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PacNet #14R – Response to PacNet #14 “Power and Identity in Japan-South Korea Relations”

In “Power and Identity in Japan-South Korea Relations,” Brad Glosserman and Scott Snyder argue that clashing conceptions of national identity are at the heart of ongoing tensions between Japan and South Korea. While most commentators attribute those tensions to territorial disputes, differences over history, and domestic political drivers, Glosserman and Snyder contend that a ‘historical identity complex’ – meaning a tendency for the two countries to define themselves against one another and their troubled past – is at the root of their differences. If only Tokyo and Seoul could reset their relationship and eliminate this tendency, mutually beneficial cooperation would follow.