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Yukio Hatoyama, Japan's new Prime Minister: "A New Path for Japan"

September 1st, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Yukio Hatoyama will become the next Prime Minister of Japan with his Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).  Since WWII, Japan has been mainly ruled by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).  This is a big deal and a big shift within Japan. DPJ has also won about two-thirds of the seats in the Japanese Diet.  Hatoyama has an Op-Ed in the New York Times, “A New Path for Japan” which I highly recommend.  This is an abridged version of a manuscript which NYT said were circulated in business and diplomatic circles signaling Hatoyama’s policies for his administration.

Again, I highly encourage FM readers to read Hatoyama’s Op-Ed, “A New Path for Japan.”  There are a couple of very interesting points he made which I thought worth noting:

  • Fundamentalist pursuit of capitalism which is attributed to the U.S.-led globalization is causing human dignity to be lost . . . . “globalism has progressed without any regard for non-economic values, or for environmental issues or problems of resource restriction.”
  • Creation of an East Asian currency (like the Euro) and community while keeping U.S.-Japan security pact as a cornerstone.
  • Japan is caught between a rising China and a powerful U.S., but Japan’s sphere is in Asia.

Near the end, he said:

“Therefore, I would suggest, somewhat paradoxically, that the issues that stand in the way of regional integration can only be truly resolved by moving toward greater integration. The experience of the E.U. shows us how regional integration can defuse territorial disputes.”

I feel this statement is extremely wise and one that I agree with wholeheartedly. At a personal level which all of us can relate to – when we have differences with our family and friends, it is usually easy to settle those. When we don’t like someone, the most minute difference could easily get us into the biggest fights.

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  1. miaka9383
    September 1st, 2009 at 22:30 | #1

    When I am reading this op ed, I get a sense that he strongly desires reconciliation with China. However, he only addressed territorial disputes. He did not address the fact that Japanese History of WWII is still a little bit skewed and how he was going to fix that… Did you get the same impression that I did? In a way I felt this op ed was only for face value and nothing deeper…..

  2. huaren
    September 1st, 2009 at 22:44 | #2

    Hi miaka,

    This WWII history question is especially tough today to resolve. So I agree with his view that the best way forward is towards integration. The specific thorny issues are then much easier to tackle.

    The Europeans need to be thanked for getting this EU/Euro concept off the ground.

  3. miaka9383
    September 1st, 2009 at 23:56 | #3

    I think before they do the integration they need to own up to WWI and II mistakes. I think ultimately that is what made EU work with Germany and Italy involved because they did apologize for their mistakes. I don’t know the whole op ed makes me feel he is just skimming the surface for face value.

  4. September 2nd, 2009 at 00:10 | #4

    Hi miaka, #3,

    I see what you are saying. He briefly mentioned how Japan and Asia view history is a source of conflict. For whatever it is worth, he at least mentions it.

    I completely agree with you if Japan reconciles the history question first, then all these integration he talks about is much easier, and like you said, as was in Germany’s case for EU.

    For me, if integration first to then allow this history issue to be solved, I think its fine. If Asia is on a single currency, then the chance of war between members are lot less likely. So I see that as a much more important goal.

    My grandparents home was destroyed by Japanese bombers. My wife’s grandfather was kicked to death by Japanese soldiers. We need systems and organizations in place so members are less likely to go to war with each other.

  5. pug_ster
    September 2nd, 2009 at 13:47 | #5

    Yes, I do think that it might be a positive sign about mentioning the source of conflict between Japan and South Korea/China. Not sure what he would do but let’s see what happens.

    I think that Mr Hatoyama mentioned about the wane of American influence in the world but there’s a consistent presence of US influence in the Asian region in Okinawa and DMZ zone in the Korean peninsula. Perhaps that maybe the Asian countries will have discussions to tell the US that they no longer need the protection? Well, I’m hopeful but I am not expecting anything.

  6. pug_ster
    September 2nd, 2009 at 17:26 | #6

    Chinadaily’s article about the DPJ’s Japan-China ties.


  7. Lime
    September 2nd, 2009 at 17:41 | #7

    Here’s an article you might find interesting on Hatoyama’s ambivalent attitude towards the United States.


    The author, Tobias Harris, doesn’t seem to have much respect for Hatoyama personally, so you have to take it with a grain of salt, but when you look at the evidence, I think his assessment in this article and others- that Hatoyama’s talk about convincing Obama to remove troops from Okinawa and elsewhere, along with this idea of pan-Asian integration along EU lines, and especially the Asian currency idea is (or was) a lot of empty talk that sounded good during the campaign, but not at all realistic when considered seriously- is probably correct.

  8. Steve
    September 2nd, 2009 at 19:10 | #8

    I agree with Lime that the speech in the NY Times is mostly political boilerplate for a domestic audience. In fact, today’s NY Times had this article where Hatoyama says exactly that and begins to retreat on previous statements. “Stung by the reaction, Mr. Hatoyama appears to be back-pedaling and engaging in damage control. On Monday night, he said he had not intended for the article to appear abroad, and said it was being misinterpreted. “If you read the entire essay, you will understand that it is definitely not expressing anti-American ideas,” he said.”

    Another evaluation of the election and subsequent decisions awaiting the DPJ appears here on Karel van Wolferen’s website. He ends by saying, “The Japanese who have been frustrated with unfulfilled expectations prompted by 16 years of promised fundamental change can only hope that their new government is given much time (and peace from scandal mongers) to work out an effective and productive collaboration between elected and career officials – simply the single greatest political problem of modern Japan.”

    The DPJ was elected to get Japan out of its economic mess, not to change foreign policy. Japan has huge demographic problems, massive underemployment and unemployment, especially among its young, and a very inefficient distribution system throughout the country. One of Japan’s biggest problems is the lack of fundamentalist market reforms, not the implementation of them. I think he was appealing to the local xenophobic crowd with that statement, and that’s why he was embarrassed and retreated so quickly from what he said after it was translated and published by the NY Times. I agree with Tobias Harris that the DPJ just needs to stop giving speeches and spend time forming a cabinet and governing administration. They’ll certainly have their hands full over the next couple of years.

