By Janet R. Goodwin
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Extra info for Alms and Vagabonds: Buddhist temples and popular patronage in medieval Japan
However, any reader of a foreign or Japanese newspaper at the time of the 1990–1 Gulf War would have been patently struck by Japan’s determined resistance to the expansion of its military role. This demonstrates that, even if Japan is pushed hard to increase its role, the military is not easily deployed without an internal political crisis. In short, it is not inevitable that Japan will devote its power resources to the build-up of its military capabilities, modelling itself in the image of a military superpower, or using armed force in pursuit of its national interest.
By 1971, Japan had earned the epithet of an emerging ‘superstate’ (Kahn 1971); by 1976, it had grown to the stature of East Asia’s new economic ‘giant’ (Patrick and Rosovsky 1976); and, by 1979, Japan’s achievement of rapid economic growth, seemingly bereft of the social dislocation which had blighted this process in the other major industrialized powers, was to lead Harvard academic Ezra Vogel to warn the American people that Japan was likely to overtake the US to become the world’s ‘No. 1’ (Vogel 1979).
This demonstrates that, even if Japan is pushed hard to increase its role, the military is not easily deployed without an internal political crisis. In short, it is not inevitable that Japan will devote its power resources to the build-up of its military capabilities, modelling itself in the image of a military superpower, or using armed force in pursuit of its national interest. Put simply, the realist school’s focus on the material power of the state and the relentless logic of the structure of the international system do not explain the behaviour of Japan internationally.
Alms and Vagabonds: Buddhist temples and popular patronage in medieval Japan by Janet R. Goodwin