si­ble way to bring the islets u ­ nder Japan’s control would have been by force. In the early 1950s, Japan’s government made a number of attempts to challenge K ­ orea’s administration of the islets, but t­ here is no evidence to suggest that it ever considered a military option. Coast Guard patrol boats did approach Takeshima at least u ­ ntil 1964, and, based on their reports of Korean activities on the islets, the government submitted formal protests to ­Korea (Shimane Prefecture 1965). In 1955, Prime Minister Hatoyama Ichirō did note that Japan could potentially use its right to self-­defense against K ­ orea’s illegal occupation of the islets but also stated that diplomatic negotiations ­were the most appropriate way to resolve the dispute (cited in Fujii 2013). Bearing in mind that Japan had just regained its in­de­pen­dence and was recovering from a major defeat, and at the same time was a de facto ally of the United States and South K ­ orea in the Korean War, a military option was all but inconceivable. During the thirteen years that had passed since the announcement of the Rhee Line and the normalization of relations with South ­Korea in 1965, Japan’s fishing industry sustained significant damage from the seizure of boats and detention of fishermen by South ­Korea. Overall, 328 vessels w ­ ere seized, 3,929 crewmen detained, and 44 killed or injured during this period (Sugihara 2012). As with the seizures and detentions by the Soviet authorities in the vicinity of the Kurile Islands, the government established a low-­rate insurance policy for crew members and provided “sympathy money” to their families while they w ­ ere in detention (Minister Kōno Ichirō at Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Committee, House of Representatives, 9.12.1955 at NDL). The prob­lem of Rhee Line–­related detentions, however, was that it was a broad issue that appealed to numerous domestic actors, but, as discussed above, its relevance to Takeshima and Shimane Prefecture was quite ­limited. During the negotiations of the Japan-­Korea Basic Treaty and the Fisheries Agreement in the early 1960s, Japan’s position on Takeshima was s­ haped mostly by domestic po­liti­cal calculations that had l­ittle to do with Shimane’s petitions. The suggestion for the creation of the joint regulation zone came from the Korean side, and Japa­nese negotiators ­were mostly concerned with w ­ aters near K ­ orea’s Jeju Island, which w ­ ere


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abundant in fish, rather than the ­waters around Takeshima (Roh 2008, 196–202). In the de­cades that followed the conclusion of the Basic Treaty, the successive cabinets generally adhered to the “secret agreement.” Not only did they do ­little to accommodate any Takeshima-­related demands, but they possibly even worked to stop the prefectural authorities from pursuing certain initiatives, such as the 1977 plan to send an inspection ship to the islets. In 1998, a­ fter the conclusion of the new fisheries agreement with K ­ orea, and ­because of strong opposition to it by the Federation of Fishing Unions, the government initiated a plan of extensive assistance to ­those fishermen affected by the agreement, and, two years l­ater, by a similar one with China. The assistance has been executed through the Foundation for Promotion of Fisheries and Countermea­sures Related to New Japan-­Korea Fisheries Agreement. In 2000, Japan-­China was added to the name of the Foundation. Located in a small office in central Tokyo and staffed by only five officers, most of whom come from the Federation of Fishing Unions, which has its headquarters in the same building, as of 2016 the foundation had a rather impressive annual bud­get of over three billion yen (Foundation for Promotion of Fisheries and Countermea­sures Related to Japan-­Korea and Japan-­China Agreements 2017). The formal purpose of the foundation is to assist fishermen whose livelihoods have been affected by the two agreements and to contribute to the protection of fisheries resources. The foundation does not provide compensation per se but pays about twenty-­five thousand yen per day to fishermen for collecting fishing equipment abandoned by the Korean and Chinese boats and reporting illegal fishing activities in Japan’s w ­ aters (Ogawa 2016). Although Shimane Prefecture is one of the main beneficiaries of the foundation’s activities (Ogawa 2016), its creation was a response to broad opposition to the fisheries agreements and thus cannot be attributed solely or even mainly to Shimane Prefecture’s Takeshima campaign. To summarize, although the government did respond to vari­ous economic issues indirectly related to the Takeshima prob­lem, ­until the 2005 “coup,” Shimane Prefecture’s demands per se had l­ittle impact on governmental policy. However, the passage of the Takeshima Day ordinance, the fierce reaction from ­Korea, and the wide coverage the issue received in the Japa­nese media elevated the territorial issue from near oblivion to the fore of Japan’s public discourse. H ­ ere lies the main difference between the “Northern Territories” construct discussed in the previous chapter and “Takeshima.” The former, although having certain influence from the grassroots movement, was largely a creation of the central government. Contrastingly, the latter emerged against Tokyo’s wishes, and the central government was responding to the emerging narrative rather than initiating it. The government never considered revising the decentralization reforms, which ­were the main cause of the “coup,” but it could no longer ignore the Takeshima issue

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framed as a case of injustice inflicted upon the nation. Thus, to a large extent, the “coup” was indeed successful. The a­ ctual demands voiced by the prefectural authorities and the Association have been mostly of a symbolic nature, and the government responded in adopting certain similarly symbolic mea­sures, which contributed to the reproduction of the Takeshima narrative and its further diffusion. From 2006 onward, Japa­nese civics school textbooks started to carry, however brief, references to the Takeshima prob­lem. In 2008, the revised m ­ iddle school Teaching Guidelines included specific reference to the Takeshima prob­lem as a topic that needs to be taught to students (Yamamoto 2012, 36). In the same year, for the first time since the emergence of the territorial dispute, MOFA published a pamphlet devoted to Takeshima and created a Takeshima Corner on its website. During the waning days of the Demo­cratic Party of Japan Noda administration, it seemed that the government would fully embrace Shimane’s demands, as the government publicly discussed the possibility of a unilateral submission of the dispute to the International Court of Justice. In April 2011, for the first time since the initiation of the prefectural Takeshima Day, a memorial gathering was held in Tokyo, co-­organized by the Shimane’s Citizens’ Assembly to Demand the Return of Northern Territories and Takeshima and the Alliance of Diet Members for Protecting Japan’s Territory, which was established in 2004. The event was held in the Parliamentary Museum, which is administered by the House of Councilors. Officially not sponsored by the Diet, holding the event on the Diet’s grounds gave it an impor­tant symbolic meaning. In September 2012, MOFA announced that it would increase its “territorial integrity” annual bud­get by more than 100 ­percent, from 410 million to 1 billion yen, justifying the increase by the need to appeal Japan’s position on Takeshima to the world (Wall Street Journal Japan 2012). Takeshima also played an impor­tant role in the LDP’s 2012 Lower House elections campaign, with its leaders using the issue to emphasize the Demo­cratic Party of Japan’s inability to manage foreign relations (e.g., Mine 2012). N ­ eedless to say, the fact that the LDP’s new leader, Abe Shinzō, was among t­ hose who had turned down Shimane’s demands less than a de­cade e­ arlier was not part of the discourse. ­After the victorious return of the LDP to power following the December 2012 elections, Prime Minister Abe has taken a somewhat cautious stance t­oward the Takeshima issue. It seems that in developing his Takeshima policy, Abe has tried to strike a balance between two contradictory agendas. On one hand, Abe’s networks and broader support base is nationalistic and generally supportive of the Takeshima cause. On the other hand, it seems that Abe’s policy has also been driven by the desire to improve Japan’s relations with South ­Korea, the importance of the latter increasing even further in light of Japan’s deepening frictions with China. Overall, Abe’s strategy can be summarized as avoiding excessively provocative mea­sures while


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at the same time beefing up the domestic educational campaign related to Takeshima as an integral part of his nationalist agenda. Thus, the International Court of Justice submission plan has been scrapped, and Takeshima Day events from 2013 onward w ­ ere to be held in Matsue and not attended by any high-­ranking members of the government. In 2013, MOFA’s “territorial integrity” bud­get did increase, but only to 810 million. Furthermore, although the Takeshima prob­lem was noted among the “territorial integrity” issues to be addressed, its importance and place within the newly introduced proj­ects was not articulated clearly (MOFA 2013, 6). Overall, Abe has made a significant effort to improve relations with South ­Korea, exemplified by the 2015 agreement on the “comfort ­women” issue, and has refrained from unduly provocative statements and actions regarding Takeshima and other issues. At the same time, the government’s contribution to the production and reproduction of the domestic construct of “Takeshima” as Japan’s national territory, illegally occupied by ­Korea, has persisted. Tokyo has continued to dispatch a low-­level member of the cabinet to the annual Takeshima Day ceremony held in Shimane. Prime Minister Abe also established the office of Cabinet Minister for Territorial Prob­lems and the Advisory Panel, whose purpose is to develop an effective strategy in communicating Japan’s stance on territorial disputes domestically and internationally. In 2014, the official curriculum guidance for ­middle school and high school textbooks stipulated the inclusion of references to Takeshima as Japan’s “inherent territory,” illegally occupied by K ­ orea. In June 2016, it was announced that the government would distribute to schools over thirty thousand copies of an illustrated book that paints a very rosy picture of the period the islets ­were ­under Japa­nese owner­ship as part of its enhancement of “territorial education” (Choi S 2016). ­These policy mea­sures have not brought full satisfaction to Shimane Prefecture, but the relations between the two governments are not as antagonistic as they w ­ ere before Abe’s return to power. Shimane Prefecture allocates about thirty million yen annually to Takeshima activities, which include the ­running costs of the Takeshima Room, research activities by the Takeshima Research Group, costs related to the annual Takeshima Day ceremony, and other related activities (Shimane Prefecture 2014, 37). In December 2012, just two days before the landslide victory of the Abe-­led LDP in the Lower House election, the Prefectural Assembly ­adopted a memorandum demanding from the government a unilateral submission of the dispute to International Court of Justice. ­Today, the prefectural authorities and the Association still campaign for the enactment of a national Takeshima Day and see a submission to the court as the desired solution to the dispute (Clauss and Bukh 2016). Overall, however, relations between Shimane Prefecture and the Association on one side, and the central government on the other, have come to resemble ­those

S him a ne Pref ec t u re’s Q u est fo r T ake s him a


that have existed between Tokyo, the Northern Territories activists, and Hokkaido Prefecture since the late 1960s. Although neither Shimane nor the Association receive any Takeshima-­related funding from Tokyo, all of the actors symbiotically contribute to the production and reproduction of the discourse regarding Japan’s “inherent territory” illegally occupied by a foreign country. In addition to the vari­ous symbolic mea­sures implemented by the central government, ­there may be an additional reason for a certain sense of satisfaction in Shimane. In 2014, the prefecture’s Takeshima-­related demands from the government included expanding its assistance to remote islands, which, in the case of Shimane, refers to Oki (Hara 2013). In 2016, the Diet ­adopted new legislation extending assistance to the residents of remote islands. The new law envisages a comprehensive structure of subsidies that w ­ ill provide an extensive support to residents of remote islands with the purpose of “sustaining their local communities.” The 2017 bud­get for ­these subsidies stood at a hefty fifty billion yen and included Oki among the fifteen remote islands that qualified for subsidies (Cabinet Office 2017). ­These mea­sures, though, should be attributed more to the government’s broad policy aimed at securing Japan’s borders and natu­ral resources rather than seen as a response to the Takeshima prob­lem. Nevertheless, Oki is set to benefit from the subsidies, and the passage of the law can certainly be interpreted as a response, if only a partial one, to Takeshima-­related demands made by some of the local politicians and activists. Originating in the critical juncture of the defeat and subsequent reforms, Shimane Prefecture’s Takeshima campaign also reflected the peculiar structure of pre-1945 economic rights to the islets and was initially driven by purely economic concerns. From the mid-1960s on, however, as a result of the central government’s discrepancy in its Northern Territories and Takeshima policies, the campaign started to attain a certain ideational character. Shimane Prefecture gradually turned into a national identity entrepreneur with the “national territory” becoming a symbol of injustice inflicted upon the prefecture by Tokyo. Koizumi’s intraparty and fiscal reforms of the early 2000s created the structural impetus for escalation in the Takeshima campaign, establishing both the permissive and the productive conditions for the passage of the “Takeshima Day” ordinance. The ordinance, ­adopted despite pressure from the central government not to do so, led to a strongly negative reaction from K ­ orea and wide coverage in the media. This in turn propelled the Takeshima issue to the fore of Japan’s public discourse on relations with ­Korea. The government responded by co-­opting and further reproducing the narrative that depicts the tiny islets as an impor­tant part of the nation’s territory, illegally occupied by the Korean “other.”


The “Protect Dokdo” Movement in South Korea

on march 14, 2 005, two days before the Shimane Prefectural Assembly ­adopted the Takeshima Day ordinance, a large-­scale demonstration in front of Japan’s embassy in South ­Korea (­Korea hereafter) took place. The demonstrators demanded an immediate revocation of the ordinance and protested violently against Japan’s perceived attempts to steal the islets. This was just one of the many “Protect Dokdo” actions, which continue ­until the pre­sent day in Seoul and other cities across ­Korea. A quick search on the internet reveals numerous images of such demonstrations with protesters marching, chanting, burning Japa­nese flags, and clashing with police. It is hard to estimate the number of groups that form the “Protect Dokdo” movement ­today. A 2008 report published by the government-­sponsored Northeast Asia Foundation (NAHF) carries a list of twenty-­nine organ­izations involved in Dokdo-­related activism (NAHF 2008, 391–419). According to data published by ­Korea’s Ministry of Interior and Safety (MOIS), as of March 2017, t­ here ­were about thirty organ­izations fully devoted to the Dokdo cause and registered as nonprofit organ­izations (NPOs), most of them based in Seoul and North Gyeongsang Province, which administers the islets (MOIS 2017). Many of t­hese registered organ­izations, however, exist on paper only. At the same time, ­there are numerous other Dokdo-­related groups not registered as NPOs (Park HR 2015). ­Today, t­ here are prob­ably tens, if not hundreds, of organ­izations of vari­ous sizes, registered and nonregistered, that in one way or another engage in Dokdo-­related activism. Th ­ ese include such established organ­izations as the Christian Council of ­Korea and the Young Korean Acad­emy, as well as groups such

Th e “ Prot ec t Do k do” M ovem ent in S o u t h ­K o re a


as the “Our Forum Defending Dokdo,” established by Kim Gi-­jong, who gained international notoriety ­after a March 2015 knife attack on the US ambassador to ­Korea (Choi and Novak 2015). Membership in ­these groups cuts across class, religion, age, and regional divisions. All of the groups involved in the “protection” of Dokdo agree that it is Korean territory and needs to be defended, although they are quite diverse in terms of their sources of funding, activities, and ideas. This chapter focuses on only a l­imited number of organ­izations and explicates the ­factors that led to the emergence of the movement, its historical and current nature, and its relationship with the government. Occasionally, I also examine the background of key individuals in the movement. I believe that this information ­will help in elucidating the ideational roots of the movement and, most impor­tant, its relationship with the democ­ratization movement of the 1980s. The early “Protect Dokdo” movement should be seen as an ideational movement that extended but also transformed the people-­centered ideology of the democ­ratization movement, which juxtaposed the ordinary ­people with the ruling elite. The movement emerged in the 1990s largely as a response to a threat to Korean national identity posed by the critical juncture of the late 1990s. From 2005 onward, however, the “Protect Dokdo” movement has been partially coopted by the government. Its structure and ideology have gone through impor­tant transformations, shifting the focus from Korean elites to Japan as the sole target of criticism and the defining “other” for Korean national identity.

The “Protect Dokdo” Movement ­after Democ­ratization The Critical Juncture and Korean National Identity Dokdo-­related activism in not a completely new phenomenon in ­Korea. Its starting point was prob­ably the geo­graph­i­cal survey of the islets conducted by the K ­ orea Alpine Association in 1947 as part of an attempt to reaffirm ­Korea’s title to the islets (Jung 2008). Five years ­later, Hong Sun-­chil, a native of Ulleung Island, led a group of about twenty armed locals known as the Dokdo Volunteer Guards to the islets to defend them from Japan’s attempts to regain control (North Gyeongsang Province 2012, 6; Dokdo Research Institute 2017). During the Japan-­Korea normalization negotiations in the early 1960s, the question of Dokdo owner­ship was one of the main ­causes of demonstrations against Park Chung-­hee’s policy of rapprochement with the ­Korea’s colonial ruler (Chung and Park 2017, 11). The ideational roots of t­ oday’s “Protect Dokdo” movement, however, can be found in the democ­ratization movement of the 1980s. The origins and the nature of this movement are fundamentally dif­fer­ent from the two cases of national identity entrepreneurship examined in the previous chapters. In its initial forms, the main goal of


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both the reversion movement on Hokkaido and the Takeshima campaign in Shimane was alleviation of the economic conditions in their respective regions. The “Protect Dokdo” movement, in contrast, originated in Seoul in the late 1980s and its leaders had no economic or any other material interests related to the disputed islets, which have been ­under ­Korea’s de facto control since the early 1950s. The movement’s emergence is usually explained by two structural ­factors; demo­cratic reforms and ­Korea’s historical memory of colonization by Japan. Demo­cratic reforms that followed the June 1987 mass protests and the subsequent expansion of the autonomous arena for social activism led to a sharp increase and diversification in civic activism in K ­ orea (Cho HY 2000, 279–82). Dokdo activism is usually seen as one such instance of niche activism in post-­democratization K ­ orea, triggered by Japan’s claims to the islets and based on negative feelings and mistrust Koreans have ­toward their former colonial ruler (e.g., Choi SJ 2005; Hyon 2006; Selden 2011; Bong 2013; Wiegand 2015). ­There is ­little doubt that, as in postwar Japan, the demo­cratic reforms of the late 1980s, one of the most impor­tant turning points in modern Korean history, established the permissive conditions for Dokdo-­related activism. The territorial dispute can be seen as one of ­those niche issues that ­were not targeted by the democ­ratization movement but became the object of social activism a­ fter the transition to democracy. It is also true that, from the late 1980s, vari­ous issues related to the colonial period did come to occupy an impor­tant place in ­Korea’s public discourse (Kimura 2014). ­Today, “Dokdo” as a symbol of both ­Korea’s in­de­pen­dence and Japan’s neo-­imperial ambitions exists in symbiosis with narratives on issues such as Japa­nese history textbooks, “comfort ­women,” and forced ­labor during the colonial period. All of ­these building blocks of collective memory emerged in dif­fer­ent times, however, and have their unique advocates and trajectory. For example, Kimura traces the origins of the “comfort ­women” narrative to Korean feminist activism of the late 1980s, initially framed as an issue of gender rather than of historical injustice. Thus, the narrative promoted by activists and sympathetic scholars was equally critical of Japan’s and ­Korea’s male-­ dominated society (Kimura 2014, 137–56). Obviously, the Dokdo campaign has l­ittle in common with feminism. Furthermore, even though t­ here are civic groups whose activism spans a number of colonial history–­related issues, the single-­issue groups are the most influential ones. In the case of the comfort w ­ omen, for example, the Justice and Memory Alliance for Resolution of Japan’s Military Sex Slavery Prob­lem emerged as a key actor, exercising tremendous influence on both the domestic debate and policy in K ­ orea. Thus, to elucidate the f­ actors specific to Dokdo-­related national identity entrepreneurship and to trace the pro­cess of the narrative’s emergence and transformation, the focus h ­ ere is solely on the “Protect Dokdo” campaign, rather than on the broader construction of Korean collective memory of Japan’s colonial rule.

Th e “ Prot ec t Do k do” M ovem ent in S o u t h ­K o re a


To fully understand the nature of the “Protect Dokdo” movement and its ideological foundation, the movement should be viewed in the context of the strug­gle over Korean identity and the critical juncture brought about by the Asian Financial Crisis. Therefore, before proceeding to analyze the “Protect Dokdo” activism, following is a brief review of the two competing constructs of Korean identity and their simultaneous disruption in the late 1990s. Overall, the events that led to the liberation of K ­ orea from colonial rule and the Cold War politics that ­shaped the post-­liberation po­liti­cal developments on the Korean Peninsula posed three major, interrelated prob­lems for the construction of Korean identity. One was the fact that, unlike most other former colonies, ­Korea’s liberation from colonial subjugation was achieved by external forces rather than by indigenous strug­gle (Kang 2011, 173). The second was the nature of the new state and the government, which was largely created by the American occupation in complete disregard of the indigenous provisional government. Moreover, the government of Syngman Rhee (Yi Seung-­man) was not only created by the occupation but continued to be strongly dependent on the United States (Brazinsky 2007). The third was the division of the Korean Peninsula and the Korean nation into two states, what Paik Nak-­chung (2011) has called the “division system.” ­Under this “system,” the two ­Koreas not only opposed each other in ideological terms but also engaged in a bloody war in which members of the same ­family often fought on opposing sides. As autonomy, uniqueness, and the overlap of the nation with the state are central traits of modern nationalism, the South Korean national identity narrative developed by the new ruling elites had to overcome the above-­mentioned predicaments. To a certain extent, this was achieved by mobilizing anticommunism as the main tenet of South Korean identity, created largely vis-­à-­vis the North Korean “other” (Paik 2000, 77; Oh IW 2011). Initially used as a tool in a strug­gle with leftist forces in the South (Oh IW 2011, 66), anticommunism became the defining feature of Korean identity as advocated by the new elites. South K ­ orea’s first President Yi Seung-­man (known as Syngman Rhee in the West) and his associates did draw on the ethnic and organic nationalism that spread in ­Korea during the colonial period, but by coupling this ethnic nationalism with anticommunism, the North Koreans, and other Koreans that did not adhere to anticommunist ideology, ­were by default placed outside the borders of the ethnic/national community (Miyoshi Jager 2003, 60; Shin 2006, 100–02). This emphasis on anticommunism as the main tenet of Korean identity also enabled the ruling elites to avoid the question of K ­ orea’s in­de­pen­dence. Well into the 1960s, the official historical narrative as epitomized in history textbooks did not pay much attention to the Korean in­de­pen­dence movement and depicted the liberation as being the result of the Allied (mainly the US) victory (Baek 2005). During General


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Park Chung-­hee’s rule (1961–79), the elite-­created historical narrative and national identity construct went through a number of transformations, but the role of ethnic nationalism and anticommunism as the main tropes of Korean identity remained intact (Shin 2006, 103). ­Korea’s democ­ratization movement went through a number of phases, starting in the spring of 1960 when students engaged in large-­scale demonstrations that toppled Yi Seung-­man’s government and ending with the June Demo­cratic Uprising in 1987 (Research Institute of ­Korea Democracy Foundation ed. 2012, 13–14). Throughout its history, the democ­ratization movement was not only about reforming the domestic po­liti­cal system but also about advocating a more in­de­pen­dent policy for South ­Korea. Thus, the 1960 uprising known as the April 19 Movement, which eventually toppled Yi but also triggered a coup by Park Chung-­hee, was as much about Yi’s dictatorial ruling style and corruption as it was about the economic dependence on American aid (Lee NH 2007, 29; Oohata 2011, 28). Similarly, Park’s economic development plan, which envisioned K ­ orea’s development through the attraction of foreign capital, was perceived by the prodemocracy intellectuals as a betrayal of the national cause. Not surprisingly, the subsequent strug­gle of the democ­ratization movement was directed at the perceived synergy of the government and the “external forces” (Mizuno 2010, 14–15; Research Institute of ­Korea Democracy Foundation ed. 2012, 391–480). The ideological underpinning for this strug­gle emerged l­ater, in the late 1970s, in the form of a counterhegemonic historical narrative and an alternative national identity construct. The most impor­tant manifestation of this discourse was the focus on minjung, literally translated as “­people” or “masses,” as the embodiment of the Korean nation. The often-­cited definition of minjung is that of the ­people in the ruled position (po­liti­cally, eco­nom­ically, or culturally) who, although belonging to dif­fer­ent social and economic strata, engage in a strug­gle against the unjust po­liti­cal and economic elites (Han Wan-­sang in Kim HA 1995, 47). The minjung ideology was strongly influenced by vari­ous neo-­Marxist theories such as t­ hose developed by the New Left in the West and the de­pen­dency theorists of Latin Amer­i­ca (Mun SH 2006, 30–31). Like t­ hose theories that rejected the focus on ­labor and class strug­gle of the ­earlier Marxist movements, minjung was not identified with a par­tic­u­lar class and aimed at including all parts of Korean society, such as workers, farmers, students, and intellectuals, that opposed the regime (Mun Ik-­hwan in Wada et al. 1986, 9; Mun SH 2006, 32–35). It is hard not to notice the striking similarity between this conception of minjung and the notion of multitude, central to a much more recent neo-­Marxist theory developed by Hardt and Negri (2001). Both minjung and multitude are defined not by certain inherent characteristics but mainly through their oppositional position to the oppressive “other.” In the case of the former, it acquired its subjectivity through opposition to the authoritarian regime and its external supporters (Mun SH 2006, 22).

