CJS Research Webinar – Defenders of Japan: The Post-Imperial Armed Forces, 1946-2016-A History

Thursday 16 March
13:00-14:00 GMT
SISJAC, 64 The Close, NR1 4DH, Norwich and online via Zoom

About the Talk

Japan’s post-war armed forces are a paradox, both embarrassing remnants of the past and reliable guarantors of national, regional, and human security. In his book, Defenders of Japan, Garren Mulloy charts the development of Japan’s first post-imperial forces and the succeeding Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF), as both unorthodox military institutions and servants of a seemingly pacifist civil society. The talk investigates how the Forces developed during the Cold War, adapted to post-Cold War events, their contributions to Japanese and global security and possible reconfiguration for Japan’s future security needs. This explores the characteristics and contradictions of Japanese policy within a society that while seemingly loyal to pacifism and the peace constitution not only tolerated the JSDF but grew to respect the Forces for their public service.

Though alliance with the United States remains the core of Japanese security strategy, partnerships and international overtures shaped the Forces’ place in Abe Shinzo’s vision of ‘proactive contributions to peace’ in a strategic environment of increasing risk of regional conflict. Defenders of Japan examines the internal structures and cultures of the Forces and deconstructs how the JSDF have adapted and will continue to adapt within domestic norms, caught between unresolved legacies of Japan’s imperial past and a dynamically shifting balance of regional and global power.

About the Speaker

Garren Mulloy is a Professor in the Faculty of International Relations and Graduate School of Asian Area Studies, Daito Bunka University, Saitama, Japan, and also teaches intensive courses on peace operations for the University of Tsukuba Business School. His research has focused primarily upon Japanese security, having completed a PhD on JSDF overseas operations at Newcastle University (2011), and he has written on contemporary defence, security, diplomacy and related issues, as well as historical studies of Japan, the UK, and war memorialisation. His book, Defenders of Japan: The Post-Imperial Armed Forces, 1946-2016-A History (London: Hurst & Co., 2021), combined historical and IR approaches, and co-edited with Catherine Jones (St. Andrews) East Asia, Peacekeeping Operations, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (Abingdon: Routledge, 2021). He has also contributed book chapters, such as “Ordered to Disarm, Encouraged to Rearm: Japan’s Struggles with the Postwar”, in The Reconstruction of East Asia, 1945-65; Volume One: In the Ruins of the Japanese Empire: Imperial Violence, State Destruction, and the Reordering of Modern East Asia, edited by Barak Kushner and Andrew Levidis (Hong Kong University Press. 2020).

Garren is currently a visiting scholar in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge (April 2022-March 2023), focusing upon how the UK and other states engage with the Japanese Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) Vision, as well as continuing research into Japan’s post-war period, memories of war, and development of defence institutions and policies. He is also researching a range of other issues, including a project with Catherine Jones and Vanessa Newby (Leiden) on Oceans Governance.

Keen to learn more about Japan’s cultural influence? Check out our MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies.

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