Introduction The end of the Cold War reopened centuries-old debates about Russia's place in the world. Namely, whether Russia is a European or Asian country. Maybe part of 'the West', or Eurasian, or indeed unique providing a bridge between 'East' and 'West', 'North' and 'South'? Meanwhile Japan, Russia's neighbour, has experienced its own difficulties in coming to terms with its role in this new era. Uncertainty over whether Japan belongs to Asia or the 'West', or is exceptional, reveals a somewhat schizophrenic identity. This chapter seeks to use the long-standing dispute between these two neighbours as an illustration of the problem of identity encountered by both Japan and Russia in the contemporary period.