|Constructing Nationalism in Sino-Japanese Relations1
Senior translator, international business supervisor, council member of Latin-America Association of China who majors in IR theories, nationalism and PRA of FDI studies; Lecturer of Zhejiang Wanli University, teaching IR and Journalism.
China and Japan, the two big Asia powers are exerting great influence both economically and politically to the world and the Asian in particular. Good relations between the two neighboring countries will constitute an amiable environment for the development of world peace and stability. There is however a tendency of unhealthy nationalism existed impinging upon the development of state relations. Rather than surfacing on the discussions of theoretical definitions of nationalism2, this essay attempts to have a through analysis of the historic sentiments underneath its populace (especially policy makers) so as to cultivate a new vision in establishing their very identities.
Key words: nationalism, neo-nationalism, Sino-Japanese relations, identity, cooperative nationalism
Chapter One Introduction
I. Some tracing of Chinese Nationalism
Nationalism is a concept, an ideology or a belief derived from consciousness, which is based on the experience of history, culture or geography. It is a kind of social norm largely decided by history, culture or geography. On the other hand, nationalism varies in its content, of which the national consciousness plays a big role. In addition, nationalism has most often been expressed in terms of economic or territorial expansion, the establishment of political sovereignty, or social and cultural norms of behavior.3
The nationalism norms and principles vary in different country and circumstances. Chinese nationalism has much its own features, whereby it mostly refers to cultural, historic geographical, and political theories, movements and beliefs that stress the conception of a cohesive, unified Chinese people and culture under state(s) that share primarily Chinese identities. Due to its unique political system, Chinese nationalism has adopted some compositions from diverse ideological sources, which may cover traditional Confucianism, American progressivism, Marxism (which presently refers to Deng’s theory, Jiang’s three represents) and even Russian ethnological thought.4
Since Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1979, Chinese policy-makers have been trying to manipulate nationalism for the sake of modernization. In China, history once was taught as a series of guo chi or national humiliations. Yet contrary views also hold that Chinese leaders had “invent” histories and traditions to serve its contemporary ends, in addition some even hold that “nationalism is rampant, encouraged by the communist party to distract attention from economic instability and official corruption” Nevertheless, Deng Xiaoping encouraged the populace to study China’s history and past accomplishments to revive the feelings of pride and gain support for his economic reforms.5 After Deng’s death, the third generation had also utilized nationalism, who repeatedly stressed the history and culture of Chinese advantages, remaining people of different levels of the 150 years’ history of being bullied by foreign forces and calling for Chinese people to bring about the renaissance of Chinese civilization. Presumably the fourth generation leader under the core of Hu Jintao will utilize nationalism (patriotism) in the long run as an efficient ideology to fulfill their aims both internally and externally.6
Scholars of China studies have long been aware of Chinese nationalism in its foreign relations. In 1998 China Quarterly had the publication of Allen S. Whiting article on the three classifications of Chinese nationalism distinguished as affirmative, assertive and aggressive, which still is likely helpful in analyzing Chinese foreign policies with regard to the policy of cooperation or confrontation in the current global world.7 Nationalism had been greatly manipulated in China during the last decades, which had resulted in its economic take-off, making China one of the leading powers on the present world stage.
I. The Histological Sentiments between China and Japan
Chinese nationalism has related much to Japan in its contemporary history, a key role affecting Sino-Japanese relations. Worthy of mentioning here are their distinct features and complicated historical traits. Recalling their nationalistic traits as well as historical interactions, several features need mentioning here: the two countries both have their distinct identities and advantages, and the two also had a long history of friendly exchanges, the term “clothes with water dots” is frequently quoted to show how their interests and security interact with each other. The exchanges between the two countries could go back as far as Chinese Wei Dynasty dated A.D.292. Japan adopted Chinese characters as its formal language, the famous Buddhist Jianzhei visited Japan in the Tang dynasty (618-907) and brought Buddhism to Japan, later for whom Japanese erected a monument because of his contribution to Japan.
It was not until the Meiji Restoration (1868) that Japan began learning from the western developed countries and soon became powerful in the economy and in its military capacity. Japan began to have a series of skirmishes with China in some islands in China and the Sea of Japan. With the further colonization in the 19th century of China by British, French and other forces, Japan became more aggressive than ever about the rich resources of its ailing neighbor. In the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), 8Japan forced the Manchurian dynasty to give Taiwan to Japan, in the following war waged in 1904-1905, Japan defeated Russia and seized the Northeast of China.