Th e “ Prot ec t Do k do” M ovem ent in S o u t h ­K o re a


For the multitude, it is the strug­gle against the omnipresent “Empire” that enables its subjectivity. Seeing democ­ratization and national unification of the two ­Koreas as two essential, interrelated conditions for ­Korea’s autonomy and national subjectivity (Moon Ik-­hwan in Wada et al. 1986, 4–12; Paik 1993), minjung nationalism was strongly anti-­imperialist and anti-­capitalist. It also advocated the need for a cultural unity based on indigenous culture as opposed to the commercialized and consumerist ideas of the West, construing capitalism as a foreign force that undermined the very foundations of Korean national identity (Miyoshi Jager 2003, 61). The post-­independence Korean elites and the colonial forces, namely, Japan and the United States, ­were construed as existing in a symbiotic relationship, precluding democ­ratization and national unification and suppressing indigenous cultural values (Wells 1995, 17). It is not surprising that Japan, at that time the world’s second-­largest economy and ­Korea’s main source of economic assistance and investment, was singled out by the minjung discourse as one of the main forces in the oppressive symbiosis of the domestic and the international. This role attributed to Japan, however, was rooted in the Marxist aspects of the minjung ideology rather than in historical memory of colonialism. Critical historiography, which was an integral part of the minjung ideology, further contributed to this ­counter discourse on ­Korea’s subjectivity as a nation by rewriting its modern history from a minjung-­centered position as opposed to the previously dominant focus on the role of G ­ reat Powers and individual leaders (Em 1993, 445). The “Korean nation” was juxtaposed historically with the po­liti­cal elites that ­were driven by their egoistic interests, whereas minjung was narrated as the leading force in the strug­gle for in­de­pen­dence throughout modern Korean history (Kang 1995). Unlike the ­earlier historiography that portrayed the Korean ­people as passive victims, the new historiography depicted them as heroes and subjects of history who have engaged in a continuous strug­gle against the external imperial forces and domestic oppressors (Em 1993, 457). The failure of the indigenous po­liti­cal forces in K ­ orea in the immediate post-­liberation years to establish a unified, socially oriented national state, as well as the subsequent division of the peninsula, was attributed to the flunkeyism of the South Korean elites and the imperialist forces (Miyoshi Jager 2003, 58; Kang 2011, 57). The emergence of this ­counter discourse meant that, in the 1970s and 1980s, ­there w ­ ere two competing national identity constructs in South K ­ orea or two ontological narratives (Somers 1994, 618) that defined what the Korean nation is and through this established its subjectivity. One, promoted by the ruling elites, constructed Korean identity as existing in opposition to North ­Korea and communism in general and located the Korean nation within the cap­i­tal­ist camp. The other discourse, embraced by the critical intellectuals, students, and other antiregime movements, construed the p­ eople, or minjung, as the embodiment of Korean national


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identity. Similarly to the mainstream narrative, the c­ ounter discourse emphasized the ethnic and organic nature of the Korean nation. It did not construe the nation in opposition to communism, however, but to the oppressors, both domestic and external. The national proj­ect was seen as incomplete, and it was argued that only through democ­ratization, unification, and embracement of indigenous cultural values could true national in­de­pen­dence and subjectivity be achieved. The democ­ratization of South ­Korea, which started with the June 1987 uprising did not bring a victory of the minjung discourse and completion of its proj­ect but resulted in the destabilization of both of the identity discourses. First of all, the global collapse of communism and information about the realities of life in North K ­ orea that reached South ­Korea via Japan dealt a severe blow to the Marxist foundations of the minjung narrative (Yi UC 2016, 118). The emergence of new ruling elites, whose members included many former activists, undermined the most impor­tant tenet of minjung identity, namely, its definition in opposition to the ruling power. Moreover, the new demo­cratic leadership not only continued to maintain close relations with the United States but also ­adopted numerous policies that ­were perceived by many activists as further undermining ­Korea’s autonomy. Second, democ­ratization did not bring about national unity based on the cultural values of minjung. To the contrary, many groups, such as the workers’ ­unions, which, according to the minjung narrative, constituted its core and participated in the democ­ratization movement, started to distance themselves from the minjung ideology and pursue their narrow interests. Furthermore, although relations between the two ­Koreas have improved, the prospects for the reunification of the peninsula remain as dim as before, undermining the democ­ratization and unification symbiosis dominant in the minjung narrative. At the same time, the Sunshine Policy pursued by the Kim Dae-­jung (1998–2003) and Roh Mu-­hyun (2003–08) governments, which emphasized cooperation, coexistence, and eventual peaceful reunification between the North and the South undermined the construction of South Korean identity in direct opposition to the North. The June 15, 2000, North-­South summit in Pyongyang, which was broadcast live in South K ­ orea, in par­tic­u­lar dealt a severe blow to the image of North Koreans as the ultimate “other,” which was dominant during the years of dictatorship (Seo JS 2007, 1–4). The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis dealt a severe blow to K ­ orea’s economy, but it also contributed to the further destabilization of both of the identity constructs. In a space of two months, South K ­ orea went from being an economic miracle to an economic fiasco in need of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout (Kim and Finch 2002,120). This so-­called IMF crisis was widely perceived in K ­ orea as a loss of economic in­de­pen­dence and the “second national shame” ­after the 1910 annexation by Japan (Paik 2011, 36). To fulfill the conditions of the IMF bailout, the government, led by former democ­ratization activists, had to engage in extensive restructuring of

Th e “ Prot ec t Do k do” M ovem ent in S o u t h ­K o re a


the economy, including opening financial markets for foreign investment, increasing flexibility of the ­labor market, and cutting the public bud­get. The impact of the crisis on Korean society was far-­reaching. It resulted in numerous bankruptcies, the collapse of a number of conglomerates, millions of p­ eople unemployed, severe declines in income, and broken families (Koo 2000, 229). Reforms introduced to fulfill the bailout conditions brought about a sharp increase in casual workers, shrinkage of social welfare, expansion of poverty, and greater income in­ equality. The reforms deepened the division in Korean society and created a sense of future-­related anxiety (Shin KY 2011). The financial crisis further undermined the ideology of “developmental nationalism,” the conservative national identity model in which the construction of the Korean “self” vis-­à-­vis the communist “other” was largely legitimized through economic growth and prosperity (Cho YH 2008, 84–86). However, it also destabilized the progressive vision of Korean national identity. Not only did it deal a fatal blow to the ideas of German-­style reunification (Paik 2011, 44), but it also made the Koreans realize how deeply interlinked the Korean economy was with global capitalism (Koo 2000, 230). ­These aspects of the “IMF crisis” should be seen as the main productive ­factors that ­shaped the nature of Dokdo activism. One of the ideological consequences of the crisis was the dissolution of the trinity of Marxism, nationalism, and democracy, which was the foundation of minjung ideology, and the disappearance of minjung as the main subject in the progressive discourse on ­Korea’s past and pre­sent. This in turn led to the appearance of numerous theories aimed at replacing minjung with vari­ous concepts, such as the Habermasian “citizen” or the idea of “multitude” introduced by Hardt and Negri (Yi WC 2016, 119–20). Importantly, this new discourse on subjectivity was not a complete departure from the minjung construct, but rather a modification. As Yi Woo-­chang (2016, 120–21) has observed, all of the new theories of subjectivity have preserved the general structure of the minjung discourse in which the pro­cess of liberation, although becoming somewhat obscure in meaning, is presented as an opposition of the subject to the ruling power. As such, similarly to the minjung construct, the completion of the national proj­ect is deferred to the f­uture, dependent on successful liberation from the ruling power, the exact meaning of the latter changing from one proj­ect to another. The early “Protect Dokdo” movement was one such attempt to re-­create a deferred national subjectivity.

“Protect Dokdo” National Identity Entrepreneurship and K ­ orea’s Subjectivity Jang Cheol-­soo was one of the first national identity entrepreneurs in the Dokdo issue. His ideas and actions influenced the “Protect Dokdo” movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s (Yi YG and Kim SH 2005). Jang’s personal history and understanding


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of the Dokdo issue serve as a vivid illustration of the ideational continuity between the democ­ratization movement and the “Protect Dokdo” campaign. In 1986, Jang, at that time a student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies majoring in Rus­sian lit­er­a­ture, established the first Dokdo citizens’ group, the Dokdo Research Society. The following year, the group was renamed the Assembly for Dokdo Activism and was open to young ­people from all over the country (Yi YG and Kim SH 2005, 298). During 1986, the student-­led democ­ratization movement gained momentum in ­Korea, eventually culminating in the June 1987 Demo­cratic Uprising and subsequent demo­ cratic reforms. Professor Yi Jang-­hee, himself a one-­time member of Jang’s group and ­later a professor of international law at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and a prominent advocate of the Dokdo cause, noted in an interview with the author that Jang was very sympathetic to the democ­ratization movement (Yi JH 2012). A de­cade ­later, Jang recalled that his “devotion to Dokdo and the sea was born at the time when the student movement was at its peak” (cited in Yi YG and Kim SH 2005, 296). The overlap between the democ­ratization movement and Jang’s understanding of Dokdo activism can also be witnessed in a poem he wrote, “A March for Dokdo Guardians” (Jang CS 2001, 139). The name and structure of the poem are almost identical to the anthem of the democ­ratization movement, that is, “March for My Beloved.” For Jang, the protection of Dokdo was a continuation of the in­de­pen­dence movement, and, though focusing on Dokdo in his activism, as with the democ­ratization movement, he believed that national unification was the main cure for all the misfortunes of the Korean ­people (Yi YG and Kim SH 2005, 297). In numerous essays published in newspapers during the early 1990s, Jang vigorously criticized Japan for its attempts to steal Dokdo, which, according to Jang, was the very essence of the Korean nation and its pride. Jang’s criticism was not l­imited to Japan, though, and to a g­ reat degree replicated the minjung dichotomy of the p­ eople and the elites. Jang denounced the perceived corruption of the elites and argued that Dokdo was protected not by high-­ranking officials but by the ­people’s “righ­teous army” made of peasants and fishermen abused and oppressed by the officials. As did the democ­ratization activists, Jang criticized the elites for giving up the country to foreign powers and argued that the only way to overcome the crisis was through the unity and effort of the minjung, the latter composed of the South, the North, and Koreans overseas. ­There is no direct opposition or strug­gle in Jang’s writings, with the main focus of his essays instead being “liberation,” which for Jang meant national unification, autonomy, and national glory. This “liberation” was to be achieved not as a result of democ­ratization, however, but through the rediscovery of K ­ orea as a maritime nation, with the Dokdo prob­lem seen as key to this rediscovery (Jang CS 2001, 100–10).

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Jang’s Assembly for Dokdo Activism focused mostly on conducting visits to Ulleung Island and Dokdo as well as organ­izing exhibitions of photo­graphs taken t­ here and related material in Seoul, Ulleung, and other places in K ­ orea. The assembly was indeed the first civic group in the con­temporary “Protect Dokdo” movement, but it did not attract mass following. L ­ ater, the Dokdo research group Jang created at Hanguk University of Foreign Studies became one of the bases for Dokdo activism. Jang’s cooperation with an Ulleung-­based mountain climbing club resulted in the creation in 1988 of the Association for Green Ulleung and Cultivation of Dokdo, which, in the late 1990s, became an integral part of the “Protect Dokdo” movement. Having about a hundred members, mostly from Ulleung, it continues to participate in demonstrations, lectures, and seminars related to the islets ­today (Association for Green Ulleung and Cultivation of Dokdo 2011). Nevertheless, despite the obvious ideological overlap of Jang’s ideas with the minjung ideology, the assembly has failed to achieve widespread recognition. Jang’s writings appeared mostly in provincial newspapers, and, although the exact scope of the assembly’s membership is unclear, it seems that it was quite ­limited. To a certain degree, this can be attributed to Jang’s lack of preexisting networks in the democ­ratization movement. Arguably, though, another reason for Jang’s failure to achieve widespread mobilization for the Dokdo cause lies in the fact that the critical juncture described above culminated during the last years of his life, when the focus of Jang’s activism shifted to rediscovery of K ­ orea’s maritime history and identity. In January 1998, along with three other activists, Jang tragically drowned on his way back to K ­ orea from a sailing trip to the Rus­sian Far East, aimed at commemorating the thirteen hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the semi-­mythical Balhae Kingdom (Kim YB 2008). In a somewhat macabre twist of fate, Jang’s boat sank off the shores of Japan’s Shimane Prefecture’s Oki Island, which, to remind the reader, administered Dokdo in 1905–45 and, according to Japan’s position, still holds the administrative rights to it. It was during and in the immediate aftermath of the new fisheries treaty negotiations in the second half of the 1990s that numerous organ­izations and groups devoted to the protection of Dokdo emerged and the movement began to take shape. In 1996, both Japan and ­Korea ratified UNCLOS and declared their respective EEZs, each one including Dokdo as its territory in accordance with their respective official stances on the owner­ship of the islets. Japan’s claims w ­ ere widely reported in Korean media and resulted in mass demonstrations on the streets of Seoul (Suh and Linkhart 2011, 15). Most impor­tant, the ratification of UNCLOS brought about the need to renegotiate the 1965 Fisheries Agreement in accordance with its provisions. During the negotiations of the new agreement and a­ fter its conclusion in 1998, t­ here w ­ ere numerous demonstrations protesting its conclusion and l­ater, demanding the government


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abolish it. The issue soon became highly politicized and was used by the opposition in its attacks on Kim Dae-­jung’s government. In January 1999, for example, the oppositional ­Grand National Party held a mass rally in Seoul that included party members, activists, and fishing ­union members all coming out against the agreement, which, they argued, undermined K ­ orea’s title to the islets (Choi 2005, 471). The issue was indeed used by the opposition and individual politicians, but overall the protests ­were driven by one of the main ideas of the democ­ratization movement, that is, a strong suspicion of the government and the belief in the government’s collusion with external powers against the interests of the p ­ eople. As discussed in the previous chapter, in disposition of the territorial issue, the new agreement was quite similar to the 1965 one. Furthermore, the expansion of the provisional fishing zone to include areas of what would be Japan’s EEZ was largely beneficial to Korean fishermen. A number of provisions in the new agreement, however, ­were perceived by activists and sympathetic scholars as undermining K ­ orea’s claim to owner­ship of the islets and seen as collusion between the Korean elites and the government of Japan. The most problematic issue was Article 15, which stated that “no provision of this Agreement ­shall be interpreted to undermine the position of each of the Parties concerning international law issues other than fishery ­matters.” Despite reassuring statements and explanations from the government, this article was interpreted by the critics as giving equal status to the Korean and the Japa­nese claims of owner­ship. Furthermore, critics saw the placement of Dokdo in the provisional fishing zone as a tacit admittance of existence of a territorial dispute between the two countries. In addition, the location of the base point for K ­ orea’s EEZ on Ulleung Island rather than on Dokdo as initially intended, was seen as undermining ­Korea’s claim that Dokdo was an island as opposed to a rock (e.g., Kim MG 2007, 225–31). It was during this period that Dokdo “protection” took the shape of a social movement composed of numerous organ­izations. Dokdo Headquarters (hereafter DH) was one of the first organ­izations in the movement and has been the largest among ­those devoted solely to the Dokdo issue (Hong SG 2013). According to the secretary-­ general of DH, in its heyday the organ­ization had four to five thousand members. Unlike many other “Protect Dokdo” organ­izations created in the second half of the 2010s, DH has never received any financial or other assistance from the government and has continuously relied on donations and membership fees (Nam SG 2013). The main purpose of DH activities as described by its secretary-­general has been to protect Dokdo and prevent the Korean government from giving it away to Japan. In its early days, DH focused on education of the public about the Dokdo issue, held monthly study meetings, and attempted to exercise pressure on the government to amend its policy through demonstrations and petitions (Nam SG 2013).

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DH was founded in 2000 by Kim Bong-­u, who was active in the democ­ratization movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s and, at the time of DH’s formation, occupied a se­nior position in one of the student organ­izations (Chosun Ilbo 2014). Arguably, this previous network of activists was one of the f­ actors that enabled Kim to successfully mobilize support and become one of the prominent leaders of the movement. The board of representatives of DH included well-­known artists and academics, heads of l­ abor u ­ nions, and representatives of other civil society organ­izations (Dokdo Chatgi 2000). The charter of the organ­ization stated that its main purpose was the recovery of sovereignty over Dokdo, preservation of territory, and protection of national in­de­pen­dence. To achieve ­these, the charter envisioned informing the public about prob­lems related to the new fisheries treaty, expanding membership and educational activities, and conducting activities directed at the Korean government and National Assembly as well as Japan and other foreign countries (Dokdo Chatgi 2000). Like Jang’s, DH’s criticism was directed not only at Japan but also at the Korean government. In a letter to the participants of the inaugural ceremony, Kim Bong-­u explained that Dokdo needed to be recovered and not protected, as the government had already given it away to Japan. Strongly criticizing Kim Dae-jung’s policy, the letter argued that the lack of military presence on Dokdo, the prohibition of civilian visits to Dokdo, and the new fisheries agreement all testified to the fact that the government had already given up the islets and essentially exercised control on behalf of Japan. Recalling the 1905 Eulsa Treaty, which turned K ­ orea into Japan’s protectorate, the letter called for p ­ eople to realize that K ­ orea was now g­ oing through a similar crisis. Without Dokdo, the letter argued, the f­ uture of K ­ orea was gloomy, and economic recovery was impossible to achieve (Dokdo Chatgi 2000). A pamphlet published in 2001 voiced similar accusations directed at the Korean government. It stated that Kim Dae-­jung differed ­little from the previous leaders of K ­ orea in his pursuit of a foreign policy that prioritized the government’s interests over ­those of the state and the nation. Hence, the pamphlet argued, the government could not be trusted, and it was up to the ­people to protect Dokdo from Japa­nese attempts to seize it (Dokdo Chatgi 2003, 133–34). In ­later publications devoted to Dokdo, the narrative promoted by DH has gradually expanded to a broader critique of the government as well as ­Korea’s history and society. Its most in­ter­est­ing part has been the lengthy excursion into ­Korea’s history and politics, which replicates the main tenets of the minjung discourse with some impor­tant modifications. The Dokdo prob­lem is construed as a symptom of a broader national crisis that has befallen K ­ orea since the end of the seventh c­ entury. Accordingly, the Dokdo issue is seen as being both a symptom of this national crisis and, in a somewhat paradoxical fashion, its remedy. The main characteristics of the national crisis as depicted by DH are the dominance of flunkeyism among the Korean elites and


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the lack of proper “territorial consciousness” among the Korean p­ eople. The narrative denies the sole responsibility of Japa­nese colonialism for the ills of post-­independence Korean society and traces the roots of con­temporary flunkeyism to the Joseon dynasty’s relations with China. This characteristic of the Korean elites is seen as the cause of ­today’s social divisions and mutual hatred along class, education, regional, po­liti­cal, religious, and professional lines. DH argues that all the domestic forces that produce ­these social divisions continue to rely on external powers, hoping to gain an upper hand, and by this continually preserve ­these internal conflicts (Dokdo Bonbu 2006, 36–38). Another characteristic of the national crisis is lack of a proper understanding of territory—­a bowl that holds the nation (Dokdo Bonbu 2006, 13–14). If the situation is not changed and the new understanding of the importance of territory does not gain dominance inside Korean society, it is argued, ­there is a danger of ­Korea’s again becoming a victim of the G ­ reat Power policy of redrawing borders (Dokdo Bonbu 2006, 15–16). The Dokdo issue, however, is not only a symptom of the national crisis but is also described as a ­great gift that ­will help the Korean nation to overcome it. According to DH, the “Dokdo crisis” pre­sents Koreans with an opportunity to rid themselves of flunkeyism and achieve a true and proper national consciousness. First, Dokdo enables the recovery of the historical consciousness of the Korean p ­ eople. ­Today, it is argued, Korean national historical consciousness starts with the colonial period. Similarly, the spatial consciousness of ­Korea’s national borders is ­limited to the southern part of the peninsula. ­Because the history of Dokdo goes back to at least the sixth ­century, according to DH, learning this history is the solution to overcoming the prob­lems related to the historical and spatial consciousness (or lack thereof ) of the nation. Furthermore, Dokdo has the potential to unite all of the members of the nation (South, North, and overseas Koreans) and foster the emergence of a true autonomous consciousness for the nation, which in turn ­will bring national unification. As ­there is agreement on the Korean owner­ship of Dokdo by all members of the national community, including the overseas Koreans and ­those in the North, it is seen as a “trea­sure” that ­will enable national unification (Dokdo Bonbu 2006, 20–26). As can be seen from the foregoing, the depiction of the nation and the national crisis in the DH narrative repeats the main tenets of the minjung discourse and critical historiography while also transforming them. It construes the “Korean p­ eople” in opposition to the external “colonial” forces of Japan and the United States, as well as in opposition to the domestic ruling elites. It also construes the nation as an organic, ethnocultural entity whose members are all ethnic Koreans, including ­those living on the other side of the 38th parallel and the Koreans living overseas. Similarly to how the minjung activists of the 1970s and 1980s emphasized the rediscovery of indigenous culture, DH argues for the need to rediscover Dokdo as an impor­tant cultural symbol

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of the Korean ­people. In other similarities to the minjung discourse, DH emphasizes the importance of historical knowledge as a tool of liberation, construes the p ­ eople as unaware of their historical role, and sees education of the masses as their mission. ­Here also the achievement of national subjectivity is deferred to the ­future. Unlike in the minjung ideology however, the achievement of national subjectivity is not dependent on democ­ratization and national unification, but disappearance of flunkeyism and acquirement of proper “territorial consciousness” by the ­people. Furthermore, socialism or Marxism are completely absent from DH narrative. The critique of globalization that occasionally appears in the narrative (Dokdo Bonbu 2006, 20–24) is reminiscent of Marxism but does not carry any references to capitalism, economy, in­equality, and other traits of a Marxist discourse. “Dokdo” replaces both democ­ratization and socialism as the sole solution to all the ills of Korean society and as the key to national reunification and the achievement of true in­de­pen­dence. Furthermore, the narrative does not ascribe any socially progressive values to minjung culture. Territorial and historical consciousness are seen as tools of national liberation, but the current condition of semi-­dependence on United States and Japan ascribed to ­Korea is seen as a product of centuries-­old cultural habits and geopolitics, rather than economic relations and po­liti­cal system. The narrative does not refer to oppression, and, while critical of elites’ flunkeyism, does not criticize the current po­liti­cal system of the Korean society. The narrative does make references to gaps and inequalities in Korean society, but t­hese are not seen as related to economic relations of power, ­either domestic or global, but resulting mainly from a lack of proper consciousness and the division of the nation. In other words, the economic structure and the po­liti­cal system of the minjung ideology are replaced with inadequate territorial consciousness and historical knowledge as the main ­causes for ­Korea’s ills, including its lack of autonomy. This modification of the minjung narrative is made pos­si­ble by placing Dokdo in the center of the narrative. The centrality of Dokdo in the narrative enables this juxtaposition of the nation with domestic elites and outside forces, however void of any social or po­liti­cal values it might be. In this interpretation of “Protect Dokdo” national identity entrepreneurship, the often-­voiced argument that Dokdo is a symbol of the Korean nation acquires a somewhat dif­fer­ent meaning from the one that traces the symbolism of the islets to historical memory of colonization. Namely, “Dokdo” as a symbol enables the construction of national subjectivity by turning the devotion to Dokdo into the main attribute of the nation. It defers the completion of the national proj­ect to the ­future and pre­sents a construct of a Korean nation as a potentially unified and autonomous subject without resolving questions related to the ideological differences inside South ­Korea, the North/South division, and ­Korea’s relations with the United States.


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This continuity between the democ­ratization movement and the early “Protect Dokdo” movement was not l­imited to the perceptions of the Korean nation but can be vividly witnessed in the personal stories of many of the key activists. One such activist is Choi Jae-ik, who first became involved in Dokdo activism in the late 1990s and ­today heads an organ­ization called the National Front of Dokdo Guardians. Since 2005, Choi and a handful of associates have traveled annually to Shimane Prefecture on Takeshima Day, demanding its abolishment. Choi served as a member of the Seoul Metropolitan Council from 2002 u ­ ntil 2006, elected from the conservative G ­ rand National Party. In 2007, he ran again but lost. In 2015, he was a reserve candidate from Seoul’s Jungnang district for the same party but did not get to run in the elections (Chosun P ­ eople’s DB 2017; Seoul Metropolitan Council 2017). Financially, Choi depends on his wife, who runs a kindergarten, and his daily activities consist of helping her with the maintenance of the kindergarten and driving the c­ hildren to and from their homes (Clauss and Bukh 2016). Choi may look like an opportunist who has tried, with certain success, to capitalize on the Dokdo issue in order to establish and promote himself as a politician. From a dif­fer­ent perspective, Choi’s Dokdo-­related activism, and especially his messages written in blood and clashes with Japa­nese right-­wingers, can be seen as performative actions aimed at reestablishing his masculinity, severely undermined by the financial dependence on his wife, in a still highly patriarchal Korean society (I am grateful to Professor Han Jung-­sun from K ­ orea University for this point). Th ­ ere is prob­ably a certain amount of truth to both of ­these interpretations. At the same time, however, Choi’s life path is an epitome of the relationship between the democ­ratization movement and the “Protect Dokdo” movement. Choi was active in the democ­ratization movement in the 1980s and at that time, according to his own words, a follower of social democracy (Choi JI 2012). He attended ­Korea University’s Institute for Research on L ­ abor and Employment, which focuses on ­labor issues, but in the 1990s worked as a po­liti­cal reporter for a small newspaper based in the outskirts of Seoul (Chosun P ­ eople’s DB 2017). In the late 1990s, he tried to run a private cram school (hagwon), but soon gave up on the idea. It is highly pos­si­ble that the cram school business was one of the many small and big businesses that collapsed during the financial crisis. According to Choi, during the fisheries agreement negotiations in the late 1990s, he realized that the government was mismanaging the Dokdo issue and that it was up to the p­ eople to defend it. In 1999, he was the first person in K ­ orea to move his h ­ ouse­hold registration to Dokdo and became the first head of the virtual Dokdo village. Choi also went back to school and graduated with a master’s degree in Policy Studies from ­Korea University, writing his MA thesis on Dokdo’s history (Choi JI 2012).

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The ideas voiced by Choi t­ oday are somewhat reminiscent of minjung ideology. He firmly believes in national unification, once even proposing to establish a joint South and North Korean “suicide corps” that would defend Dokdo from Japan’s aggression (Cho HJ 2014). Choi’s hatred is directed at Japan’s elites and not the common ­people. He has attempted to or­ga­nize a joint camp with a Japa­nese kindergarten and believes that Japa­nese ­people show sympathy to his cause. He also expresses certain solidarity with developing countries and argues against excessive restrictions on immigration to ­Korea. Choi describes himself as a “rational nationalist,” as a follower of “nationalist democracy,” and as an advocate of the third way, which he describes as somewhere between capitalism and socialism. Despite ­running for the Seoul Metropolitan Assembly from a conservative party, Choi admires the progressive Kim Dae-jung as the leader of the democ­ratization movement. At the same time, he is strongly suspicious of the ruling elites and is highly critical of the fisheries agreement concluded during Kim Dae-­jung’s presidency (Choi JI 2012). Choi’s life path and beliefs underlie not only the continuity between the democ­ ratization movement and the early “Protect Dokdo” movement but also the transformations in the latter. As exemplified by Choi’s post-2007 po­liti­cal failures, t­ oday, many of the organ­izations and individuals that played a key role in igniting Dokdo “protection” have descended to the periphery of the movement. Th ­ ese days, Choi’s demonstrations attract only a handful of participants and are often ignored by the domestic press. Similarly, crammed in a tiny office in Seoul’s downtown, DH’s activities ­today are ­limited mostly to maintaining a digital archive of publications devoted to Dokdo. Since 2005, the “Protect Dokdo” movement has gone through a number of impor­tant changes, both in its structure and ideas, with new organ­izations rising to its fore. As discussed in the following section, the government’s policy played an impor­tant role in this transformation.

Government’s Response The Demands When considering the government’s response to the “Protect Dokdo” movement, one should distinguish between the material interests of the fishermen somehow affected by the vari­ous provisions of the new fisheries agreement and the mostly symbolic mea­sures related to K ­ orea’s owner­ship over the islets demanded by civil society groups. As already noted, during the negotiations in the 1990s, Korean fishermen, like their Japa­nese counter­parts, perceived the new fisheries agreement as harmful to their interests and joined other civil society groups in demonstrations against it. The Korean government’s response was also similar to that of the Japa­nese government. Namely, the government de­cided to pacify the fishermen through financial assistance. Already


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in 1999, immediately ­after the new agreement entered into force, Kim Dae-­jung’s government had announced an extensive package of subsidies to ­those fishermen who, as a result of the agreement, would be forced to downsize or completely stop their operations. The package of over eighty-­three billion won included subsidies for reductions in the number of operated vessels and adjustments related to change in the type of fishing, payments for loss of occupation, and support for occupational training for ­those fishermen that desired to change their occupation (Yi GH 1999). The ­actual impact of the agreement on the Korean fishing industry is hard to estimate, but overall it brought a number of impor­tant benefits for Korean fishermen, such as access to the Yamato Bank fishing grounds. ­Whether the fishermen realized the benefits of the agreement or w ­ hether the financial assistance program from the government benefited them the most is not clear, but, since the agreement came into force, the fishing ­unions have ceased to call for the abolishment of the agreement. Occasionally however, they do voice their dissatisfaction with the fishing quotas allocated ­under the new agreement and participate in the protests against Japan’s claims of owner­ship (Choi S 2017). In the 1990s, the Korean government aimed at preventing “laypersons” like the activists described above from getting involved in the Dokdo issue. The main reason was the fear that unnecessary provocations directed at Japan could actually backfire and force the government to admit the existence of a territorial dispute, which in turn could force it to take the issue to the International Court of Justice (Hankyoreh Shinmun article cited in Suh and Linkhart 2011, 179). The government obviously failed in this mission, and “laypersons” have become an integral part of ­Korea’s domestic Dokdo debates and have come to play an impor­tant role in shaping their structure and content. As Suh and Linkhart (2011, 167) have noted, civil society groups have not participated in policy making per se but have engaged in “issue creation and agenda setting” through the creation of a new narrative on the Dokdo issue. In other words, the national identity entrepreneurship of the Protect Dokdo movement was successful. As background for an examination of the policy changes, following is a brief summary of the policy demands of the Protect Dokdo movement. From the early days of the movement, DH has demanded an official statement by the president that Dokdo is Korean territory, abolition of the new fisheries agreement and proclamation of Dokdo as the base point for K ­ orea’s EEZ, lifting of restrictions on civilian travel to Dokdo, and stationing of the navy rather than the coast guard to protect the islets (Dokdo Chatgi 2000). L ­ ater demands ­were prob­ably summarized best by Shin Yong-ha, professor emeritus of Seoul University, a one-­time chairman of Dokdo Institute, and prob­ably the most respected scholar among Dokdo activists. During a Dokdo policy workshop held at the National Assembly, Shin argued that the government should do the following: demand a revision of the new fisheries agreement to

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reflect the changed designation of Dokdo as the base point for ­Korea’s EEZ, enhance ­Korea’s effective control over the islets by creating ­there vari­ous facilities, designate both Ulleung Island and Dokdo as a national park, increase the number of permanent residents on the islets to at least five ­house­holds, introduce “Dokdo education” at schools and implement other “patriotic education” mea­sures, implement proactive international public relations campaign related to K ­ orea’s owner­ship of Dokdo, and continue to resist Japan’s demands to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice (Shin YH 2011, 7–13).

