Departing from the postwar regime: The revision of the 'peace constitution' and Japan's national identity

Yongwook Ryu

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


    This chapter examines the past, the present, and the future of the issue of constitutional revision in Japan. It first reviews the major challenges to the ‘peace constitution’ in the postwar period and then analyzes the current revision initiative under Shinzo Abe. The main argument is that various revision attempts can be understood along two dimensions: nationalism and Japan's military role in international affairs. While most revision attempts have sought to promote nationalism and greater use of force, what distinguishes the current attempt by Shinzo Abe is a strong element of historical revisionism. This chapter also assesses the possible impact of successful constitutional revision on Japan's national identity, and argues that while it may be inevitable that Japan increases its military role in international affairs given the security challenges it faces, it is dangerous and counterproductive to mix the policy rationale for enhanced national security with the ideological desire to alter the mainstream postwar historical interpretation of Japan's past aggression.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Japanese Foreign Policy
    Editors Mary M. McCarthy
    Place of PublicationLondon
    ISBN (Print)9781315643076
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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