With its ambitious strategy in establishing the Great East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere Japan attempted to conquer the whole of Asia for the sake of supplying materials to supplement the poor resource of island Japan. In 1937, Japan started its comprehensive invasion of China and occupied China until 1945, causing thousands of millions deaths, not mentioning the Nanjing Massacre and other biological tests claimed by Chinese9 The anguish caused by the Japanese invasion to Chinese people is indescribable by human languages.
The result of the Japanese invasion was obvious. Not only did Japan bring catastrophe to Asian people, but also brought disgrace upon itself. The atomic bombs, the first time ever used in human history, caused catastrophe to Japan, which will linger in the minds of Japanese for generations10. The war brought Japan disgrace, hurt its national esteem, furthermore, and destroyed Japanese confidence. Consequently Sino-Japanese relations kept a lower profile from 1950s to the beginning of 1970’s.
III. Honeymoon Era in Sino-Japanese Relations
With the strenuous efforts of outstanding politicians from both countries, Sino-Japanese relations were finally normalized in 1972, mainly due to the common threats imposed by the former Soviet Union. In politics, the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement issued on September 29, 1972, along with the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed on August 12, 1978 established the principal rules for politics and security, the most important issues between the two countries.11 At the government level, visits of the officials were repeatedly underway; the friendly partner provinces and cities were as well established. The Commission of Friendly Sino-Japanese Relations was set up for the 21st Century. Never before were the relations between the two countries so good in that Japanese became a popular language then in China, a Chinese token animal panda couple was sent to Japan as a gift of friendship, the film “An Unfinished Chess” (1985) directed by Xiejin seemed to give an impression of the end of the hostility and the beginning of the friendship between the two nations. Sino-Japanese relations were in their honeymoon, which in return benefited their economy, and China in particular.
With the demise of the Cold War, the honeymoon between the two neighboring countries was at the end, their common enemy as of the former Soviet Union vanished; as a result, their strategic relations experienced a subtle change.
IV. Present: The sobering Sino-Japanese relations
Due to the transference of international system, Sino-Japanese relations experienced adjustments in terms of national power, interests as well as mentality, The two countries had taken some measures in balancing their relations. On November 1998, the two nations reached consensus in “establishment of a partnership of friendship and cooperation for peace and development”. They also conducted series of fruitful exchanges in the fields of high ranking official exchange, economic trade relations, security dialogue, regional cooperation, the process of building up the partnership is a process for the two countries to adjust their policies, mentality and bilateral relations,12 which were conductive, yet not essential in building up an institution of confidence.
The year 2002 marked the 30th anniversary of the normalization in 1972 of Sino-Japanese relations, however the two nations kept a very low profile over this great event in the relations of their history, the summit meeting remained at odd in that the two have not met each other for four years,13 even at the turn of the 21st century, the two neighboring counties suffered from series of deep rooted frictions. Characteristics of the sentimental frictions and skirmishes have accumulated into a deadlock, which cover the mixed compositions of the history hatred, economic dispute, the seabed skirmishes, the military dilemmas, the political campaigning.
Inherently nationalism became flammable even to the sports activities. The irrational and disfavored Chinese football fans in 2004 Asian Cup final in Beijing displayed an apparent the narrow-minded Chinese nationalism,14 which to some extent represented an unhealthy Chinese nationalistic feeling, on the other hand, Japanese neo-nationalism emerged as that of denying its invasion in the Second World War, particularly the amendments of Japanese constitution in militarizing Japan casts a shadow between China and Asian people.15 These newer nationalistic sentiments, leading to the confrontation and generating crisis had proved to be detrimental in the human history, nationalism had not once been the direct causes of big wars.
In the following paragraphs, I will attempt having a thorough examination over the deep-rooted sentiments in between Sino-Japanese relations, I will first have an analysis over Japanese dellimus in facing its powerful neighbor, then try to give my prescriptions over Japan’s paradoxical thinking; I will also recommend Chinese policy makers an alternative approach, in the concluding part I will have my interpretation of their identity reconstruction for a new vision in the new era of time.