  9. pug_ster
    September 2nd, 2009 at 20:52 | #9

    I thought this was funny. He hasn’t been elected yet and the media started to talk about his wife.


  10. Lime
    September 2nd, 2009 at 22:03 | #10

    That is funny. Kind reminds me of Margaret Trudeau. Between Miyuki and the teachings of the late Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, Japanese politics stands a good chance of becoming a lot more colourful with Hatoyama at the helm.

  11. Steve
    September 2nd, 2009 at 22:21 | #11

    @ pug_ster #9: Wow! The media is going to have a field day with her. Kind of reminds me of Nancy Reagan and her astrological views except Miyuki is even more “out there”. 😛

    I sent this story to my friend in Japan. I’m curious to read her reaction.

  12. September 3rd, 2009 at 01:13 | #12

    This op-ed being a political boilerplate or not … this election result is definitely a development worth noting …. since it can potentially open the door to to Japan’s reconciliation with China and the rest of Asia … allowing the entire East Asian region to drawn tighter together and ahead of schedule.

    Sometimes, all you need is a catalyst to make interesting things happen – especially when all the ingredients are there.

    We’ll have to wait to see if the DPJ victory turns out to be such a catalyst…

    If a flip of a wing of a butterfly can potentially cause the formation of a storm halfway across the world, then this election definitely has the potential to bring much welcoming events to Asia.

  13. Steve
    September 3rd, 2009 at 01:32 | #13

    @ Allen: Actually, I’ve read that because the DPJ isn’t the LDP, it has more leeway to put an end to long time disputes concerning the Japanese Army behavior during the war. The odds of this happening now, because of the DPJ’s different constituency, is far better than before. I’m also hoping they put this one to bed since it’s been hanging around far too long. The question is, will they be willing to pay compensation to the remaining victims? To me, that’s the make or break point.

    Remember the original story where the time machine takes the hunter back to prehistoric times and he panics and steps off the raised path, then when he gets back to the future the world is completely different, Hitler won the war and the language is written phonetically? That’s when he discovers a crushed butterfly in his shoe. I remember that one from when I was a kid. 😀

  14. September 3rd, 2009 at 04:17 | #14

    @Allen & miaka- Reconciliation with China: I agree it would be positive if Japan makes some move to own up to WWI and WWII mistakes. Actually efforts have already been done in the past, and apologies already been asked, but clearly Japan has made much less for reconciliation than Germany did, for example.

    Being realistic, I guess the course of action of the new PM will depend on how he expects the voters to react. Nationalistic feelings are very tricky and can mobilize many votes, so he will be careful with that. Ultimately it is about the Japanese public opinion. Those here who know Japan well: what is the feeling on the street over there? Do a large number of Japanese agree that there is more compensation/apologies to be given, War heroes shrines to be closed? Or most prefer not to speak about it?

    @ Steve – Wots rong with de langwig riten foneticly? u shud lern from spanisch and pinyin!

  15. September 3rd, 2009 at 04:34 | #15

    @Steve #13,

    Do you really think that Japan must be willing to pay compensation to the remaining victims?

    I actually don’t know. I think if Japan stops distorting history, comes to grip nationally with its history with some genuine introspection, and formally apologizes – it should be ok without having to open the can of worms about paying money. Japan is already investing a lot of money in China. That – together with actions to mend the past and to chart a roadmap for integrating more tightly economically with China – should be almost enough… I think.

  16. September 3rd, 2009 at 05:34 | #16

    Hi Guys,

    Thx for the links. Right now there is primarily a lot of reaction within the U.S.. I think China still is on a wait-and-see mode.

    Regarding reconciliation with China – Japan has been granting low-interest loans to China for quite a while – only recently has this been scaled back. Japan also announced program to help establish a regional coordination body to pool resources to help fight crisis shortly after the Sichuan earth quake.

    I share sentiment with Allen on this. China has not really put a precondition for the relationship to “normalize” – I think this is both pragmatic and of great foresight. I might add it is incredibly difficult to do by the Chinese government, because many ordinary Chinese citizen would prefer formal apology and correct history text books before anything else.

    I agree with Steve that Japan has a domestic crisis. For one, its national debt is insane like that of the U.S..

    In 2004, ASEAN and China made an FTA on goods to be achieved by 2010. Services and investments to follow soon after. I believe this FTA will eventually blanket the whole of East Asia, including South Korea and Japan. I can see this happening within the next decade. Its not hard to imagine an Asian currency 20-30 years from now.

  17. Raj
    September 3rd, 2009 at 12:33 | #17

    The election was good for Japanese democracy as a whole, and hopefully good for Japanese politics. It’s hard to predict what will actually happen, though, as Hatoyama has promised many things that would be unworkable if delivered together.

    I’ve noticed that there’s already been a degree of backpeddling on the US-Japan alliance. Japan can’t tell the US to go take a hike because it still relies on it in part. To be rid of a US prescence it would have to significantly increase the defence budget and take years to reform the military. What will happen is an attempt to make the conditions the US stays in Japan more acceptable to the general public.

    I like the idea of an “Asian” European Union, though I’m sure it won’t happen because of inevitable quarrels about membership. A joint currency is also probably pie in the sky because the economies are too divergent – I suspect that linked interest rates would always cause problems for someone.


    The question is, will they be willing to pay compensation to the remaining victims? To me, that’s the make or break point.

    I think we’re probably past the point where there will be more compensation – the Treaty of San Francisco formally dealt with that.

    As for apologies, many have already been made. Some more might be, but I’m not sure they’ll be exceptionally different. I think it’s better to just improve relations rather than set down lists of red lines.

  18. Lime
    September 3rd, 2009 at 16:35 | #18

    This apology thing is something I’ve been wondering about. Since I started paying attention to Japanese politics (sometime in the early 2000s), I remember several occasions when Japanese prime ministers apologised in one way or another for World War II. Wikipedia, actually has a list;


    In other sins-of-the-fathers issues like, I understand that the apologetic party will often avoid actually using the word ‘apology’ for fear that this could be interpretted as an admission that compensation is due. I believe Tony Blair’s apology- or expression of regret- for Britain’s involvement in the slave trade was an example of this. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6185176.stm)

    But looking at the list above, though, it seems that several Japanese prime ministers, most recently the celebrated Mr. K, have used the word apology. Can anyone explain why this apology thing is still an issue, or contribute a link to an article where the people demanding it (the PRC’s government, I guess), explain why they think it’s still an issue?

