International Status and Japan

David Leheny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Beyond material power, states and people have shown themselves to be also interested in status, claiming and demonstrating their ostensibly rightful place atop (or near the top of) some kind of acknowledged hierarchy. Because status signaling is so pervasive, even ubiquitous, in global politics, it would be difficult to say that status matters especially to Japan. But it does seem to matter particularly to Japan, in the sense that there are particular motifs and themes that have been astonishingly consistent, not to mention widely exploitable and open-ended, in Japanese social debates about the country’s place as a potential global leader. This chapter traces debates about status, and argues that narrative is essential to understanding how status claims work and why they matter. It then sets three highly charged episodes-all of them involving arguments about Japan’s international position-against the backdrop of a widely shared postwar narrative about Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Japanese Politics
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780190050993
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1


  • Culture
  • International relations
  • Japan
  • Nostalgia
  • Pandemic
  • Politics
  • Soft power
  • Status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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