Chapter Two Probing into Nationalism in between Sino-Japanese relations.
I. Chinese Economic Progress Vs Japan’s Economic Steadfast
During the Cold War, Japan was under the umbrella of US protection, and should not break this tie and play a role with its own willingness. Yet Japanese politicians were well aware that Japan was an economic giant, and a political dwarf. Japan feels eagerly that it should enter the world political stage. The anxiety to get the permanent membership of the Security Council and the enthusiasm of joining the peace-keeping troops as well as directly sending its troops to Iraq during the first and second gulf war in 1991 and 2003 respectively are the best examples of their psychological reactions.
However, in the whole periods of 1990s, Japan’s economy remained a negative growth. Contrary to the steadfast and sobering of Japanese economy through 1990s and till now; China have experienced a remarkable success both politically and economically. As the permanent member of security council, China many times after the cold war have exerted its rights in the global affairs, especially in the case of casting her veto to US-British invasion of Iraq with Russia and European powers, in the mission of peace-keeping and making fields, sending its troops to some turmoil regions, China also initially have been active in the framework of ASIEN, APEC and Shanghai Cooperation Organization, assuming its influential roles regionally. As elaborated by Chinese government being a responsible country, presumably China will purportedly and continually wield its power in both the regional and world political stage, having an intention of taking advantages of its economic build-up. This is true in statistics and partly China can be regarded as an economic behemoth. Its 2003 GDP was nearly, the third largest in the world.16 With US$438.37 billion in goods exports in 2003, China is the world’s third largest merchandise exporter; adding now-incorporated Hongkong, Marca, let alone that of Taiwan would have moved China to the Number One in the world,17 furthermore, China has in three years been the biggest FDI hosting country in developing countries, in 2003, China has accumulated the attraction of FDI as US$53.5billion, the first time exceed that of the United States as the biggest hosting country in the world18, the latest statistics also showed that China’s foreign exchange reserve has exceed US$500billion.19
Given these statistics, some observers have been so impressed with China’s economic size, progress, and potential that they believe that it will become the dominant economic superpower of the future. Former president Richard M. Nixon of the United States commented just before his death in 1994 that China’s growing power means that “within two decades…the Chinese may threaten to withhold (preferential trade) status from the U.S. unless we do more to improve living conditions in Detroit, Harlem, and South Central Los Angeles.”20 On the other hand, China had already shortened the gap with Japan in the past decade in terms of national power, and China is predicted to catch up with Japan in economic scale and to shorten the gap with Japan in economic quality in next 15 to 20 years.21 That view may be an overestimation, but it does dramatize the fact that there can be little doubt that China has become a key economic player on the world stage.
II. Japan’s dellimus
In the eyes of Japan, it was not absurd that the alteration of the balance of power brought negative reactions to a rising power, contrary Chinese development, Japan cannot keep away from the rising Chinese power. The assumption of the formation the Great China Circle, which refers to Mainland China, Hongkong, Macao, Taiwan and Singapore, and the threat of China are advocated among intellectuals and politicians,22 which agitated Japan in particular and that was best epitomized in the shouting of China threats voiced from Japan23 Thus old skirmishes and new issues were intertwined and consequently affecting Sino-Japanese relations.
