These Islands Are Ours
The Social Construction of Territorial Disputes in Northeast Asia
Alexander Bukh


Contents and Abstracts
chapter abstract

This chapter sets up the context, and introduces the object of this study and its main arguments. It introduces the main analytical premises of this study and the notions of national identity entrepreneurship and critical juncture. After outlining the methodology of this study, it concludes by providing an overview of the empirical chapters and the main arguments.

1 Japan's "Northern Territories"
chapter abstract

This chapter explores national identity entrepreneurship related to Japan's territories occupied by the Soviet Union in the waning days of WWII and focuses on the origins and transformations in the "Japan's inherent territory" narrative. Originating in the critical juncture created by the defeat, the Soviet occupation, and the domestic reforms, the "inherent territory" framing of the occupied islands was initially utilized by the grassroots movement as part of an attempt to draw attention to the economic plight of those that suffered from the Soviet occupation. In the early 1950s, Hokkaido Prefecture embraced the irredentist cause as a means of political struggle with Tokyo. From the late 1960s, as a result of Tokyo's appropriation of the "Northern Territories" and cooptation of the grassroots organizations, the narrative has changed significantly. From legitimation strategy, the "inherent territory" has gradually transformed into an end in itself, a symbol of injustice inflicted upon the nation.

2 Shimane Prefecture's Quest for Takeshima
chapter abstract

This chapter traces the emergence and transformation of the Takeshima- related campaign in Japan's Shimane Prefecture from the early postwar days until the passage of the "Takeshima Day" ordinance in 2005. Originating in the critical juncture of the defeat and subsequent reforms, Shimane Prefecture's Takeshima- related campaign was initially driven by purely economic concerns. From the mid-1960s on,wards however, as a result of the central government's discrepancy in its policies related to the Northern Territories and Takeshima, related policies, the campaign started to attain a certain ideational character, with "Takeshima" becoming a symbol of injustice inflicted upon the prefecture by Tokyo. Koizumi's intraparty and fiscal reforms of the early 2000s created the structural impetus for escalation in the Takeshima- related campaign, establishing the conditions for the passage of the "Takeshima Day" ordinance.

3 The "Protect Dokdo" Movement in South Korea
chapter abstract

Having its roots in the democratization movement, the "Protect Dokdo" movement in South Korea was shaped by the post-1987 socio-political and economic developments which that culminated in the 1997 financial crisis. The "Protect Dokdo" movement was a response to this critical juncture, a discursive attempt to re-create Korean national subjectivity by replicating but also modifying the national identity construct of the democratization movement. The eEmbracement of the Dokdo cause by the central government from 2005 onwards, impacted influenced both the movement's structure and its narrative. From the symbol of the Korean nation juxtaposed with the perceived symbiosis of the domestic ruling elites and Japan, "Dokdo" transformed into a symbol of the Korean "'self'" juxtaposed solely with the Japanese "other."

4 Taiwan's "Protect the Diaoyutai" Baodiao Movement
chapter abstract

Located in the nexus of two critical junctures—the "long 1960s" in the US United States and the collapse of nationalist mythology of the Kuomintang government—the Taiwanese movement for the protection of the Diaoyutai iIslands promoted a new narrative on Chinese national identity. The symbolism ascribed to the disputed islands was rather diverse, but the dominant, left-leaning part of the movement used the disputed islands to reproduce the Kuomintang- created narrative on national humiliation, while replacing the Republic of China with the People's Republic of China as the center of Chinese national subjectivity. In post-democratization Taiwan, this narrative gained a new political meaning, becoming an integral part of the legitimation strategy deployed by pro-unification political forces.

chapter abstract

This chapter summarizes the findings of this book. It draws a number of conclusions regarding the factors that spur the emergence of territorial disputes-–related national identity entrepreneurship, and analyzes the factors that account for the difference in the social reception of the narratives in the respective societies. It also outlines the implications of these case studies for our understanding of the social construction of a disputed territory and for the broader constructivist International Relations literature on national identity.