Seoul’s Post-2005 Dokdo Policy and Its Effects As early as 2000, certain politicians embraced some of the demands of the “Protect Dokdo” movement as a legitimation strategy in their criticism of the government and proposed new legislation to address t­hese issues (Choi SH 2005). It was from 2005 onward, however, that the government has gradually embraced most of the demands voiced by the “Protect Dokdo” movement. In 2005, Roh Mu-­hyun’s government announced almost eleven billion won in Dokdo funding from the reserve bud­get to be distributed to the Maritime Police Agency (coast guard), the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for mea­sures aimed at enhancing ­Korea’s administration and defense of the islets (Hankyoreh Shinmun 2005). Since 1982, civilians’ travel to the islets was restricted ­under a law that designated the islets as a natu­ral national trea­sure, but in March 2005 the government lifted t­ hese restrictions. In the same year, the government also passed a law on the sustainable exploitation of Dokdo. The law prescribes the central and regional governments to take mea­sures to protect the environment of the islets and surrounding w ­ aters and to introduce a five-­year plan that would address t­ hese goals (Yi JH 2013). On a number of occasions, the successive administrations also considered designating Ulleung and Dokdo Islands, along with adjacent w ­ aters, as a maritime national park, but, due to opposition from some Ulleung residents who feared that this mea­sure would undermine their property rights, the plan has never materialized (Dong JM 2011). In March 2006, ­after the escalation of tensions over the Japa­nese government’s decision to include references to the islets in history textbooks, Roh Mu-­hyun’s government announced a plan to submit a set of Korean names for seabed features around the islets to replace Japa­nese ones to the forthcoming International Hydrographic Organ­ization (IHO) conference. In response, Japan announced a plan to dispatch two survey ships to w ­ aters near the islets, which was met with fierce demonstrations in ­Korea. In late April, the tensions w ­ ere at their peak when the Korean government dispatched a flotilla to intercept the Japa­nese ships, apparently ­under an order to sink them if they approached the islets. The tensions quickly subsided, though, a­ fter the two governments entered negotiations in which the Japa­nese side agreed not to


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conduct the survey in exchange for ­Korea’s promise not to submit the Korean names at the IHO conference (Weinstein 2006, 4). On April 25, 2006, Roh Mu-­hyun made a televised speech to the nation in which he pledged a comprehensive revision of the government’s Dokdo policy. In the speech, Roh stated that the islets w ­ ere a symbol of K ­ orea’s sovereignty, explic­itly linked the territorial issue with other colonial history disputes with Japan, and promised a thorough review of existing policies (KMOFA 2006). This speech can be read as a testimony of success for Dokdo national identity entrepreneurship. That is, the Dokdo issue was officially transformed from a prob­lem of border demarcation to an issue of national history, and thus directly related to the question of national identity. It was elevated to the forefront of ­Korea’s Japan policy, and the government’s course of action changed from “­silent diplomacy” and a relatively low profile in its domestic policy to a much more confrontational stance vis-­à-­vis Japan and implementation of wide-­ranging domestic mea­sures (Suh and Linkahart 2011, 196). Soon ­after the April speech, Roh’s government established a special interagency task force to coordinate Dokdo policies. In the following years, “Dokdo” came to feature in the national bud­get as an in­de­pen­dent item. The main reasoning for the bud­getary allocations and related policies has been the need to enhance ­Korea’s effective rule over the islets in the face of Japan’s owner­ship claims. Th ­ ese involve diplomatic mea­sures aimed at promoting international understanding related to Dokdo, mea­sures aimed at enhancing the defense of the islets, environmental protection, and enhancement of school education about Dokdo (ROK Government 2008, 103–4). In other words, the central government became one of the most active promoters of the Dokdo narrative. Although some influential politicians, such as Jeong Mong-­jun, heir of the Hyundai Group and a one-­time chairman of the ­Grand National Party, have argued for the need to abolish the fisheries agreement (Kwon DY 2012), the agreement has been left intact, and none of the successive Korean governments have openly expressed a desire to abolish it altogether. However, since 2006, K ­ orea’s official position in the EEZ demarcation negotiations with Japan has changed to now argue for Dokdo as the base point of ­Korea’s EEZ. In response, the Japa­nese government has reportedly made a demand to consider the unpopulated island of Torishima in the East China Sea as Japan’s EEZ base point (Sankei Shimbun 2006). The final demarcation of Japan and ­Korea’s EEZs is all but impossible without first resolving the question of Takeshima/Dokdo owner­ship. As such, it remains a distant goal with no prospect of being achieved any time in the near ­future. Thus, declarations of respective base points are mostly of a symbolic nature and have minimal impact on the ongoing fishing activities regulated by the 1998 treaty. Nevertheless, this change in ­Korea’s official position was seen by some of Korean diplomats as a sacrifice of material

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interests in the w ­ aters of the East China Sea, which are of vital importance for K ­ orea’s fishing industry, for the pursuit of “moral” ones (Jungang Ilbo 2006). What ­were the ­causes of this drastic transformation in Dokdo policy initiated by Roh Mu-­hyun’s administration? ­There is no doubt that the Takeshima Day ordinance, the subsequent politicization of Takeshima in Japan, the March-­April crisis described above, and the escalating pressure from domestic national identity entrepreneurs who framed ­these developments as Japan’s provocations directed at the heart of the Korean nation and demanded a firmer response, all played an impor­tant role in this policy change. The change was also in accordance with Roh’s “participatory government” vision, which aspired to active participation of civil society actors and civilian experts in policy design. From a dif­fer­ent perspective, it can also be seen as a result of path dependence on previous post-­democratization administrations. Starting from the late 1980s, the government generally responded to civil society demands related to colonial history frictions between the two countries by bringing them to the bilateral agenda (Kimura 2014, 137–73). At the same time, Roh’s decision to take a fundamentally dif­fer­ent approach to the Dokdo issue from his pre­de­ces­sor Kim Dae-­jung is quite puzzling. First, Roh belonged to the same ideological camp as Kim Dae-­jung and agreed with him on key foreign policy issues such as the Sunshine Policy vis-­à-­vis North ­Korea. Kim, we should remember, was not only the one to conclude the new fisheries agreement in defiance of domestic protests but during his visit to Tokyo in 1998 also called for a future-­oriented relationship, aimed at overcoming the historical frictions between the two countries. During a 2003 visit to Tokyo, Roh also refrained from any references to historical issues, despite the ongoing frictions related to Prime Minister Koizumi’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine, and, as did his pre­de­ces­sor, called for future-­oriented relations between the two countries. The high expectations for smoother relations between ­Korea and Japan in the first two years of Roh’s presidency are epitomized in a report published by the Asia-­Pacific Center for Security Studies (Sheen 2003) in October 2003 titled Japan-­South K ­ orea Relations, Slowly Lifting the Burden of History? Furthermore, in the case of other controversial issues, such as North ­Korea’s abductions of South Korean citizens, the Roh government’s response to civil society demands was rather lukewarm (Samuels 2010). This could be attributed to the fact that ­these groups created alliances with conservative lawmakers that belonged to the opposition. However, Roh’s government also largely ignored the demands of the mass movement against Korea-­US ­Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Led by l­abor u ­ nions and numerous progressive groups, the anti-­FTA movement was an integral part of Roh’s social and po­liti­cal networks. The protests erupted only few months before Roh announced the change to Dokdo policy and arguably it is in the timing of the two events that additional explanation for the policy shift can be found.


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Reviving the economy was the main goal of Roh’s administration. Roh came to power only a few years ­after the financial crisis shattered both ­Korea’s economy and its society. Addressing vari­ous crisis-­related prob­lems, such as the continual dominance of the conglomerates and the growing economic stratification, was the main policy issue throughout Roh’s presidency. During this time, the emphasis in ­Korea’s economic policy changed from a focus on regional-­level agreements to bilateral ­free trade agreements (FTAs) as a key mea­sure to enhance ­Korea’s economy while also addressing the above-­mentioned issues. From the 1990s onward, Japan’s relative share in K ­ orea’s exports and imports has continued to decline, but, nevertheless Japan was still ­Korea’s second-­largest trading partner, ­after China, in the early 2000s. ­Because the conclusion of an FTA with China was seen as bringing few advantages to ­Korea’s economy and potentially complicating its relations with the United States, Japan topped K ­ orea’s FTA priority list. The two governments conducted a number of talks, but in late 2004 the Japan-­Korea negotiations collapsed due to fundamental disagreements on industries and products to be prioritized (Jeon CH 2006, 159–62). Subsequently, the Korean government turned to its third-­largest trading partner, that is, the United States. Despite the relatively high level of anti-­Americanism in ­Korea ­after the 2002 accident in which two girls ­were killed by an American military vehicle, and the generally anti-­American stance of Roh, the government quickly accepted US preconditions and embarked on a pro­cess of negotiating a Korea-­US FTA (Jeon CH 2006, 163–64). The start of negotiations was officially announced in February 2006 and immediately led to large-­scale protests by ­unions, anti-­US military bases movement, and other civic groups, all of which w ­ ere at the core of Roh’s constituency. While the anti-­Japanese protests a­ fter the passage of the Takeshima Day ordinance attracted thousands of participants, the anti-­FTA rallies staged throughout the country drew up to one hundred thousand participants and resulted in the highest police mobilization since the mid-1990s (Yi SU 2006). Despite the extensive criticism both from the protesters and from the conservative media, which bemoaned the state of anarchy brought about by violent demonstrations (Chosun Ilbo 2006), Roh’s government continued negotiating the FTA, which was fi­nally signed in June 2007. As already noted, Roh’s Dokdo speech, in which he explic­itly designated the Dokdo issue as a historical prob­lem and signaled a departure from “­silent diplomacy,” was made in late April 2006, when the FTA with the United States was already subjected to a heated public debate. It is impor­tant also to remember that Roh continuously suffered from very low support ratings, survived an impeachment attempt in 2004, and his Uri Party had only a slim majority in the National Assembly. Thus, it could be argued that, among other ­factors, the change in his Dokdo policy was an attempt

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by Roh to ameliorate the confrontational relations with his networks in civil society, through the embracement of Dokdo demands. ­Today, Roh, who tragically ended his own life in 2009 amid corruption allegations against his f­amily members, is often voted as the most popu­lar among K ­ orea’s past and pre­sent presidents (Voice of Seoul 2016). In 2006–7, however, his newly a­ dopted Dokdo policy did not have a significant influence on his support ratings, which remained very low throughout the second half of his presidency, with the economy as the main reason for widespread dissatisfaction (Onishi 2006). ­Whether the FTA with the United States indeed brought the expected benefits to ­Korea’s economy is a question that cannot be answered ­here, but the impact of the escalation in the Dokdo issue on Korea-­Japan relations has been relatively ­limited. It is quite hard to isolate the Dokdo issue as a ­factor in determining its role in bilateral relations as t­here are numerous other issues related to historical memory between Japan and ­Korea that interplay with each other and affect bilateral relations. Overall, all of ­these issues combined impose certain limitations on bilateral cooperation, especially in the area of security. However, dubbing ­Korea’s policy as a military counterbalancing against Japan (Midford 2011, 81–83) seems to be quite an exaggeration. Indeed, during the March-­April 2006 crisis, bilateral relations ­were at their lowest in de­cades, and in 2012 signing of an agreement on sharing military information was suspended, mostly due to Dokdo-­related domestic pressure (Wiegand 2015). The 2006 crisis, however, was swiftly resolved through negotiations, and the military information-­sharing agreement was fi­nally signed in November 2016. Furthermore, leaders of both countries have continually affirmed their unity in relation to the North Korean threat (e.g., Japan Times 2017), and both remain impor­tant allies of the United States. Throughout the 2000s, the trade flows between Japan and ­Korea have remained relatively steady (MOFA 2016, 11), unaffected by the rising tensions in the territorial dispute, and Japan’s direct investment (FDI) in K ­ orea reached its peak in 2008, two years ­after the 2006 crisis (JETRO 2009, 7). ­Korea’s FDI in Japan has remained at the same level, but investment in the other direction indeed experienced a sharp decline from 2012 onward. Rather than the territorial issue, however, the main reasons for this decline are prob­ably related to sharp appreciation of the Korean won to the Japa­ nese yen and vari­ous other economic issues, as well as the guilty verdicts on war­time forced-­labor suits against Japa­nese companies in Korean courts (Mukoyama 2015). The percentage of ­people in both Japan and ­Korea that feel affinity ­toward the other country has declined significantly, but the number of Japa­nese visitors to ­Korea continued to grow ­until 2012. The number of Korean tourists to Japan has continued to grow, steadily peaking in 2015 at 4 million, a 40 perent increase from the previous


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year (MOFA 2016, 14; JNTO 2017). If ­there was any impact at all from the Dokdo issue on Koreans’ travel to Japan, it has been short-­lived. For example, the overall number of visitors from K ­ orea to Japan actually increased from 149,000 in March 2006 to 162,000 in April when tensions escalated, and by July had climbed to 197,000 (JNTO 2017). However, even though the long-­term impact of the Dokdo issue on bilateral relations has been rather minimal, its domestic effects have been wide-­ranging.

Institutionalization of the Dokdo Cause The Central Government and “Protect Dokdo” From 2006 onward, “Dokdo protection” was gradually institutionalized ­under successive administrations. To a certain degree, the “Dokdo” construct, like Japan’s “Northern Territories” and “Takeshima” examined in previous chapters, took on a life of its own, constraining and shaping policy choices of the Korean government (Flamm 2015, 3). Importantly though, the institutionalization of “Dokdo protection” also led to a certain co-­optation of the movement and brought about a number of impor­tant changes in its structure and narrative. The Dokdo task force created by Roh Mu-­hyun in 2006 was turned into a permanent institution u ­ nder President Lee (Yi) Myung-­bak’s government in 2008, as the Joint Council for Mea­sures Related to Dokdo Administration u ­ nder the Prime-­ Minister’s Office. The council, made up of representatives of related ministries and of North Gyeongsang Province, is in charge of developing and coordinating policies aimed at enhancing ­Korea’s title to the islets (ROK Government 2008, 103–4). During the five years of Lee’s presidency, the combined Dokdo bud­get stood at over forty-­eight billion won. Lee, who initially was criticized for a low-­profile approach to the Dokdo issue, also became the first Korean president to pay a visit to the islets, in 2012. The Dokdo bud­get was halved during Park Geun-­hye’s presidency, making her perceived return to the “­silent policy” on Dokdo one of the targets of criticism from the opposition (Ryu NY 2015). Overall, the Dokdo bud­get may seem miniscule if compared, for example, with South K ­ orea’s defense bud­get, which in 2012 stood at a hefty 32,876 million USD (SIPRI 2017). When one is comparing ­these figures, however, it is impor­tant to remember that the Dokdo bud­get relates to the “defense” of two islets that have been ­under K ­ orea’s effective administration for over half a c­ entury and whose total surface area accounts for less than 0.0002 ­percent of South K ­ orea’s territory. The prospects of Japan attempting to take the islets by force at risk of igniting a military confrontation with K ­ orea are all but non­ex­is­tent, and International Court of Justice provisions do not allow Japan to take the dispute to the court unilaterally. As McDevitt and Gorenburg (2013, 3) have argued, South ­Korea’s de facto control over the islets is permanent. Thus, ­there is ­little doubt that framing of the notion of territorial integrity,

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which is the main bud­getary justification for Dokdo allocations, should be traced to the discourse initiated by the “Protect Dokdo” movement rather than to pragmatic calculations. Governmental assistance to Dokdo-­related NGOs also began ­under Roh’s administration in 2005. Initially, the government provided 117 million won to Dokdo groups, but over the next three years the assistance to Dokdo organ­izations was slightly over 165 million won annually (Park JH 2008), distributed among only five or six organ­izations (Park JH 2008). Lee Myun-­bak’s government was continually criticized for providing ­little financial support to Dokdo NGOs, and the law on the sustainable development of Dokdo was revised only in 2012, in such a way as to allow the government to support NGO activities that contribute to the law’s purpose (Jeong JU 2015). Since then, the government has distributed subsides to Dokdo-­related registered NGOs mostly through the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries but also through other ministries, such as the Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS) and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST). The subsidies vary in size. For example, a report by MOIS for 2015 lists two grants of 300 million won, each for proj­ects related to Dokdo (MOIS 2016). MCST’s public call for Dokdo and East Sea proj­ect proposals for 2015 (MCST 2015) stipulates the scope of the grants to be within one hundred million won each. Support is provided to proj­ects that engage in ­either domestic or international activities aimed at promoting and enhancing K ­ orea’s position on the Dokdo issue. The most impor­tant channel for the government’s engagement with the “Protect Dokdo” movement, however, has been the Northeast Asia History Foundation (NAHF), established in 2006, along with the Dokdo Research Institute, created within it in 2008. The envisaged role of the foundation was to develop a “long-­term, rational and academically sound” policy response to Japan and China’s “distortions of history” that involved ­Korea (Education Committee of the National Assembly 2006). The creation of NAHF resulted in a merger of two other governmental institutions that w ­ ere established a year e­ arlier and whose purpose was to deal with historical issues between ­Korea on one side and Japan and China on the other. NAHF’s Dokdo-­related activities have been rather wide-­ranging. They include networking with Korean, Japa­nese, and other countries’ scholars supportive of K ­ orea’s position, monitoring developments inside Japan, publishing both research supportive of ­Korea’s claims to rightful owner­ship and educational material, and organ­izing workshops both domestically and internationally, as well as numerous other activities aimed at enhancing K ­ orea’s position (NAHF 2011; NAHF 2012, 145–67). The exact scope of NAHF’s annual assistance to NGOs is not fully transparent, but in 2009, the bud­get allocated to assisting NGOs engaged with issues in Dokdo (and the East Sea) stood at a hefty 510 million won (MEST 2008).


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To a ­great degree, the establishment of NAHF was a response to criticism from civil society activists related to the government’s “­silent diplomacy” on Dokdo and other historical issues and the lack of a comprehensive and coordinated policy related to t­ hese issues. Representatives of civil society groups actively participated in the parliamentary deliberations regarding the structure and the functions of the organ­ization (NAHF 2012, 25–30). Thus, the pro­cess that led to the creation of NAHF can be seen as intrinsically related to Roh Mu-­hyun’s “participatory government” vision. At the same time, NAHF and other governmental agencies have been more than simply conduits for the demands of civic groups, as argued by some scholars (Suh and Linkhart 2011, 179). Instead, through framing of prioritized activities, support of selected organ­izations, workshops, and distribution of Dokdo educational material, NAHF, together with other governmental agencies, has exerted influence on the agenda of the “Protect Dokdo” movement and the narrative promoted by it. Let us start by looking at the way the Dokdo dispute has been framed by NAHF. Although acknowledging the diversity of the Dokdo-­related organ­izations, NAHF has designated the main purpose of civil society activism as re­sis­tance to Japan’s “greed.” Due to the formidable strength of the “­enemy” and the urgency of the prob­lem, it has been argued that this re­sis­tance requires unity of the government and the civil society (NAHF 2008, 282–90). This framing of the issue is also reflected in the calls for applications from civil society groups for Dokdo-­related activities. A recent one, for example, lists educational activities about Dokdo directed at foreigners and overseas Koreans, activities aimed at correcting “mistaken” notations of Dokdo and the East Sea, activities aimed at responding to Japan’s “distortions of history,” and networking with foreign-­based, historical issues–­related NGOs as potential topics for activities to be supported (NAHF 2017). This framing of “Dokdo protection” excludes activities directed at the Korean government or narratives on Dokdo unrelated to countering Japan’s claims from the scope of proj­ects eligible for funding. Certain parallels can indeed be drawn ­here with the co-­optation of the Northern Territories movement by the Japa­nese government in the late 1960s.

North Gyeongsang Province’s Dokdo Policy Along with NAHF and other governmental agencies, the North Gyeongsang provincial government also became an impor­tant actor in the production and reproduction of the “Dokdo is our land” construct. Its role, however, has been fundamentally dif­ fer­ent from that of Shimane Prefecture examined in the previous chapter. Rather than initiating a new narrative or advocating its distinct interests, the province’s activities should be seen as part of the broader drive in the domestic educational campaign. The province’s engagement with the Dokdo cause, which t­oday occupies an impor­tant place in its annual bud­get, was initially triggered by Shimane Prefecture’s Takeshima Day ordinance (Kim NI 2008, 36–37). Thus, in a somewhat ironic way, an

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initiative of one regional government taken to a large extent as a response to bud­getary cuts in the central government’s subsidies has resulted in an additional bud­getary burden for another provincial government, located on the other side of the Sea of Japan. On March 16, 2005, the same day that the Shimane Prefectural Assembly ­adopted the ordinance, the North Gyeongsang provincial government severed its ­sister relations with Shimane and created a small “Dokdo protection team.” ­Later, the team was turned into a Dokdo Protection Countermea­sures Office within the provincial government (Kim NI 2008; Yi SR 2014). In 2009, the provincial government also established the 500-­million-­won Dokdo Foundation (­until 2015 ­under the name of An Yong-­bok Foundation). The purpose of the foundation, which became the main channel of the province’s engagement with the “Protect Dokdo” movement, is to enhance K ­ orea’s title through civic activities related to Dokdo protection and domestic and international information campaigns (Dokdo Foundation 2015, 2016). Since 2006, North Gyeongsang Province’s Dokdo-­related activities have become an integral part of the broader campaign led by the central government. Its bud­get has been used for the organ­ization of educational visits to the islets, research, creation of educational material, support to selected NGOs, and backing of vari­ous Dokdo-­ related cultural activities, such as exhibitions, a musical, and even the production of a 3D animation film (North Gyeongsang Province 2017). The educational material produced by the province differs ­little from the other books and pamphlets produced by the central government and civic groups that came to occupy a central place in the movement. In one form or another, they repeat the historical arguments for K ­ orea’s rightful possession of the islets and their flora and fauna, the Japa­nese “plunder” of the islets in 1905 and continual attempts to steal it again, and the need to learn about the islets as a mea­sure to protect them (e.g., North Gyeongsang Province 2013). To a certain extent, the province benefited from the sharp rise in domestic interest in the Dokdo issue. The largest beneficiary was Ulleung Island, which, as a county within the province, administers the islets and is also the only point of access to them. From 2005 onward, as a result of the easing of visiting procedures and in response to perceived provocations by Japan, the number of visitors to Dokdo ­rose sharply from around 180,000 per year to around 270,000 and has remained relatively steady since (Ulleung County 2010). ­Because ferries to the islets are operated locally, and a visit to the islets requires travelers to spend at least one night on Ulleung, ­there is ­little doubt that its ser­vice industry, which has been the main engine of the local economy (Yi DH 2010, 304), has benefited greatly from this. As of September 2017, the government was finalizing an ambitious plan to build a landfilled airport on the island that would connect it with Seoul and potentially lead to an increase in the number of visitors. The central government has also provided certain Dokdo-­related subsidies to the province, but ­these are mostly used for infrastructure on the islets and the Dokdo


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museum on Ulleung Island. Between 2007 and 2009, it also subsidized the construction of a “Dokdo management” ship and has since subsidized its operational costs. Overall, however, the central government’s share in the province’s Dokdo-­related bud­get has stood at about 50 ­percent annually (North Gyeongsang Province 2017). Dokdo expenditures occupy an impor­tant place in the provincial bud­get. In 2015, for example, they stood at 800 million won and amounted to almost one-­third of the province’s bud­get for science and technology for that year (North Gyeongsang Province 2017). Even when taking into account the subsidies received from the central government and the increase in visitors to Ulleung and the islets, the burden of “Dokdo” has prob­ably been greater than the benefits received from it. Nevertheless, due to its position as the regional administrator of the islets, the province became an integral part of the institutional network that co-­opted the Dokdo cause and transformed both the structure and the narrative of the grassroots activism.

Transformations in National Identity Entrepreneurship Interactions and legitimation strategies deployed by actors can alter the stories and symbolic bound­aries initially invoked by national identity entrepreneurs who initiated the pro­cess and create a focal point around which actors are transformed and new actors emerge. The drastic changes that occurred in the “Northern Territories” advocacy ­after the government’s embracement of the irredentist cause and the formation of the Association for Protecting Prefectural Territory Takeshima when Shimane Prefecture escalated its campaign illustrate this point. It is beyond doubt, therefore, that the embracement of the Dokdo cause by the central government was bound to have a profound impact on the narrative and the structure of the movement. To understand this impact of the post-2005 institutionalization of “Dokdo protection,” let us look at the new civic groups and some of the most impor­tant ongoing educational proj­ects implemented by them in cooperation with the government. One of the most extensive and long-­lived proj­ects that involves cooperation ­between NAHF and Dokdo-­related NGOs has been the so-­called Dokdo Acad­emy, which involves a series of lectures and workshops related to the islets (NAHF 2008, 296). The “acad­emy” is run by a group called the International Alliance of Dokdo Guardians (hereafter, the Alliance) and is or­ga­nized in close cooperation with NAHF, the National Assembly Library, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The Alliance was formed in 2006 and was registered as a nonprofit organ­ization with the Seoul Metropolitan Government in September of that year. It seems that the creation of the Alliance was closely coordinated with NAHF and possibly other governmental agencies, b­ ecause just two months a­ fter its registration, the Alliance held its inaugural ceremony at the National Assembly Library and, only a month l­ater, together with NAHF, began preparations for implementing the acad­emy’s educational program

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(Yi SH 2006; NHAF 2008, 297). Furthermore, at least the first five rounds of the acad­emy ­were funded at a rate of 60–70 ­percent by NAHF (Dokdosuho gukjeyeondae 2008, 5). The extent of the support provided by NAHF to subsequent rounds is not clear, but its name features continuously on the program as one of the supporting organ­izations. The close connection between the Alliance and the government is further underscored by numerous congratulatory addresses to the acad­emy from politicians and public figures. On one occasion, the list of ­people that had sent their address even included President Lee Myung-­bak (Dokdosuho gukjeyeondae 2008, 157). The Alliance is headed by Ko Chang-­geun, who, ­until his recent retirement, was a professor at the Department of International Business and Trade of Kyung Hee University, specializing in trade and entrepreneurship. In an interview conducted in 2008, Ko stated that the immediate trigger for his decision to engage in Dokdo activism was Japan’s dispatch of survey ships to ­waters adjacent to the islets in March 2005 (Wang GH 2008). Ko seems to have confused two unrelated incidents, as in March 2005, Shimane Prefecture ­adopted its Takeshima Day ordinance, and the survey ships’ crisis happened a year l­ ater. Nevertheless, the impor­tant point h ­ ere is that, unlike the early “Protect Dokdo” movement, which targeted both Japan and the Korean government, from its initiation the Alliance construed only Japan as the target of its activism. The Alliance’s activism is not l­imited to r­ unning the Dokdo Acad­emy and includes other proj­ects, such as carry­ing voting boxes to the islets and lobbying the domestic TV broadcasters to include Dokdo in their daily weather forecast (Wang GH 2008). Overall, though, the Dokdo Acad­emy has been the Alliance’s main proj­ect, offered annually since April 2007 and targeting mainly domestic university students, as well as occasionally civil servants, and each time having between one hundred and two hundred participants. The educational program usually consists of a series of lectures and workshops related to the islets. Its main explicit aim is to apply “rational education” to enhance the participants’ understanding of ­Korea’s rightful owner­ship of the islets and Japan’s claims and propaganda strategies (Wang GH 2008). According to a pamphlet published by the Alliance, the acad­emy seeks to train “Dokdo guards” who ­will be able to defend domestically and internationally Dokdo’s belonging to K ­ orea. The organizers promise that, as a result of attending the course, the f­ uture “guards” w ­ ill not only gain knowledge of Dokdo but w ­ ill also acquire such useful skills as leadership, team play, and ability to contribute to society (Dokdo Acad­emy 2012). Speakers include NAHF researchers, representatives of other Dokdo-­related groups, reporters, scholars, and politicians. Regardless of the specialization of the speaker, however, all of the lectures are focused on Japan’s “provocations” and strategies to regain control over the islets, as well as historical, l­egal, and other arguments that justify K ­ orea’s owner­ship (Dokdosuho gukjeyeondae 2008, 28–82; NAHF 2008, 298–300; Dokdo