The story in the long ancient history of Sino-Japanese relations was of “China stronger than Japan”, ironically the story of 100-year period modern history presented a different picture of “Japan stronger than China”. Owing to the reform and opening-up policy adopted by China since 1978, which paved the way for changing the previous status-quo of “strong Japan versus weak China”. Yet since the 1990s, China has been growing towards an economic power while Japan has been seeking to become a political power. Therefore, for the first time in history, Sino-Japanese relations are stepping into a new period of “strong China and strong Japan”24. Facing the future trends of its neighbor development, Japan remains paradoxical to its own development and its present status quo in the global level. With a powerful China exerting its role regionally and globally, Japan feel sobering and lost. Japan had achieved tremendous success in its economy, but still remains a political dwarf; Japan has neither been admitted as a regional power nor as a power. This is in contrast to Japan’s strong belief, its distinctive nationality and super identity of its commitment to the world.25 Yet the Asian peoples remain odd at Japanese wishful thinking, who always have suspicion over any Japanese actions and ideas, however its good willingness. Despite many years’ insistence on being a permanent member of the Security Council, there is still a long way for Japan to go. Ever since the starting of the new millennium, Japan’s self-confidence has never been rebuilt, never before has Japan been so paradoxical in its position and role in the 21st century, from this perspective view, it is not too difficult to comprehend the new trend of Japanese nationalism and that of its foreign policy-making, which is best epitomized in Sino-Japanese relations. Factors shaping Sino-Japanese relations may have existed since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972, yet through 1990s, The main disputes are in the scope of the following matters: Japan’s standpoint to the invasion of China in the war between 1937-1945 as that of the disputes over Japanese textbooks and the frequent visiting of the Yasukuni Shrine, the Oil digging-up in the east China sea, US-Japan military cooperation, and Japan’s sentiments over Taiwan, and Chinese viewpoint over Japanese political role, the rearming of its national forces and its application of membership of UN Permanent Security Council, all of which cast a shadow on the relations of the two countries.
III The Essence of Japanese Nationalism
What is the essence of Japanese nationalism, this is a question to be answered before we proceed, the essence of traditional Japanese nationalism as discussed may be that they put the Japanese identity at priority, and which emphasize the core of inherent power, to be clear, the power is generated internally rather than externally. The next question will be, what is the kernel of neo-Japanese nationalism, it is unlikely turn out to be difficult as well in answering this question. For any society, the words or behaviour of elite level to some extent represent the pioneering thought in its society, Japan is no exception, why ‘the potential Chinese threats’ were raised by the scholar?26 Why the Tokyo writer Shintao Mori encourage Japan to have nuclear arms,27 and his recent trip to Taiwan so as to incite China? Why Junichiro Koizumi’s cabinet regardless of Chinese protest persisting paying homage to Yasukuni Shrine? Why Japan feel so eagerly to be the member of Permanent Security Council of the United Nations? To answer these questions, we need to be precautious of Japan’s strong identity, the essence of traditional Japanese nationalism, stressing the inner force; However the essence of neo-Japanese nationalism put the superiority at their priority, having this essence in our mind, we find the essence of the neo-nationalism is to stress its superiority, emphasizing its exterior mission in leading the human world,28 that is an emphasis at its external power.
IV. An alternative approach to Japanese Nationalism
In facing with China’s rising power in the pacific region and the world, it is both rational and intelligent for Japan not to be jealous of China’s achievements or even to curb China’s willingness. This argument sounds too officious to be persuasive, yet China’s taking-off is de facto undisputable and undeniable, ignorant of this reality will hurt Japan’s own development, to counterattack or diffuse “China threats” is not to confront with China, which is counterproductive to Japan’s own development. In the interdependent world, nation can compete each other over absolute gains so as to get a two-win result.29 A prosperous, stable China will not only create an environment for Japan’s investment and products but also enhance regional and world stability, the responsible measurements taken by China during 1997 Asian economic crisis in that China remained stable in its currency RMB could be a best example to this point. Conversely speaking, China went into turmoil and famine; the country it would affect most directly is Japan, in a word Japan need to have a new vision over China’s economic development.
Japan regards a necessary and close cooperation with the US is the basis of its strategy so as to diffuse China’s rising power, especially in the sense of decreasing possible military threats, this is true if standing in Japan’s position, however an overwhelming cooperation with the US will undoubtedly incite China, which conversely will affect Japan’s security and interests, which perfectly match with the realist’s view in that security dilemma and zero-sum game is their eternal truth.30 The geopolitical environment Japan faces requires Japan to coexist peacefully with China, This specially applies to the Taiwan Issue, as greatly influenced by Chinese Confucianism, whose essence are conformity and sovereignty, conformity could be deducted as inner unity, sovereignty as outer unity, on which Chinese nationalism arises.31 If having another angle of thinking, China could be a good balancer for Japan’s interests, Japan’s disputes with the returning the North four islands from Russia and the future possible threat imposed by a future rising Russia, history has once proved that China could be a dependent neighbor if foreign forces challenged Japan’s security, which could be best proved in the 1970s.
