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Abstract

Declaring independence in August 1945, the fledgling Republic of Indonesia almost immediately sought to stamp its identity, both nationally and internationally. A Muslim majority state, the founders of the Republic backed by the military adopted secularism over religion around a catch-all culturally embedded national ideology of Panca Sila (in part harking back to ancient maritime empires). Facing down a range of challenges, both domestic and international, Indonesia under founding President Sukarno also emerged as host of the now iconic Bandung Conference of 1955, positioning the country as a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Under threat of U.S. and UK machinations, Sukarno would tilt to a pro-Phnom Penh-Beijing-Pyongyang axis, down until his ouster in 1965 by his U.S.-backed successor, General Soeharto. Under military rule for the next 34 years, President (General) Soeharto, in turn, would anchor Indonesia to the (initially) anti-communist Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Today, as the dominant economy within ASEAN, post-Soeharto reformist Indonesia offers a moderate Islamic face to the West at a juncture where the nation appears to be shedding its strict neutrality in foreign policy by hedging against a rising China. As this contribution demonstrates, the historical-cultural bases of Indonesian society cannot be ignored in any discussion of Indonesian foreign policy, indeed, largely consistent across vastly different regimes, with respect to the role of the military, the Panca Sila ideology, Islam, and even the nature of the Indonesian archipelago literally controlling the sea lanes between the Indian and Pacific oceans.

In: Asian Culture, Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, Volume II

Abstract

Long a participant member of the East Asian tributary order and in awe of Chinese civilization for over a millennium, as this chapter elaborates, Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea (1592–1598) not only opened a breach in tradition with Ming China, but gave impetus to Tokugawa Japan to establish its own Japan-centered international order. Notionally a closed country, for over 250 years the Tokugawa Shogunate nevertheless adopted a selective trade policy in line with elaborate protocols and regulations. Under the new norms, arriving Portuguese, English, and Dutch traders, and not excepting Koreans, Ryukyuans, and even Siamese missions, were obliged on pain of expulsion to mount costly and arduous journeys to the shogunal “court” in Edo (Tokyo). With the imperial line in Kyoto, we can see in the Tokugawa conceit an invented tradition combining various artifices as with Shintoist and other key elements while paying lip service to Confucian doctrines. In particular, the chapter examines the specific ideological and practical features of the shogunal court, finding parallels with “theater states” of Southeast Asia such as described by political anthropologist Clifford Geertz. Such displays, “spectacles,” and ritualized performances also involving gift-giving were not only serviceable to Japan’s international diplomacy in the creation of a Japan-centered regional order but also worked to win support from traditional elites still immersed in Chinese learning at a time when interest in ideas and techniques from the West was also gaining traction. And so, whereas the Ming and Qing courts were obsessed with astronomy and calendrical calculations and kept science at a distance, the shogunal court was also adept in absorbing non-traditional knowledge from the West, eventually leading to the diverging paths of the two countries.

In: Asian Culture, Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, Volume I
Nagasaki and the Asian Bullion Trade Networks
In World Trade Systems of the East and West, Geoffrey C. Gunn profiles Nagasaki's historic role in mediating the Japanese bullion trade, especially silver exchanged against Chinese and Vietnamese silk. Founded in 1571 as the terminal port of the Portuguese Macau ships, Nagasaki served as Japan's window to the world over long time and with the East-West trade carried on by the Dutch and, with even more vigor, by the Chinese junk trade. While the final expulsion of the Portuguese in 1646 characteristically defines the “closed” period of early modern Japanese history, the real trade seclusion policy, this work argues, only came into place one century later when the Shogunate firmly grasped the true impact of the bullion trade upon the national economy.
In: World Trade Systems of the East and West
In: World Trade Systems of the East and West
In: World Trade Systems of the East and West
In: World Trade Systems of the East and West
In: World Trade Systems of the East and West
In: World Trade Systems of the East and West
In: World Trade Systems of the East and West