What kind of national image has Japan sought to project to the world through its cultural diplomacy? Japanese cultural diplomacy has undergone five very different stages of evolution in this regard, which are traced in this paper. The fifth and present stage is characterized by cultural exchange with the aim of achieving peace by preventing violent conflicts and having to cope subsequently with their psychological consequences. Several examples of such exchanges are given, e.g. of Japanese artists with those of regions devastated by violent conflicts. They all show that democracy building and economic reconstruction should be accompanied by restoring cultural traditions, thus restoring a people's pride in itself and their culture.