The Inescapable China in Japanese Democracy

Watch the VIDEO RECORDING of this seminar on Vimeo


Dual delivery: This seminar will be presented in-person and online.

The histories of some of the most enduring political structures in East Asia and globally, the Chinese imperial system, and the Japanese shogunates, were given starring roles in cultural ideologies of democracy – used to explain unequal access to ideas of liberty, civilization and democracy thereby justifying unequal access to the international order.

Unsurprisingly, national identity, determined by (or manufactured by appeals to) longue durée pre-modern history, has thereby influenced how democracy is perceived and explained in East Asia. Perhaps more interestingly, democracy has conversely become a lens through which past history and present identity are imagined.

This seminar will unpack some of the elements in this relationship between images of democracy and contrasting images of Japanese and Chinese identity.


Kiri Paramore is Professor of Asian Studies in the National University of Ireland, University College Cork, where he is Head of Asian Studies and Director of the Irish Institute for Chinese Studies and the Irish Institute for Japanese Studies.

An Asian Studies honours graduate of the Australian National University (1999), after a brief stint at DFAT he accepted a Monbusho scholarship to Japan and earned his MA (2003) and Ph.D. (2006) at the University of Tokyo. From 2007 until 2019 he taught history and Asian Studies at Leiden University, the Netherlands, with a break in 2011-12 to take up a visiting professorship in the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy at Academia Sinica, Taipei.

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The ANU Japan Institute Seminar Series is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Updated:  27 November 2018/Responsible Officer:  JI Management Group/Page Contact:  Japan Institute