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Acad­emy 2012). Nothing in the program indicates that any of the critical ele­ments of the early “Protect Dokdo” movement have been preserved. The most celebrated organ­ization in the “Protect Dokdo” movement t­ oday, however, is the Voluntary Agency Network of ­Korea (VANK). VANK originated in 1999 as an individual online pen pal proj­ect of Park Gi-­tae, who has headed the organ­ization since its inception and has been its undisputed leader. Th ­ ere is a certain overlap in the ­factors that brought about the emergence of the early “Protect Dokdo” movement and t­hose b ­ ehind the creation of VANK. Park locates the origins of his activism in the social and economic conditions in ­Korea in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 1997 and the atmosphere of gloom and despair among university students during this period when many companies w ­ ere ­either g­ oing bankrupt or s­ topped hiring new employees. It is within this context that Park, who majored in Japa­nese lit­er­a­ture at a nonelite university, became obsessed with improving his En­glish language ability which he saw as the key to finding a good job. For this reason he started corresponding with foreigners and started his proj­ect, which gradually evolved into “cyber diplomacy” (Park GT 2011, 22–30). Despite ­these similarities, however, the nature of VANK’s advocacy and the narrative it promotes are fundamentally dif­fer­ent from the early movement. From 2005 onward, VANK has been the main recipient of governmental assistance and has received an average of fifty million won annually. In 2008, a rumor that the government was planning to cut its funding to VANK created a small storm, both in the Korean cyberspace and in the mainstream media (Chosun Ilbo 2008). This resulted in an official media release by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) that stated that t­ here ­were no plans to cut the funding, but simply proposals to change the institution in charge of funding from the Acad­emy of Korean Studies to NAHF’s Dokdo Research Institute (MEST 2008). VANK’s main activities are cyber diplomacy and a wide range of educational programs, directed mostly at Korean youth and aimed at training ­future cyber diplomats. Cyber diplomacy refers to the extensive usage of social media and other electronic resources directed at correcting “misperceptions” about K ­ orea (Park GT 2009, 16–17). Th ­ ese “misperceptions” are usually interpretations of historical events or geo­graph­i­cal names disputed by K ­ orea and its neighbors (Card 2009). Most of the “diplomatic” activities conducted by VANK consist of quite aggressive lobbying of overseas companies, governmental agencies, publishers, and other organ­izations. It seems that VANK’s international activism has had certain success with vari­ous publishing companies and governmental agencies around the world, including the CIA World Fact Book, which has indeed changed and amended certain parts of its Korea-­related narrative (Kim TG 2007). Domestically, VANK organizes vari­ous events, seminars, and workshops aimed at educating young p ­ eople about K ­ orea’s history and history-­related issues and training

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them as cyber diplomats. According to VANK’s website, it currently has seven thousand youth members and four hundred VANK clubs throughout the country (VANK 2017). Although VANK’s international activities are often described as nationalistic spamming (Card 2009; Japan ­Today 2013; Michishita 2014, 25; News Post Seven 2014), domestically they have been evaluated very positively and are highly popu­lar among Korean youth (Han 2012). Between 2004 and 2010, VANK received numerous domestic prizes from the National Assembly, Seoul City, North Gyeongsang Province, and other governmental and NGO bodies (Daum Encyclopedia 2016). According to Park Gi-­tae, VANK’s activities supplement ­those of the government. He sees its members as the ­future leaders of ­Korea and argues that VANK provides them with the right knowledge needed to “preserve the peace in Northeast Asia” (Park GT 2011a and 2012). ­Whether VANK members actually manage to climb to leadership positions in Korean society is unclear, but Park himself has indeed achieved an almost celebrity status in ­Korea. Besides serving on vari­ous governmental panels and receiving a presidential award (Japan ­Today 2013), Park was also appointed as a public relations ambassador of Seoul City and, as of May 2016, even featured in a commercial advertisement of hair products (Milan 2016). VANK’s activism is not l­ imited to Korea-­Japan relations (Moon and Li 2010, 348), but Dokdo is one of the main areas of its activism, and its motto for the domestic audience states, “Introduce K ­ orea to the world, while holding Dokdo in your heart!” (Park GT 2011b, 2). Trips to Dokdo and lectures about the owner­ship of the islets are one of the main features of the programs offered by VANK for soon-­to-be cyber diplomats. The organ­ization also holds other Dokdo-­related events, such as a 2011 concert on the islets by the popu­lar singer Kim Jang-­hoon, who also served as VANK’s honorary ambassador for the Dokdo issue (Chosun Ilbo 2011). What kind of narrative related to Dokdo is promoted by VANK domestically? Certain insights into it can be gained from a comic book devoted to the islets, which was published as part of a series titled Discovery of History, aimed at educating young Korean cyberdiplomats about their national history (VANK 2009). The book’s main characters are a female newspaper reporter and a writer, as well as an American “genius scientist,” and all three are funny, likeable, and charming. The story starts with news about Japan’s Self Defense Air Force reconnaissance plane intruding into ­Korea’s airspace over Dokdo, a “trea­sure basket” of natu­ral resources and a symbol of Japan’s colonization of K ­ orea, and disrupting the peaceful coexistence of birds and Korean border guards stationed on the islets. The three protagonists then depart Seoul on a mission to visit the islets and to protect their peaceful existence by discovering the true history of Dokdo’s owner­ship and writing about it. ­Needless to say, neither the validity of Korean claims nor the actions of the Korean government are questioned anywhere in the story. Through meetings with dif­fer­ent real and fictional characters,


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the three friends learn about the history of Japan’s “second aggression” against Dokdo, referring to the Shimane Prefecture’s Takeshima Day ordinance and Japan’s attempted dispatch of scientific vessels to ­waters around Dokdo in 2006 (VANK 2009, 38–54). Particularly noteworthy is the story of a seal that appears to tell the protagonists about the tragedy that befell his kind on Dokdo—­because of excessive hunting by the Japa­nese, they became extinct in early twentieth c­ entury. The seal pre­sents himself as the former owner of Dokdo and appeals to its pre­sent o­ wners, that is, the Korean ­people, arguing that the tragedy of their extinction happened ­because of ­Korea’s powerlessness and lack of interest in Dokdo at the time. He appeals to the protagonists to remember the ­mistakes of the past and not to repeat them again (VANK 2009, 78–83). This is the main lesson that the three friends learn throughout their journey as they realize the need to appeal to the international society in order to expose Japan’s lies and protect Dokdo from Japa­nese aggression. Overall, throughout the story, the Koreans are presented as somewhat unduly emotional but as standing for peace and truth, while the Japa­nese are presented as cunning, aggressive, and lying. Ironically, despite the recurring emphasis on the importance of history throughout the text, the Koreans are argued to be f­ uture oriented, whereas the Japa­nese are the ones obsessed by the past in their refusal to admit their colonial wrongdoings. This depiction of the Dokdo prob­lem and its history, as well as the juxtaposition of Japan and K ­ orea h ­ ere, is not dissimilar to the narrative advocated by DH and other organ­izations from the early 2000s. However, located within a broader context of VANK’s historical narrative and its vision of Korean society, the role of Dokdo is fundamentally dif­fer­ent from the one it played in DH’s ideology, exposing the post2005 ideological transformations in the “Protect Dokdo” movement. To understand the main tenets of VANK’s historical narrative, let us start with a workbook developed in cooperation with NAHF to be used at VANK’s “Global History Diplomatic Acad­emy” workshops (VANK 2012). The workbook carries one chapter on Dokdo, which repeats the common arguments about ­Korea’s historical, geo­graph­ic­ al, and l­egal rights to the islets and Japan’s “provocations” (VANK 2012, 118–24). The workbook also has a w ­ hole section devoted to Korean history, which consists of ten chapters that discuss the history textbooks–­-­related issues between ­Korea, Japan, and China and K ­ orea’s relations with China and Japan during the Jeoson period. None of the chapters touches upon the domestic developments in ­Korea during the postwar period, or its relations with the United States and North ­Korea (VANK 2012). In a dif­fer­ent book published by VANK, Park Gi-­tae provides a brief introduction to K ­ orea’s history. As in the DH narrative, Korean history h ­ ere starts from the Goguryeo (B.C. 37–­A.D. 668) period. Unlike the critical view of the per­sis­tent flunkeyism of K ­ orea’s elites emphasized by DH, however, h ­ ere K ­ orea is presented

Th e “ Prot ec t Do k do” M ovem ent in S o u t h ­K o re a


as an in­de­pen­dent country that temporarily “lost its identity” during the Japa­nese occupation period but “Koreans resisted continuously both at home and abroad” ­until Japan’s surrender (Park GT 2009, 90–99). The entire post–­Korean War period is described as ­Korea “­going through vari­ous changes” and becoming ­today one of the “most connected countries in the world,” with one of the fastest-­growing economies and “setting international standards in related industries” (Park GT 2009, 100–101). As such, the narrative completely neglects the role of external powers in K ­ orea’s liberation, the continuous antagonism between the two ­Koreas that developed during and ­after the war, K ­ orea’s troubled post-­independence history of dictatorship, oppression, the strug­gle for democracy, and relations with outside powers. Placed in this context of VANK’s view of ­Korea’s history, the symbolic role of Dokdo and its difference from the symbolism of the early “Protect Dokdo” movement becomes clearer. The ideational character of the movement as a per­for­mance of K ­ orea’s national identity is preserved. However, the juxtaposition of “­Korea” with “Japan” that dominates the post-2005 Dokdo narrative enables the construction of ­Korea as a socially, po­liti­cally, and eco­nom­ically homogeneous and autonomous subject, while at the same time avoiding the question of what exactly the Korean nation is, and what the values and norms that characterize it are. The juxtaposition of the Korean ­people with the symbiosis of the Korean government and outside powers is eliminated from the narrative, and the domestic elites now are absorbed in the realm of the Korean nation defined thorough opposition to its former colonial ruler. Having its roots in the democ­ratization movement, “Protect Dokdo” national identity entrepreneurship was ­shaped by the post-1987 sociopo­liti­cal and economic developments that culminated in the critical juncture of the late 1990s. Democ­ratization and related po­liti­cal developments have destabilized the ontological basis of both of the national identity constructs that existed in K ­ orea, but it was the 1997 financial crisis that dealt an irreversible blow to both of the constructs. The “Protect Dokdo” movement should be mostly seen as a response to this critical juncture, as a discursive attempt to re-­create Korean national subjectivity by replicating but also modifying the minjung construct. The embracement of the Dokdo cause by the central government from 2005 onward, influenced both the movement’s structure and its narrative. From the symbol of the Korean nation juxtaposed with the perceived symbiosis of the domestic ruling elites and Japan, “Dokdo” transformed into a symbol of the Korean “self ” juxtaposed solely with the Japa­nese “other.” As a result of this transformation, the Korean nation came to be constructed as a homogeneous and autonomous subject that absorbs both the elites and the ­people.


Taiwan’s “Protect the Diaoyutai” Movement

l arge scale anti-­j apanese demonstrations occur not only in ­Korea but also in China, where nationwide violent protests that followed Japan’s nationalization of three disputed islands in 2012 brought the dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu/Diaoyutai ­islands to the fore of media attention worldwide. Indeed, from the perspective of regional stability, the importance of the dispute t­ oday lies in its role in China-­Japan relations. Diaoyutai-­related activism, however, is all but new. From the early days of the dispute, activists from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan engaged in actions related to the group of tiny islands (Deans 2000; Chung 2007; Pan 2007; Teo 2017). This chapter focuses mostly on Taiwan and the early “Protect the Diaoyutai,”—or, as it is known in Chinese, the Baodiao—­movement. Admittedly, the isolation of Taiwan when examining Chinese national identity entrepreneurship is somewhat superficial, as already at Baodiao’s early stage, the movements in Taiwan and Hong Kong ­were interrelated (Szeto 2009). Furthermore, ­today, Baodiao movements in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China exist in a symbiotic relationship, with overlapping memberships and jointly or­ga­nized activities (Zhang 2015). Lit­er­at­ ure on the subject also shows that in both Hong Kong and mainland China, the Baodiao protests have never been simply expressions of anti-­Japanese nationalism but have been embedded in broader con­temporary sociopo­liti­cal developments in the two locales (Ma 2005; Szeto 2009; Teo 2017). Although Baodiao activism on mainland China is a relatively new phenomenon (Chung 2004, 2007; Weiss 2014), ­here as well the protests are seen as, at least partially, expressions of economic deprivation or broader dissatisfaction with the government (Zhang 2015).

Taiwa n’s “ Prot ec t t he Diaoy utai” M ove m e nt


Baodiao, however, originated in Taiwan. To be more precise, Taiwanese students in the United States initiated it. Looking into the origins of this mostly ideational movement ­will shed some new light on its c­ auses and provide an impor­tant background for ­today’s activism. Furthermore, Taiwan’s Baodiao provides an in­ter­est­ing comparison with other cases of national identity entrepreneurship examined ­here, as its overseas origin makes it unique. For ­these reasons, while acknowledging the importance of Hong Kong and Chinese Baodiao, this chapter focuses mostly on Taiwanese activism. It traces the structural origins of the movement to the nexus of two critical junctures, the “long 1960s” in the United States and the rapprochement between the United States and the P ­ eople’s Republic of China (PRC) in the early 1970s. Like the “Protect Dokdo” movement examined in the previous chapter, Baodiao was an attempt to re-­create Chinese national identity, in this case ­shaped both by the student activism in the United States and the Kuomintang (KMT) ideology. In the 1990s however, Baodiao reemerged in Taiwan in a completely transformed form as a po­liti­cal tool of pro-­unification parties.

The Dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu/Diaoyutai Islands The Senkaku Islands, known as Diaoyu in the PRC and as Diaoyutai in the Republic of China (ROC), dispute, between Japan on one side and the PRC (China) and the ROC (Taiwan) on the other, revolves around eight islands located in the southern part of the East China Sea. The total territory of the islands is about 6.3 square kilo­ meters, and they are located in a very impor­tant strategic position, approximately 170 kilo­meters from Japan’s Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture and about the same distance from Taiwan. The islands ­were incorporated by Japan into Okinawa Prefecture in January 1895 as terra nullius during the first Sino-­Japanese War. In the first few de­cades of the twentieth ­century, ­there was some economic activity on the islands, but they have been uninhabited since the 1940s. Along with the rest of Okinawa Prefecture, the islands ­were administered by the United States between 1945 and 1972. ­Today, they are administered as part of the Japa­nese Okinawa Prefecture and claimed by both Beijing and Taipei as historically part of China’s Taiwan Province, ceded to Japan by Qing China in 1895, a­ fter the first Sino-­Japanese War of 1894–95. Both the ROC and the PRC thus refer to the Cairo Declaration of 1943, which states that all of the territories Japan had “stolen” from the Chinese should be restored to the ROC, and the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951, in which Japan renounced its rights to Formosa (Taiwan) and the Pescadores (Penghu). Japan’s official incorporation of the islands into Okinawa Prefecture indeed happened during the negotiations that led to the conclusion of the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895. However, t­ here is no evidence to suggest that the owner­ship over the Senkakus/Diaoyu was discussed during the peace negotiations, and ­there are no references to the islands in the final text of the


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treaty. To complicate m ­ atters further, references to the Senkaku Islands did not appear in the March 1896 Imperial Ordinance, which established the districts of Okinawa Prefecture, but featured for the first time in a dif­fer­ent imperial ordinance issued only a year ­later (Kawashima 2013, 124). The first claim to the islands by both Chinese governments was made a­ fter a publication of the 1968 United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East study, which found gas and oil deposits near the islets. Th ­ ese findings w ­ ere confirmed by two Japa­nese surveys conducted in 1969 and 1970, and by September 1970, the Ryukyu government of Okinawa Prefecture had almost twenty-­five thousand applications for drilling (Suganuma 1996, 250). More recently, sources in the oil industry have raised doubts regarding the existence of commercially exploitable oil reserves in the vicinity of the islands (Downs and Saunders 1999, 124). ­Today, however, the existence of potential resource plays a minor role in shaping the dynamics of the dispute. In 1972, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a document explaining Japan’s position regarding its entitlement to the islands. It argued that the 1895 incorporation of the islands was justified through terra nullius princi­ple and conducted ­after a careful examination that produced no evidence of owner­ship by China (Toyoshita 2012, 47–48). In the same year, the US government returned the islands together with the rest of Okinawa Prefecture to Japan’s control. As with its policy on the Dokdo/ Takeshima dispute, the United States de­cided not to take a position on issues of sovereignty as a reflection of its Cold War interests in the region, despite the generally shared understanding among US policy makers that the Senkakus ­were part of Okinawa (Hara 2006). Since then, Japan has administered the islands, while both the PRC and the ROC claim them as being part of Taiwan province. While the claims of both Chinese governments are almost identical t­ oday, it was the ROC that first raised the issue of owner­ship of the islets in 1970 (Chen 2014). However, Japan’s change in recognition of “China” from the ROC to the PRC in 1972, and the PRC’s growing importance and increasing assertiveness in the region, transformed the dispute into one existing mainly between Japan and the PRC. Japan’s normalization negotiations with the PRC began in late 1971 a­ fter the so-­called Nixon shocks and culminated in the Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed in August 1978. As in Japan-­Korea negotiations in the early 1960s, the territorial dispute was one of the more contentious issues, raised mainly by Japan. Economic interests, however, prevailed on both sides, and the participants reached a tacit agreement to shelve the dispute to prevent it from destabilizing bilateral relations (e.g., Higuchi 2012; Toyoshita 2012; Drifte 2013; Tomabechi 2015). While Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to deny the shelving agreement, Kuriyama Takakazu, who served as the director of the ministry’s Treatise Division during the negotiations (cited in Drifte 2013, 20–21), has confirmed its existence.

Taiwa n’s “ Prot ec t t he Diaoy utai” M ove m e nt


In the 1970s and 1980s both Japan and the PRC observed the shelving agreement, but the issue of owner­ship resurfaced in the early 1990s with the passing of the PRC’s Territorial Law, which included the disputed islands as Chinese territory. In 1996, Japan declared an exclusive economic zone that incorporated w ­ aters adjacent to the islands, further contributing to the escalation of the dispute. Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea by both Japan and the PRC further contributed to the erosion of the shelving agreement, but both governments continued to cooperate in order to avoid escalation (Drifte 2013, 23–26; O’Shea 2015, 565). It was ­after the 2010 Chinese trawler incident and the 2012 nationalization of three of the islands by Japan’s government that the dispute r­ose to the forefront of Japan-­China relations with the potential of leading to an armed conflict between the two states (Smith 2013). The Demo­cratic Party of Japan government, aiming to stop Tokyo’s nationalistic Governor Ishihara Shintaro from purchasing the islands on behalf of Tokyo Metropolitan government, drafted an ill-­conceived plan of nationalization. However, in China, this act was construed as one of deliberate provocation, challenging the status quo (Weiss 2014, 205). Many cities in China saw large-­scale anti-­Japanese demonstrations, attacks against Japa­nese businesses and individuals, and looting and burning of Japa­nese property. Numerous official events between the two countries w ­ ere suspended on the Chinese initiative, and incursions by Chinese official and private vessels into w ­ aters surrounding the islands became frequent (Nakauchi 2012, 77–78). ­Today, the dispute is the main source of friction between the two countries, though Taiwan’s government, which maintains its claims to the islands, also occasionally plays a certain role in the dispute.

Early Baodiao in the United States and Taiwan Background and Action As already noted, from Japan’s surrender in WWII ­until the return of Okinawa in 1972, the Diaoyutai Islands ­were ­under US occupation and, from April 1952, ­were administered by the US-­controlled Ryukyu government. During this period, the islands and surrounding w ­ aters w ­ ere frequented by fishermen from Taiwan, Okinawa, and mainland Japan (Nishimura 2014; Sasaki and Kuniyoshi 2016). The US authorities occasionally lodged protests with the ROC in regard to the landing of Taiwanese fishermen, but the question of sovereignty was never an issue in t­hese exchanges (Kawashima 2014, 127–28). The Nixon-­Satō 1969 joint declaration, which announced the return of Okinawa to Japan, almost coincided with the publication of the 1968 UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East survey that identified oil and gas deposits near the islands. Subsequently, tensions between Japan, which started to prepare for the reversion of Okinawa, and the ROC regarding the belonging of the islands began to unfold. The ROC was initially concerned about the return of


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Okinawa to Japan in general, as President Chiang Kai-­shek believed that, as one of the victorious Allies in WWII and due to historical connections between China and the Ryukyu Kingdom, he should have a say on this subject (Lin 2016, 122). Chiang, however, soon realized that the ROC could not prevent the return of Okinawa and shifted the focus to natu­ral resources in w ­ aters adjacent to the Diaoyutai. By the summer of 1970, the dispute evolved from the question of developmental rights to the continental shelf in the vicinity of the islands into one over owner­ship, though the ROC’s main concern was still related to the oil deposits (Suganuma 1996, 250; Kawashima 2013, 133–34). In autumn 1970, both the ROC and Japan ­were still willing to downplay the territorial issue and focus on the joint exploitation of natu­ral resources. Moreover, the United States appealed to both sides to resolve the dispute amicably (Kawashima 2013, 135). It was only a­ fter the PRC made its first claim to the islands in December 1970 that all negotiations regarding joint exploration of natu­ral resources near the islands ­were suspended, and the US government advised its oil companies against drilling around the islands to prevent the territorial dispute from affecting its ongoing rapprochement with the PRC (Suganuma 1996, 252). While negotiations w ­ ere suspended, the respective claims of owner­ship by the ROC, the PRC, and Japan remained intact. This can be regarded as the starting point for the crystallization of the Diaoyutai dispute into its current form as multiple contested claims of sovereignty. The negotiations among the ROC, Japan, and the United States, as well as other related developments, w ­ ere widely reported in the Taiwanese press. In September 1970, in what was to become the first act of Diaoyutai-­related activism, a group of reporters from Taiwan’s Zhongguo Shibao newspaper landed on the islands, planted an ROC flag, and inscribed “Long Live President Chiang” on one of the rocks. They ­were evicted from the islands and the Ryukyu government (Suganuma 1996, 250) removed the flag. According to a recent interview with one of the reporters that participated in the landing, the newspaper’s editor had formally initiated the action with the purpose of expressing the ROC’s sovereign rights over the islets, although it also served as a tacit critique of the lack of determinacy by the KMT in asserting its position (Honda 2016, 82). Around the same time, the US Department of State announced that the islands would be returned to Japan’s administration along with the rest of Okinawa Prefecture, based on the princi­ple of residual sovereignty (Wang 2009, 130). It is against this background that Taiwanese students in the United States initiated the Baodiao movement in November 1970 (Downs and Saunders 1999, 126; Honda 2016, 19). The movement was sparked by reports of the September landing incident and by an article titled “Defend our Diaoyu Islands!” published in Taiwan’s Chung Hwa magazine. The article was jointly written by Wang Xiao-po and Wang Shun, at that time both gradu­ate students at National Taiwan University. In the article, the

Taiwa n’s “ Prot ec t t he Diaoy utai” M ove m e nt


authors argued that, historically and geo­graph­i­cally, the islands belonged to China and ­were acquired by Japan as a result of its imperialist aggression. The authors also called upon the ROC government to unite the nation and defend its dignity, and for the p ­ eople to support such efforts (cited in Zheng and Wang 2011, 19–41). ­Because at that point the ROC’s main focus was on developmental rights rather than on sovereignty over the islets, this call could also be read as an implicit critique of the government’s stance, although the careful framing of the argument in patriotic and pro-­governmental terms made it hard for the authorities to claim it as an act of treason. The first Defend the Diaoyutai Islands Action Committee was established in December 1970 by Taiwanese students at Prince­ton University (Shao 2013, 18). The initiative spread spontaneously to other US universities, where autonomous groups for the defense of the Diaoyutai, also led by Taiwanese students, ­were quickly established (Honda 2016, 20). As an epitome of the intellectual nature of the movement, the main media outlet for circulating news and debates regarding the issue in the United States was a scientific monthly journal edited by Lin Xiao-­shin, who became one of the leaders of the movement. Although the journal was established by Taiwanese students of physics studying in US universities and was at first solely intended for sharing scientific knowledge, by the late 1970s it had become the main medium of communication for the Baodiao movement (Honda 2016, 16–19). Soon, the vari­ous groups from US East Coast universities or­ga­nized into the New York Baodiao Action Committee, which initiated and led a demonstration in New York in January 1971. A manifesto issued by the committee at the demonstration called for opposition to the revival of Japa­nese militarism, to US support of Japan’s claims to the islands, and to any joint developments before Chinese sovereignty was recognized by all of the parties. It also announced the students’ determination to safeguard Chinese sovereignty over the islands (Wang 2009, 131). Subsequent demonstrations, which consisted mostly of students from Taiwan and Hong Kong, w ­ ere held in other major US cities. In New York, the demonstrators consciously refrained from exhibiting flags and explic­itly aimed at presenting a “Chinese nationalist” approach rather than a po­liti­cal position in the ROC/PRC divide, whereas the demonstration in San Francisco was more leftist and explic­itly voiced criticism of the KMT in its inability to defend the islands (Wang 2009, 132). Calls to compatriots to join the defense of the Diaoyutai issued by the activists drew on the broader leftist critique of the US policy in Asia. They argued that the United States was complicit in the reemergence of Japan’s militarism, had allowed Japan’s cap­i­tal­ists to get rich as a result of the wars in ­Korea and Vietnam, and wanted Japan to rule Asia to safeguard both countries’ interests. They also criticized the KMT for its “cowardly” stance ­toward “foreign invaders” and called for both re­sis­tance to the


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US-­Japan conspiracy and the overthrow of Japan’s militarism (in Editorial Commission for Baodiao and Unification Movements’ Documents 2001, 1). In April 1971, the activists held a number of demonstrations, the largest being in Washington, with the protesters marching to the Japa­nese and ROC embassies and to the Department of State, where they demanded reversion of the decision to transfer the islands to Japan’s administration as part of Okinawa Prefecture. The declaration submitted to the US Department of State refrained from using leftist language but, nevertheless, was highly critical of the US stance. It was particularly critical of the hy­poc­risy of the US government, which pretended to be a friend of the ROC while at the same time was preparing to give part of the ROC territory to Japan, and, although the a­ ctual administrator of the islands, presented the issue of owner­ship as one between Japan and China (Wang 2011, 21). In May, a group of academics and students from Taiwan and Hong Kong published an open letter in the New York Times addressed to President Nixon and members of Congress. The letter called for attention to violations of Chinese sovereignty by the Japa­nese and Ryukyu governments, arguing that the islands w ­ ere historically part of China’s Taiwan Province, which was ceded to Japan in 1895 and should have been returned to China in accordance with the Cairo Declaration. The letter also requested the US government to reconsider its policy on the issue and to recognize Chinese sovereignty over the islands (in Editorial Commission for Baodiao and Unification Movements’ Documents 2001, 1). Initially advocating unity based on nationalism, the Baodiao movement very quickly split along ideological lines (Honda 2016, 38). Wang (2012) and Hsiau (2017) have identified three ideological “standpoints” that emerged in the movement: (1) the left wing, which was strongly critical of the KMT government, supportive of the Chinese Communist Party, and in f­ avor of unification; (2) the right wing, which supported the KMT government and was also pro-­unification, although on the ROC’s terms; and (3) the “third way” faction, which was not against unification in princi­ple but proposed to focus on reforming Taiwan’s politics and society first. Although the “third way” supporters indeed exhibited a certain amount of sympathy ­toward China and socialism, their focus of concern was Taiwan and the identity of the Taiwanese ­people. Thus, they perceived their mission as a reformation of Taiwan from within through extending their support to workers, peasants, and minorities (Lin 2010). Nixon’s July 1971 announcement of the normalization of relations with the PRC had a profound impact on Baodiao activists, leading many to turn away from the ROC government, which, in their view, had failed to defend Chinese territory. Thus, Baodiao gatherings held at a number of US universities in August 1971 ­adopted resolutions that accepted the PRC as the sole representative of China (Wang 2011,

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120). At a demonstration in front of the United Nations building held in September 1971, the pro-­Beijing and pro-­Taipei factions or­ga­nized separate demonstrations, with participants even recalling a number of clashes between the two sides (Shao 2013, 68). The contestation between the pro-­PRC and pro-­ROC factions continued. In November and December 1971, Los Angeles, Berkeley, and New York branches of Baodiao issued a unification proposal in which they called for the abolishment of the ROC-­US Defense Treaty, wide-­ranging po­liti­cal reforms in Taiwan, and the eventual disbandment of the KMT government. The pro-­ROC faction responded by holding their own meetings and establishing the Chinese Students Anti-­Communism Patriotic Alliance in the U.S. (the Aimeng, for short), also in December 1971. The strongly pro-­KMT Aimeng called for the overthrow of the “communist tyrannical regime” in Beijing and for the establishment of a demo­cratic, ­free, equal, and unified modern China. At the same time, Aimeng also engaged in a tacit critique of the ROC government by urging the KMT to introduce certain domestic reforms such as enhanced social welfare for workers and the direct election of members of Parliament, as well as clamping down on corruption (Editorial Commission for Baodiao and Unification Movements’ Documents 2006, 8–10). Six months a­ fter the emergence of the Baodiao in the United States, in April 1971, the protests spread to Taiwan as well, first with students at National Taiwan University (NTU) and ­later at other universities in northern Taiwan. The protests ­were initiated by NTU students from Hong Kong, who, on April 12, 1971, put up posters on campus declaring that the Diaoyutai belongs to “us,” criticized Japan and the United States, and proclaimed support for the ROC government (Lin 2010). One of ­these students from Hong Kong stated that by this action, they hoped to elevate the students’ patriotism and raise their concern for their country (in Zhen and Wang 2011, 72). Soon a­ fter, the NTU Students Association made an announcement calling for the defense of the Diaoyutai and, over the next week, students at NTU and other universities held protests against both the Japa­nese claims and the US decision to hand over the islands to Japan. The NTU students also established their own Committee for Defending the Diaoyutai Islands and or­ga­nized protests on campus against the US support for Japan’s sovereignty over the islets (in Zheng and Wang 2011, 42–50). The demonstrations in Taiwan w ­ ere influenced by the protests in the United States, as well as by the above-­ mentioned article by Wang Xiao-po and Wang Shun calling for the defense of the Diaoyutai (Lin 2010). Like the protesters in the United States, some of the participants in Taiwan’s protests saw the Diaoyutai issue as a manifestation of domestic prob­lems and hoped that the demonstrations would lead to certain domestic reforms (in Zeng


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and Wang 2011, 65–68). However, prob­ably due to fear of prosecution u ­ nder martial law, all of the protests in Taiwan w ­ ere framed as a show of support for the government and in opposition to Japan’s claims and the US position. On June 17, 1971, the United States and Japan signed the Okinawa Reversion Agreement, which included the transfer of the Diaoyutai along with the rest of Okinawa to the Japa­nese government. On the same day, about one thousand NTU students went to demonstrate in front of the US and Japa­nese Embassies in the ROC. They presented statements to both embassies indicating that the US and Japa­nese be­hav­ior was the “repeat of imperialist ‘Munich’ in Asia.” The NTU Baodiao Committee issued another statement in which it pointed out three m ­ istakes made by the US government: the abandonment of their ally, the betrayal of the ROC in f­ avor of Beijing, and the making of arbitrary and unjust decisions on the destiny of the Chinese ­people (in Zheng and Wang 2011, 119–26). This demonstration was indeed in support of the ROC government, but at the same time it was one of the first street protests held in Taiwan since the enactment of martial law in 1949 (Wang 2010). On May 15, 1972, the United States handed the administrative powers over Okinawa, along with the Diaoyutai, to Japan. Two days before the handover, both the pro-­ROC Aimeng and the pro-­PRC factions held protests in New York and Washington, respectively. This was the last major action of the Baodiao in the United States (Lai 2010, 38; Shao 2013, 95–96). Taiwan’s NTU Baodiao Committee disbanded on May 22, with an announcement that they had failed to achieve their goals and a promise to continue studying and “saving the country” si­mul­ta­neously (in Zhen and Wang 2011, 228). Lin Xiao-­shin’s Chicago Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyutai Islands was prob­ably the longest-­existing Baodiao group. It continued to publish its Diaoyutai Islands News bulletin ­until the dissolution of the committee in 1979. Both in the United States and Taiwan, however, the Baodiao did not simply vanish, but transformed into other forms of activism. In the United States, the Baodiao movement evolved into a unification movement, which continued to exist ­until the late 1970s, advocating for peace talks between the two Chinas through publications such as Bridge and Wild Grass (Chen 2006, 9). The unification movement died out when many of the horrors of the Cultural Revolution ­were made public in the late 1970s. However, many of the former Baodiao activists stayed in the United States and established nonprofit organ­izations, engaged mostly in development-­related issues in mainland China (Qiao 2010, 180). In Taiwan, the Baodiao evolved into an intellectual debate on nationalism, which also included an implicit critique of KMT ideology. In 1973, however, the authorities clamped down on this campus debate and put an end to it.

