Ghosts in the Neighborhood

Why Japan Is Haunted by Its Past and Germany Is Not

Subjects: Political Science, International Relations, Asian Studies, Japan
Paperback : 9780472055760, 194 pages, 14 figures, 6 x 9, January 2023
Hardcover : 9780472075768, 194 pages, 14 figures, 6 x 9, January 2023
Open Access : 9780472903108, 194 pages, 14 figures, 6 x 9, January 2023
See expanded detail +

Uneasy neighbors

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Chapter One
Introduction: Ghosts, Regionalism and Reconciliation
Chapter Two
Bloody History in Two Regions
Chapter Three
Germany and France: Creating Union
Chapter Four
Japan and South Korea: Enmity Between Allies
Chapter Five
Germany and Poland: Enlarging the Tent
Chapter Six
Japan and China: Can’t Buy Me Love
Chapter Seven
Janus-Faced Superpower: The U.S. Role in Different Regionalisms
Chapter Eight
The Healing Power of Institutions


Germany, which brutalized its neighbors in Europe for centuries, has mostly escaped the ghosts of the past, while Japan remains haunted in Asia. The most common explanation for this difference is that Germany knows better how to apologize; Japan is viewed as “impenitent.” Walter F. Hatch rejects the conventional wisdom and argues that Germany has achieved reconciliation with neighbors by showing that it can be a trustworthy partner in regional institutions like the European Union and NATO; Japan has never been given that opportunity (by its dominant partner, the U.S.) to demonstrate such an ability to cooperate. This book rigorously defends the argument that political cooperation—not discourse or economic exchange—best explains Germany’s relative success and Japan’s relative failure in achieving reconciliation with neighbors brutalized by each regional power in the past. It uses paired case studies (Germany-France and Japan-South Korea; Germany-Poland and Japan-China) to gauge the effect of these competing variables on public opinion over time. With numerous charts, each of the four empirical chapters illustrates the powerful causal relationship between institution building and interstate reconciliation.

Walter F. Hatch is Professor Emeritus of Government at Colby College.

Ghosts in the Neighborhood has an intriguing new take on an old question—Why has Germany managed to reconcile with its neighbors while Japan has not? Hatch’s fascinating book explains how international institutions and U.S. policy shaped regional relations, offering important new insights into the postwar global order.”

—Mary Alice Haddad, John E. Andrus Professor of Government, Wesleyan University

- Mary Alice Haddad

Ghosts in the Neighborhood is an innovative study that will reach readers in the fields of political science, general history and area studies. The emphasis on regionalism, institution building and the different politics of the USA in Europe and Asia adds important new insights to the debate about politics of the past in Germany and Japan.”

—Wolfgang Schwentker, Professor Emeritus of Intellectual and Cultural History, Osaka University

- Wolfgang Schwentker

Read: Article in the japan times | August 27, 2023