Cultural Norms and National Security: Police and Military in Postwar Japan

In This Review

Cultural Norms and National Security: Police and Military in Postwar Japan

By Peter J. Katzenstein
Cornell University Press, 1996
307 pp. $35.00
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Katzenstein wishes, as the title suggests, to explore the relationship between culture and national security, using Japan as a case in point. He contends that, since World War II, Japan has developed a distinctive, comprehensive, and generally nonviolent definition of security that is different from that of the United States. To make his argument he follows a discussion of Japanese cultural norms with chapters on the police and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, before exploring the U.S.-Japanese relationship and drawing an extended comparison between Japan and Germany. More conventional students of Japan will no doubt disapprove of a work by someone who has relied primarily on English-language materials and interviews. National security experts will find equally unsettling Katzenstein's unwillingness to appreciate Japanese national security doctrine as an outcome not of culture but of Japan's peculiar position as an American protectorate after World War II. Nonetheless, an intriguing work well worth reading.