To the war issue, nationalism especially becomes feverous in the two countries, in the eyes of China, Japan until now never whole-heartedly confess and show remorse over its invasion in the Second World War, China had hoped a written apology when Chinese former President Jiang Zemin visited Japan in November, 1998, which might have been the wrong time and wrong environment with the wrong leader to discuss the wrong issues, 32and since then Japan never did so in spite of Chinese repeated requirements. In the eyes of Japanese, they argued history has been turned over, which was waged by the old imperialist, furthermore Japan had not once made public apologies, although not a written one, either an oral apology or a written one is redundant, furthermore the Chinese has been frequently playing the history card in bargaining as with Japan as well as fanning their nationalism fervor for China’s interests.33 Objectively whatever Japanese arguments lie, the harm both physically and mentally inflicted to China derived from its invasion history is detrimental, China argued through 1937 to 1945, Japan adopted tactics of burning, killing, seizing and robbing in its country, killing thousands of millions deaths of its people, furthermore the inhumane Nanjing Massacre, the 731 biological scheme killed more than 260,000 its Chinese people.34
Contrary to Japan, Germany has openly made a internal apology and remorse of its invasion in its Nazi Germany, as a result, the modern Europeans seldom relate the actions of modern Germans to those of the Nazi era, but the Asia people just do the opposite. With respect to Japan’s distinctive identity and its intentional role played either as a regional or global power, unloading its half century’s psychological burden by remorsefully confessing its crimes and initiating a cooperative approach with the nations harmed is optional, as mentioned the amendments of textbook, frequent paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine, ignoring Chinese and Asian peoples reaction do no good to revitalizing Japan’s identity, a farewell policy to the past is recommended, only by so doing, the Asian people is likely to reconfirm and admit a new Japanese national identity, Japan then could become a truly influential power.
Similar to the negative trend of Japanese nationalism, the issue of Chinese nationalism can not be ignored, Writing in the September issue of Chuo Koron magazine, foreign policy commentator Hisahiko Okazaki argues: "When a government incites nationalism, it triggers a serious situation that is impossible to control. If this is the lesson from Japan's modern history, the country to which it applies at present is China."35, in terms of Chinese football fan’s rude behavior, another scholar warned “No good can come from Chinese nationalism”. Regardless of their motivation and political preferences, the revealing of Chinese nationalism over Japan is a de facto reality36. Coming back to the fan’s tragedy incident, in terms of any sports competition, principles should be abided in that to abide by the rules of the game, compete peacefully and accept defeat gracefully, yet behind the tragedy it is not too difficult to find the hidden feelings of inferiority and arrogance, if further deductions made to a mass level, the arrogance comes from China’s long history, its rich territory and its soaring economic development in recent decades, (comparatively with Japan) there is a self-inflated mindset which cherishes the illusion that the 21st century is a century for Chinese, But at the same time, many Chinese people think their country isn’t superior enough to be truly respected by international society—therein lies their inferiority complex.37 This analogy and connotation may come too abruptly, lacking evidencing, yet the warning is worthy of reflection. In today’s globalized world, the function of the civil society can cast great influence over state’s policy38. When the outside world marvels at China’s great economic progress or be cautious of “China’s threats”, instead of being arrogant, China needs to have a subjective evaluation of its capability, aware of both its advantages and disadvantages. In the sense of material development, China seemingly is a world giant if calculated in terms of some symbolic figures. In 2003, the total of its GDP exceed 1.1 billion RMB, equivalent to US$ 0.12 billion, the total quantity of its foreign trade exceed US$851 billion, according to the figure released by CCTV on 15, October, 2004, the deposit reserve of its foreign exchange amounted to US$500 billion, and China becomes the largest world hosting FDI country, the first time exceeded USA,39 China Academy of Science accordingly lists itself as No.7 in terms of Comprehensive Sustainable National Power(CSNP) among top 13 world powers, of which the United States was at the top, Japan was at top four40. As for general development, China can be called better-off, yet as for comprehensive social development in terms of spirits, morality and principle abidance there is a long way for China to go, although China had a splendid culture advantage of 5000 years, in facing with the lofty side of culture, distorted morality, diverted philosophy of its present spiritual status quo, China needs to have the reexamination of present spiritual construction, no wonder there is prevalent cultural dilemma in the academic circle; What’s more there are much problematic matters pending for China, the great disparity between coast areas and its rural western areas, the arrangement of its mass unemployment, the great deficit of its State-owned enterprise, thus caution has to be made for China, especially for those arrogant economic nationalistic holders: There are much to do, there are much to learn, there are much to perfect.
