A Grand Design for Peace and Reconciliation

A Grand Design for Peace and Reconciliation

Achieving Kyosei in East Asia

Edited by Yoichiro Murakami and Thomas J. Schoenbaum

Scholars from Japan and a range of other countries explore in this book the still-unfinished effort to achieve the reconciliation of old enmities left over from past wars in East Asia. They present concrete policy proposals for a ‘grand design’ of peace based on the Japanese concept of ‘kyosei’, a word roughly translated as ‘conviviality’. A positive peace through kyosei means not only the absence of violence, but also the amelioration of past injustices, exploitation and oppression. The diversity of disciplines represented in the volume—international law and politics, history, philosophy and theology – enrich the contributors’ search for an intellectually appropriate, practically transformative and viable grand theory of peace in the twenty-first century. Chapters address issues such as security in North–South conflict situations, foreign policy strategies for Japan, the perspective of comparative religions, and current skepticism for the possibility of peace and reconciliation. These insightful and compelling analyses will be of great interest to students and researchers of East Asia and the politics of peace in general.

Chapter 3: In Search of a Grand Theory Against the Current of Skepticism

Ryuichi Yamaoka

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, law - academic, asian law, human rights, public international law, politics and public policy, human rights, international politics, international relations, terrorism and security


Ryuichi Yamaoka The objective of this chapter is to envisage a grand theory of peace at a highly abstract level. Peace is a substantive value. Thus, there will likely be objections against this attempt on the ground that we actually need a substantive, rather than an abstract or formal theory of peace. However, this goal has merit because the very idea of peace is so comprehensive in nature that we need such a theoretical insight to cope with this idea at the extremely abstract level. Indeed, we might say that a theory of peace should be a grand theory of peace, if it is to be a truly substantive theory. Moreover, what is now required is to find a vision that addresses the conflicts between the different conceptions of peace as a substantive idea. I will not be so bold as to declare that the following will solve this tough question. I hope my argument will clarify the reason for the necessity of a grand theory and the possibility of upholding this theory despite the difficulty of constructing one. 1. A CLASSICAL ATTACK UPON GRAND THEORY In its most famous usage, the idea of “grand theory” has had a pejorative connotation, making the construction of a new grand theory of peace challenging. By recalling this influential usage, I hope to show what kind of grand theory should not be pursued. In The Sociological Imagination (1959) the American sociologist C. Wright Mills attacked the general trend of...

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