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Eyal Ben-Ari: The Transformation of the Japanese Military

Thursday, July 14, 2011   19:30 - 21:00

  • Eyal Ben-Ari

The term “normalization” frequently appears in discussions about Japan’s security policy and military power. But what does this normalization entail? Processes related to the normalization of Japan’s Self Defense Forces (SDF) are related both to questions faced by all of the military establishments in industrial democracies and to difficulties posed by Japan’s historical context. Concretely, any talk of normalizing the armed forces needs to proceed from the defining quality of the military as the legitimate (if sometimes contested) bearer and user of organized state violence.
There are five forms of normalization. The first involves processes of legalizing and formalizing the actions of the armed forces, that is, processes closely related to decision-making and which usually form the analytical focus of political scientists. The second entails stressing the indispensability of the military as holder of a special expertise in war-making associated with the role of “guardians” of national security. In the third sense normalization involves a state of an absence of pathology or a process of returning from some state of abnormality. The fourth sense of normalization is related to what can be called the “ritual cycle” or “ritual density” the armed forces, to the way that particular ceremonies and rites are related to wider ritual structures. Here normalization is a process whereby behaviors and ideas are made to appear natural and taken-for-granted. The fifth, and final, aspect of normalization entails conforming to a socially constructed standard which in our case corresponds to what has become an internationally accepted model of the military.
Because the Japanese military like all militaries holds an expertise in managing and handling the organized and legitimate use of state violence it will never become ‘normal’ just like any other organization in Japanese society.

Date & Time:
Thursday, July 14, 2011   19:30 - 21:00 (Doors open at 19:00)
3F, Azabu Hall
Temple University, Japan Campus
2-8-12 Minami Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Robert Dujarric (ICAS Director)
If possible, we ask you to register by E-mail (icas@tuj.temple.edu) , but we always welcome participants even you do not register. / 参加登録はなしでも参加できますので、直接会場へお越しください。


Eyal Ben-Ari