  19. Raj
    September 3rd, 2009 at 17:59 | #19


    Can anyone explain why this apology thing is still an issue

    There are different reasons, but one is the accusation that “they’re not really sorry”. Which to me is just an admission that such people will never believe Japan/Japanese people are sorry whatever they say.

  20. Steve
    September 3rd, 2009 at 18:27 | #20

    For another view on why the Japanese apology hasn’t been accepted in the rest of Asia while Germany’s has, along with how Japan is perceived by different generations of Chinese, James Fallows from the Atlantic Monthly talks about this and other China related issues in this Motley Fool conversation.

  21. September 4th, 2009 at 00:38 | #21

    Hatoyma may think globalism is an American phenomenon – but it’s not going away. Tighter economic integration, if not not political integration, is the key to a peaceful future, according to this editorial from the China Daily.


  22. hzzz
    September 4th, 2009 at 01:19 | #22

    The Chinese government is using the apology issue to leverage influence especially in trade.

    The issue is silly really. Most Chinese people don’t care unless you remind them, and most Japanese people certainly don’t care even if you do remind them. The politicians on the other hand need to use this issue to manipulate support. Using WWII sentiments the Chinese government can easily rile up anti-Japanese sentiments and royally screw the Japanese economy. Japanese PMs on other hand, can also do something like visiting the war shrine in order to appease the right wingers. The newly elected JPN PM is likely under a lot of pressure from pro-business groups to address China.

  23. September 4th, 2009 at 01:29 | #23

    Hi Steve, Allen,

    Thx for the links. I really like this idea of economic integration being one of the common denominators for all nations regardless of their differences.

    I feel James Fallows has a good pulse on what’s happening. I find myself agreeing with a lot of what he has to say.

  24. September 4th, 2009 at 01:31 | #24

    Hi hzzz, #22,

    I remember Japan’s efforts to gain permanent seat in security council was thwarted by China, South Korea, and other Asian countries for not fully owning up to WW1/WW2 history.

  25. Think Ming
    September 4th, 2009 at 10:28 | #25

    @ Huaren 4

    Why is it only up to Japan to reconcile the history question?

    When will the CCP apologize for The Great Leap Forward? The Cultural Revolution? Tiananmen? Actions in Tibet and Xinjiang?

    Oh yeah. . . the current CCP is different to the CCP then, so it’s irrelevant. . . And anyway, it was Chinese killing Chinese and that’s OK then. . .

  26. Jason
    September 4th, 2009 at 15:46 | #26

    @Think Ming, Raj, Lime

    Maybe because right-winger Japanese like to honor their war crimes in Yasukuni shrine.

    These apologies means nothing when Yasukuni shrine is still honoring their Class A war criminals.

    @ Think Ming

    The coup d’état of the Gang of Four was more than an apology to Mao’s years.

    Tibetans and Uighurs put them on their selves. If they haven’t align with CIA adn NED, there won’t be any ethnic tension.

    As for the Tiananmamen, even though Chinese governmet still do not acknowledge them, most of the reforms that the student’s requests are obliged as of today.

  27. September 4th, 2009 at 16:12 | #27

    Hi Think Ming, #25,

    I don’t think any killing is “OK.”

    It would not be just up to the Japanese to reconcile the history question. In my opinion, it would be Japan and rest of Asia. Do you not agree WW1/WW2 Japan did all these atrocious crimes in Asia?

    Regarding the CCP apologizing to themselves and to the Chinese citizens, you have some suggestion how that might work?

    I think just about every Chinese citizen agree the GLP and CR were disastrous policies. For TAM and other regions, it appears the opinions have a great range.

  28. Steve
    September 4th, 2009 at 17:13 | #28

    @ huaren #27: Outside of attacking and taking over the German port of Qingdao, did the Japanese do anything of consequence in China during WWI? I wasn’t aware they had and am curious.

  29. September 5th, 2009 at 04:51 | #29

    Hi Steve, #28,

    Oops, I don’t know why I slipped WWI in there. I really don’t know much about WWI history and can’t say much about it. Thx for catching it.

  30. September 5th, 2009 at 06:53 | #30

    Hi Steve, #20,

    Fallows mentioned couple of undercurrents that is kind of in the Chinese psyche which were pretty interesting.

    1. 5000 year history
    My opinion is this gives aspirations to every citizen to want to see Chinese society become great again.

    2. those age 40+ still have disasters of GLF, CR fresh in their minds
    My view is this gives them strong preference to stay the course on the growing economy.

    3. young Chinese offended by Japanese leadership visiting Yasekuni shrine
    I think there is some of this. I also think animosity is waning at the same time over time. But if conflict between China and Japan erupts, this undercurrent can be easily riled up. Therefore, I think it is important that Japan’s relationship with China and Asia normalizes.

  31. Raj
    September 5th, 2009 at 10:08 | #31

    huaren (27)

    Regarding the CCP apologizing to themselves and to the Chinese citizens, you have some suggestion how that might work?

    I think It would be more appropriate to have a process. Here are some ideas.

    1. Start with some sort of public statement with a general but clear apology, indicating that grave crimes had been committed by the party in regards to ordinary Chinese and other CCP members.

    2. A Truth and Reconciliation Committee like in South Africa. I think this is important because a proper study of what happened and allowing people to come forward to say what happened to them would act as a catharsis.

    3. Freeing of “political” prisoners even if they weren’t specifically linked to those events. I say “political” to cover people punished for not breaking a law other than being “politically annoying” for the State/CCP.

    4. A lifting on media and academic restrictions on reporting/writing on those events. This would work hand-in-hand with the Committee, as it would take a long time to report. Allowing freer general discussion would help make the process seem more transparent and not a government whitewash.

    5. Reviewing the History syllabus on those topics – e.g. less spin on Mao that the policies that caused the death of millions were just “mistakes”. Teach the facts and let the pupils decide, or put both sides of the argument. When I was at school we not usually taught that national figures were right/wrong. Individual teachers might like to push an interpretation, but it was dependent on the teacher, not national policy.