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The Nexus of Campus Activism and National Humiliation The “Long 1960s” and the American New Left The demands voiced by the Baodiao shared certain key similarities with the early “Protect Dokdo” movement examined in the previous chapter. The similarities went beyond the obvious commonly shared perception of Japan as the main e­ nemy. Both movements ­were purely ideational, as their actions and narratives aimed at performing and producing a certain national identity construct. In both cases, the disputed territory was used by the protesters to demonstrate the failure of the ruling elites and to create an alternative vision of their respective nations. Both Baodiao and “Protect Dokdo” movements a­ dopted a leftist discourse, construed their respective governments as semi-­colonial entities, and came out against a perceived synergy of their own government and outside forces that worked against the “­people.” Despite ­these similarities, however, the critical junctures and the conditions that brought about the emergence of the two movements ­were fundamentally dif­fer­ent. In a recollection of the Baodiao in the United States, one of the participants dubbed it an “awakening movement” of rebellion by students against the ROC’s unfair real­ity and oppressive system (in Editorial Commission for Baodiao and Unification Movements’ Documents 2001, 3). To a certain extent, the Baodiao movement was indeed a youth rebellion enabled by the American demo­cratic system u ­ nder which Taiwanese students could protest and demonstrate without fearing detention and persecution. Furthermore, it can be seen as an integral part of the “long 1960s” and was indeed strongly influenced and inspired by radical activism on US campuses. The campus radicalism in the 1960s in the United States was extremely diverse in terms of ideas and c­ auses (O’Donnell 2010, 92), and Baodiao can be seen as one of t­hese diverse manifestations. Indeed, as Robert Eng (2017) has argued, Baodiao derived its ideological and orga­nizational inspiration from the civil rights movement, the anti-­ Vietnam War protests, and the American New Left. At the same time, though, in a somewhat paradoxical fashion, it was also very much a product of the KMT ideology and a response to a threat posed to it by the US-­PRC rapprochement. For students from Taiwan, which was u ­ nder martial law, taking part in a demonstration was not something they could do in their homeland (Honda 2016, 21). Numerous Baodiao participants have noted the influence of the civil rights and anti-­ Vietnam war movements that took place on campuses across the United States as an impor­tant f­actor in their decision to take to the streets (Wang 2009, 133). The influence of ­these movements marking one of the key critical junctures in postwar American history was both permissive and productive. In terms of the former, it inspired and enabled the students to engage in demonstrations and protests whose targets included the US government. At the same time, the leftist ideology introduced


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by fellow students was one of the productive conditions for Baodiao ­because it made the students question their belief in the ultimate virtue of Western-­style democracy and capitalism and, similarly to some radical movements in the United States, seek the answers to ­these questions in the Chinese model. The 1960s and early 1970s ­were indeed the time when vari­ous strains of the student movements that championed civil rights, students’ rights, the end of American involvement in Vietnam, and other movements that came to be labeled as the New Left flourished on campuses across the United States. Only six months before the formation of the first Baodiao committee in Prince­ton, in May 1970, one of the biggest antiwar demonstrations and strikes across US universities took place in response to Nixon’s announcement of the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. It is not difficult to spot the productive influence of the ideas voiced by other student organ­izations on Baodiao. The parallels between the criticism of Japa­nese militarism and US imperialism voiced by the Baodiao on the one side and the slogans of the radical part of the antiwar movement on the other are obvious. Most likely, the Taiwanese students also found the critique of existing institutions and the call for reforms and participatory democracy that emerged from the New Left quite inspiring. Domestically, Taiwan’s young intellectuals felt that they ­were “shut out of history” and had a sense of powerlessness with regard to domestic politics (Hsiau 2010, 15). Baodiao indeed can be seen as a revolt from a distance against the dictatorship of Chiang Kai-­shek and an attempt to claim subjectivity on behalf of the Taiwanese youth. ­There is ­little doubt that the Taiwanese students felt empowered by the vision of youth as the vanguard of change voiced, for example, in the 1962 Port Huron Statement, which became the manifesto of the US student movements (Sale 1973, 32–33). The “long 1960s” also saw the rise of Asian American and, more specifically, Chinese American students’ activism, which targeted their community-­specific issues as well as broader questions such as racism, development, and US military involvement overseas (Wei 2010, 11–44). Some of the Chinese American groups w ­ ere strongly influenced by the writings of Mao and espoused his interpretation of Marxism. While the Baodiao movement was indeed initiated by students from Taiwan, Chinese Americans also took part in the demonstrations (Lai 2010, 36). It is also pos­si­ble that, for students from Taiwan, activism by Chinese Americans made the vari­ous protests and ideas voiced ­there more relevant and connected to their own worldviews and experiences. Moreover, admiration of Mao and general Sinophilia was widespread among the radical activists in the United States (Cardina 2010, 44). In the early 1970s, during the US-­China rapprochement, Sinophilia, this time nonideological, gained popularity also in the American mainstream. Writing in 1973, for example, Overholt notes that Chinese-­style costumes and furniture became very fash­ion­able, and American public opinion transformed almost overnight from “diffuse ideological hatred” to

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“broad sympathy” (1973, 708). One of the Baodiao organizers recalls that this general atmosphere of sympathy ­toward China in the United States, both among the radicals and in the mainstream, also influenced and empowered the activists (Lin 2010).

KMT Ideology and National Humiliation As much as it was a product of the “long 1960s” and an integral part of the American students’ movement, the Baodiao was also very much a product of a crisis in KMT ideology brought about by the US-­PRC rapprochement. In many ways, it was a response to the collapse of the fiction of the KMT as being the sole representative of the ­whole of China, while at the same time being a manifestation of the nationalist narrative of Chinese victimhood and humiliation promulgated by the KMT. The KMT rule in Taiwan was established in 1949 a­ fter its defeat by the communists in the civil war on mainland China. The KMT’s legitimacy was based on the ROC Constitution ­adopted in 1947, while the KMT was still on the mainland, and thus it maintained its claim to being the sole legitimate ruler of the ­whole of China. The ROC’s retreat to Taiwan was seen only as a temporary shelter, a base from which an offensive to re­unite the nation, defeat the “communist bandits,” and reestablish the ROC on the mainland would be launched. This my­thol­ogy of the KMT as the sole legitimate government of China, the temporality of the exile, and the imminence of return to the mainland was shared by the 2.5 million mainlanders who fled to Taiwan together with the KMT and constituted its main support base (Hughes 1997, 27–29). The international politics of the Cold War played a key role in sustaining this my­thol­ ogy. In the context of the global strug­gle against communism, the United States was not only committed to defending the ROC on Taiwan but also supported it as the representative of China to international institutions such as the UN. It is mostly this membership in the international institutions that enabled the KMT government to perform its role as the sole representative of China both internationally and domestically by sustaining this myth (Chen 2014, 13). The ideology inculcated by the KMT was that of vehement anticommunism and Chinese nationalism. The ROC on Taiwan was narrated as the “­free China,” that is, demo­cratic and a member of the “­free world,” whereas the mainland was at the hands of “communist bandits” and a member of the “Soviet Imperialist team” (Chen 2006, 4). The nationalist discourse was ­shaped by a number of ­factors, including the above-­mentioned my­thol­ogy, the need to homogenize a population that had a very fragmented identity, and the policies of the KMT’s rival for legitimacy, the Communist Party of China. The instilling of Chinese identity on Taiwan was an extensive proj­ect that involved the imposition of Mandarin as the official language, the production of maps that showed the national territory to include all of the mainland, the renaming of streets and places ­after locations on the mainland, and the introduction of a new


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calendar that designated 1912, the year the Republic of China (ROC) was born, as “Year One” (Hughes 1997, 29). Responding both to the image of China held by the mainlanders and to the rejection of traditional culture by the PRC, nostalgic depictions of Chinese culture and imperial glory became impor­tant ele­ments of the Chinese identity construction ­under the KMT (Chu 2000, 307–8). Another key ele­ment of the nationalist discourse involved the history of victimhood and humiliation that China suffered as a result of Japa­nese colonialism and the KMT’s central role in the victory over Japan (Yamazaki 2009; Hsiau 2013, 174–75). The emphasis on Chinese victimhood at the hands of the Japa­nese and the narrative of the KMT’s war against Japan served a number of functions in the broader proj­ect of national identity construction and the legitimization of the KMT. First, the “othering” of Japan made impossible any positive evaluation of the Japa­nese period and enabled the discursive incorporation of Taiwan and the Taiwanese, many of whom ­were brought up as Japa­nese and had a certain sense of Japa­nese identity, into the realm of common Chinese history and identity. The war narrative also reproduced the notion of the KMT as the legitimate defender of the ROC founded by Sun Yat-­sen in 1912 and as one of the victorious Allies in the war against Japan (Chen 2014, 10). This intentional policy of identity construction was exercised through school textbooks, movies, language policies, and other laws and mea­sures, all aimed at erasing the colonial legacy and emphasizing the sameness of Taiwan and mainland China (Hsiau 2010, 7; He 2014, 478–79). The generation of Taiwanese that came to maturity in the 1960s shared a number of socioeconomic features with their peers in the US students’ movement. Similarly to their American peers, this generation of Taiwanese did not have any direct experience of war and its related atrocities. In the 1960s and 1970s, Taiwan’s “East Asian miracle” was still in its infancy, but Taiwan was becoming an increasingly urban, wealthy society. In this sense, the young generation of Taiwanese was not dissimilar to their “baby boomer” peers in the United States and beyond. Importantly, though, it was also the first generation that had no direct experience of e­ ither mainland China or colonial Japan and was socialized into the Chinese identity constructed ­under the KMT education system (Hsiau 2013a, 325). The ultimate importance and the complexity of the question of national identity in Taiwan’s politics from the late 1970s onward testify to the fact that the Sinofication proj­ect of the KMT was far from successful. Moreover, advocates of Taiwan’s in­de­ pen­dence and its unique identity (i.e., distinct from China) have existed in Taiwan and in the exile community since the early days of the KMT’s rule. At the same time, it is impor­tant to remember that ­under Chiang Kai-­shek’s dictatorial system, which favored “mainlanders” over Taiwanese, the majority of students from Taiwan that studied in the United States during that period ­were of mainlander decent (Arrigo

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2006, 5)—­that is, they ­were the sons and ­daughters of ­those that escaped to Taiwan with the KMT ­after their defeat in the civil war. Most of the Baodiao activists, both in the United States and Taiwan, ­were also of mainlander decent (Hsiau 2017, 155). Their reception of the KMT’s historical and cultural discourse was prob­ably also rather diverse, but it seems that few questioned their identity as Chinese. Liu Da-­ ren, a Taiwanese writer and a participant in the Baodiao in the United States, recalls that Chinese nationalism was already introduced in ju­nior high schools textbooks, and it had become a part of the Taiwanese common sense, perhaps even a “standard of judgement” (Liu 2012, 23). Similarly, Chang Mau-­kuei, one of Taiwan’s leading sociologists, who was born in Taiwan in 1953 to mainland parents, has written that he grew up as a Chinese nationalist and that well into the 1970s he could not even imagine Taiwan being a nation of its own, distinct from China (2004, 77–79). The US-­China rapprochement and the replacement of the ROC with the PRC in the United Nations dealt an irreversible blow to the KMT nationalist myth and its claim to being the legitimate government of the w ­ hole of China (Hughes 1997, 30–31). This critical juncture in ROC’s history had a most profound influence on the ROC’s domestic politics and its relations with the world, but it also served as a catalyst for the emergence of the Baodiao movement. Importantly, though, certain ele­ments of the KMT my­thol­ogy continued to exert influence on the way the Baodiao activists construed the Diaoyutai issue. Specifically, the territorial dispute was construed in national terms, as a continuation of the discourse of national humiliation of China by outside imperialist forces inculcated by the KMT. Thus, in a somewhat paradoxical fashion, the discourse propagated by the strongly anticommunist KMT complemented and enhanced the ideas advocated by the American New Left. While the former emphasized the history of China being subjected to colonialism and imperialism, the latter provided the ideational framework to interpret the con­temporary events as a continuation of that history. Therefore, while the campus activism inspired the Taiwanese students to take action, they turned to books on China’s modern history for tools to interpret the territorial issue. Th ­ ere w ­ ere indeed certain instances of cooperation between Baodiao and the New Left activists, such as the Black Panthers (Shao 2013, 21–22). The most radical factions and individuals in the Baodiao located their cause within the broader anti-­imperialist strug­gles of the third world, the Asian ­peoples, as well as the Asian American fight for social justice (Lin 2014, 90–92; Eng 2017). Nevertheless, most of the activists construed their movement in strictly national terms, as a reincarnation of the May 4th movement (Editorial Commission for Baodiao and Unification Movements’ Documents 2001, 3; Zheng 2012, 70). In a narrow sense, the May 4th movement refers to demonstrations by students in Beijing on May 4, 1919, against concessions of German colonial possessions in


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China in ­favor of Japan made by Chinese representatives to the Paris Peace Conference. Interpreted through the historical lens established by the KMT discourse, the parallels between the betrayal of China by the Western powers and the cession of Chinese territory in 1919 with the Diaoyutai situation w ­ ere all but obvious. The original May 4th movement, however, was not solely about the territorial concessions to Japan. Rather, it was a manifestation of a broader reformist movement that construed traditional Chinese culture as the main cause of China’s weakness and advocated modernist reforms of Chinese society (Moody 1988, 1147–48). In the early 1970s, the new “May 4th movement” faced a choice between two modernization models, that of the ROC, or that of the PRC. The legitimacy of the ROC was severely undermined by the US-­PRC rapprochement. At the same time, rather than the KMT nostalgia for Chinese tradition, it was the ideology of the Cultural Revolution and its emphasis on the need to get rid of tradition that better resonated with the ideas advocated by the May 4th movement. Thus, whereas the original May 4th movement turned to Western po­liti­cal thought for inspiration, many Baodiao members turned to Maoism. Obviously, it was not only the ideology that brought about this turn. The PRC’s military achievements in Vietnam and vis-­à-­vis the Soviet Union, its success in developing nuclear weapons, its recognition by the United States, and the pro-­Chinese stance of many Western intellectuals led the Baodiao activists t­ oward embracing Mao as their intellectual leader and the Cultural Revolution as the way to an “ideal kingdom” (Shui 1986, 67–68). In the words of one of the activists, they felt that the “western wind” was being overrun by the “eastern wind,” with communist China being equipped with the most advanced ideology in the world, superior to t­ hose of the United States and the USSR (Editorial Commission for Baodiao and Unification Movements’ Documents 2001, 12). Through the works of Western writers such as Edgar Snow and Agnes Smedley, documentary films, plays, movies, and the revolutionary leftist lit­er­a­ture from the 1930s and 1940s, the leftist Baodiao activists re­imagined communist China from a new perspective (Chen 2006, 10). They abandoned their faith in the ROC and turned to the PRC as the true representative of the Chinese nation and the true defender of the Diaoyutai (Editorial Commission for Baodiao and Unification Movements’ Documents 2001, 12–13). Thus, the emergence of the Baodiao movement in the United States and the turn of a large number of its members ­toward China can be traced to a synergy of the nationalist discourse inculcated by the KMT and the ideology of the American left, further exacerbated by the PRC’s successes (and the ROC’s failures) in the international arena.

Taiwa n’s “ Prot ec t t he Diaoy utai” M ove m e nt


Two China’s Responses and the Effects of the Baodiao Some scholars attribute a number of impor­tant policy changes to Baodiao activism. Chung (2004, 35) for example, partially attributes the collapse of the talks on the joint development of seabed resources in 1970 to the “sound and fury” of the Baodiao. Similarly, Robert Eng (2017) argues that the ROC’s formal assertion of territorial rights to the islets announced in February 1971 was a result of public pressure. However, more nuanced works on the ROC and PRC stances on the Diaoyutai issue in the formative years of the dispute call into question the extent of the ­actual impact of Baodiao on policy. They show that the policies of both Chinese governments w ­ ere ­shaped mostly by economic interests, their competition over the status as the sole legitimate government of China, and relations with the United States and Japan, as well as broader Cold War considerations (e.g., Kawashima 2013; Chen 2014; Lin 2016). Moreover, the final change in Taipei’s stance from the focus on developmental rights to claims of sovereignty happened soon ­after the PRC made its own sovereignty claim and the subsequent halt in joint exploration talks. Thus, it is indeed pos­si­ble that the Baodiao demands for a firmer policy framed in terms of national territory played a certain role in shaping Taipei’s decisions. However, nothing in existing documents indicates that it was a key f­actor, and a decisive role in shaping the ROC’s stance on Diaoyutai was played by international developments related to the dispute and changes in Washington-­Beijing relations (Kawashima 2013, 137). This lack of vis­i­ble influence of the Baodiao national identity entrepreneurship on state-­level policy, however, does not mean that the governments on both sides of the Taiwan Strait ignored the movement. Both the PRC and the ROC engaged the students, though their respective perceptions of the movement and responses to it ­were diametrically opposed to each other. Beijing saw in the US-­based Baodiao a potential ally in its legitimacy competition with Taipei, but the latter perceived the movement mostly as a threat. The existing documents reveal neither the exact timing nor the extent of the PRC’s involvement with the Baodiao in the United States. Testimonies by former activists, however, suggest that, initially, the PRC authorities did not pay much attention to the demonstrations in the United States. Around the summer of 1971, however, when the ideological split in the movement became obvious and the leftist faction openly began to support the PRC, the latter reciprocated by giving support to the movement while also trying to shape its agenda through the PRC embassy in Canada. The results of the PRC’s efforts became vis­i­ble at the All-­US National Affairs Conference, held at Ann Arbor, Michigan, from September 3 to 5, 1971. Th ­ ere, most of the speakers ­were from the left wing, and the resolutions a­ dopted w ­ ere pro-­PRC, including its recognition as the sole representative of China. A number of participants suggested


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that the conference’s agenda, the list of speakers, as well as the resolutions w ­ ere all designed at the PRC Embassy in Canada and conveyed to the formal organizers (Shao 2013, 65–68). At the end of September 1971, five Taiwanese students became the first group of Baodiao activists to make a visit to the PRC as official guests of the government. During their visit, which lasted for eight weeks, they toured factories, farms, army facilities, and schools to witness the achievements of the Cultural Revolution. The highlight of the visit, however, was a meeting with Zhou Enlai in Beijing at the ­Great Hall of the P ­ eople on October 6, which lasted for over five hours. Rec­ords of this meeting made by one of the participants show that the Chinese government was mostly interested in using the Baodiao activists as agents of influence. Thus, the discussion of the territorial issue was very short. Zhou indeed compared the Baodiao to the May 4th movement and praised the activists for standing up to the American, Japa­ nese, and ROC governments. Most of his talk, however, was devoted to the “Taiwan issue,” critique of Chiang Kai-­shek, and the need for peaceful unification (Editorial Commission for Baodiao and Unification Movements’ Documents 2006, 106–9). ­Later, more Baodiao groups went to the mainland at the invitation of the Chinese government. ­After their return to the United States, many indeed acted as agents of influence for the PRC and toured the country with lectures about the ­great achievements of the “socialist motherland.” It was a­ fter the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, when information about its horrors became available, that the tours s­ topped and many of the advocates expressed remorse for their blindness (Editorial Commission for Baodiao and Unification Movements’ Documents 2006, 43). Some of the leftist activists, however, chose to move to the mainland and work in their respective professions. Some became disappointed and left a­ fter only a year; o­ thers, however, stayed for more than twenty years. ­After the PRC replaced the ROC in the United Nations, many of the leftist activists in the United States went to work for China’s UN Representative Office in New York. A total of 180 left-­wing Taiwanese activists who could not or did not want to return to Taiwan ­were given positions in the PRC UN office ­after the takeover (Shao 2013, 100–110 and 136–37). In contrast to the PRC’s supportive attitude, the ROC government generally construed the Baodiao as a threat to its legitimacy. The KMT’s policy involved both attempts to pacify the activists and, at the same time, to intimidate and suppress the movement. On the surface, ROC authorities maintained a ­limited dialogue with the activists. For example, when in November 1971, a group of pro-­ROC activists that included scholars and students, submitted an open letter to Chiang Kai-­shek in which they voiced their support but also suggested certain po­liti­cal reforms, they received a polite response from the president’s administration (Shao 2013, 89–90). In February 1971, the director of the International Culture and Education Department

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at the ROC’s Ministry of Education visited the United States and engaged in a public debate with Baodiao activists at Columbia University in which he even admitted certain shortcomings in the government’s Diaoyutai policy (Chen 2006, 28–29). Other instances of the KMT dispatching officials to take part in Baodiao events in the United States and engage in conversation with the students followed throughout the subsequent years (Chen 2006, 39). In real­ity, however, the ROC authorities perceived the activists as spies for the “communist bandits” and disseminated this view through official publications and media (Eng 2017). Many of the activists from the pro-­PRC faction of Baodiao, as well as from the “third way,” w ­ ere blacklisted and could not return to Taiwan, fearing prosecution. KMT operatives posing as students dubbed as “professional students,” infiltrated the movement. They not only wrote reports but also intimidated the activists through actions such as sending poisoned pens, placing sugar in gas tanks of cars, and making threatening calls at night. Some activists had their ­houses searched and ­were taken away by the FBI as a result of false accusations made by KMT operatives (Editorial Commission for Baodiao and Unification Movements 2006, 41–42; Wang 2012, 132). The KMT’s engagement with the Baodiao activists in Taiwan was somewhat dif­ fer­ent. Wright suggests that the KMT encouraged the movement as an indirect way of voicing its outrage with the US decision to transfer the Diaoyutai to Japan and the loss of the UN seat (2012, 109). None of the testimonies or memoirs by the former activists suggests a direct connection between the movement and the KMT, although obviously u ­ nder the draconian martial law no demonstration could have taken place without the tacit consent of the authorities. This consent could have been a result of both the patriotic and explic­itly pro-­government framing deployed by the activists and, indeed, the usefulness of the movement to the authorities as an indirect means to express their dissatisfaction with the United States without further damaging the bilateral relationship. Nevertheless, the authorities formally praised the patriotism of the students and engaged in dialogue with them. For example, in April 1971, the ROC’s minister of foreign affairs, Zhou Shu-­kai, accepted the NTU Baodiao Committee’s invitation and gave a public talk on the Diaoyutai issue on campus. A ­ fter explaining the government’s position, he asked the students to support and trust the government (in Zheng and Wang 2011, 87–88). The ministry’s director of the North American Department also gave a talk on campus and engaged in lengthy exchanges with one of the leaders of the movement, Wang Xiao-po, regarding the territorial issue and the government’s policy (in Zheng and Wang 2011, 244–60). At the same time, the KMT saw the calls for reform that started to come out from the movement as a threat to its rule. Thus, it tried to persuade the activists that


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the search for reforms could lead to a collapse of the country. One of the attempts to dissuade the students from pursuing a reformist agenda involved the distribution of an article titled “A Voice of a Small Citizen,” published in the Zhongyang Ribao newspaper. The article, supposedly written by a concerned citizen, warned the Taiwanese not to aspire for social and po­liti­cal reforms as a solution to their prob­lems, since this could lead to a catastrophe similar to the one in South Vietnam. The KMT distributed copies of the article widely among soldiers, teachers, students, and public servants and required them to write a report on it (Shao 2013, 175–76). In 1973, the authorities clamped down on an academic debate on nationalism initiated by the aforementioned Wang Xiao-po and o­ thers at NTU as an extension of Baodiao. Wang and another colleague ­were detained for questioning, a students’ magazine was shut down, and, a year l­ater, Wang and ten of his colleagues, deemed dangerous by the authorities, lost their jobs at the NTU’s Department of Philosophy (Hsiau 2010, 139). Although the Baodiao movement was short-­lived in both the United States and Taiwan, numerous observers see it as having had a profound long-­term impact on Taiwanese society. Paul Shui, one of the organizers of the Baodiao in Ann Arbor, suggests that the greatest contribution of the Baodiao movement was the creation of a public space for Taiwanese intellectuals to think about national affairs. He sees the Baodiao as a first exercise in democracy for Taiwanese intellectuals enabled by the American demo­cratic structure (cited in Shao 2013, 127–28). Other activists go even further in their evaluation of the impact of the movement and see a direct continuity between the Baodiao and the po­liti­cal democ­ratization that occurred in Taiwan in the 1980s (Shao 2013, 164–65). Indeed, many former Baodiao members became democ­ratization activists or participated in the so-­called Dangwai movement, which challenged the KMT’s mono­ poly over Taiwanese politics and eventually formed the oppositional Demo­cratic Progressive Party in 1986. Both during and in the immediate aftermath of the Baodiao movement, numerous student publications initiated debates, and students or­ga­nized events related to nationalism as well as po­liti­cal and social reform. Their initial focus was on the reform of the education system and the autonomy of the universities, but they gradually moved to broader po­liti­cal issues, such as the election of members of the three parliamentary bodies as opposed to their appointment u ­ nder the existing system (Hsiau 2010, 105–32). Taiwanese intellectuals that e­ ither participated in the Baodiao movement in the United States or ­were influenced by it ­were among ­those that established the left-­leaning literary magazine China Tide in 1976. The magazine had existed for only three years before it was shut down by the authorities in 1979 (Hsu 2014, 86). However, according to Wang Xiao-po, despite the magazine’s short life, the reformist Dangwai movement (in Shao 2013, 185) a­ dopted many of the ideas featured ­there. Some former Baodiao activists participated in Taiwan’s democ­ratization

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in a more indirect way. For example, in 1979, Lin Xiao-­shin and other members of the “third way” who w ­ ere blacklisted by the KMT and could not return to Taiwan established the Organ­ization for the Support of Demo­cratic Movement of Taiwan in the United States. Through this organ­ization they advocated po­liti­cal reforms, published a number of pro-­democratization journals, and or­ga­nized summer camps for Taiwanese students in the United States (Wang 2012, 131; Zheng 2012, 55–58). Yet, it is prob­ably an exaggeration to see the Baodiao as the direct cause of the late-1980s reforms that eventually led to Taiwan’s democ­ratization. The top down reforms initiated by Chiang Ching-­kuo in the mid-1980s evolved from a combination of ­factors. Although t­ hese indeed included the demands from the opposition movement, they also encompassed such broader f­ actors as economic development and the emergence of a ­middle class, growing diplomatic isolation and competition with the PRC over international legitimacy, and intra-­KMT rivalries (e.g. Wakabayashi 1992; Hood 1997). As such, the impact of the Baodiao on the democ­ratization movement, and of the latter on the reforms, should not be overestimated. Nevertheless, the Baodiao was indeed one of the first post-1949 acts of civic activism in Taiwan and had an impor­tant impact on Taiwanese intellectuals. Overall, it can be argued that the Baodiao instigated the Taiwanese-­educated youth to question the KMT’s legitimacy, my­thol­ogy, and, most impor­tant, the myth of the temporality of the exile. This “return to real­ity” (Hsiau 2010) resulted in a spatial transformation of the students’ perception of the nation and pushed the young intellectuals ­toward reimaging their role as members of Taiwan’s society rather than as temporary exiles on the island, and it instigated further social and po­liti­cal activism on campuses and beyond. As one of the movement’s leaders at NTU recalls, “the shock of the Baodiao movement awakened the young intellectuals, seated in their ivory towers” (Hong San-­xiong cited in Hsiau 2010, 106). Thus, similarly to the case of ­Korea examined in the previous chapter, territorial dispute–­related national identity entrepreneurship and the democ­ratization movement ­were interrelated. The Baodiao, however, had the opposite relationship with the democ­ratization movement if compared with the “Protect Dokdo” campaign. In the case of the latter, the narrative of the activists transformed, but also replicated, the main discursive tenets of the democ­ratization movement. Contrastingly, in Taiwan, the Baodiao, which utilized the disputed islands as a symbol in a new imagery of the nation, created the impetus for the reform movement and, albeit in an indirect way, enabled its emergence. Importantly, not all activists supported the reform movement, and some actually worked in the support of the KMT. Aimeng, which emerged from the pro-­ROC faction of the Baodiao, continued its support of the ROC in the United States through four branches across the country and publications targeting Chinese students in US universities. Many of the Aimeng members returned to Taiwan to “serve the country”


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and ­were absorbed by the KMT (Wang 2012, 130; Shao 2013, 92–93). In 1978, Aimeng was established in Taipei as the Taipei City Anti-­Communism Patriotic Alliance Association (Shao 2013, 140). It continued to have cordial relations with the KMT and appeared to abandon its reformist agenda, focusing mostly on organ­izing vari­ ous patriotic activities in support of the KMT. One such activity was an ideological camp that, in the 1980s, was made compulsory for all Taiwanese students g­ oing to study overseas (Chen 2010, 235–36). Aimeng was marginalized ­after the reform of the KMT ­under Lee Teng-­hui (Hsiau 2017, 178–80), and in the early 1990s, some of its members participated in the formation of the splinter and strongly pro-­unification, anti-­Taiwanese in­de­pen­dence New Party (Wang 2012, 130).

