The US-Japan relationship has undergone many changes since the end of World War II, but perhaps the most dramatic and least understood transition was the change in perceptions and values that allowed these two former enemies—countries which shared substantially fewer ties of kinship and culture than did the United States and Europe—to become the closest of allies in a remarkably short period of time. This study examines the critical role of civil society, and particularly of American and Japanese philanthropy, in rebuilding the US-Japan relationship in the postwar period.
Foundations and individual philanthropists set out to promote democracy in Japan, reconstruct the foundations of mutual understanding between Japan and the United States, and encourage a continuing dialogue on the future of the relationship. To do this, they provided generous support for strategic institution building, the development of human resources through support for individual study and training, the promotion of American studies in Japan and Japanese studies in the United States, and a broad range of international exchanges and dialogues.
This groundbreaking study, the result of a three-year research project on the Role of Philanthropy in Postwar US-Japan Relations, analyzes the context and implications of this support, both for understanding the past and for improving the way in which we address post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation in the future.
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