September-December 2020



Conducted by

Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”

Lead researchers

Nadiya Bureiko, Serhiy Gerasymchuk

About this project

The perception of Ukraine in Japan is part of a comprehensive project to study the perception of Ukraine and Ukrainian culture abroad in a number of countries identified as priority and important in the Ukrainian Institute’s Strategy for 2020-2024.

For the first time, the project explores the attitudes and expectations of foreign audiences regarding Ukraine, its culture and opportunities for cooperation, their awareness of modern culture and cultural heritage of Ukraine.

The research was carried out by the method of in-depth expert interviews with representatives of foreign institutions in the field of culture, education, science, civil society, as well as local and central authorities, the diplomatic corps, international organizations, the Ukrainian professional environment abroad and foreign Ukrainians.

The results of the research made it possible to determine the most popular formats of cultural diplomacy projects at the bilateral level and develop work plans for the Ukrainian Institute.


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Ukraine’s perception in Japan

  • Japan has low awareness and lack of information about Ukraine, so the average Japanese may simply not have strong cultural associations with Ukraine.

  • The older generation of Japanese gained knowledge about Ukraine during the existence of the Soviet Union, and then rarely had the opportunity to update them. 

  • The attention of the Japanese media about events in Ukraine has gradually decreased since 2014, but the perception of Ukraine through the prism of instability and the danger posed by war, it still remained. 

  • All these negative perceptions are fueled by corruption, bureaucracy, slow pace of reforms and modernization of the economy. 

  • Positive attitude towards Ukrainians as friendly people with a light disposition and a positive character balances these negative perceptions. 

  • Ukrainian effects and phenomena that could promote Ukrainian culture are often perceived as Russian. Japan has a similar experience defending its own cultural heritage in discussions with China. 

  • Among promising topics for cooperation is often mentioned tourism, mutual promotion of culture and traditions, Ukrainian food, Chernobyl, academic cooperation and fashion. 

Participants of public discussion on the research

  • Serhii Herasymchuk, Deputy Executive Director, Regional Initiatives and Neighborhood Program Director of the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”
  • Sergiy Korsunsky, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Japan
  • Violetta Udovik, Second Secretary Culture and Humanitarian Affairs of the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan
  • Andriy Kurkov, President of PEN Ukraine, writer
  • Takashi Hirano, Head of the Japanese section of UKRINFORM
  • Moderator — Nadiia Koval, Head of Information and Analytics of the Ukrainian Institute

Watch the discussion