Post-­democratization Baodiao The Baodiao movement reemerged in Taiwan in the early 1990s and has remained in existence u ­ ntil t­ oday. Its nature and place in Taiwan’s society, however, has under­gone a gradual but impor­tant transformation. The framing of the dispute as a symbol of humiliation suffered by the Chinese nation at the hands of Japa­nese imperialists has remained intact. However, in the context of post-­democratization Taiwan, the implications of this national identity entrepreneurship and the po­liti­cal role of the narrative espoused by the activists have changed significantly. As Wang Chih-­ming has aptly put it, Baodiao lost its “critical position” and became an actor in domestic and cross-­strait politics (Wang 2012, 139–40). From an ideational movement, Baodiao transformed into mostly an instrumental tool of advocacy for pro-­unification parties on Taiwan. The first post-1970s Baodiao action occurred in October 1990. Its immediate trigger was twofold, Japan’s announcement that Taiwanese citizens would need to apply for a visa to enter the w ­ aters near Diaoyutai and news about an application made by Japan’s right-­wing organ­ization Japan Youth League to rebuild a light­house on one of the disputed islands. This sparked a large-­scale demonstration in Hong Kong. Interestingly, it was the oppositional and pro-­Taiwan in­de­pen­dence Demo­ cratic Progressive Party that reintroduced the territorial dispute into Taiwan’s po­liti­cal discourse, by using the issue to criticize the KMT and pressuring it to reaffirm the ROC’s sovereignty over the islands (Chung 2004, 42). The actions in support of the Diaoyutai cause, however, ­were executed mostly by the conservatives. A few days ­after the demonstrations in Hong Kong, Wu Den-­yih, then the KMT mayor of Kaohsiung, or­ga­nized a symbolic sailing to the Diaoyutai Islands to demonstrate the ROC’s claim of owner­ship and to enhance its legitimacy as a representative of the w ­ hole of China (Wang 2012, 132; Lin 2016, 125). In 1996, tensions flared up again. This time, the trigger was again twofold, construction of a new light­house on one of the disputed islands by the Japan Youth League and Japan’s subsequent announcement of a two-­hundred-­mile exclusive economic

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zone that included w ­ aters around the Diaoyutai. Th ­ ese actions followed from the coming into force of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In the fall of 1996, Hong Kong saw large-­scale anti-­Japanese protests led by prodemocracy activists, at its peak drawing up to twenty thousand ­people (Chung 2004, 46). The Taiwanese response was less passionate, but in September 1996, a protest march or­ ga­nized by the New Party was held in Taipei. The march was followed by two sailings to the islands. One, led by Hong Kong activists, resulted in the first known Baodiao casualty when David Chan Yuk-­cheung drowned while attempting to swim to one of the islands from his boat. The other sailing was jointly or­ga­nized by activists from Taiwan and Hong Kong, with the activists successfully landing on one of the islands and planting t­ here both the ROC and the PRC flags (Liu 2012, 80). This sailing was or­ga­nized by Jin Jie-­shou from Taiwan and a number of po­liti­cal activists from Hong Kong, among them Ho Chun-­yan. Ho was one of the founding members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Demo­cratic Movements in China, which advocated demo­cratic reforms in Hong Kong but had also been supportive of the 1989 Tian­anmen students’ protests in China. He was also one of the founding members of Hong Kong’s Demo­cratic Party, served on its executive committee, and, at the time of the sailing, was a councilor in the Legislative Council, Hong Kong’s equivalent of a parliament. Ho explained his participation in Baodiao as an integral part of his fight for democracy, freedom, and peace. He argued that Baodiao was a pursuit of three interrelated issues: historical justice, peace in the region, and manifestation of national pride. In his memoir, Ho voiced criticism of China’s domestic po­liti­cal restrictions, although his anger was directed mainly at Japan for lack of proper remorse for its past crimes, its occupation of the Diaoyutai, and what he saw as the reemergence of Japan’s militarism (Ho 2010, 139–59). Contrastingly, Jin came from a rather conservative background. Being of “mainlander” origin, he had no previous experience of activism, served in the military police in the 1970s, and was a former staunch supporter of the KMT. In the early 1990s, Jin was one of the founding members of the New Party, and at the time of the sailing served as a councilor in the Taipei County Assembly. In his memoir, provocatively titled Japan, Get Out of Diaoyutai! (Jin 1997), he explained that although natu­ral resources ­were impor­tant, even more impor­tant was the value of the Diaoyutai for national dignity. He saw the return of the islands by the United States to Japan in 1972 as an anti-­Chinese conspiracy and was highly critical of both countries. Jin also voiced dissatisfaction with both Chinese governments in Taipei and Beijing for not ­doing anything to stop Japan and reclaim owner­ship the islands (1997, 22–42). The ­factors that brought together t­ hese two p ­ eople with strikingly dif­fer­ent backgrounds and ideologies can be found in the domestic politics of both Hong Kong and


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Taiwan. In the case of Hong Kong, the po­liti­cal debate in the early 1990s revolved around the imminent return of the colony to China. As Ma Ngok (2001, 568–69) observed, the prodemocracy forces presented themselves as the moral opposite of the PRC and all that the Tian­anmen crackdown represented. Contrastingly, the pro-­PRC camp used nationalistic rhe­toric to frame the po­liti­cal debate in such a way that prodemocracy implied by default being anti-­Chinese and pro-­China was equated with being antidemocracy. Within this context, the opportunity that Baodiao presented for the prodemocracy politicians such as Ho was all but obvious. That is, national identity entrepreneurship that involved “defense” of disputed islands on behalf of the “Chinese nation” and against Japan’s “militarism” reproduced the moral image of the prodemocracy camp and si­mul­ta­neously destabilized the pro-­China/anti-­China dichotomy in the domestic po­liti­cal discourse. To understand the contrastingly dif­fer­ent nature of Baodiao national identity entrepreneurship by Taiwanese politicians such as Jin we need to locate the agenda of the New Party in the context of Taiwan’s politics and cross-­strait relations in the mid-1990s. In 1986–87, u ­ nder the reforms initiated by Chiang Ching-­kuo, martial law was lifted and Taiwan’s first opposition party, the Demo­cratic Progressive Party, was established. The party drew a sharp distinction between cultural and po­liti­cal identities and, though accepting the cultural identity of many Taiwanese as Chinese, advocated Taiwan’s po­liti­cal in­de­pen­dence from the PRC and the establishment of the Republic of Taiwan (Hughes 1997, 71; Wang 2000, 161–62). Chiang’s successor as the KMT’s chairman and the ROC’s president, Lee Teng-­hui, continued the reforms initiated by Chiang. In 1991, he declared an end to the Chinese civil war, thus also officially ending the myth of the temporality of the ROC’s exile on Taiwan. ­Under Lee, the KMT’s policy ­toward reunification also experienced impor­tant transformations. It was only in 1999 that Lee explic­itly stated that cross-­strait interactions w ­ ere “state-­to-­state” relations. Already in the early 1990s, however, one of the main directions of Lee’s policy was to enhance the ROC’s international standing through formal recognition and participation in vari­ous international forums. Moreover, during this period, Lee made numerous statements in which he questioned the feasibility of unification and implied Taiwan’s existence as a de facto in­de­pen­dent state (Hickey 2007, 90–91). The PRC came to perceive Lee as a traitor and, in 1995–96, on the eve of Taiwan’s first direct presidential elections, conducted a series of military exercises as a warning to the Taiwanese p ­ eople against electing Lee with his moves t­oward Taiwan’s de jure in­de­pen­dence. Overall, by the mid-1990s, the positions of the ruling KMT and the oppositional Demo­cratic Progressive Party converged on the delinking of the state and the Chinese national identity as well as the conception of cross-­strait relations as ­those between two sovereign entities (Hughes 1997, 75; Wang 2000, 172). In 1993, the New KMT

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Alliance, which opposed Lee’s reforms inside the party and the party’s “nativization,” formed the China New Party, ­later renamed the New Party. This party consisted mostly of “mainlanders,” portrayed itself as representing the common p ­ eople, advocated the unity of the Chinese nation on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, ran on the platform of clean government, and hoped to become a third po­liti­cal force in domestic politics (Hughes 1997, 84). Within the context of Taiwan’s mid-1990s politics and the New Party’s platform, the symbolic role of the Baodiao is not too difficult to surmise. To wit, participation in the “defense” of “national territory” and criticism of the government’s policy enabled Jin and his fellows not only to validate their credentials as Chinese nationalists and to position themselves as advocates of the ­people’s interests but also to locate the territorial dispute within their broader critique of governmental corruption and impotency. Demonstrations and sailings to Diayoutai by Baodiao activists, often involving cooperation among activists from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China, continued throughout the 2010s. ­These ­were usually sparked by Japan’s actions or statements by its leaders, but occasionally by Taiwanese politicians, such as Lee Teng-­ hui, who in 2002 stated that the islands ­were part of Okinawa and belonged to Japan (Liu 2012, 80). With intensification of the debate on Taiwan’s in­de­pen­dence and the escalation of the territorial dispute between Japan and the PRC, a number of new organ­izations ­were created. The organ­izations vary in their ideology and the background of their leaders. One or two of the organ­izations are nonpartisan, but it seems that most of them, like the Chinese Baodiao Association, for example, are affiliated with or supportive of pro-­unification po­liti­cal parties (the New Party and the ­People First Party). ­There are two cases of Diaoyutai-­related activism however which are unrelated to the pro-­unification agenda. Th ­ ese are Lin Xiao-­shin’s activism and protests by Taiwanese fishermen. Lin, one of the few leaders of the US Baodiao of Taiwanese origin, headed the “third way” faction and was one of the few 1970s activists who kept his devotion to the cause. He was blacklisted by the KMT and ­wasn’t allowed to return to Taiwan ­until 1988. On his eventual return in 1997, he carried on with his social activism inspired by socialist ideology, arguing that democracy should not be ­limited to politics but needed also to include social and economic ele­ments (Huang 1988). A ­ fter his return, Lin created a left-­leaning intellectual magazine and embarked on vari­ous public campaigns in defense of workers and farmers’ rights. He also participated in the creation of community colleges, driven by the belief that this would lead to social reform and the “liberation of knowledge,” understood as the abolition of the elite mono­poly on scientific and social knowledge. Lin did not abandon his passion for Baodiao, locating it within his broader worldview by construing the “protection” of disputed islands as a patriotic strug­gle of the p ­ eople against imperialism (Li 2016). In this sense, the


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symbolic role assigned to the disputed islands in Lin’s worldview was not dissimilar to the symbolism of Dokdo in the early “Protect Dokdo” movement. In addition to giving numerous lectures and holding seminars on the dispute, Lin initiated educational programs related to the dispute that focused on its effects on the lives of Taiwanese fishermen. Furthermore, Lin believed that through lectures and seminars about the dispute he contributed to the “liberation of knowledge,” as the exposure to the vari­ous arguments regarding the history and belonging of the Diaoyutai enables the participants to acquire “scientific rationality.” In 2012, ­after the Japa­nese government announced its plan to purchase three of the Diaoyutai Islands, Lin mobilized a significant number of supporters, mostly through lectures and seminars at Shih Hsin University, and or­ga­nized a large protest in front of Japan’s de facto embassy in Taipei (Honda 2016, 195–98; Diaoyutai Education Association 2017). Lin passed away in December 2015, but his wife continues his mission to educate the ­people about the Diaoyutai issue by organ­izing seminars on the dispute at Yilan County’s Su’ao Port, where fishermen or­ga­nized protest sailings to the islands in 2005 and 2012. Diaoyutai-­related protests by fishermen are a recent phenomenon. ­There are a number of ­factors that explain their reluctance or lack of interest in Baodiao before the mid-2000s. First, the Baodiao movement of the early 1970s, which originated and developed on university campuses, was an ideational movement, which had a strong and almost exclusive intellectual character. Furthermore, demonstrations ­under martial law, which was lifted only in 1987, ­were strictly prohibited and severely punished. The most impor­tant ­factor, however, in the late emergence of fishermen activism is the ­limited nature of the effects the dispute had on their fishing and, hence, livelihoods. The Taiwanese fishermen indeed have vested interests in the islands and adjacent ­waters. In the 1950s and 1960s, Taiwanese fishermen from Yilan County and Taipei County often collected bird eggs and seaweed on the islands and fished for marlin in the surrounding w ­ aters (Nishimura 2014). Overall, since the return of Okinawa and Japan’s recognition of the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China, Japan’s policy on fishing in ­waters surrounding the islands has been driven by a desire to maintain the status quo. The reason for this was obviously the existence of the territorial dispute in which Japan was in de facto control of the disputed territory, as well as the need to maintain an ambiguous position on the belonging of Taiwan, which Japan indeed gave up in the San Francisco Peace Treaty—­however, without specifying the beneficiary. Thus, the 1975 Fisheries Agreement between Japan and the PRC shelved the dispute by avoiding any reference to w ­ aters surrounding the islands. In 1977, when Japan declared a two-­hundred-­mile exclusive fishing zone, it promptly announced exception for its application to ships ­under Chinese (and Korean) flags, by this again avoiding the need

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to deal with the territorial dispute. In the 1997 New Fisheries Agreement with the PRC that followed the coming into force of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as with the one with K ­ orea concluded two years l­ater, the need to deal with the dispute was avoided by establishing a provisional zone that encompassed the islands and its surrounding ­waters (Kataoka and Nishida 2006, 2007). None of t­ hese agreements, however, specified the l­egal status of Taiwanese fishing vessels. In one of the first fisheries-­related talks, held in 1996, the Japa­nese side informally agreed not to obstruct Taiwanese fishing vessel operations outside the twelve-­ mile territorial w ­ aters adjacent to the islands (Chung 2004, 51). Overall, between 1996 and 2009, Japan and the ROC conducted sixteen rounds of fisheries talks through nongovernmental proxies, but, due to the ambiguous status of Taiwan and low interest in reaching an agreement from the Japa­nese side, they bore no fruit. Nevertheless, from the early 1970s u ­ ntil the mid-2010s, in order to refrain from provoking the PRC, the Japa­nese authorities did not distinguish between ROC and PRC fishing vessels and applied the provisions of the agreements with the PRC to ROC vessels mutatis mutandis (Sasaki 2016, 48–49). The situation, however, changed in 2004–5 when Japan’s attitude t­ oward Taiwanese fishing boats in ­waters near the islands, most of them coming from Yilan County’s Su’ao port, began to toughen. Indeed, data on Japan’s Fisheries Agency show that the number of Taiwanese boats detained increased from zero in 2003 to seven in 2004, and five in the following year (Japan Fisheries Agency 2010). This change in Japan’s attitude prob­ably evolved from a number of f­actors, including Taiwan’s declaration of a quasi–­exclusive economic zone that included the disputed islands, as well as the escalation in Diaoyutai-­related tensions between Japan and the PRC that occurred against the backdrop of a general deterioration in bilateral relations (Honda 2016, 201; Sasaki 2016, 49). The Su’ao Fishermen Association or­ga­nized two massive protest sailings to the vicinity of the disputed islands, one in September 2005 and one in September 2012, the latter triggered by Japan’s nationalization plans. The fishermen, however, have distanced themselves from the Baodiao by explic­itly stating that they are interested in fishing rights rather than sovereignty, and have denied any cooperation with Taiwanese or mainland Chinese Baodiao groups (Sugita 2013; Honda 2016, 201–4). The plight of the fishermen has brought about a certain transformation in Taiwan’s po­liti­cal discourse in which the “protect fisheries rights” have become separated from the claims of sovereignty of the Baodiao. In 2012, Taiwan’s president, Ma Ying-­jeou, himself a one-­time Baodiao activist, proposed an East China Sea Peace Initiative that called for all parties to shelve controversies and ­settle the dispute in a peaceful ­matter. This, along with Japan’s desire to prevent Diaoyutai-­related cooperation between the


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ROC and the PRC against the background of an escalation in tensions with the latter, led to a conclusion of a Japan-­Taiwan Fisheries Agreement in 2013 (Kawashima 2013a). The agreement very much replicates the one Japan has with China, as it avoids the question of sovereignty over the islands and establishes a “special cooperative zone.” This zone partially overlaps with the Japan-­PRC provisional zone and enables Taiwanese fishermen to fish in w ­ aters surrounding the disputed islands. Although numerous issues remain to be solved (Kawashima 2013a), and vari­ous provisions of the agreement are contested by both Okinawa fishermen and, to a lesser degree, their Taiwanese counter­parts, t­ here is no doubt that its conclusion can be rightfully claimed as a po­liti­cal success by both the Japa­nese and the ROC governments. The conclusion of the agreement, however, did not result in the demise of Baodiao activism. ­Today, the pro-­unification parties and supportive activists, for whom it retains its ideational character, advocate the Diaoyutai cause as a symbol of the Chinese nation. This symbolism of the disputed islands has enabled the activists to overcome the left-­right divisions that existed in the early days of the movement and to come together ­under the aegis of Chinese nationalism, now devoid of any ideology besides the emphasis on unity. Even staunch critics of communism, such as Wang Xia-po, who, back in the 1970s perceived the left-­leaning Baodiao activists as “opportunists,” have abandoned their po­liti­cal beliefs in f­ avor of unification and accepted cooperation with former foes (Hsiau 2017, 186). “Baodiao” therefore makes pos­si­ble the continuation of the myth of the unity of the Chinese nation on both sides of the Taiwan Straits by juxtaposing it with Japan and the United States as the two “­others.” The emphasis on national territory reproduces the myth of one unified and homogeneous nation by concealing questions related to the exact nature of the subject defined as the “Chinese nation” in whose name the islands are claimed (Wang 2012, 109). Thus, the symbolic role of Diaoyutai in Taiwan has largely come to resemble that of Dokdo in ­Korea. In both cases, the initial symbolism of the disputed islands was embedded with certain sociopo­liti­cal critique. Over time, however, both “Protect Dokdo” and the Baodiao movement evolved into performative and discursive devices that reproduce and enhance the construct of their respective nations while concealing the numerous contradictions that destabilize ­these constructs. Located in the nexus of two critical junctures—­the “long 1960s” in the United States and the collapse of nationalist my­thol­ogy of the KMT government—­the Baodiao movement promoted a new narrative on Chinese national identity. The symbolism ascribed to Diaoyutai was rather diverse but the dominant, left-­leaning part of the movement used the disputed islands to reproduce the KMT-­created narrative on national humiliation, while replacing the ROC with the PRC as the center of Chinese

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national subjectivity. In post-­democratization Taiwan, this narrative gained a new po­liti­cal meaning, becoming an integral part of the legitimation strategy deployed by pro-­unification po­liti­cal forces. In contrast to all other constructs examined in the previous chapters, “Diaoyutai” as a symbol of the nation, failed to achieve widespread diffusion in the Taiwanese society. The reasons for such a difference ­will be examined in the following chapter.

Conclusion Framing and National Identity

t h e p rev i o u s c h a p t e r s have explored the c­ auses of national identity entrepreneurship and the transformations in the narrative related to the disputed territories, touching only in passing the incorporation of the disputed territories as social constructs into the respective national identity discourses. As mentioned in the Introduction, although definitions of national identity vary greatly, most scholars agree on the key role of collective memory in its constitution. Methodology in collective memory studies is quite diverse, but arguably, looking into the broad social reception of the narratives advocated by the national identity entrepreneurs ­will help us to address one of its major prob­lems—­presenting the proof of who actually shares and identifies with the memory in question (Kansteiner 2002, 192). In other words, social reception is one of the best indicators of the degree to which a par­tic­u­lar narrative has permeated the social domain in question and has been internalized by the individuals that constitute the collective. Mea­sur­ing and evaluating social reception is not an easy task, but a few indicators suggest the following. Prior to its co-­optation by the government, the Hokkaido-­based movement for the return of Soviet-­occupied territories failed to gain broad public cognition and support for its cause. Contrastingly, the passage of the Takeshima Day ordinance in 2005 propelled the territorial dispute to the fore of public attention and domestic debates on Japan’s relations with K ­ orea. In ­Korea, “Dokdo” and its “protection” have become one of the key markers of national identity, deeply embedded in Korean society. In Taiwan, however, despite a high level or awareness of the territorial dispute, both the importance of Diaoyutai in the domestic discourse and the public

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support for Baodiao are rather ­limited. This section explores the reasons for such divergence in social reception, locating it in the relationship between the narrative and the dominant national identity frames. It can safely be argued that the early movement championing the return of parts of Soviet-­occupied territory failed in its mission to gain nationwide attention and support. The latter was achieved only in the 1970s, ­after the co-­optation of the movement and the institutionalization of the quest for the Northern Territories on the governmental level. Public opinion polls from the 1950s and the 1960s testify to the general lack of interest in the Soviet-­occupied territories and the plight of Nemuro and the expelled residents of the islands. For example, on the eve of the first round of Soviet-­Japanese negotiations in 1955, over 50 ­percent of the respondents stated that Japan should have no special demands vis-­à-­vis the Soviet Union when negotiating the peace treaty (Asahi Shimbun polls cited in Mendel [1961] 1971, 203–09). In a public opinion poll conducted by the central government in 1969, only 4.7 ­percent of ­those polled mentioned the Northern Territories prob­lem among the issues in which they ­were interested (Cabinet Office 1969). In this period, even on Hokkaido, the public showed ­little interest in the islands. Results of a poll conducted t­here in 1966 show that 55 ­percent of the polled did not have any knowledge regarding the historical justifications for Japan’s possession of the “Northern Territories.” Among the variety of current international issues, only 9 ­percent stated that they w ­ ere interested in the Northern Territories and 6.3 ­percent in fisheries-­related negotiations with the Soviet Union, as opposed to 44 ­percent that expressed their interest in the Vietnam War. Moreover, when asked regarding which issue they w ­ ere more interested in—­the reversion of Okinawa or the Northern Territories—­more respondents chose the former (Hoppōryōdo fukki kisei dōmei 1966, 2–12). In contrast, passage of the Takeshima Day ordinance by Shimane Prefecture in 2005 propelled the territorial dispute to the fore of domestic po­liti­cal discourse. ­According to polls conducted by Shimane Prefecture, since the passage of the ordinance the number of prefectural residents interested in the dispute has stood continuously at about 60 ­percent (Shimane Prefecture 2017). The impact of the ordinance was not ­limited to Shimane Prefecture, however, and brought about a drastic rise in nationwide interest in the issue. In early 2005, before passage of the ordinance, a poll conducted by Yomiuri Shimbun found that only 13 ­percent of the respondents believed that Takeshima was an impor­tant issue in Japan’s relations with ­Korea. Only a year ­later, more than half of the respondents said that they w ­ ere interested in the dispute (cited in Nakajima 2007, 1). The general public interest in Takeshima continued to rise, and although experiencing a number of fluctuations, the nationwide figures ­today are similar to t­ hose of prefectural polls. In the most recent poll on the issue conducted by the Cabinet Office, 93 ­percent of respondents said they knew about the Takeshima

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issue, 59 ­percent stated that they w ­ ere interested in it, and, most impor­tant, 78 ­percent “knew” that Takeshima was “Japan’s inherent territory” (Cabinet Office 2017a). Thus, it is safe to say that “Takeshima” has been firmly incorporated into Japan’s collective memory of its relations with ­Korea. The salience and the impact of the “Dokdo issue” on Korean society are unpre­ ce­dented among the other instances of territorial disputes–­related activism discussed ­here. Anyone who has visited ­Korea during the last de­cade or so cannot help but notice the omnipresence of the islets in Korean society, something Palmer and Whitefleet-­ Smith (2016) have described as the “assimilation of Dokdo in K ­ orea’s everyday life.” Since the mid-2000s, the islets have hosted rock concerts and have had an uncountable number of speech and essay contests devoted to them. Dokdo features on T-­shirts, socks, hats, and even spoons. Education about the islets’ history and environment have become an integral part of the mandatory school curriculum (Palmer and Whitefleet-­ Smith 2016). Numerous public or private institutions have Dokdo corners, maps, and pamphlets that explain K ­ orea’s rightful owner­ship over the islets. Th ­ ere are at least three museums, three academic journals, and three research institutes fully devoted to Dokdo, as well as a variety of other agencies and think tanks, such as the ­Korea Maritime Institute, that ­either have a Dokdo research unit or, in one way or another, engage in Dokdo-­related research. “Dokdo” as a symbol of the nation has also become an impor­tant advertisement tool for Korean businesses to express their patriotism and attract clients. ­After Shimane Prefecture’s Takeshima Day enactment, two Korean telecom firms publicly announced that they would extend their ser­vice to the islets. In 2011, Korean Air staged a demonstration flight of a new aircraft over Dokdo (Chung and Park 2017, 14–17). KIA Motors, SK Telecom, Suhyup Bank, web portal Daum, and entertainment and communications portal DreamWiz, as well as numerous other Korean businesses, big and small, have publicly contributed in one way or another to the Dokdo cause. Occasionally, ­these commercial manifestations of patriotism take on a farcical form. Several years ago, a famous tuna restaurant chain with over 200 branches nationwide called Dokdo Tuna registered its name as a trademark even though it does not use tuna caught near the islets. The reason for this is rather s­ imple—­there is very l­ittle if any tuna fish in the ­waters adjacent to Dokdo. In 2016, ­Korea’s Patent Court nullified the trademark registration, arguing that geo­graph­i­cal names cannot be used in trademarks (Son HS 2016), but did not order the chain to change its name despite its obviously misleading nature. The commercial impact of “Dokdo” can take on a negative form, too. At least one incident of the burning of a Japa­nese car as part of Dokdo-­related protests has been recorded (Card 2006). The sudden name change of ­Family Mart, one of K ­ orea’s biggest con­ve­nience store chains, in 2012 was attributed to the o­ wners’ desire to distance the Korean chain from the Japa­nese brand of the same name. The

