The Importance of Memory in Shaping East Asian Relations

The Memorial to the Nanjing Massacre, Nanjing, China. Photo: Cornelius Kibelka via Flickr.

Criticising the realist lens of analysis in IR seems akin to beating a dead horse. Many theorists of international relations (IR) have given countless reasons that a purely realist lens of analysis is flawed. Yet although they reject political realism in the abstract, many theorists will return to it when analysing countries that are less… Continue Reading ➤

Has the sun set on Japanese-style development?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In 1960, a mere 15 years since Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender of a war-torn Japan, newly inaugurated Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda announced a bold initiative to spur on further development in the Japanese economy, that despite post-war reforms and improvements, still lagged behind leading Western economies. This initiative was the Income Doubling Plan, and… Continue Reading ➤

North Korea: Understanding the Regime

Photo: Flickr

Alongside the New Year’s Resolutions written by countless individuals across the globe, it can be argued that notable figures in international politics have also strengthened their resolve to change perspectives and policies in the new year.  For example, Kim Jong Un’s New Years Speech, in which he announced his desire to ‘alleviate the tensions and… Continue Reading ➤

South Korea: debunking the ‘miracle’ economy

SAMSUNG CSC

South Korea’s economic development over the past 50 years offers lessons in the past, present and future, and casts light upon the injustice of economic development, and the pressing need for reform to the capitalist system in those states who have most decisively adopted it.   The Korean peninsula is a true twenty-first century paradox:… Continue Reading ➤

Kwan-li-so: unspoken, unchallenged

Korea image

Hoeryong concentration camp, northeast North Korea: officially named Kwan-li-so, No. 22. A Russian doll of obscurity, the camp is within a valley, with many side valleys, enclosed by 1,300 – 2,300 ft. high mountains. From the macro to the micro, the camp measures 225km2 in area, skirted by an inner 33,000 volt electric fence and… Continue Reading ➤

English: a global language, but a language nonetheless

A language laboratory in Huaihua College's Western Campus in Huaihua, Hunan, China. The rigid teaching of English in some Asian nations is hampering learners' abilities to make creative use of the language, thus harming cross-cultural communication

In the occasional but ever-growing English language fancies of South Korean TV, there is an instructional approach to answering the question “How are you?” A celebrity on a variety quiz show, a reporter interviewing an American musician or a TV character traveling through Sydney will answer all the same, verbatim, in a monotone, “I am… Continue Reading ➤