For Chinese policy-makers, the illusion of revitalizing the panicle of ancient empire of Zhong Guo (Middle Kingdom) should be abolished. It is unrealistic and impossible for China whether theoretically or practically to become another big superpower. This is simply because we are in the 21st , century, an era of much globalized world based on interdependence, the Center or Kingdom conception was only contributable to the Pax Romana when rudimentary military played a role in shifting state system. Since after the Mitteran system, although the world had emerged as the glory of Pax Britannica, the world never have truly been wielded by a hegemonic power, the United States, had incessantly competed with the former Soviet Union to gain the hegemonic power, yet in the wake of collapse of its counterpart, its dream of Pax Americana seems to have never come true, with the mighty economic and military power, the US could overthrew Saddam regime, yet failed to make a ordered Iraq, let alone the big powers like Russia, China and France fighting together Ameriacan’s unilateralism, Zbigniew Brzezinski argued: the US hegemony is deem to diminish in the coming 21st century, at most by the middle of millennium.41 From this point, seeking a cooperative and influential regional or world power rather than aggressive and hegemonic power is optional, if otherwise nationalism is utilized in foreign policy, affirmative nationalism rather than assertive and aggressive ones are a healthier conception of thinking.42
With the respects of Chinese own developments, constraining nationalism toward Japan may benefit itself in curbing its own nationalism. Although in most case of Chinese history nationalism has played much positive roles, appeals much to one nationality in a multinational state tend to divide rather than unify the polity, the present China, emerging from the Qin Middle Kingdom had a history of fighting with the ‘ethnic’ enemies, the rising separated nationalism as of claim of Tibet and Xinjiang independence has long caused China’s concerns, there are also 56 minority nationalities comprising 8.2% of China’s total population scattered over 64.5% of China’s total area. Followed by the collapse of the former Soviet Union, which led to the independence of several central Asian countries, the separation issue has become more imminent, the Dalai Lama and activists of ‘Easter Turkistan’ have been practicing zealously in the establishment of its state. Taiwan is another headache problem confronting China, the DDP, headed by Chen Shuibian has been trying attempts in gaining Taiwan’s independence. What’s more the emergent regionalism from the central authority could also cause trouble for China if it over emphasizes nationalism. For the concern of leaders of CCP, the overemphasis of nationalism may become more aggressive rather than affirmative or assertive if the PLA interferes in foreign policies so as to undermine the legality of the CCP’s leadership.43
With respect to the binding cultural ties, the two countries share some connected history and belief. In most of their history, especially in Han and Tang dynasty, the two countries went along peacefully, both having Buddhism and Confucianism imposed on their national identities, which are largely the components of the Asian value. Under these circumstances, the adopting of flexi cable policies in meeting with Japan’s reasonable ambitions, a more influential Japanese role might be conductive for the comprehensive world peace and development, an international regime or integration into a block might have been applicable to Japan as that of Germany in joining EU or being encompassed in NATO, wherein it have played a positive role rather than its militarism being inflated,44 deductively limited military cooperation in the framework of a certain regime either between China and Japan or between Japan and the US, more as a influential power in the UN is not a matter of worse. With great consideration to Japan’s wish of getting the permanent security membership, a shift of position thinking is necessary for Chinese academicians or policy-makers to envision the positive roles played by Japan in the future, The relevant states can take some coordinated actions in the fields of peace-keeping or peace-making, or in the scopes of non-traditional security affairs as of money laundry, smuggling and drug-trafficking. The rising of Japan’s political and economic power may lead a two-wins result, let alone Japan’s economic and technological assistance have played a decisive role in booming China’s economy, which especially was a case in 1980s The geopolitical environment China faces requires China to coexist peacefully with Japan, not only does China have the border problems with Russia, India and Vietnam, but also faces the sea challenge from Indonesia and Australia, Japan undoubtedly is a decisive force among these potential disputed powers, thus more distance from Japan will likely cause on imbalance, which may deteriorate the situations existed. For whatever reasons, a long refusal of Japan’s wish will very likely affect Japan’s potential esteem and confidence, Japan’s ultra nationalism may further be encouraged, eventually casting an more negative force toward China’s own development and that of world peace and development.45
Chapter Three Conclusion
