S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) 국제지역연구 국제지역연구 vol.07 (1998)
미국의 20세기와 일본 연구 방법 - 미국은 일본을 어떻게 보고 있는가?
AMERICA"S TWENTIETH CENTURY AND RESEARCHING JAPAN
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 국제지역원
- 국제지역연구, Vol.07 No.4, pp. 121-150
- This paper aims to critically review the Postwar American studies of Japan and to do so by taking up the literature as a discourse that reflects the currents of American social scientific traditions, style of thinking, and institution. In this sense, it is not an attempt to expose the American distortion/unrealness of Japan and thereby recover, the truth of it. It rather focuses its analytical attention on how the image of Japan has altered as time goes by and how their epistemology and methodology of approaching Japan have evolved.
The analysis starts from the "centering" tradition that started from modernization theory. It sized up Japan by integrating Japanese authentic culture into the process of political economy. The Upshot is that Japan emerged as a peculiar, exceptional creature that could be captured in a totalizing and essentialist way. This tendency continued while post-modernization theories denied the alleged centrality of an essential culture, and also took the notion of conflict in their theorizing. The master code having access to "genuine" Japan has been replaced by a developmental state, an elite conspiracy, and a market-based principal-agent relationship. A countermovement, however, was set up which is not only a criticism of essentialism but also of a stable mastercode. Loosely defined as cultural studies, it breaks down Japan. Japan here is not a fixed entity of any sort. It is to be tackled epistemologically and a front attack is demystifying/deconstructing an orientalist Japan.
Ultimately, this paper suggests that a more successful interpretive strategy be constituted by the following: one that reacts sensitively to the internal difference of the object(Japan); that values the possibility of an open exchange between its interior and exterior of it; that captures the historical process by which Japan and the West encountered through diffusion of ideas/institutions; that interprets these processes in a non-unilinear, non-evolutionary, non-necessitarian way; that values the contingent nature of politics that would shape and reshape Japan"s identity; and finally, that maintains a decentered and self-conscious reflexivity about ideological dimensions of constituting theory, as Edward Said warns.