    But perhaps we should save this for another topic. This is a post about Japan, even if we need to link it to China.

  32. September 5th, 2009 at 16:29 | #32

    Perhaps some experts could help us understand Japan’s involvement with China during and before WW1. I just did some quick reading – it was during WW1 where Japan had already tried to swallow China as a whole – also at the expense of other colonial “Western” powers.

  33. September 5th, 2009 at 16:42 | #33

    Hi Raj, #31,

    I actually think this “apology” thing might deserve a separate thread. The way I see it there is quite a bit of similarities between the CCP reconciling GLF and CR with the Chinese population as a whole vs. Japan apologizing to Asia for WW2 atrocities.

    Why *should* for each of the two cases?
    Why *should not* for both?
    Why *should* for one case and *should not* for the other?

    Has there been any society where the governing party apologized for their bad policies. Would be interesting to see examples.

    We know Germany is an example between nation states which many agree bore fruit in EU/Euro.

  34. Raj
    September 6th, 2009 at 10:01 | #34

    I just did some quick reading – it was during WW1 where Japan had already tried to swallow China as a whole

    In what way? It joined the side of the “Allies” and attacked German colonies, but I haven’t read that it made a bid to attack China as a whole. It wanted those German colonies after the war, but that was a normal reaction to overseas German territory by the victors.

  35. Steve
    September 6th, 2009 at 15:04 | #35

    Huaren, I’ve also read about the same thing Raj wrote, that it only involved German colonies in China but the actual Japanese intrusions didn’t take place until well after the war ended. Is there something we missed?

  36. September 6th, 2009 at 17:05 | #36

    Hi Raj, #34,

    I am curious if you thought it was “ok” for the Japanese to take Tsintao and other Chinese territories occupied by WW1 Germany?

  37. September 6th, 2009 at 17:23 | #37

    Hi Steve, #35, Raj, #34,

    This was what I read on Wikipedia:

    Twenty-One Demands (対華二十一ヵ条要求 Taika Nijyūichikkajō Yōkyū?)

    The Japanese tried to kill Zhang Zuolin

    Japan invaded and took over Korea in around 1890. From 1890 until their defeat by the U.S. in WW2, I think they were working towards conquest of Asia.

  38. Raj
    September 6th, 2009 at 17:53 | #38


    I am curious if you thought it was “ok” for the Japanese to take Tsintao and other Chinese territories occupied by WW1 Germany?

    Japan was on our side during the war, so as we couldn’t take those colonies it was fair for it to do that task. Attacking German colonies overseas was important, I think.

    As to whether Japan should have been awarded those colonies after the war, better that they’d not been colonies or handed over to China. But can I complain that they were given to Japan instead of Britain, France or left with Germany? Would seem hypocritical, don’t you think?

    Japan invaded and took over Korea in around 1890. From 1890 until their defeat by the U.S. in WW2, I think they were working towards conquest of Asia.

    Japan had been looking for an empire like other European states, but I’m not sure it was hell-bent on conquering Asia by WWI. I would read the 21 demands as being more an attempt at solidifying Japan’s presence in the area whilst stopping other powers expanding their influence. Doesn’t mean that the demands were reasonable, of course.

  39. Steve
    September 6th, 2009 at 23:42 | #39

    @ Huaren #37: I didn’t realize the 21 demands took place that early. I agree with you that they were unreasonable and interfering and were taking advantage of the European powers’ being occupied with the fighting in Europe, so they go beyond just taking Qingdao from the Germans. Trying to kill a warlord wasn’t interfering in the central Chinese government, but it was still gross interference with a foreign country.

    The original Japanese goal was to control China and move into Siberia for the natural resources. They had no intention of moving towards SE Asia. After defeats at Lake Khasan and Khalkhin Gol by the Russians, they shifted their geopolitical plans to SE Asia and the Western Pacific, and began to prepare for the Pearl Harbor attack to take out the US Navy so they could invade the Philippines. They had given up on Siberia by that time.

    @ Raj: I’d say that the last two demands were what got them in trouble, not just with the Western powers but also with the Chinese people themselves:

    * Group 4 barred China from giving any further coastal or island concessions to foreign powers except for Japan.

    * Group 5 contained a miscellaneous set of demands, ranging from Japanese advisors appointed to the Chinese central government and to administer the Chinese police force (which would severely intrude on Chinese sovereignty) to allowing Japanese Buddhist preachers to conduct missionary activities in China.

    Group 5 was way out there and ended up being rejected and abandoned. But by even suggesting it, they pushed the line far beyond what it had been. Group 4 made them enemies among the foreign powers which lost them potential allies.

  40. September 7th, 2009 at 07:39 | #40

    Very interesting article over at Xinhua:

    “New variables on China-Japan ties with Hatoyama in power”

    Some highlights:

    Normalization runs deep in the Hatoyama family:

    – “Yukio has once served as vice-president of the Dietmen’s League for Japan-China Friendship.”
    – “His grand father, Ichiro Hatoyama, was the longest post-war Japanese prime minister, and he worked hard to normalize relations with China back in 1954, but failed owing to the U.S. restraint policy during the cold war.”
    – “Yuko’s father, Lichiro Hatoyama, then Japanese foreign minister in the Takeo Fukuda Cabinet, held talks with China for signing the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty in 1976 but his effort suffered setback due to pressures imposed by the former Soviet Russia.”

    Biggest trade partner:

    – China has replaced the U.S. as Japan’s largest export partner.

    Issues China see with Japan to over come:

    “Japanese right-wing national forces would provoke some thought on a couple of historical issues; China’s separatist forces like those for “Taiwan Independence”, “Tibetan independence” and “Xinjiang independence” would attempt to find their “patrons” in Japan and look for opportunities to split China; China and Japan differ in their respective stance on the Diaoyu Island, and they are yet to settle their disputes over territorial and maritime rights; the affectionate sentiments between the people of the two nations are still yet to resume, and there is still the lack of sufficient mutual political trust in the area of military security.”

