Then and Now: A Structural Approach Analysis of Japan’s Cultural Diplomacy towards Thailand

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
Preechaya Kittipaisalsilpa Doctoral candidate, Graduate School of International Relations, International University of Japan Niigata Japan

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Despite the growing significance of Japan’s cultural diplomacy within the landscape of international relations, the study of effective ties with Thailand has not received much attention to date. This article employs a structural approach in analysing ‘when’ and ‘how’ Japan’s cultural diplomacy has evolved vis-à-vis Thailand. The article emphasises the importance of structural factors as being relational, further complicated by different levels and degrees of influence throughout three periods: the economic-oriented period (1950s-1960s), the diplomatic adjustment period (1970s-1980s), and the social relations building period (1990s-present). The analysis reveals two layers of Japan’s foreign policy instruments—economic diplomacy and cultural diplomacy — in the structuralist narrative of Japanese diplomacy towards Thailand. While economic power has been an important instrument, this article highlights how changes in the structure of international systems have had corresponding impacts on Japan’s application of cultural diplomacy that has subsequently shaped the bilateral Japan-Thailand relationship.

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