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latter appeared in a blacklist of Japa­nese businesses supportive of Japan’s “Takeshima” cause that circulated in Korean cyberspace (Ju ST 2014). Public opinion polls show that, overall, during the last two de­cades, the Korean public view of Japan has deteriorated significantly, with the territorial dispute identified by the respondents as the main ­factor in their negative view. Whereas in the mid-1990s about 30 ­percent of respondents expressed affinity to Japan and 60 ­percent did not, in polls conducted in the 2010s, the percentage of ­those who had a positive view of Japan declined to about 11 ­percent, with the negative view rising to about 75 ­percent (Hong 1999; Genron NPO 2013). ­Today, Japan is one of the least popu­lar countries among the Koreans, and it was only in 2017, ­after a diplomatic row over the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles in South ­Korea, that China overtook Japan as the second most disliked country ­after North ­Korea (Asan Institute for Policy Studies 2016). The dispute over Dokdo/Takeshima is not the only issue in bilateral relations identified by the respondents in polls, but it is no doubt the most impor­tant one, with the overwhelming majority in numerous polls seeing it as such (Genron NPO 2013; The Asan Institute for Policy Studies 2014). To reiterate, “Dokdo” became an integral part of Korean collective memory, penetrating ­every corner of the society, including politics, economy, and pop culture. In stark contrast to ­Korea’s “Dokdo,” one would have to search hard for references to Diaoyutai in Taiwan’s public space and discourse. The ROC government’s official claim to the islands remains intact, but t­here is no extensive campaign to raise public awareness of the issue and the dispute rarely appears in Taiwan’s everyday life. Taiwanese p ­ eople are no doubt aware of the existence of the dispute—­a 2012 poll conducted by Taiwan’s TVBS private broadcaster showed that 56 ­percent of the respondents ­were dissatisfied with the government’s policy aimed at “maintaining” the ROC’s sovereignty over the islands and 66 ­percent expressed “lack of confidence” in the government’s ability to “maintain” the ROC’s sovereignty (TVBS 2012). However, Nielsen public opinion polls conducted on behalf of the Japan-­Taiwan Exchange Association showed that although the 2012 Diaoyutai-­related events had a certain impact on public opinion, the overwhelmingly positive view of Japan among the Taiwanese has remained unchanged. In 2015, Japan was the most liked country by the Taiwanese, standing at 59 ­percent, with China coming in at a distant second with 6 ­percent. In 2012, the numbers ­were somewhat lower, but at 43 ­percent Japan was still the most liked country, with China, the United States, and Singapore far b­ ehind, sharing second place with 7 ­percent each. Although Japan ranked third among countries that influence Taiwan in the 2015 poll, it was seen as the most impor­tant country Taiwan should have good relations with. Moreover, only 1 ­percent of the respondents in both the 2012 and 2015 polls saw the territorial dispute as an impor­tant issue in bilateral relations, with the majority being concerned about the impact of Japan-­China

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relations on Taiwan (Nihon taiwan kōryū kyōkai 2016). Unlike Dokdo in ­Korea, ­there are no research institutes or museums dedicated to the islands. ­There are no T-­shirts or spoons that feature the islands, as ­there are no pop concerts or speech contests dedicated to them. According to Taiwan’s Central National Library, ­there ­were only about fifty books devoted to Diayoutai published in the years 1996–2015 (I thank Tony Quinn for this piece of information). Furthermore, it is not taboo to question the belonging of Diaoyutai to the ROC/PRC (as exemplified by Lee ­Teng-­hui’s 2002 statement), and in some public opinion polls the number of ­those that chose Japan as the islands’ owner surpassed ­those that chose ­either Taiwan or China (United Daily poll in ETtoday 2012). What accounts for this difference in social reception of the narratives advocated by national identity entrepreneurs in the four cases examined h ­ ere? As with any social phenomenon, obviously numerous f­ actors are at play. No doubt that support from such a power­ful actor as the state and its active participation in spreading the narrative through educational material, textbooks, and vari­ous campaigns plays an impor­tant role in shaping social reception. ­There are other, case-­specific ­factors, to be considered. In the case of the Soviet-­occupied territories, for example, the ­limited resources and lack of consensus among the vari­ous actors on the scope of disputed territory during the movement’s formative years played a role. The overall dire economic conditions in Japan during the early postwar years also came into play. During this period, the average annual income of the Japa­nese ­people was comparable to that of such developing countries as India, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Alleviation of their own poverty was one of the main reasons for p­ eople’s interest in politics (Oguma 2002, 256–57), and the Soviet occupation affected only a small portion of the Japa­nese population. As for the surge in public interest in Takeshima that followed passage of the Takeshima Day ordinance, t­ here is ­little doubt that the Korean reaction and, even more impor­tant, the rise in tensions with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, played a role in stimulating the public interest in Japan’s Dokdo/Takeshima territorial dispute. The subsequent po­liti­cal usage of “Takeshima” by lawmakers from across the po­liti­cal spectrum and the continuous colonial history–­related frictions between Japan and K ­ orea have played their role in keeping Takeshima in the news. In the case of ­Korea, it would be an exaggeration to attribute the diffusion of “Dokdo” solely to the “Protect Dokdo” movement or to the post-2005 joint campaign of the government and the activists. Already in 1996, when the issue of owner­ship over the islets had reemerged in bilateral relations, 100 ­percent of Korean respondents in a poll regarding the owner­ship over the islets stated that it was Korean (Yi KH 1996). The overwhelming popularity of the “Dokdo is our land” slogan during the 1996 general elections campaign (Jeong UG 1996) underlies Dokdo’s salience in the domestic po­liti­cal discourse when the “Protect Dokdo” movement was still in its nascent

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phase. The widely shared perception of Taiwan’s cultural and po­liti­cal closeness to Japan could be at least partially attributed to governmental policies initiated as part of its “de-­Sinicization” campaign in the 1990s (He 2014, 487). When considering the sharp difference between the Taiwanese and the Korean social reception of Diaoyutai and Dokdo related narratives, one also cannot ignore the fact that, in the case of the latter, the disputed islets are u ­ nder K ­ orea’s control, whereas the former have been administered by Japan since the 1970s and have never been u ­ nder the ROC control. ­These caveats aside, the social reception of the territorial cause in all of the cases can be traced, at to least a certain extent, to the resonance between the narrative and the dominant identity discourse in the society. In the case of the Hokkaido-­based national identity entrepreneurs, arguably the appeal to the ethnic nation and national territory was a wrong choice of framing strategy. In the immediate postwar years, the notion of the nation as an ethnic or a racial entity dis­appeared from the sociopo­liti­cal discourse and was replaced with civic nationalism (Koschmann 1996, 203–5). Thus, references to the ethnic nation, blood ties, and “traditional” or “inherent” territory often used by the activists prob­ably had a reverse effect, causing a certain repulsion of advocacy reminiscent of war­time propaganda with its emphasis on “the sacred country” (Sasaki-­Uemura 2001, 24–26). Furthermore, in the first postwar de­cades, Japan’s relations with the United States and the place of a newly demo­cratic Japan in the Cold War structure ­were the main tropes of the national identity discourse. This explains the relatively high interest in such geo­graph­i­cally and eco­nom­ically distant issues as the war in Vietnam and the reversion of Okinawa among the residents of Hokkaido in the 1960s. As shown in the first chapter, neither the civic groups nor Hokkaido Prefecture attempted to position the question of Soviet-­occupied territories within this broader strug­gle over postwar Japan’s identity. It was only from the 1970s onward that the Northern Territories issue gained wide public cognition and became an integral part of Japan’s national identity construct. No doubt, the massive campaign by the central government to disseminate knowledge about the dispute and educate the public played an impor­tant role in this transformation. Framing, however, should not be ignored, as the narrative produced by the synergy of the government, the conservative pundits, and the civic groups located the dispute within two dominant identity discourses of the time, the rivalry between communism and capitalism and the ideology of Japan’s national uniqueness. Specifically, the loss of the Northern Territories came to be framed through narratives which attributed this injustice that befell the nation both to communism and Rus­sia’s unique national character. Th ­ ese narratives on the difference of the Soviet/ Rus­sian “other” fed into both the social construction of Japan’s identity as a demo­cratic society as well as its superior ethnocultural uniqueness (see Bukh 2009 for a detailed

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discussion). In other words, the “Northern Territories” construct resonated with the dominant cultural narratives (Snow and Benford 1988, 210) and further enhanced the ontological security of the Japa­nese national “self.” The recent emergence of China and North ­Korea as the new dominant “­others” brought about a certain demise in the importance of Rus­sia’s “otherness” in Japan’s national identity. This transformation in turn weakened the constraints imposed on policy choices by the Northern Territories construct and could be utilized by Prime Minister Abe to pursue a compromising solution to the dispute. Frames used by Shimane Prefecture, the Association for Protecting Prefectural Territory Takeshima, and scholars and publicists sympathetic to the cause ­were not dissimilar to ­those used by the Hokkaido-­based movement. ­Here, also, one can see numerous references to illegal occupation, inherent territory, historical rights, and economic difficulties brought about by the loss of the territory. The government’s embrace of the Takeshima cause has played an impor­tant role in the narrative’s diffusion and ac­cep­tance, but to understand the broad public appeal of this narrative in mid-2000s Japan, it must be located within the context of Japan’s identity construction vis-­à-­vis ­Korea, one of its key “­others.” A relationship between the “self ” and the “other” can take a multiplicity of modes or forms; difference vis-­à-­vis the “other” is not ­limited to an extreme and threatening opposition to the “self.” Modern Japan’s identity construction vis-­à-­vis ­Korea evolved around two somewhat contradictory discourses of Pan-­Asianism and a Japa­nese version of Orientalism. The former was based on a notion of a certain horizontal affinity between Japan and the rest of Asia b­ ecause of racial similarities. Contrastingly, the latter construed Japan as spatially located in Asia but temporally superior to its Asian neighbors and identical with the West (Tanaka 1995). In this sense, K ­ orea’s position as a “primitive self ” (Atkins 2010) in Imperial Japan’s identity corresponded to the broader role of the Orient in this construct. Japan’s defeat in the Asia-­Pacific War and the subsequent domestic and international transformations that occurred, resulted in an almost complete disappearance of the horizontal Pan-­Asianist discourse but only in a slight modification of the hierarchical Orientalist thread. Thus, during the Cold War years, even though a certain horizontal affinity between Japan and South K ­ orea based on the common strug­gle against communism did exist, the hierarchical structure dominated Japan’s identity construction vis-­à-­vis its former colony. In this discourse, demo­cratic, industrialized, prosperous, and “Westernized” Japan was constructed in opposition to unruly, authoritarian, impoverished, and “Asian” ­Korea in need of Japan’s guidance and assistance (Tei 1995; Tamaki 2010). By the early 2000s, however, South K ­ orea had evolved into a fully industrialized, vibrant democracy. Certain Korean industries (mostly cars, shipbuilding, and electronics) came to rival ­those of Japan, and some have even overtaken them on

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the global markets (Prestowitz 2012). Even in terms of pop cultural exports, Korean products have come to rival t­hose of Japan, and in many countries, particularly in Asia, they have gained dominance in the local markets (e.g., Economist 2010). ­These domestic transformations in ­Korea and in its relative position in the global economy have disrupted and destabilized the century-­long positioning of the Japa­nese “self ” vis-­à-­vis the Korean “other,” leading to a certain ontological insecurity. Arguably, the Takeshima-­related narrative resonated with the hierarchical construction of the Japa­nese “self ” over the Korean “other.” Moreover, it stabilized this construct and contributed to Japan’s ontological security by shifting the discourse into other realms of difference. While Korean emotionality remained a constant, the Takeshima narrative emphasizes Korean lack of re­spect for the law, fabrication of evidence, brutality, and fishing practices that damage the environment. As such, “Takeshima” re-­created a modified but still hierarchical construction of the Japa­nese “self ” in opposition to the Korean “other,” enhancing its ontological security. The functioning of the “Dokdo” construct in ­Korea is not dissimilar to that of “Takeshima” in Japan. As seen in Chapter 3, the initial “Protect Dokdo” narrative should be seen mostly as an attempt to rescue the minjung-­centered national identity construct of the democ­ratization movement. From the second half of the 2000s, the dominant narrative advocated by the “Protect Dokdo” movement has been epitomized in the activities of actors such as the Dokdo Acad­emy, and VANK has gone through a number of impor­tant transformations. The post-­minjung construct in which the nation was juxtaposed with both the domestic elites and the outside powers was abandoned in f­avor of a narrative based solely on the Korea-­Japan dichotomy. To a certain extent, the change in the nature of the civic groups in the movement and their narrative can be seen as a response both to Japan’s Dokdo-­related “provocations” (Hong SG 2008, 64–65) and to the rise in colonial history–­related frictions between the two countries. Furthermore, the government’s embrace of the Dokdo cause undermined the persuasiveness of the post-­minjung construct in which the domestic ruling elites w ­ ere seen as an integral part of the “other.” Funding allocated to selected groups and activities has resulted in a certain co-­optation of the movement, transformed the narrative, and contributed to its diffusion in Korean society. ­These f­actors alone, however, do not explain the unpre­ce­dented centrality of Dokdo in Korean society and the emergence of the islets as one of the main symbols of the nation. Historical/collective memory of Japan’s colonialism is the usual explanation offered for such a wide-­ranging embrace of Dokdo as a symbol of K ­ orea’s in­de­pen­dence. Indeed, Japan has been K ­ orea’s dominant “other,” in juxtaposition to which Korean identity has been constructed and the nation’s successes and failures mea­sured (Kimura 2014). The question is, What role do the narrative on Dokdo and vari­ous Dokdo-­related ceremonies performed in Korean society play in making Dokdo

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so central for Korean national identity? What accounts for the nationwide popularity of the slogan “Dokdo is our land,” which, during the last de­cade or so, has attained a mantra-­like quality in ­Korea? To a certain degree, “Dokdo” balances the other historical memory–­related issues such as “comfort ­women,” forced ­labor, and textbook controversies in which ­Korea is narrated as a victim of Japan’s aggression. The narrative on Dokdo protection enables a construction of K ­ orea as a victor in a strug­gle with its former colonial ruler. However, the Dokdo narrative and related rituals such as pilgrimages to the islets and other manifestations of love of Dokdo may well have another, prob­ably even more impor­tant role in con­temporary Korean society. Namely, they enable not only the imagination but also the per­for­mance of a unified nation in a highly divided society. With the concept of citizenship and affiliation with the state, rather than with ethnicity, gaining more ground in ­Korea (Moon 2012), the destabilizing role of the North/South division in the construction of a Korean national identity has prob­ably diminished significantly. However, over the last de­cade or so t­here have been two impor­tant issues that continue to divide Korean society, deepening economic stratification and the continuous strug­gle of the progressive and the conservative camps over ­Korea’s post-1945 history. The Korean economy as a ­whole recovered relatively quickly from the crisis of 1997–98 and continued to grow even during the global financial crisis of 2007–8. The economic growth, however, was accompanied by expanding stratification of Korean society and the rise of the “880 thousand won generation.” This term, coined by Woo Seok-­hoon and Park Gwon-il (2007), refers to the average monthly wages of a temporary worker. As Woo and Park argued, Korean society has become increasingly competitive, with many young university gradu­ates unable to find a secure job, doomed to spending their twenties in temporary employment. Unable to support a ­family or to buy an apartment, and lacking any social benefits, their lives are void of security. In the early 2010s, a new term, “hell Jeoson,” emerged in the Korean online community and gained immediate recognition not only among netizens but also in the broader public discourse. Like the “880 thousand won generation,” “hell Jeoson” refers to the growing stratification among Korean youth. ­Those with ­family connections and financial support succeed, but the majority of young Koreans are forced to work in insecure, low-­paid jobs u ­ nder harsh conditions despite their diligence and good education (Kirk 2016). This economic stratification has been taking place alongside the highly politicized strug­gle between the conservative and the progressive camps over Korean history. As manifested in the history textbooks controversy (Yi YJ 2015), this strug­gle is further dividing the nation. Despite the demise of the minjung ideology, the progressive

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camp has continued to advocate the “­people”-­centered view of ­Korea’s modern history. The conservative narrative, however, has embraced the main tenets of modernization theory and ­today depicts ­Korea’s post-­independence history as a linear pro­cess ­toward economic and po­liti­cal development fi­nally achieved ­after democ­ratization (Yi WC 2016, 130–36). ­Here, the nation has been replaced with the state as the hegemonic subject of national history (De Ceuster 2010, 15–18). This strug­gle over history and national identity has not been l­imited to the academic realm. It became an impor­ tant po­liti­cal issue u ­ nder Lee Myung-­bak but even more so u ­ nder his successor, Park Geun-­hye, leading to numerous street protests and lawsuits (Yi YJ 2015; Evans 2015). What is the role of “Dokdo,” therefore, in this context of highly polarized views of ­Korea’s modern history and economic stratification that turn the “national body” of the Korean nation into an amorphous entity, ridden with contradictions? Arguably, Dokdo as the embodiment of the nation enables its reification and functions ­here as the nation’s “replacement organ” (Szeto 2009, 183–84). Constructed vis-­à-­vis the Japa­nese “other,” the nation is reified as two rocks. This identification of the nation with a tiny piece of barren land conceals the numerous contradictions in the vision of “us” as a unified and homogeneous subject. In this sense, the function of “Dokdo” is not dissimilar to other colonial period–­related constructs, with two impor­tant differences. One is that the array of sites and media for performing the nation provided by other constructs cannot be compared to “Dokdo” in terms of its richness and diversity. For obvious reasons, it is hard to imagine T-­shirts, spoons, restaurants, and rock concerts devoted to the “comfort w ­ omen” or colonial times forced laborers. Contrastingly, “Dokdo” can be performed on almost any occasion in everyday life. Another impor­tant characteristic of Dokdo is its existence as a physical space that serves as material evidence for the nation’s existence and can be experienced, touched, and landed on. Arguably, ­these two unique qualities of the Dokdo account, at least to a certain extent, for its centrality in the broad discourse on the Korean “self ” and the Japa­nese “other.” It may seem that in the Taiwan of ­today, with its unclear international status, ambiguous relations with mainland China, and fuzzy contours of the national body, the salience of Diaoyutai as an identity symbol should be at least as strong as in K ­ orea. However, this is not the case, and the dispute plays a rather marginal role in Taiwan’s identity discourse. The above-­mentioned ­factors aside, frame alignment, or, in the case of Taiwan, the dissonance between the framing used by con­temporary Baodiao and the dominant identity discourses, explains the relatively low interest in the dispute and lack of a broadly diffused symbolic role associated with it. In the previous chapter, it was shown that in post-1990s Taiwan, Baodiao has continuously framed the dispute as a symbol of humiliation suffered by the Chinese nation. This framing, combined with po­liti­cal demands for a more resolute policy from

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the Taiwanese government, implies the unity of China as a body politic, that is, the continuous congruence of the national and po­liti­cal units. The post-­democratization identity construction in Taiwan, however, has gone in the opposite direction, decoupling the two and leading to the emergence of what Chris Hughes has called “Taiwan’s post-­nationalist identity” (Hughes 1997, 96). The pro­cess of decoupling the Chinese ethnic and cultural identity from the Taiwanese po­liti­cal identity was initiated by the ruling elites in the early 1990s as a response to a number of ­factors, including the increase in the percentage of Taiwanese born on the island and the growing intermarriage between Taiwan’s “natives” and “mainlanders,” as well as fears of ethnic conflict between the two groups. To achieve this, the government a­ dopted numerous mea­sures aimed at diluting the distinction between the two groups and forging a “community of shared destiny” on Taiwan, based on shared po­liti­cal values and civic nationalism (Hughes 1997, 96–100). Public opinion polls conducted on Taiwan show that the pro­cess, initiated in the early 1990s, has been largely successful. It is well beyond the scope of this book to examine the f­actors that led to its success, but a de­cade l­ater an overwhelming majority of the Taiwanese (80 ­percent) identify with Taiwan po­liti­cally, while at the same time 66 ­percent see Taiwan’s culture as being part of a Chinese one. Only 7 ­percent of the respondents subscribed to the greater Chinese nationalism, which implies the congruence of “China” as a national and as a po­liti­cal unit (Wang TE and Liu IC 2005, 575–578). As such, the framing of Diaoyutai t­oday as a symbol of Chinese national humiliation finds l­ittle resonance with the majority of the Taiwanese, who mostly construe their “Chineseness” in cultural terms but identify po­liti­cally with Taiwan, rather than with greater China. To summarize, comparative analy­sis of the social reception of the disputed territories–­related narratives shows that invocation of the nation in framing the dispute does not always lead to its incorporation into the collective memory. No doubt, participation of such a power­ful actor as the central government in the production and reproduction of the narrative plays an impor­tant role in its reception and diffusion. However, it is not only who promotes the narrative but also how the narrative is structured that accounts for its reception. Narratives that resonate with dominant identity tropes or stabilize them through the concealment of existing contradictions have a greater chance of being accepted and internalized by the public.

Nation, State, and Territory The empirical chapters of this book have explored the f­ actors that gave rise to territorial disputes–­related national identity entrepreneurship. The book has argued that “national territory” is invoked by actors who claim to represent the nation during critical junctures as a framing tool in criticizing the state for a perceived failure. When

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resonating with the dominant identity discourses, ­these narratives induce a response from the state and diffuse in the society. Arguably, t­ hese findings have impor­tant implications for understanding the pro­ cess of national identity construction, the relationship between the nation and the state, and the role of “territory” as a marker of national identity. Although the nation is usually defined as an intersubjectively shared horizontal bond based on a certain commonality and the state as an or­ga­nized po­liti­cal unit, the difference between the two is often blurred in International Relations scholarship. Thus, state identity and national identity are often used interchangeably, and evidence of the latter is often sought in texts produced by state actors. Admittedly, I followed the same path in my previous work when analyzing the construction of Japan’s national identity vis-­à-­vis Rus­sia (Bukh 2009). Partially as an attempt to shed responsibility for this conflation of the two notions, I should note that two of the most fundamental concepts of International Relations—­the nation-­state and international relations—­imply the overlap of the two. In many cases this is indeed true, and the nation is subsumed by the state in the continuous pro­cess of nation-­building, which requires ­people’s identification with the nation-­state (Bloom 1993, 71). Po­liti­cal elites that represent the state and identify with it engage in creation, diffusion, and utilization of narratives that construct the nation in the pursuit of their interests. In such cases, the sociopo­ liti­cal role of “territory” is identical to other constructs utilized by the po­liti­cal elites. As a dominant social construct, “territory” is embedded in t­ hose numerous quotidian practices in ­people’s lives which continuously reproduce and naturalize the existing world order and its basic institutions, such as the nation-­state, governments, and international borders (Billing 1995, 6; Paasi 2003). Such scholars as Winichakul (1994), Paasi (1998), Walker (2007), and Fedman (2012) have provided us with impor­tant insights into the operation of territoriality as a hegemonic practice that produces and reproduces the existing relations of power in specific countries and regions. This hegemonic operation of territoriality was also demonstrated in Chapter 1 of this book when discussing Japan’s government’s usage of the “Northern Territories” in its strug­gle with the domestic opposition. However, the state and the nation do not always exist in a comfortable symbiosis. When the state is perceived as failing the nation, the latter can be invoked by national identity entrepreneurs as a tool of criticism of the state. Th ­ ese perceived failures tend to occur during profound social, po­liti­cal, or economic transformations referred to in this book as critical junctures. When such a confrontation occurs, disputed territory can become an impor­tant rhetorical tool, used to legitimize the goals of national identity entrepreneurs, accentuate the failures of the state and mobilize support. As Foucault has argued, sites of re­sis­tance, despite their oppositional nature, are infused with the same bodies of knowledge and practices on which the extant relations

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of power rely for their existence (cited in McHoul and Grace 1997, 83–85). Territoriality thus can act as a source and resource of counterhegemonic power, deployed ­either intentionally or unconsciously (Dochartaigh and Bosi 2010, 406). Territory in itself, as this book has shown, can be an empty signifier as besides the general agreement on the territory’s ultimate importance for the nation, neither its symbolic meaning nor the norms associated with it are predetermined or static. It can indeed act as a resource of hegemonic power but also as resources for t­ hose that resist or criticize it. In this sense, “national territory” is not dif­fer­ent from other social constructs such as “­human rights,’ ” “democracy,” and “security” that not only occupy an impor­tant place in the hegemonic discourses but are also utilized by t­hose that seek to challenge the existing order. Like other spatial entities such as sacred spaces (Chidester and Linenthal 1995; Luz 2008), disputed territories can become sites of re­sis­tance, battlefields of po­liti­cal strug­gles in which vari­ous actors imbue ­these territories with symbolism as a legitimation strategy aimed at advancing their cause. When territoriality is activated as a tool of contention and the narratives advocated by national identity entrepreneurs gain a certain social resonance, the state is bound to respond. The state, ­after all, is not a constant entity but an ongoing proj­ect whose smooth operation depends on a variety of norms, princi­ples, and practices (Jackson and Nexon 1999, 308). The symbiosis of the nation and the state, arguably, is one of ­those key practices that enable this proj­ect’s operation. The repertoire of the state’s responses to such challenges is wide-­ranging. In the case studies examined ­here, the strategies a­ dopted by the governments ranged from ignoring the national identity entrepreneurs all together to their co-­optation. The latter strategy, which is the most impor­tant one when thinking about the pro­cesses of national identity construction, is reminiscent of the “soft social-­control strategies” described by Aldrich (2008) in his work on protests related to controversial facilities. The states did not engage in a drastic reconfiguration of their key policies but implemented certain mea­sures to appease the stakeholders. Even more impor­tant, the state a­ dopted symbolic mea­sures aimed at co-­opting the “national territory” narrative and stabilizing the nation-­state symbiosis. Ele­ments of co-­optation can be observed in all of the cases discussed ­here. A brief review of the arguments made in this book ­will illustrate this point. Baodiao was largely a response to the collapse of the KMT’s nationalist my­thol­ogy, ­shaped by it and the ideology of the American left. The KMT’s policy t­oward the activists was generally harsh and included such mea­sures as intimidation and jailing. But the government maintained a dialogue, however superficial and ­limited, with certain groups in the movement, aimed at reproducing the nation-­state symbiosis. It allowed the demonstrations in Taipei and dispatched officials to the United States to explain its position on the Diaoyutai dispute to the activists. Moreover, it co-­opted the

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pro-­KMT Aimeng by using it in domestic propaganda campaigns and absorbing some Aimeng members into the party ranks. Thus, at least some ele­ments of appeasement and co-­optation ­were pre­sent in the response of the authoritarian KMT. In contrast, the demo­cratic government’s response to Baodiao, which reemerged in the mid-1990s, has been fundamentally dif­fer­ent. The “Baodiao” narrative is in dissonance with Taiwan’s “post-­nationalist identity” (Hughes 1997, 96), and t­ oday the biggest threat to Taiwan’s Baodiao activists is widespread oblivion and apathy t­ oward their cause. The ROC government, however, does not simply ignore the activists. The introduction of a “protect fisheries” policy in the governmental agenda can be seen partially as a tactic aimed at subverting claims of negligence of the p ­ eople’s interests that emerge from Baodiao and appeasing ­those who are directly affected by the dispute. National identity entrepreneurship related to Soviet occupied territories was, to a ­great extent, a response to the perceived failure of the Japa­nese state to defend the economic interests of Nemuro residents. The number of t­ hose affected by the dispute was relatively small, and partially resulting from their framing strategies, their plight received very ­little attention domestically. Thus, the government did not feel the need to respond to the narrative created by the Hokkaido-­based movement, though it did implement certain mea­sures aimed at addressing the economic plight of Nemuro. In the late 1960s, the central government embarked on the “Northern Territories as a national mission” campaign, reviving and co-­opting the movement to create the semblance of nation/state symbiosis. The successful campaign indeed resulted in a broad social consensus, which, de­cades l­ater, turned into an impediment to the government’s ability to reach a compromising solution with Rus­sia. The structural origins of the Takeshima campaign ­were similar to that of the Soviet-­occupied territories. During the four de­cades that passed between the 1965 normalization treaty and the passage of the Takeshima Day ordinance, the “secret pact” defined Tokyo’s policy in relation to the disputed islets, whereas Shimane Prefecture’s Takeshima demands ­were generally ignored by the public and the government alike. The Takeshima Day ordinance of 2005 was largely a response to the critical juncture created by Koizumi’s fiscal reforms. ­Here Shimane prefectural authorities positioned themselves as the champions of the nation in light of the perceived abandonment of the regions by the central government. The sudden rise of “Takeshima” to the fore of the public debate that followed the enactment of the ordinance made a response from the state inevitable. The government, therefore, ­adopted symbolic mea­sures aimed at ameliorating the nation/state divide implied in the Takeshima narrative. ­These mea­sures, which included the creation of a “Takeshima corner” on MOFA’s website, publication of educational pamphlets, and the inclusion of Takeshima in the curriculum guidance for school textbooks, led to further diffusion of the “Takeshima” construct and its embedment in Japan’s collective memory.

