This volume recognizes the growing awareness of the importance of images in international relations, exploring the phenomenon over three centuries as it relates to Russia and Japan. The general perception of one country by another - the `stereotypical collective mentality' - is an historic phenomenon that continues to be a fundamental component in international relations at all levels, but especially in the political and business arenas, and remains an ongoing challenge for future generations. Bringing together international scholars from various disciplines, this innovative study focuses especially on modes of seeing and on the enigma of visual experience. It draws on numerous visual representations from propaganda posters and cartoons to artworks and films and to more recent media, such as television, the internet, pop-culture icons, as well as direct visual encounters. The volume raises questions of how different cultures observe, understand and represent each other, how and why mutual representations have changed or remained unchanged during the long history of Japanese-Russian interactions, what mental frameworks exist on both sides of the encounter; and how visions of otherness influence the construction of national, cultural and social identities.
Yulia Mikhailova is Professor in the Faculty of International Studies, Hiroshima City University, and a specialist in modern Japanese history and Russo-Japanese relations. She is the author of Motoori Norinaga: His Work and Life (in Russian, 1988) and Social and Political Perspectives in Japan from the 1860s to the 1880s (in Russian, 1991). She has published numerous articles in English, Russian, Hebrew and Japanese about the role of visual media in shaping images, and on other aspects of relations between Japan and Russia. M.William Steele is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Professor of Japanese History at the International Christian University, Tokyo. He is a specialist on Japanese social and political history in the late-nineteenth century. His Alternative Narratives in Modern Japanese History (2003), includes several chapters that make use of broadsides, satirical cartoons and woodblock prints in understanding the social history of late-nineteenth century Japan.