The Working Paper provides a critical analysis of the 2015 Development Assistance Charter, paying particular attention to its case for Japan’s comparative advantage and uniqueness in its development cooperation policies and practice. The term ‘Japaneseness’ is used as a shorthand for this ‘Japan brand ODA’. The paper’s focus is especially on the softer side of Japanese aid, notably its long history of concern with human resources development, knowledge creation, and self-help. These priorities are all explicitly linked to and illustrated from the Charter, but it is noted that the Charter’s approach is not merely business as usual, but that there should be a more ‘proactive’ dimension to Japanese aid. In addition, given the centrality of human resources development in Japanese cooperation and in the Charter, there is an analysis of the influence of the Charter in the MOFA Learning strategy and JICA Position paper of 2015. For comparative purposes, there is a light illustration of parallels and differences in the aid policies of Britain and of China.