    In conclusion:

    “DPJ, a political party without a milestone around its neck, can promote and develop its fraternity and friendly, cooperative ties with China in strict compliance with four political documents signed between the two neighboring nations. Hence, Sino-Japanese relations in the years ahead would have more friendship and less friction.”

  41. Dragan
    September 7th, 2009 at 09:16 | #41

    re article: all great, it has been a clear direction in recent two years to foster sino-japanese friendship and overcome the issues, I think many called it a “new spring’ in China. While generally ordinary chinese people still despise Japanese for their WW2 acts toward China and Chinese people, Zhongnanhai understands that playing friendly with Japan is crucial for convincing the world, and more importantly asian neighbours, that the rise will indeed be peacefull. That’s a part of a broader policy to pull in other asian countries in friendly and possibly strategic alliance with Beijing, instead of installing fear and consequently pushing them away, which would be the case should China be unfriendly toward Japan.

    So the issue really lies now with Japanese – will they play that way or will they try to keep the distance. Japanse public is also not too friendly toward China, and that may put some pressure on Hatoyama.
    Diaoyu Islands will be a real testing ground.

  42. Raj
    September 7th, 2009 at 10:18 | #42


    While generally ordinary chinese people still despise Japanese for their WW2 acts toward China and Chinese people

    Just to clarify, you’re saying that a majority of Chinese people despise Japanese even if they weren’t born then, let alone committing specific acts of aggression/war crimes? I don’t believe that.

    You also seem to suggest that the Chinese government isn’t really that interested in good relations with Japan for the sake of having good relations with Japan, more that it wants it to provide a fake image to the world or something? Surely good relations with all countries should be cherished to bring greater understanding and mutual benefit.

    Japanse public is also not too friendly toward China

    In what respect and based on what information?

    Past opinion polls that I read have shown that the Japanese public thought better about China than the Chinese public did about Japan at the time. Japanese opinion of China may have dropped in recent years, but not because they’re unfriendly. It’s more out of concern about the future with China.

  43. Dragan
    September 7th, 2009 at 11:37 | #43

    Hi Raj

    Yes, I am surprised that you do not know as chinese are quite open in expressing that, and still so, despite the fact that pols show that it is not as grave as it used to be. The fact people were not born then does not help, as all they’ve been ever listening about japanese are those atrocities made in XIX century and it does not help when a japanese premier repeatedly visits Yasukuni Shrine and history books in Japan are not , in chinese view, honest about that chapter in history. Put aside the war, occupation etc. and just think of Nanjing and 300,000 victims and you might understand the depth of that wound. So, even rational and inteligent people are often very emotional once you talk about Japan.

    It is also acknowledged that anti-japanese sentiment puts a lot of presure on gov’t, which, in order not to “loose face”, allows anti-japanese demonstrations and is quick to act should they feel public is provoked by visit to Yasakuni or some other similar act. Actually, just few years ago, gov’t let several leading newspapers run editorials written by scholars and , I think, mid-level officials that argued for forgetting the past and forging genuinely friendly relationship with Japan. They wanted to test the water. The response from public was sutch, that these people are still marked as ‘biggest chinese traitors” ( by general public) and their carrers have been consequently stalled. Since then, Beijing employed a more subtle approach, and the public sentiment still stays strongly anti-japanese.

    No, it is not about fake impression, of course it is a valuable relationship in any sense that you do not need any other incentive to try and keep friendly. However, it is mostly closely observed one, due to the problematic history and Japanese closeness with US, and is therefore perceived by other asian countries as a real test ground for China’s intentions in Asia and offering a preview of how China’s increasing leverage will be used.

  44. Raj
    September 7th, 2009 at 12:23 | #44

    Hi Dragan

    The Chinese people (I mean citizens, not Han people who are citizens of other countries) I have met have never said they hate/resent Japanese people today, even if they feel there are unresolved matters about the war. Although I know views are different, I have never heard that a majority of Chinese people were so bitter and hate-filled towards the current Japanese generation. It would be interesting to hear what other people have to say on this matter.

    I remember the reaction to those news stories, though I wonder if that’s in part because those who shout the loudest are the angriest – it doesn’t mean they hold the majority view. Even if people agree with the articles they won’t dare say so because they don’t want to be targetted by the mob either. But maybe that really does reflect majority opinion. So is it the fault of the government in some way, like focusing too much in the war at school and the general media? Or is there nothing it can do and Chinese people will always be angry regardless?

    I understand your point about perceptions and foreign relations now, thanks.

  45. Otto Kerner
    September 7th, 2009 at 15:37 | #45

    Here’s an anecdote: I was at a banquet with a number of professors at a university in a provincial capital. One of them, a man of about 40, advises me — unprompted — that, “the truth is, we would all be happy to see Japan at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean!” I guess the bottom of the Pacific would still be too close for comfort in his opinion. He had consumed a considerable amount of baijiu at this point, so naturally the error reminds one of the hazards of speaking a foreign language while drunk, but I have no reason to think the sentiment was anything other than genuine, and he apparently felt the need to get it off his chest.

  46. Dragan
    September 7th, 2009 at 15:38 | #46

    Hi Raj,

    well, they are rational enough to buy toyota cars and shop at Ito Yokado, but ultimately emotional when it comes to WW2 an japanese role at chinese soil.

    Yes, for sure, those that are on streets for anti-japanese demostrations and chinese netizens on some forums are the most radical among chinese population. I agree it is not 100% of chinese population, but I think that these people are just bold version of “quiet majority” and relly do reflect opinion of majority of chinese people – that think the same but would not bring it on forums and out to the streets, but would also not condemn them and generally would have positive views on such displays of patriotism. At least that is my experience, but would also love to hear what other think.

    Re your questions, I am not sure about the answer. My opinion is that it certainly will be a long process and that the current approach from chinese govt helps. Taking different approach in education would probably help also. But, in my opinion, the key would be for Japanese to bow, apologize clearly, accept the chinese account (generaly regarded to be much closer to truth) of WW2 Japanese misdeeds in China, change their school and history books and stop officially visiting Yasukuni once for all.

  47. September 7th, 2009 at 20:18 | #47

    Hi Dragan,

    Have you done some homework and have info on what the over-all sentiment is in the Japanese and Chinese publics their sentiments toward each other?

