Rights Make Might: Global Human Rights and Minority Social Movements in Japan

Event time: 
Monday, September 25, 2023 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Henry R. Luce Hall (LUCE ), 203 See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

Since the late 1970s, the three most salient minority groups in Japan - the politically dormant Ainu, the active but unsuccessful Koreans, and the former outcaste group of Burakumin - have all expanded their activism despite the unfavorable domestic political environment. In Rights Make Might, Kiyoteru Tsutsui examines why, and finds an answer in the galvanizing effects of global human rights on local social movements. Tsutsui chronicles the transformative impact of global human rights ideas and institutions on minority activists, which changed their understandings about their standing in Japanese society and propelled them to new international venues for political claim making. The global forces also changed the public perception and political calculus in Japan over time, catalyzing substantial gains for their movements. Having benefited from global human rights, all three groups repaid their debt by contributing to the consolidation and expansion of human rights principles and instruments outside of Japan. Drawing on interviews and archival data, Rights Make Might offers a rich historical comparative analysis of the relationship between international human rights and local politics that contributes to our understanding of international norms and institutions, social movements, human rights, ethnoracial politics, and Japanese society.
Kiyoteru Tsutsui is Henri H. and Tomoye Takahashi Professor of Japanese Studies, Deputy Director of the Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center (APARC), Director of the Japan Program at APARC, Senior Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Co-Director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice, and Professor of Sociology, all at Stanford University. His research on the globalization of human rights and its impact on local politics has appeared in American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Problems, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and other social science journals. His book publications include Rights Make Might: Global Human Rights and Minority Social Movements in Japan(link is external) (Oxford University Press 2018), which received three awards from the American Sociological Association (Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award from the Section on Political Sociology, Gordon Hirabayashi Human Rights Book Award from the Section on Sociology of Human Rights, and the Most Outstanding Asia/Transnational Book Award from the Section on Asia and Asian America), and Human Rights and the State: the Power of the Ideal and the Reality of International Politics (人権と国家:理念の力と国際政治の現実(link is external))(Iwanami Shoten 2022), which received the 43rd Ishibashi Tanzan Book Award and the 44th Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities.