Lines in the Snow: Imagining the Russo-Japanese Frontier

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    One of the most significant pieces of unfinished business left over from the Second World War is the signing of a peace treaty between Japan and Russia and a resolution of the continuing dispute over Japan's northern border with Russia. Against a background of continuing negotiations over the border issue, this article looks at the historical processes behind the definition of the frontier between Russia and Japan. A particular concern is to examine changing concepts of the frontier, and changing images of the frontier region, from both Russian and Japanese perspectives. The article traces the transformation of the region from an area of complex contact between many indigenous groups to a hazily defined buffer zone between emerging rival powers, and later to an area bisected by a sharply defined and heavily guarded boundary line. Although the traditions and ideologies of the two nation states on either side of the border differed greatly, the images of the region generated in Russia and Japan contained important parallels as well as contrasts. Understanding these images can provide insights into the possible future of the region as it enters a new phase of cross-border interaction.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-77
    JournalPacific Affairs
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1999


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