    FM reader ‘hzzz’ gave us some links to some PEW surveys:


  48. September 7th, 2009 at 21:08 | #48

    Hi Steve, #39,

    “Trying to kill a warlord wasn’t interfering in the central Chinese government, but it was still gross interference with a foreign country.”

    I guess I don’t view it the same way, and I suspect most Chinese don’t either. Zhang Zuolin probably considered himself a patriot and Chinese citizens view him as such. Lincoln is technically a “warlord” too. But if Canadians had tried to take over the U.S. during the American civil war, you wouldn’t want to help Canada justify their invasion just because Licoln was a “warlord.”

    Obviously, Zhang Zuolin hasn’t nearly done for China what Lincoln has done for America – not a great example, but I think you’ll understand what I wanted to say.

  49. Raj
    September 7th, 2009 at 21:39 | #49


    that the current approach from chinese govt helps

    I don’t agree. The government has been too fast to whip up nationalism in the past through the media. It will only help when it buries such tactics for good rather than try to use it as a diplomatic bargaining chip.

    But, in my opinion, the key would be for Japanese to bow, apologize clearly, accept the chinese account (generaly regarded to be much closer to truth) of WW2 Japanese misdeeds in China, change their school and history books and stop officially visiting Yasukuni once for all.

    Sorry, all Japanese people have to bow? To who? And they can’t visit Yasukuni? It’s their choice, no one can stop them.

    When it comes to apologies, Premier Wen said Japan’s apologised. So it’s too late now. If Chinese people don’t feel that’s enough, they can protest outside his residence until he does a U-turn.

    China would never, ever, ever, [ad infinitum] allow another country to dictate how it taught History. So that’s something else to be put aside. Joint textbooks that were mandatory in schools could be used, but they would need to be produced through consensus. That would require China to adopt them universally as well.

    Alternatively they might be revised through domestic discussion, but it would still be Japan’s decision.

  50. Steve
    September 7th, 2009 at 21:40 | #50

    Hi Huaren: What I meant was the literal meaning: Zhang Zuolin was not a central government leader but a regional warlord with his own army. Lincoln was the President of the United States and leader of the central government. That doesn’t mean Zhang wasn’t a patriot. Neither would I that say Lincoln was a warlord since he wasn’t a regional leader with his own private army. There haven’t been any “warlords” per the Chinese definition in US history, so they’re hard to compare.

  51. Steve
    September 7th, 2009 at 21:56 | #51

    @ Raj: Based on my experience in China, I’d say there is plenty of anti-Japanese sentiment and it’s even stronger among the young than the old. I’ve also had similar experiences to Otto’s. In fact, James Fallows even talked about it in his interview with Motley Fool earlier this week. I’ve heard these sentiments from my colleagues at work, from friends I’ve met here and there, even from strangers that I’ve talked to at the park. There are two areas of complaint. By far the strongest is WWII, but another area of complaint comes from Chinese who have worked for Japanese companies in China. Their opinions are never taken into consideration and the basic mantra is “Japanese way good, Chinese way bad”. I’m not surprised since this same attitude is common with all Japanese businesses, at least in my experience. The fact that WWII documentaries are shown on a daily basis there, along with articles complaining about the Japanese representation of WWII history, contribute to the negative attitudes.

    Hatoyama has already said he would not visit Yasukuni Shrine so that shouldn’t be an issue. The DPJ constituency isn’t based on Yasukuni supporters. But the important thing to remember is that Hatoyama wasn’t elected because of his foreign policy views, he was elected to fix the economy and take power from the bureaucracy. He has no mandate for wide foreign policy changes and knows if he wants to remain in office he needs to concentrate on the economy and not rock the boat too much over foreign affairs. He has the reputation as being a political chameleon willing to change at a moment’s notice in order to maintain a favorable public opinion. A politician that pragmatic isn’t going to do anything too extreme.

  52. September 7th, 2009 at 22:45 | #52

    Hi Steve, #50,

    The reason I used Lincoln was the U.S. was essentially divided between the North and the South. Lincoln lead the north. In the case of China during WW1 period, China was fractured, with Zhang Zuolin controlling a big piece – northeast China.

    Trying to kill Zhang Zuolin in an attempt to take northeast China is no different than attacking China as a whole. I guess that’s my point.

    Would Robert E Lee be a better example? But I didn’t think Zhang Zuolin supported breaking apart China.

    Just cruious, what’s the Chinese definition of “warlord”? I have always wondered why in English language, they describe other country having these types of “leaders” and never in U.S. or European history. 🙂

  53. Lime
    September 8th, 2009 at 00:27 | #53

    Worth pointing out that not only has Hatoyama vowed never to visit the shrine, none of his Prime Ministerial predecssors since Koizumi visited while in office, either. Other politicians have of course, but like Raj says, they have rights as private citizens, and the shrine itself is a private establishment, so there’s nothing to be done, but it does seem a little unfair to condemn the whole of ‘Japan’ and its citizens based on that.

    The ‘warlord’ discussion interests me quite a bit. My take on huaren’s question is that the use of the term ‘warlord’ in Chinese history is a reflection of the self-fulfilling prophecy of Chinese unity. In the case of Jefferson Davis, where he was the leader of a territory that had once been part of a larger state, and was again, we still tend to remember him as President of the Confederacy, and not as a southern warlord. But with China, we have this (ahistorical) assumption that it always has and always will be part of a large united block, and when it isn’t, that’s just a temporary anomaly. So if you were the leader of a territory that had once been part of a state historically perceived as a ‘China’ and was later part of another China, then your historical space tends to get dismissed, and you will be remembered as just another warlord between unifications rather than a historical actor within a unique political and cultural space in its own right. (The exception is if you’re part of a non-Han culture and your state is on the periphery of past Chinas). This is something that bugs me alot about Chinese historiography.

    By the way, thanks for the link to the James Fallows interview Steve!

  54. Steve
    September 8th, 2009 at 01:28 | #54

    @ huaren & Lime: My definition of a Chinese warlord is the same as for any warlord. A warlord is a person living in a region of a country who, though he acknowledges a supreme national leader, has military and political control of said region. The regional government answers to him and not the central authority. The military also answers to him and not the central authority.

