Japan’s Soft Power and ASEAN-Japan Relations



About the Seminar

Japan has had considerable success in its engagement with Southeast Asia since its adoption of the Fukuda Doctrine in 1977. One tangible proof of this is in how extensive Japanese culture has permeated the region. Southeast Asians have embraced Japanese cuisine with gusto. Japan’s soft power goes beyond food and culture. Japan Foundation has established offices in almost every ASEAN member state, and most major universities in the region would have faculty specialising in Japanese Studies. Japanese language courses remain popular, especially among the young who have taken to Japanese anime and manga. As Japan becomes one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, more and more Southeast Asians are seizing the opportunity to travel there to view sakura blossoms, shop at Ginza or stay at ryokans. These ubiquitous examples of Japanese presence point to the deep and multifaceted relationship between Japan and ASEAN that go beyond economics and trade, and are testament to the nearly 45-year long effort to cultivate people-to-people ties and enhance mutual understanding. This seminar analyses the dynamics of Japanese soft power in Southeast Asia and the importance of people-to-people relations as a foundation of the ASEAN-Japan partnership.

About the Speakers

Ken Jimbo is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University. He is concurrently a Senior Research Fellow at the Canon Institute for Global Studies (CIGS) and the Tokyo Foundation (TKFD). He also serves as a Director, Board of Directors at the Civic Force, a Visiting Fellow at the Genron NPO and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). His main research fields are in International Security, Japan-US Security Relations, Japanese Foreign and Defense Policy, Multilateral Security in Asia-Pacific, and Regionalism in East Asia. He has been a policy advisor at various Japanese governmental commissions and research groups including at the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His recent books and articles include “US Rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific: A Japanese Perspective,” in William Tow and Douglas Stuart eds., The New US Strategy towards Asia: Adapting to the American Pivot (London: Routledge, 2015); Ken Jimbo ed., Regional Security Architecture in the Asia-Pacific, Tokyo Foundation (2010) (in Japanese: Ajia Taiheiyo no Chiiki Anzen Hosho Ahkitekucha).

Kitti Prasirtsuk teaches International Relations at the Faculty of Political Science and serves as Director at the Institute of East Asian Studies, Thammasat University. He is appointed as strategic committee to the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense. Kitti also serves as advisory committee for the Asia Center under the Japan Foundation, which promotes exchange between Japan and ASEAN. Kitti received his B.A. from Thammasat, an M.A. from Keio University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (2001). His areas of interest include International Relations in East and Southeast Asia, Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy, and ASEAN. His current research is on soft power in East Asia. His writings include “An Ally at the Crossroads: Thailand in the U.S. Alliance System” (Michael Wesley, ed. Global Allies, Canberra: ANU Press 2017); “Japan and ASEAN in East Asian Community-Building: Activating the Fukuda Doctrine” (Lam Peng Er, ed. Japan’s Relations with Southeast Asia, London: Routledge, 2012).

For registration, please fill in this form and email to ascevents@iseas.edu.sg by 21 November 2017.


Nov 22 2017


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2