Examining the pivotal relationship between Japan and Southeast Asia, as it has changed and endured into the Indo-Pacific Era

Table of contents


Chapter 1.    From the Fukuda Doctrine to the FOIP: The Evolution of Japanese Engagement in Southeast Asia    
By John D. Ciorciari and Kiyoteru Tsutsui

Part I. Relations on the International Political Plane

Chapter 2.    Japan as the Key to Southeast Asian Diversification
By John D. Ciorciari
Chapter 3.     Japan’s Defense and Security Cooperation in Southeast Asia: Developing Security Networks, Capacities, and Institutions
By Ken Jimbo
Chapter 4.    Wedge Strategy, Japan-ASEAN Cooperation, and the Making of EAS: Implications for Indo-Pacific Institutionalization
By Kei Koga
Chapter 5.    Japan’s Relations with ASEAN: Unity and Diversity in a Changing Regional Environment
By Shaun Narine
Chapter 6.    Not Quite a Follower: ASEAN’s response to Japan’s regional initiatives
By Kalvin Fung
Part II. Development, Culture, and the Roles of Non-State Actors
Chapter 7.    From Japan Inc. to the FOIP: the Evolving Role of Japanese Businesses in Japan’s Southeast Asia Policy
By Kitti Prasirtsuk
Chapter 8.    The Japanese Business Community as a Diplomatic Asset and the 2014 Thai Coup d’État
By Nobuhiro Aizawa
Chapter 9.    Japan’s NGOs and Effective Development Cooperation in Mekong Countries
By Siriporn Wajjwalku
Chapter 10.    Japan-Southeast Asia Engagements on the Ground: Japanese Women in Southeast Asia
By Leng Leng Thang and Mika Toyota
Chapter 11.     Revisiting “Cool Japan”: The Southeast Asian Gaze towards Japanese Manga and Anime  
By Karl Ian Uy Cheng Chua
Chapter 12.    Japan as a Courteous Power: Continuity and Change in the Indo-Pacific Era
By John D. Ciorciari and Kiyoteru Tsutsui

About the Authors



The Courteous Power seeks to provide a nuanced view of the current relationship between Japan and Southeast Asia. Much of the current scholarship on East–Southeast Asian engagement has focused on the multidimensional chess game playing out between China and Japan, as the dominant post-imperialist powers. Alternatively, there has been renewed attention on ASEAN and other Southeast Asian–centered initiatives, explicitly minimizing the influence of East Asia in the region. Given the urgency of understanding the careful balance in the Indo-Pacific region, this volume brings together scholars to examine the history and current engagement from a variety of perspectives, ranging from economic and political, to the cultural and technological, while also focusing more clearly on the specific relationship between the region and Japan.

John D. Ciorciari is Associate Professor and Director of the International Policy Center and Weiser Diplomacy Center, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan.

Kiyoteru Tsutsui is Henri H. and Tomoye Takahashi Professor and Senior Fellow in Japanese Studies at Stanford University, where he is also Director of the Japan Program, a Senior Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and a Professor of Sociology.

The Courteous Power offers a new and engaging perspective of Japan’s relation with Southeast Asia in particular, and how a great power exercises leadership in the international system in general. The book is very timely in light of the ongoing geostrategic competition in Southeast Asia between the U.S. on one side and China on the other. Each chapter is well-written and theoretically grounded. The entire volume provides a coherent and theoretically sound work on Japan’s relations with Southeast Asia, and how it exercises power and leadership in the Indo-Pacific region.”
—Brendan Howe, Ewha Womans University

- Brendan Howe

"The editors of The Courteous Power have assembled a superb cast of experts to provide a comprehensive analysis of Japan's deep and multifaceted relations with Southeast Asia. ...The volume is a must-read for experts in the academic and policy-making communities, as well as students, who would like to understand how Japan and Southeast Asia have always been, and will continue to be, consequential actors in regional affairs."
Contemporary Southeast Asia


- Bhubhindar Singh

"The Courteous Power is a worthy addition to the contemporary scholarship on Japan’s role in the Indo-Pacific. It succeeds in characterizing the country’s ‘courteousness’ but also makes it clear that this should not be confused for weakness. In fact, Japan’s strength lies in its ability to maximize strategic relationships that preserve and grow Japanese influence in south-east Asia."
International Affairs 

- International Affairs

"Southeast Asia is an arena of superpower competition between the US and China. This volume looks beyond this Great Game and makes a convincing case that postwar Japan has been a key player and a “courteous power” gently shaping this region economically and institutionally over the past few decades. . . . To date, this is the best and most balanced book on Japan-Southeast Asian relations in the twenty-first century."
Pacific Affairs

- Peng Er Lam

Read: Review in Pacific Affairs | June 2023
Watch: Book Talk Panel Discussion | 12/10/2021