    Lincoln was the president of the United States before the Confederacy declared independence. Once that happened, he was still the president of the United States and not a region, though for four years his government had various degrees of control over the South. The United States never acknowledged or accepted the independence of the South.

    One rarely mentioned fact about the Confederacy is that it was a rich man’s war and government. A sizeable percentage of southerners believed in the Union and did not believe in slavery, but because they weren’t landowners their voice was ignored, even when voting took place. There were many towns in the South who voted to remain with the union before the Confederacy broke away. It wasn’t as cut and dried as it’s been portrayed in the media.

    Lime, I don’t think the shrine has been an issue since Koizumi’s time but the relatively recent revisions to textbooks downplaying or ignoring Japanese atrocities has riled people in countries that were occupied by the Japanese back then.

    As you wrote, the Confederacy never claimed to be a part of the United States but separate, so Jefferson Davis didn’t fit the definition of warlord. He was also an elected president and did not take power through military conquest as did the Chinese warlords, though some of those warlords were popular in the areas they controlled while others were hated but kept power through military might.

    I always enjoy hearing what Fallows has to say about China. His experiences are the closest to what I experienced there so it’s easy for me to relate to him in that way.

  55. September 8th, 2009 at 05:30 | #55

    Hi Steve, Lime,

    Yeah, I think this definition of “warlords” is indeed interesting. So, Steve, are you saying “democratically electedness” is the criteria?

    But, Lime, you are not assigning morality to this “ahistorical” perspective about China, right? If the USA has a 5,000 year history, perhaps future Americans might tend to have this “ahistorial” perspective as Chinese citizens do. What do you think?

  56. Lime
    September 8th, 2009 at 06:33 | #56

    Hi Huaren,
    Well yes, if there is a unified state, or series of states occupying the general area of the United States for even a few hundred more years, it’s quite possible that the common historical interpretation will be one that characterises the United States, as a permanent civilisational feature on humanity’s historical landscape. It’s always in the interest of nationalists and rulers trying solidfy territorial control to construe their state as having an intrinsic form and construe historical periods where the political situation did not match this form as being anomalous (and usually very negative). This I think can be seen in the historiography of almost every state currently in existence, save those, like Canada, which are too new and whose creation was too clearly arbitrary to attach this kind mythologising to.

    China is just the most extreme example of a state where rather large temporal periods and large geographic areas’ histories have been lumped and flattened into an almost homogenous historical narrative, for the sake of either nationalism, or, probably more often, for the sake of simplification (keeping first year university world history text books to a manageable size). I mean this persistent idea that ‘China has 5000 years of history’ is probably the best example of how mythologised ‘Chinese’ history really is, as this figure is based on the life of a mythical culture hero. Something like using King Arthur as the date for the founding of England (or Britain), or modern Greeks insisting that their history began when Prometheus brought them fire.

    It’s not that doing this kind of thing is necessarily bad; creating the myth of ancient (or at least old) and intrinsic nation/civilisation may even be necessary if you’re a nationalist determined to ‘keep the nation together’. It’s just that it makes for bad, and rather boring formulaic history; interesting characters like Zhang Zuolin and the Zheng family of the late 1600s tend to get brushed over or forced into narratives that don’t quite fit.

    That said, if we use Steve’s definition of ‘warlord’, then both the Zhengs and Zhang would fit nicely.

    To contribute to the discussion on how widespread the dislike of Japan and Japanese people was in China, my experience was that in the PRC, it was a small but very vocal minority who had a problem with Japan. The young vs old divide I can’t comment on, as I talked to far more young people than old people. Worth noting though was it seemed to me to be socially acceptable to go off about how much you hated the Japanese in mixed company. Nipponophobia, I think, was more tolerated and perhaps prevalent therefore than, say, anti-semitism in North America. In the ROC, I don’t think I met anybody who was willing to admit they had a problem with the Japan. That was my experience.

  57. September 8th, 2009 at 07:52 | #57

    Hi Lime,

    From a practical standpoint, we can’t fault a normal American for thinking that the USA will last forever, and I think if you ask the population, they’d want this civilization to persist temporally and geographically in similar fashion. Further more, nothing wrong with that unless you want to conquer the world.

    If USA is invaded by Canada and a piece taken for some period of time, I imagine at a future time, the USA will fight back to reclaim that territory. This has always been humanity, I am afraid. You are certainly not espousing the idea it is OK to invade another country and take its territory, right? 🙂

    China’s Xia dynasty lasted 2070BC – 1600BC. The other dynasties are well documented. Maybe you could elaborate more about the creation of this “myth”?

    I agree there’s Nipponophobia in China – and in my view, obviously given Japan’s WW2 past. My grandfather told me his home was destroyed by Japanese bombers. Those who experienced WW2 Japanese atrocities are still alive today in China and Asia.

    Regarding the “Nipponophobia” being openly aired – I think a lot also has to do with the “politically-correct” culture that hasn’t hit China yet. Many would argue the politically correct culture in the “West” has pushed the true feelings on a lot of things underground. Btw, this was some other FM contributor / reader’s comment I read a while back.

  58. Dragan
    September 8th, 2009 at 08:30 | #58


    Hi Haren, I did not see anything that does not support my views in the surveys you linked me too. If you think I overlooked something,please let me know

    Hi Raj, maybe I di not express myself clearly -japanese to bow was a figure os speach meaning that they should clearly admit the attrocities they have dione in China and Asia during and around WW2 and accordingly make some moves on the ground such as stop OFFICIALLY Yasukuni shrine in form of state arranged visit and re-work the history and school books.Your idea of joint books revision through concensus is great, but it should not mean meeting half way but meeting historical truth

    Re government tactics, I treid to explain above that in case of sino-japanese relations chinese government is a hostage to its people. There are no incentives for government to spoil such an important relation by unleashing unfriendly feelings toward Japan in its people. Actually, even sport events involving Japan and China are potential bombs and are usually preceded, and more so in recent times, with official appeal to local chinese crowds to behave friendly.And editorials urging “building a constructive relationship” with Japan, stressing cultural proximity, developed busines ties and other positive conotations of sino-japanese relations are common place. However, gov’t is pressured by masses not to loose face or be perceived as weak – especially toward the arch-enemy and competitor Japan – and you know that it is the worst that could happen to today’s Zhongnahai after “century of humiliation”.

