Burma and Japan Since 1940

From ’Co-Prosperity’ to ’Quiet Dialogue’

by Donald M. Seekins

  • Published:
  • Pages: 192 pp.
  • illustrated
  • Series number: 106
Available from NIAS Press worldwide

Modern Myanmar/Burma is very much a creation of World War II, when the British colony was occupied by the Japanese, and its immediate aftermath. Tracing Burma-Japan relations since 1940, this volume provides an understanding of post-war Japanese diplomacy and aid programmes, and offers material and insights on the story of Burma itself.

Modern Myanmar/Burma is very much a creation of World War II, when the British colony was occupied by the Japanese, and its immediate aftermath. These years saw the rise of Aung San and his assassination, as well as the establishment of military forces by the Japanese (subsequently evolving into today's ruling junta) and a sharp escalation of inter-ethnic antagonism and violence. Today the military regime continues to survive despite strong opposition at home and abroad. Its resilience is often explained in human rights terms or by reference to close military engagement with drug-dealing war-lords.

What is less recognized, however, is that not everywhere is Burma an international pariah state. By its inclusion within their fold, the ASEAN states have worked hard to 'normalise' Burma, and China has provided strong backing for the military regime. The Japanese government, which gave massive amounts of development aid to Burma before 1988, has pursued a policy of 'quiet dialogue' as a non-confrontational way of promoting economic and political reform. Tracing Burma-Japan relations since 1940, this volume will be of value not only for an understanding of post-war Japanese diplomacy and aid programmes, but also because it offers new material and insights on the ongoing story of Burma itself.

author image not supplied

Donald M. Seekins is Professor of Southeast Asian Studies in the College of International Studies of Meio University in Okinawa, Japan. Receiving a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 1980, he has done extensive research and writing on the history, politics and society of Burma, making frequent visits to the country for fieldwork.

Donald M. Seekins is Professor of Southeast Asian Studies in the College of International Studies of Meio University in Okinawa, Japan. Receiving a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 1980, he has done extensive research and writing on the history, politics and society of Burma, making frequent visits to the country for fieldwork. His publications include Burma and Japan since 1940: from ‘Co-Prosperity’ to ‘Quiet Dialogue’ (NIAS Press, 2007), Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar) (Scarecrow Press, 2006) and The Disorder in Order: the Army-State in Burma since 1962 (White Lotus, 2002). He is presently working on a history of the former Burmese capital city of Rangoon

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by Geoffrey C. Gunn
From journal:
Journal of Contemporary Asia Publishers

For students of Burma, as well as of Japan’s ODA programme, this small book should be useful.  In English its audience will not be great in Japan, more the pity given the longevity of standard narratives of wartime liberation in that country, just as the notion of benign development assistance hardly meets serious challenge outside of restricted NGO circles.

For students of Burma, as well as of Japan’s ODA programme, this small book should be useful.  In English its audience will not be great in Japan, more the pity given the longevity of standard narratives of wartime liberation in that country, just as the notion of benign development assistance hardly meets serious challenge outside of restricted NGO circles.

by Edmund Clipson
From journal:
SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, vol. 6, 2008

“The book is concise and highly informative, including tables of economic data and diverse cultural and historical references, all the while being an accessible and interesting read.”

“The book is concise and highly informative, including tables of economic data and diverse cultural and historical references, all the while being an accessible and interesting read.”

by Stephan MacCarthy
From journal:
Pacific Affairs

“…a useful guide for understanding the politics of Japanese aid towards Burma and the problems of implementing such policies…”

“…a useful guide for understanding the politics of Japanese aid towards Burma and the problems of implementing such policies…”

by Bertil Lintner
From journal:
Asia Pacific Media Services Limited

“…a very important study of Burma’s relations…”

“…a very important study of Burma’s relations…”

by Bertil Lintner
From journal:
The Irrawaddy

“…a very critical point of view.”

“…a very critical point of view.”

by Stephan McCarthy
From journal:
Pacific Affairs

“The book is a useful guide for understaning the politics of Japanese aid towards Burma and the problems of implementing such policies towards an elite who are skilled at manipulating foreign interest

“The book is a useful guide for understaning the politics of Japanese aid towards Burma and the problems of implementing such policies towards an elite who are skilled at manipulating foreign interests in a region of changing power dynamics.”

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