In the previous paragraphs much arguments have been made over the forms of nationalism in Sino-Japanese relations, and mostly on the analysis of negative nationalism existed among the two countries. I also attempted giving some prescriptions of the issue-solving over the thorny relations, which I put emphasis on the communication of consciousness, the awareness of establishing common interests. Indeed as ‘Rome was not built in a night’, the history of Sino Japanese relations proved that the different national psychological sentiments formed in the complicated circumstances of different periods, the hatred and emotional barrier is deeply rooted in their mind. Over a series of frictions upon present deadlocks, the war issue is at the top agenda, which takes time to resolve. For the two war-affected neighboring countries, war will not be favorable and practicable, as we are after all not in the era of “laws of jungle” rather than the era of “interdependence", for any country war is dire detrimental and unbearable. Policy makers have to realize nationalism is attributable to war making, this is either in history and present.46 The consciousness of one’s nation is significant in deciding the nationalistic tendency in a state’s policies, indeed nationalism or patriotism is still applicable to the present state-centered society, in this regard either manipulating nationalism in revitalizing Chinese identity or that of Japanese is un-accusable. The problem lies not in the identity itself but rather on its standards and means of seeking.
What is the standard or essence of identity? Undeniably each country has its uniqueness of identity, to some extent, identity represents the essence of one’s culture, in this sense human civilization is a process of civilization co-construction, a process of coordination and promotion rather than “clash of civilizations”.57 Human civilization history has never not fasten to one single culture or identity, however advanced it had been, deductively there is no universal standard of so called distinctive identity, if however asked for a standard, that standard may subject its advancedness to human civilization, thus a wise attitude for China and Japan is to promote a common world advanced identity by taking advantages of each other’s identity uniqueness.
Question follows will be how or through what means to constructing an advanced identity, which is much difficult to interpret and apply to the practice, as nationalism is rarely consistent in content and lies permanently in national consciousness.48 In so far as international theories are applied, constructivism could act as a lighthouse in mending the rift in Sino-Japanese relations, in terms of culture, China and Japan share much similarities, both are deeply rooted in Confucianism, in terms of geography they are cloth with water, culture identity as well can be achieved, thus for both China and Japan, taking advantages of their geography and culture for a common advanced identity is recommendable; National interests can be constructed, beyond state or sovereign nationalism,49 there exists a common interests, which conversely benefit both interests. national interest may be found internally rather than externally,50 Misperception tend to incur if countries over manipulate nationalism among populace, easily causing misconception, thus learning and communication to both the policy-makers and their people are necessary,51 in this sense China and Japan are encouraged to do so in the “the establishment of a partnership of friendship and cooperation for peace and development” of November 1998, learning is important, learning among the nations, learning each other in terms of individuals, the domestic, NGO even, globalization is the identity of the common world, internal politics and external politics have been intertwined and interrelated, those who advocate its own style regardless of the norms of international forces will deem fail, In today’s world, internationalism rather than nationalism or patriotism be promoted in the more globalized world, sovereignty can only be safeguarded by cooperative internationalism in an “imagined community”.52
As my near the end of my analysis over Sino-Japanese relations, regardless of the traditional state-based international system that operate on self-interested competition can best protect and enhance humanity or whether the alternative of global cooperation in an international system with reduced sovereignty will lead to a more felicitous future or the constructivism, the emphasis of establishing an identity .it is appropriate to pause momentarily to remember that, amid all the sound and fury, politics ought to be about maintaining or improving the quality of life of people.53
I conclude my argument here to suggest that: a conception of more understanding, responsibility and particularly a more broad mind be erected so as to create healthier Sino-Japanese relations in coping with more independent global society in the new millennium. Slogans in promoting extreme nationalism such as “China can say no” and “Japan can say no” either will have negative impacts upon a healthier world. Nationalism in this sense needs to be handled with prudence and responsibility, a new thinking of cooperative internationalism rather than state centered nationalism is recommended for a more progressive world society.
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