New book - "Soft Power of Japan's Total War State" by Tomoko Akami

Photo of the book cover

Using extensive archival documents and recently reprinted documents, Soft Power of Japan's Total War State, 1934-45 locates Japan's information policy as a part of its foreign policy in a global context, and concludes Japan's News Propaganda and Reuters' News Empire in Northeast Asia. Soft Power of Japan's Total War State for the first time reveals systematically how Japan's policy elites understood global trends of mass politics, technological changes, and new international norms; how they viewed 'information' as soft power in foreign policy; how they institutionalized key organizations for their envisaged total war state in the critical period of modern Japanese history; and how Japan came to briefly dominate news in Asia and the Pacific during the war. The Board of Information (1940-45) was created with the intention of managing centrally all civilian information-relevant activities for the total war state. Contrary to an orthodox view, its priority continued to be external affairs, rather than domestic thought control. The national news agency, Dōmei News Agency (1936-45), was its key operational agency, and played a central role in information management in the Japanese occupied China and Southeast Asia in 1942-45. These Japan's foreign policy elites were in no way isolationists, well attuned to global trends, learning from policies and institutions of various countries, and responding to them. Such global thinking, however, did not lead them to the opposition to imperial war. The book also suggests that there were many parallels with other countries.

 

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