Geography, this author contends, is the indisputably unique feature of any country. Geography and Japan's Strategic Choices begins by explaining Japan's unique location and topography in comparison to other countries. Peter Woolley then examines the ways in which the country's political leaders in various eras understood and acted on those geographical limitations and advantages. Proceeding chronologically through several distinct political eras, the book compares the Tokugawa era, the opening to the West, the Meiji Restoration, the long era of colonialization, industrialization and liberalization, the militarist reaction and World War II, the occupation, the Cold War, and finally the rudderless fin de siecle. Finally Woolley demonstrates how Japan's strategic situation in the twenty-first century is informed by past and present geo-strategic calculations as well as by current domestic and international changes. For students and scholars of U.S.-Japan relations and of Japanese history and politics, this book offers any informed reader a fresh perspective on a critical international relationship.
"In an easily readable framework, [Woolley] makes the Japanese mystery accessible for a broader public so that its political decisions over the centuries become understandable for the Western mind."
The Journal of Conflict Studies, Winter 2006
"Peter Woolley has produced a valuable politico-historical study of Japan’s strategic dilemmas, ranging from the sixteenth century to the global war on terror. While fundamentally sympathetic to the Japanese, the author is mindful of the anxieties they continue to create among neighboring countries. Based on extensive research, animated by fresh perspectives, and punctuated with arresting insights, Geography and Japan's Strategic Choices will be a most useful addition to collections on modern Japan, strategic culture, and East Asian international relations."
Anthony James Joes, professor of political science, St. Joseph’s University
"Geography and Japan's Strategic Choices definitely adds to the discipline of Japanese studies and is an excellent university textbook. But not only students of Japan would profit from reading this clearly written, straightforward book. The general reader interested in Japan’s past and its current and future foreign policy will find it very useful as well."
James E. Auer, director of the Center for U.S.-Japan Studies and Cooperation at the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies (VIPPS)