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Dokdo-­related national identity entrepreneurship culminated during the critical juncture of the Asian financial crisis. Like the minjung construct of the democ­ ratization movement, the “Dokdo” narrative constructed the nation in opposition to the state and external “colonial” forces. The Korean government’s response is prob­ably the most vivid example of both the impact of successful national identity entrepreneurship and co-­optation policy. From 2005 onward, the government began to incorporate many of the activists’ symbolic demands. Such mea­sures taken by the government included bud­getary allocations to Dokdo’s “defense,” lifting restrictions on civilian travel to the islets, and changing the base point for K ­ orea’s EEZ from Ulleung Island to Dokdo. At the same time, the government co-­opted the movement and reshaped its narrative through grants and cooperation with selected groups. It also embarked on an extensive educational campaign, which led to further diffusion of the “Dokdo” construct, though in a somewhat modified form. From a construction of the nation in opposition to both the state and Japan, “Dokdo” transformed into a construct of a unified Korean “self ” in which both the nation and the state exist in a symbiosis in opposition to the Japa­nese “other.” To reiterate, the case studies examined ­here suggest that the interactions between successful national identity entrepreneurs and the state, or to be more precise, the latter’s response to the national narrative forged by the former, often play an impor­ tant role in the pro­cess of collective memory and, hence, national identity construction. This model shares the main tenets of the domestic constructivist theory in the importance it allocates to domestic pro­cesses in the construction of national identity. However, when analyzing the pro­cesses that propel certain ideational constructs to the fore of the public discourse, the domestic constructivist scholarship tends to focus on strug­gles within the bureaucratic and the po­liti­cal elites (e.g., Katzenstein 1996; Oros 2008). Contrastingly, the emphasis ­here is on interactions between nonstate actors that claim to represent the nation and the state, as well as the latter’s attempts to co-­opt the former. This is prob­ably not the only or even the main pro­cess through which national identities are constructed, but the case studies examined h­ ere suggest that this is indeed at least one of the existing paths and, as such, needs to be taken seriously.

Co-­optation and State-­Level Relations What are the implications of the above model for our understanding of the effects of disputed territories–­related national identity entrepreneurship on interstate relations? Chung (2004), for example, has suggested that the role of pressure groups in influencing the policy of all of the parties to territorial disputes in Northeast Asia is quite impor­tant. Using a broad definition of pressure groups that includes party factions, individual politicians, bureaucratic agencies, and public opinion, Chung argues that, more often than not, pressure from t­ hese actors precludes any state-­level

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talks on sovereignty and the joint development of natu­ral resources in the disputed territories. Chung’s all-­encompassing definition of “pressure groups,” however, by far exceeds the scope of actors that ­were the focus of this study. Contrastingly, focusing on nationalist protests in China, Chen Weiss (2014) has suggested that the Chinese government is often using the protests strategically as a tool of diplomatic negotiations to signal its intentions to the other party to the dispute in question. To some degree, Chen Weiss’s argument is prob­ably applicable to early-1970s Taiwan, as some scholars (e.g., Wright 2012) have suggested that the Baodiao demonstrations w ­ ere used by the KMT to show its discontent with the United States and Japan. A similarity can also be drawn with Japan’s utilization of the reversion groups as evidence of public support for the “Northern Territories” mission. In both cases, the domestic policies related to the disputes in question w ­ ere designed by the government, and the civic groups ­were tools in its execution. Overall, however, the case studies suggest that the nature of relations between the state and national identity entrepreneurs in Northeast Asian democracies is fundamentally dif­fer­ent from that in authoritarian China. The impact of ­these actors on state-­to-­state relations also relates to signals governments send to each other, however in a form dif­fer­ent from the one suggested by Weiss. Namely, it is the policies of co-­optation of national identity entrepreneurs by the state that turn into signals that complicate bilateral relations. Before elaborating on this point, a brief review of the general policy of governments related to territorial disputes ­will be helpful. Overall, once contending claims of owner­ship have crystalized into a territorial dispute, the governments ­will rarely consider abandoning their claims in f­ avor of a pragmatic and compromising resolution. Exceptions indeed exist. Fravel (2008) for example, has shown that, since 1949, China has compromised in seventeen of the twenty-­three disputes it participated in. The 2004 border delimitation agreement between China and Rus­sia involved a certain territorial compromise on behalf of Rus­sia as well. As a rule, though, states opt for delaying the dispute while maintaining their claims and do not attempt to ­either recapture the territory by force or offer concessions (Fravel 2008, 12–13). In all of the cases examined h ­ ere, this strategy of delaying or “shelving” the disputes rather than compromising or attempting to regain control by force was favored by the respective governments. Even though refraining from any attempts to recapture the territory, Japan has maintained its claims to Takeshima and the Northern Territories since the 1940s and 1950s, respectively. Since regaining control over Okinawa and the Senkaku Islands, it has denied the existence of a territorial dispute with the PRC and the ROC. ­Korea’s position on Dokdo has been identical. The ROC’s claim to the Diaoyutai has remained unchanged since the 1970s, but, again, the ROC government has never attempted to challenge the status quo and take the islands by force. In all of the cases, while maintaining their respective positions, the parties also a­ dopted certain

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mea­sures such as fisheries agreements that resolve the practical issues that stem from overlapping territorial claims. Importantly, though, the governments’ intentions to adhere to the strategy of delaying the dispute require continuous reconfirmation. ­Whether mutual distrust is the usual condition of international relations or an anomaly is still a hotly debated topic among International Relations scholars. However, most scholars would prob­ably agree that, in the case of territorial disputes, where tacit agreements to maintain the status quo are the rule and formal arrangements are an exception, the intentions of the parties are in continual need of reconfirmation. Arguably, it is ­here that the impact of national identity entrepreneurship is mostly vividly observed. States’ intentions are conveyed through indices. Indices are statements and actions that are not seen as intentional mea­sures aimed at creating or sustaining a certain image but as evidence of the state’s true intentions (Jervis 1976, 18–19). Quite often, the actions of national identity entrepreneurs interfere with and muffle the “status quo” signals sent by the respective governments, leading to an escalation in tensions. ­Because the governments maintain formal claims of sovereignty, they are often forced to reiterate their claims and show formal support of the actions of national identity entrepreneurs. Such was the case of the Takeshima Day ordinance, which was interpreted in ­Korea as an index sent by Japan signaling an intention to escalate. More impor­tant, though, are the strategies implemented by the state with the aim of co-­opting the national identity entrepreneurs and their narratives and stabilizing the nation-­state symbiosis. This strategy of co-­optation often includes vari­ous symbolic mea­sures such as educational campaigns, ceremonies, and statements whose purpose is to legitimize the state’s standing as the sole representative of the nation. For the governments that deploy such a strategy, the importance of such symbolic mea­sures lies mostly in their domestic function as a stabilizer of the nation-­state symbiosis. Thus, they are not introduced with the intention to escalate the dispute. For example, a closer look at both the Japa­nese and the Korean governments’ policies shows that each side has been trying to send signals of reassurance to the other side aimed at showing their intention to adhere to the status quo. Prime Minister Abe scrapped the plan to submit the dispute to the International Court of Justice, refused to hold a Takeshima Day ceremony in Tokyo, and has not dispatched any high-­ranking members of the government to the ceremony held in Shimane. Furthermore, the government has shown no signs of dissatisfaction with the new Fisheries Agreement. Similarly, the Korean government consistently ignored the demands to abolish the Fisheries Agreement, which has been one of the key demands of the Protect Dokdo movement and, if ­adopted, would have created a long-­term crisis in bilateral relations. Although it suspended the bilateral agreement on sharing military information in 2012 due to pressure from “protect Dokdo” groups, it signed the agreement in 2016

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when the pressure had subsided. As such, like its Japa­nese counterpart, the Korean government’s Dokdo related campaign was directed at ameliorating the domestic nation-­state divide rather than challenging the status quo in the dispute. From the other party to the dispute, however, it is the domestic symbolic mea­sures and not the signals of reassurance that are often interpreted as indices. ­These perceived indices of escalation lead to a response and create a cycle of tit-­for-­tat mea­sures, deteriorating relations, and growing mutual mistrust. Objects are indeed liberated for a full symbolic use when no longer fettered by practical use, as Hobsbawm (1983) has perceptively noted in the quote used as an epigraph to this book. Such a symbolic use, however, can have practical consequences, especially when the object in question is a disputed territory. Before concluding this book, I should note that instances of po­liti­cally consequential national identity entrepreneurship are not ­limited to disputed territories. The North Korean abductees–­related campaign in Japan and the government’s response to it firmly entrenched the issue in the domestic discourse on Japan’s relations with the North Korean “other.” Rescuing the abductees became one of the ele­ments, if not the key ele­ment, of Japan’s North K ­ orea–­related policy. More recently, a campaign led by a civic group and related to South Korean victims of forced ­labor during Japan’s colonial rule resulted in the emergence of the forced laborers as another symbol of Korean victimization. The campaign culminated in the 2018 Supreme Court rulings that ordered a number of Japa­nese firms to compensate the victims and led to further deterioration in Korea-­Japan relations. I believe that the analytical framework developed in this book as well as the arguments made h ­ ere could also be applied to such cases and shed new light on the ­causes of such national identity entrepreneurship, the structure of the narratives, and the pro­cesses that ­shaped their emergence as markers of national identity.

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Abe Shinzō, 56, 82, 93–94, 162 agency, 4, 10, 14–17 Aimeng (Chinese Students Anti-Communism Patriotic Alliance in the U.S), 135–136, 147–148, 169 Alliance for Petitioning the Return of the Chishima and the Habomai Islands, 39–41 Andō Ishisuke, 31–37, 44, 46 anticommunism, 135, 148 anti-Japanese nationalism, 128 anti-Vietnam war movements, 137. See also Vietnam War Aoki Mikio, 85 Ashida Hitoshi, 46 Asian financial crisis, 18, 22, 99, 102–103, 170 Asia-Pacific War, 25, 162 Association for Countermeasures Related to the Northern Territories, 51, 54 Association for Green Ulleung and Cultivation, 105 Association for Protecting Prefectural Territory Takeshima, 85–86, 122, 162 border demarcation, 6–8, 108, 114, 167 budget, 35, 39, 47, 49, 54, 68, 73, 84–85, 88, 92–95, 103, 113–114, 118–122 campus activism, 137, 141 capitalism, 101, 103, 109, 111, 138, 161 Chiang Kai-shek, 132, 138, 140, 144 China, 18–19, 23, 36–38, 57, 77, 86, 89, 92–93, 128–147 Chinese nation, 142, 148, 150–151, 154 Chinese Students Anti-Communism Patriotic Alliance (Aimeng), 135 Chinese trawler incident, 81, 131 Chishima, 25, 27, 29–30, 33, 39–41, 43, 50, 53–55. See also Kurile Archipelago: islands Choi Jae-ik, 2, 11, 17, 59, 68, 70, 94, 97–98, 106, 110–113

citizens rally, 39, 43, 81 civic activism, 26, 98, 147 civil society, 19, 22, 60, 107, 111–112, 115, 117, 120 cognition, 156, 161 Cold War, 6, 8, 21, 26, 52, 55–56, 59–60, 89–90, 99, 130, 139, 143, 161–162 collective memory, 3, 88, 98, 156, 158–159, 163, 166, 169–170 colonial history, 98, 114–115, 160, 163 colonization, 6, 59, 98, 109, 125 comfort women, 87, 94, 98, 164–165 Commission for Entreating the Return of Islands Attached to Hokkaido, 31, 61 conditions: permissive, 14, 20, 26, 86, 98; productive, 14, 17, 21, 26, 61, 77, 85, 95, 138 condolence money, 49–50 conservatives: in Japan, 12, 14, 21, 26, 37, 41–42, 45, 47, 53, 56, 68–69, 85, 87–90, 161; in Korea, 103, 110–111, 115–116, 164–165; in Taiwan, 148–149 constructivism. See Social Constructivism contention, 5, 10, 50, 168 co-optation, 50, 54, 57, 118, 120, 156–157, 163, 168–172 Council of Prefectural Citizens, 72, 74 counterhegemonic, 100, 168 coup d’etat, 80–81 crab fishery, 31, 78–80 critical historiography, 101–102 critical juncture, 13–14, 17–22, 26, 57–58, 82, 84, 95–99, 105, 127, 129, 137, 141, 154, 166–170 cyber diplomacy, 124 Decentralization Law, 83–84 Defend the Diaoyutai Islands Action Committee, 133 Democratic Party: in Japan, 93, 131; in Hong Kong, 149

206 index democratization: in Japan, 26–27; in Korea, 2, 22–23, 97–111, 115, 163–165; in Taiwan, 146–148, 155, 166 democratization movement, 2, 22–23, 97–111, 127, 147, 163, 170, 194 deprivation, 21, 26, 28–30, 62, 64, 85, 128 destruction of the LDP, 83 developmental nationalism, 103 Diaoyutai Education Association, 8, 18, 22, 128–156, 159–161, 165–168, 171 division system, 99 Dokdo Academy, 122–123, 163 Dokdo Guardians, 2–3, 104, 110, 122–123 Dokdo Research Institute, 97, 119, 124 Dulles, John Foster, 36 economic, interests, 25, 28, 32, 70, 87, 130, 143, 169; policy, 47–50, 116 Edo period, 32 empire, 6, 30, 61, 101 exclusive economic zone (EEZ), 60, 74, 77–79, 105–106, 112–114, 131, 153, 170 exclusive fishery zone, 74 financial assistance, 111–112 Finnemore, Martha, 10–13 Fisheries Agreement, 21, 38, 43, 49, 71–72, 77–83, 92, 105, 107, 110–115, 152–154, 172 fishing, grounds, 47, 61–64, 67–68, 71, 77, 79, 112; industry, 70–80, 91, 112, 115; rights, 36, 49–50, 55, 64–65, 90, 153; zone, 71–72, 77–78, 106, 152 flunkeyism, 101, 107–109, 126 forced labor, 98, 164, 173 Foucault, Michel, 167 Foundation for Promotion of Fisheries and Countermeasures Related to New JapanKorea Fisheries Agreement, 92 Four islands, Etorofu, 25–26, 32–36, 40, 46–47; Habomai, 25–36, 39–50, 54–56; Kunashiri, 25–26, 32–36, 40, 46–47; Shikotan, 25–28, 31–36, 39–46, 55–56 framing, 5, 10, 15–16, 156–166; of the Northern Territories, 37–38, 41, 57; of Takeshima, 61, 75; of Dokdo, 118, 120; of Diaoyutai, 133, 145, 148 Free Trade Agreement (FTA), 22, 115–117 Geertz, Clifford, 19 Giddens, Anthony, 13, 16 Goddard, Stacie E, 4, 9–15, 56 Grand National Party, 106, 110, 114 grassroots movement, 24, 30–31, 92 Hakodate, 27–28, 43–44 Hara Kimie, 6–8

Hashimoto Ryūtarō, 83 Hatoyama Ichirō, 91 hegemonic, practice, 167; power, 168; subject, 165 hell Jeoson, 164 Hellmann, Donald, 46–47 historical, memory, 3, 98, 101, 109, 117, 164; revisionism, 89 Hobsbawm, Eric, 5, 13–14, 20, 173 Ho Chun-yan, 149 Hokkaido, Development Agency, 42; Prefectural Assembly, 39–42 homogenization, 54 Hong Kong, 128–129, 133–135, 148–151 Hong Sun-chil, 97 Hosokawa Morihiro, 83 Identity, construction of, 140, 162, 166–167, 170; cultural, 150, 166; discourse of, 15, 17, 102, 156, 161, 165, 167; national, 3–23, 51–58, 86–87, 90, 100–115, 122, 127, 129, 137 ideology, 17–18; conservative, 12, 90; of developmental nationalism, 103; of KMT, 136–142; leftist, 89, 137; nationalist, 25; peoplecentered, 97–105 IMF crisis. See Asian financial crisis indices, 172–173 inherent territory, 8, 24, 30, 52, 57, 75, 94, 158, 162 injustice, 15, 21, 28, 43, 52–53, 57, 73–75, 80, 82, 93, 95, 98, 161 International Alliance of Dokdo Guardians, 122 International Court of Justice (ICJ), 40, 64, 67, 70, 88, 93–94, 112–113, 118, 172 International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), 113–114 International Monetary Fund (IMF), 102–103 International Relations (IR), 3, 6, 8, 16, 20, 23, 167, 172 Jang Cheol-soo, 103 Japan Conference, 87 Japanese Society for Historical Textbooks Reform (JSHTR), 89 Japan Fisheries Agency, 79, 81, 153 Japan-Korea, Basic Treaty, 1, 3, 58, 60, 65–71, 78, 80, 91–92, 97, 116, 130, 169; Fisheries Agreement, 92; New Fisheries Agreement, 60, 77–79, 82–83, 92, 107, 111–112, 153, 172; Protectorate Treaty, 59, 107 Japan’s Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives, 79 Japan-USSR Friendship Association, 38 Japan Youth League, 148 Jin Jie-shou, 149 Jōdai Yoshiro, 81, 85

index 207 Joint Regulation Zone, 71–72, 78, 91 June Democratic Uprising, 100 Kaigara Island Kelp Agreement, 48 Kajitani Mariko, 87–88 Karafuto. See Sakhalin Keiseikai, 83–84, 86 Kim Bong-u, 107 Kim Dae-jung, 78, 102, 106–107, 111–112, 115 Kohn, Hans, 11 Koizumi Junichirō, 83; reforms, 21, 85–87 Korea, border demarcation of, 114; democratization movement, 22–23, 97, 100–107, 110–111, 127, 147, 163; fishing activities, 37, 71, 77–78, 114; Maritime Institute, 158; National Assembly, 107, 119; national ­identity, 3–23, 51–58, 86–87, 90, 100–115, 122, 127, 129, 137 Kuomintang (KMT), 129, 132–151, 154, 168–171 Kurile Archipelago, 28, 39; islands, 25–47, 61–62, 91 Lee (Yi) Myung-bak, 118, 123, 165 Lee Teng-hui, 148, 150, 160 Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP), 45, 47, 49, 51–52, 67, 69–70, 78, 80–86, 90, 93–94 liberal historiography, 89 Lin Xiao-shin, 133, 136, 147, 151 livelihood, 5, 26, 28, 47, 64, 72, 92, 152 local government, 19, 27, 38, 50, 60, 64, 73, 84 MacArthur, Douglas, 26, 32–34 MacArthur Line, 28, 34–35, 59, 61, 65 Machimura Kingo, 45, 49, 52 Maoism, 142 Marxism, 103, 109, 138 May 4th Movement, 23, 141–142, 144 Ma Ying-jeou, 153 Meiji, 6, 63–64 Memorandum on Territorial Rights to Takeshima, 81 Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST), 119 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA), 1, 33, 38, 40, 46–53, 56, 63–64, 73, 75, 80–82, 93–94, 113, 117–118, 130, 169 Ministry of Interior and Safety of Republic of Korea (MOIS), 96, 119 Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan (MLIT), 50 minjung, 100–111, 127, 163–164, 170 mobilization, 8, 10, 15, 34, 55, 105, 116 MOFA’s Treaties Bureau, 40 multitude, 100–101, 103

Nakagawa Hidemasa, 67, 72, 74 narrative, 3–26; regarding Diaoyutai, 137–140, 147–148, 154–157; regarding Dokdo, 98–102, 107–109, 112, 114, 118–127; regarding the Northern Territories, 47, 52–54; regarding Takeshima, 61, 67, 69, 75, 88–89, 92–95 national, body, 165; consciousness, 8–9, 108; crisis, 88, 107–108; humiliation, 137–141, 154, 166; identity entrepreneurship, 10–23, 52, 58, 71, 87, 90, 97, 103, 109, 112, 114, 122, 127–129, 143, 148, 150, 156, 170–173; interest, 11, 17, 55–56, 71; territory, 8–9, 12, 33, 57, 61, 65, 72, 81, 94, 139, 143, 151, 154, 161, 166, 168 nationalism, 3, 9, 11–12; Chinese, 139–141, 154; civic, 161, 166; in Japan, 25, 35, 67, 70; in Korea, 99–101; of the Baodiao, 134, 136, 139, 141, 146 National Taiwan University (NTU), 132, 135–136, 145–147 natural resources, 3, 12, 53, 63, 95, 125, 132, 149, 171 Nemuro Area Peace Preservation and Revival Alliance, 36–38 Nemuro City, 31–36, 44, 46 Nemuro problem, 36 New Left, 100, 137–138, 141 Nishimura Kumao, 40 Nixon, Richard, 131, 134 Nixon shocks, 130 nonprofit organizations (NPOs), 96, 136 Northeast Asia Foundation (NAHF), 96, 119–120, 122–124, 126 North Gyeongsang Province, 2, 96–97, 118, 120–122, 125 North Korea, 68, 76, 78, 88–90, 101–102, 115, 126, 159, 162, 173 Obuchi Keizō, 78 Occupation, of Diaoyutai, 131, 160, 162; of Japan, 15, 20–21, 25, 29, 31, 32–33, 40, 46–47, 59, 62, 64; Soviet, 25–26, 28, 31, 52–53, 59, 62; Korean, 72, 91; of Korea, 99 Oki ferry, 67; fisheries, 178; fishing unions, 61, 64, 79, 90 Oki Island, 59, 61, 65, 81, 85, 105 Okinawa, 6, 19, 22, 49, 69, 129–130, 134, 154; reversion of, 51, 131–132, 136, 152 Ōno Banboku, 69 ontological security, 16, 162–163 opinion poll, 51, 53, 56, 157–160, 166 Orientalism, 162 “other,” 53, 97, 99, 103, 161–162 Pan-Asianism, 162 Park Chung-hee, 66–70, 97, 100

208 index Park Geun-hye, 118, 165 Park Gi-tae, 124–126 participatory government, 115, 120 patriotic education, 113 Peace (Rhee) Line, 60, 65–66, 70–71, 91 Peace Preservation Law, 26 Peace Treaty: with Japan, 3, 6, 8, 25, 35–36, 40–44, 47, 51, 59–60, 68, 91, 129, 152; with the Soviet Union, 36, 44, 56, 157 People’s Republic of China (PRC), 23, 129–154, 160, 171 political elites, 2, 8–10, 21, 73, 101, 167, 170 postal privatization, 84–85 post-democratization, 22, 98, 115, 148, 155, 166 postwar, 6, 8, 14, 17, 21, 25–26, 30–34, 45, 58, 62–65, 73, 85, 89, 91, 98, 126, 137, 160–161 pro-Beijing, 135 progressive, 42, 45, 52, 103, 109, 115, 146, 148, 150, 164 pro-PRC, 135–136, 143, 145, 150 pro-ROC, 135–136, 144, 147 pro-Taipei, 135 protective occupation, 32 Putin, Vladimir, 56 rationalism, 8–9, 12 relative deprivation, 28–29 Remote Islands Development Law, 65, 67–68 repatriation, 29–30, 61 Republic of China (ROC), 19, 23, 129–150, 153–154, 159–161, 169, 171 reversion movement, 27–32, 37–43, 46–47, 50–53, 61, 98 Rhee Line. See Peace Line Roh Mu-hyun, 102, 113–115, 118, 120 Russo-Japanese War, 6, 25, 59 Ryukyu, 130–132, 134 safe operations, 43–44, 48 Sahlins, Peter, 12 Sakhalin, 6, 25–28, 33, 46, 49 Samuels, Richard, 4, 90, 115 San Francisco Peace Conference, 8, 46 San Francisco Peace Treaty. See Peace Treaty: with Japan Satō Eisaku, 69, 83 seal hunting, 63–64 second national shame, 102 secret pact, 69, 169 Seiwakai, 83 “self,” 4–5, 9, 16–17, 103, 127, 162–165, 170 shelving, 70–71, 130–131, 171

Shimane Prefectural Assembly, 2–3, 61–68, 72–73, 78–82, 85–87, 96, 121 Shin Yong-ha, 112 signifier, 5, 51, 168 Sikkink, Kathryn, 10–13 silent diplomacy, 114, 116, 120 Smith, Anthony, 3 social, construction, 4–5, 8, 10, 14, 17–20, 23, 161; movements, 13–16, 28, 31, 48; reception, 15, 23, 156–157, 160–161, 166 Social Constructivism, 3, 8–10, 13, 17, 19, 23, 170 socialism, 109, 111, 134 Socialist Party (Japan), 42, 51, 70 Soviet-Japanese negotiations, 157 Soviet-sponsored World Peace Conference, 37 Soviet Union, 20–21, 25, 33–38, 43–48, 51–53, 142, 157 squid fishery, 71, 75–76 strategies, 9–10, 14–15, 122–123, 168–169, 172 structure, socio-political, 11–16; of economic rights to Takeshima, 61–64, 95; of the LDP, 83–84 Su’ao, 152–153 Sumita Nobuo, 77 Sunshine Policy, 102, 115 Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP), 26–28, 31, 33, 42 Suwabe Yasutaka, 87–88 Suzuki Muneo, 49 Syngman Rhee (Yi Seung-man), 68, 99 Taipei County Assembly, 149 Takeshima Day Ordinance, 2, 18, 21–22, 58, 73, 77, 80–82, 84–85, 92, 96, 115–116, 120, 123, 126, 156–157, 160, 169, 172 Tanaka Kakuei, 76, 83 Tanaka Toshifumi, 39, 41–45 territorial, consciousness, 108–109; education, 94; integrity, 74, 93–94, 118; satisfaction, 43; waters, 71, 74, 153 territory, 1–15, 18–61, 65–66, 69–78, 81–82, 85–97, 105–108, 112, 118–122, 129, 131, 134, 137, 139, 142–143, 151–162, 166–173 Tilly, Charles, 10, 14–15 Togashi Mamoru, 36–38 Tottori Prefecture, 65, 75, 80 trinity reform, 84–85 Tsunematsu Seiji, 73 Ulleung Island, 58, 62–64, 90, 97, 105–106, 113, 121–122, 170 UNESCO, 1

index 209 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), 60, 77–78, 105, 131, 149, 153 United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, 130 United Nations Security Council, 40 United States, 6, 8, 18, 22, 32–33, 42, 46, 57–60, 91, 99, 101–102, 108–109, 116–117, 126, 129–149, 154, 159, 161, 168, 171 US-Japan Security Treaty, 40 USSR-Japan Neutrality Pact, 25

Vietnam War, 36, 137–138, 157 Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK), 124–127, 163 Wang Xiao-po, 132, 135, 145–146 World War II, 6, 18, 20 Yalta Agreement, 33, 40 yoking, 15–17 Yoshida Shigeru, 35, 46 Zhou Enlai, 144

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