150 Years After the Meiji Restoration--Japanʼs Global Engagement Then and Now

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Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Thursday, March 8, 201811:30AM - 7:30PMThe Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place (at Hoskin Avenue)
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Japan is currently celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration. Canada’s own sesquicentennial year just ended. And this year marks the 90th anniversary of the formal establishment of Canada-Japan diplomatic relations. The questions motivating this symposium reflect on those seminal moments. What can we learn from Japan’s early global engagement and its embrace of modernity? What are the implications for Japan’s current leadership and diplomacy in regional and global settings? What needs to be done to strengthen relationships between Canada and Japan and to deepen their cooperation in pursuit of shared interests? A distinguished group of speakers from Japan and Canada will address such questions and open an important, future-oriented conversation.


12:00-1:00 Registration and light lunch

1:00-2:15 Welcome
Professor Randall Hansen
Interim Director, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

Ms Takako Ito, Consul General of Japan, Toronto

Professor David Welch, Dean’s Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Endowed Chair Program in Japanese Politics and Global Affairs, University of Toronto; Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo

Opening Keynote
Ms Koko Kato, Special Advisor to the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan
“Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution in Heavy Industry”

2:15-3:45 Panel 1: Japan’s Entry into International Society

Featured speaker: Professor Tomoko Okagaki, Dokkyo University
Commentators: Professor Robert Vipond, Department of Political Science
Ms Deanna Horton, Distinguished Fellow, Asia Pacific Foundation

3:45-4:00 Break

4:00-5:30 Panel 2: Japan’s Future Challenges: Lessons from the Meiji Era

Featured speaker: Professor Yuichi Hosoya, Keio University
Commentator: Professor David Welch

5:30-6:30 Closing Roundtable Discussion

Dr. Sarah Taylor, Director General for North Asia and Oceania, Global Affairs Canada
Professor Yuichi Hosoya
Professor Tomoko Okagaki
Ms Koko Kato

6:30-7:30 Reception

Panel 1: Japan’s Entry into International Society with feature speaker ProfessorTomoko Okagaki

What did the Meiji Restoration in 1868 entail for Japanese society, for its external relations, and for international society as a whole? The Meiji Restoration represented not only the official return to imperial rule from the Shogunate system, but also Japan’s modern nation-building and entry into international society. How did Japan embrace international constraints placed by the Euro-dominant international society of the late 19th century? How did Japan embark on reforms and restructuring of feudal society? What explains the rapidity and seeming facility of Japan in accepting international norms of the era? With particular focus on Japan’s conformity with international law, the talk will cover the nature of Japan’s encounter with the West and discuss universal themes involving nation-building and accession to international society by latecomer states. Meiji Japan’s experience may also share a common motif of foreign policy with Canada, which gradually achieved its diplomatic independence from Britain since Confederation, searching for its place in the changing distribution of power in the international system.

Panel 2: Japan’s Future Challenges: Lessons from the Meiji Era with featured speaker Professor Yuichi Hosoya

Japan’s experience in the last 150 years is extraordinary one. 150 years of modern Japanese history can be divided into two opposing periods. The first one lasted for 77 years since 1868 until 1945, and the second one lasted for 73 years since 1945 until today. Japan had become the first non-Western modernized nation-state that equaled to major Western powers. Meanwhile Japan had presented the vision of a “rich nation and strong army” since the Meiji Era. Japan had lost its “strong army” at the end of the Second World War. In the second period, Japan had pursued the path of a peace-loving country based on its second largest economy in the world. But Japan has been losing certain features of a “rich nation” in the “lost decades” since the end of the Cold War. Today, Japan is trying to present a new international identity to the world, reflecting its own historical lessons of the last 150 years.

Speaker Bios:

Deanna Horton, Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs served for over 30 years in Canada’s foreign service, including 12 years at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, most recently as Minister and Deputy Head of Mission. She spent two years at the U.S. State Department Foreign Service Institute in Yokohama studying Japan’s language, history, and culture. Her most recent writing on Japan can be found at: http://www.asiapacific.ca/op-eds/cultivating-cool-branding-lessons-canada-japan

HOSOYA Yuichi is Professor of International Politics at Keio University, Tokyo. He is also Senior Researcher at the Institute for International Policy Studies (IIPS), Senior Fellow at The Tokyo Foundation (TKFD), and also Adjunct Fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA). Professor Hosoya was a member of the Advisory Board at Japan’s National Security Council (NSC) (2014-2016). He was also a member of Prime Minister’s Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security (2013-14), and Prime Minister’s Advisory Panel on National Security and Defense Capabilities (2013), in which capacity he assisted to draft Japan’s first National Security Strategy. Professor Hosoya studied international politics at Rikkyo (BA), Birmingham (MIS), and Keio (Ph.D.). He was a visiting professor and Japan Chair (2009–2010) at Sciences-Po in Paris (Institut d’Études Politiques) and a visiting fellow (Fulbright Fellow, 2008–2009) at Princeton University. His research interests include the postwar international history, British diplomatic history, Japanese foreign and security policy, and contemporary East Asian international politics. His comments appeared at New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, USA Today, Die Welt and Le Monde, as well as at major Japanese media.

