This book investigates public claims for the protection of weak groups and interests in Japan and China from the nineteenth century to the present day. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, it engages with ongoing global debates relevant to both Western and non-Western societies whilst also providing an historically informed analysis of contemporary issues.

Using case studies on disaster victims, employee well-being, cultural heritage and animal welfare, this book analytically distinguishes between framing, mobilisation and institutionalisation processes. It examines these processes at the intersections of international and domestic spheres and, in doing so, demonstrates how drives for protection are formulated, contested and played out in practice. Ultimately however, this book argues that claims for protection do not necessarily translate into effective measures, but may in fact entail ambiguous or negative outcomes for the protected ‘weak’.

Protecting the Weak in East Asia makes a significant contribution to the empirical and theoretical research into the transformation of East Asian societies. As such, it will appeal to students and scholars of Asian history, Asian culture and society and East Asian Studies more broadly.

part I|117 pages

Historical and conceptual background studies

chapter 2|31 pages

Protecting the weak or weeding out the unfit?

Disaster relief, animal protection and the changing evaluation of social Darwinism in Japan and China

chapter 3|23 pages

Processes of appropriation

Welfare and cultural heritage in East Asia

chapter 4|36 pages

Shifting relations between state and social actors

Ambiguous strategies of protecting the weak in Japan and China

chapter 5|25 pages

Theories on institutional change

An application to the dynamics of “protecting the weak”

part II|117 pages

Comparative studies of empirical cases in contemporary Japan and China

chapter 6|27 pages

From natural hazard to man-made disaster

The protection of disaster victims in China and Japan

chapter 7|30 pages

Employee well-being in China and Japan

A media content analysis

chapter 8|28 pages

Animal protection in China and Japan

The ambiguous status of companion animals in rapidly changing societies

part III|16 pages


chapter 10|14 pages

Weak vs. strong

Ambiguities of protection