Koko Kato is Special Advisor to the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan; Project Coordinator, Sakubei Yamamoto Collection inscribed in Memory of the World; Managing Director, National Congress of Industrial Heritage Foundation; Coordinator, Cabinet Secretariat Industrial History Project Team; and Coordinator, The World Heritage Council for the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution. Ms Kato graduated from Keio University, majoring in literature. She built up her career as a conference interpreter, and by working at CBS News, Tokyo branch. After completing the Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP) program at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, she started her own business in Tokyo. She has also devoted her energies to the research on domestic and international industrial heritages. She played the leading role in the inscription of the “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution – Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining” on the World Heritage List in 2015. Publication: “Industrial Heritage” (Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc., 1998) as well as many articles in magazines such as “Gakutou” and “Chiri.” Ms Kato also scripted and total produced the Nomination file on the “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution” to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.

Tomoko T. Okagaki (Ph.D., The University of Michigan, 2005) is Professor of Political Science at Dokkyo University in Japan and author of The Logic of Conformity: Japan’s Entry in International Society (The University of Toronto Press, 2013). She was a visiting student at the University of Toronto (Sankei Scholarship) in 1986-1987 and also studied Canadian foreign policy at the University of British Columbia as a recipient of Government of Canada Award 1988-89, obtaining her master’s degree there. Her long-standing research interests in international politics include, inter alia, state socialization, comparative regionalism, and theories of international relations. She held an Abe Fellowship from 2008-2010, spending a total of two years at Harvard University, as an academic associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and as a visiting scholar at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. In 2014 she taught Asian regionalism at le Département de Géographie, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne as a professeure invitée and at le Centre d’etudes japonaises, L’institut national des langues et civilisations orientales as a chercheuse invitée.

Sarah Taylor is the Director-General for North Asia and Oceania at Global Affairs Canada. She was Deputy Head of Mission and Minister for Political-Economic Relations and Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Canada to the People’s Republic of China from August 2011 to July 2015, and Special Advisor to the Assistant Deputy Minister for Asia Pacific at Global Affairs Canada from July 2015 to June 2016. Prior to her assignment in China, she worked from 2006 to 2011 in the Privy Council Office, the department supporting Canada’s Prime Minister. Within the Privy Council Office she served as acting Executive Director of the International Assessment Staff, and before that as its Deputy Executive Director, and as Director of its Asia Division. From 1990 to 2006 she was a foreign service officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. In that capacity she served abroad at Canadian missions in Jakarta (2000-2003), Beijing (1992-1995) and Hong Kong (1991-1992). At headquarters she held positions including liaison officer and speech-writer for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Director of the Southeast Asia Division and Director of the Development Policies and Institutions Division. Dr. Taylor holds a doctorate (1990) and an M.Phil. degree (1984) from Cambridge University, both in East Asian archaeology. She spent a year at Beijing University (1982-83) under the auspices of the Canada-China Scholarly Exchange programme, and has also studied for shorter periods in Korea and Japan. She holds an Honours B.A. from the University of Toronto.

Robert Vipond is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for the Study of the United States at the University of Toronto.
He has written broadly on the political development of Canada. This includes co-editorship of Roads to Confederation: The Making of Confederation, 1867 (U of T Press, 2017), a two-volume anthology of leading essays on the Confederation era.


David A. WELCH (Ph.D., Harvard University, 1990), Dean’s Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Endowed Chair Program in Japanese Politics and Global Affairs, University of Toronto; CIGI Chair of Global Security, Balsillie School of International Affairs; Professor of Political Science, University of Waterloo; and Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation. Dr. Welch is author of Painful Choices: A Theory of Foreign Policy Change (Princeton University Press, 2005), Justice and the Genesis of War (Cambridge University Press, 1993), and co-editor of Japan as a ‘Normal Country’? A Nation in Search of Its Place in the World (University of Toronto Press, 2011). He has recently been researching and writing on Asia-Pacific Security, with a particular focus on confidence, trust, empathy, threat perception, misperception, North Korea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea.


Eileen Lam

Main Sponsor

Centre for the Study of Global Japan


Munk School of Global Affairs

Department of Political Science

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