  59. Wukailong
    September 8th, 2009 at 10:19 | #59

    Where does the figure 5000 come from? From the various descriptions on when the Xia dynasty might have been founded, none goes further back than the year 2200. Doesn’t that make China 4000+ years old, rather than 5000? 😉

  60. Steve
    September 8th, 2009 at 10:47 | #60

    @ Wukailong: I believe it goes back to Huangdi (Yellow Emperor) which makes the history actually a bit less than 5000 years, more like 4700.

  61. Wukailong
    September 8th, 2009 at 11:01 | #61

    I was going to write in more detail about this since writing in China was most probably invented after the Xia dynasty. The oracle bone inscriptions come from the Shang dynasty which was founded around 3500 years ago. Xia and pre-Xia descends into myth because of the lack of written records. Not that I doubt their existence, but it certainly makes it difficult to date them.

  62. Chops
    September 8th, 2009 at 11:36 | #62

    Quite a number of Japanese citizens of Chinese descent still live in Japan, and some of them lived in Nagasaki where the A-Bomb was dropped.

    Chinatowns in Japan

  63. Raj
    September 8th, 2009 at 20:05 | #63

    huaren (57)

    Regarding the “Nipponophobia” being openly aired – I think a lot also has to do with the “politically-correct” culture that hasn’t hit China yet.

    What do you mean by “Nipponophobia” and “politically-correct”? I hope you’re not supporting the view put about previously that what we would call racism/xenophobia does not apply in China. If some Chinese people believe that Japanese are inferior or hate them purely because they are Japanese, they are racist.

    Maybe you mean something else, if so I’d like to hear what you mean.

    Dragan (58)

    If the Chinese government “has” to be anti-Japanese from time-to-time to placate public sentiment, I don’t understand how so many supporters of the current Chinese political system can argue with a straight face that it’s good because the government can ignore the people when they’re being overly emotional, intolerant, making bad choices for the country, etc. You’re suggesting that in many ways China’s political system has the worst of both worlds, because it forbids another party taking power/disallows direct elections for top positions, yet still panders to the public when they’re angry.

  64. September 8th, 2009 at 20:17 | #64

    Hi Dragan, #58,
    I meant to ask as favor if you have additional information perhaps you came across besides the PEW reports you could share with us. Not arguing with you. 🙂

    Hi Wukailong, #61,
    Ok, 3500 years almost seems as long as 5000 if we just look at Shang dynasty.

    Hi Raj, #63,
    Btw, you should ask Lime what he meant by “Nipponophobia” – this was the first time I’ve heard of it. I took it to mean many Chinese are openly criticizing Japan for their WW2 atrocities in a non-politically-correct way.

  65. Raj
    September 8th, 2009 at 22:05 | #65

    I took it to mean many Chinese are openly criticizing Japan for their WW2 atrocities in a non-politically-correct way.

    And what does that mean?

  66. September 8th, 2009 at 22:30 | #66

    Hi Raj, #65,

    And are you going to keep asking “And what does that mean?” What are you looking for? Did Lime’s comments about some anecdotal things he heard some Chinese citizen say prove that they were racist?

    Don’t you get it – WW2 Japan’s crimes against Asia were atrocious. Since the country has not formally apologized, the victims are resentful of that fact. Are you trying to turn this simple fact on its head to now say the Chinese are racist against Japanese? If so, that’d be absurd.

  67. Lime
    September 8th, 2009 at 23:43 | #67

    What I meant by ‘Nipponophobia’ was a generalised dislike of Japan and Japanese people as a nation, ethnicity, or race, however you may want to categorise it, akin to anti-semitism, that may or may not be inspired by Japanese history. It’s one thing when you have a problem with a state at the governmental level, but when you’re animosity extends to having a problem with the average Yoshi on the streets of Osaka simply because he’s Japanese, that’s what I’m talking about. Someone like the prof that Otto mentioned wishing to see all of Japan at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean would fall into this category. There are certainly people like this in the PRC (I’ve met some of them), though I believe they’re a minority. Openly criticising Japan (the Japanese government rather), for WW2 atrocities in a non-politically correct way falls short of Nipponophobia, by my definition.

    As far as the political correctness goes, I think that’s a matter of how tolerant of society is of the Nipponophobes’ views. By comparison, there are certainly a minority of people in minority that have a problem with Jews in general, but it would be very rare for someone to state at a public event that they would be happy to see all the Jews in the world sent to the bottom of Atlantic, even if they did feel that way. Such does not seem to be the case in China, though, and I think huaren may be right in suggesting this is just a difference in the political correctness. We’re pretty touchy about hating on groups of people on this side of the Pacific, racial, ethnic, religious, national, or whatever.

  68. Jason
    September 9th, 2009 at 01:00 | #68

    Who those who feel that Chinese government is overpushing their agenda for right-wing Japanese nationalists to come clean, what do you think of these comments:

    The chief priest of the shrine denies that they were war criminals, saying, “The winner passed judgment on the loser.”

    Also that [huaren: word deleted to keep forum civil] Koizumi said at Nov 2004 APEC meeting “It’s about time for [China’s] graduation* [as a recipient of Japanese foreign aid payments],” implying that Japan intended unilaterally to end its 25-year-old financial aid program.

    *”graduation” also conveyed the insulting implication that Japan saw itself as a teacher guiding China, the student.

    Wen Jiabao went on to suggest that China had always regarded Japan’s foreign aid, which he said China did not need, as payments in lieu of compensation for damage done by Japan in China during the war. He pointed out that China had never asked for reparations from Japan and that Japan’s payments amounted to about $30 billion over 25 years, a fraction of the $80 billion Germany has paid to the victims of Nazi atrocities even though Japan is the more populous and richer country.

  69. Wukailong
    September 9th, 2009 at 03:29 | #69

    @huaren (#64): Actually, I don’t want to be nitpicky about age… It’s amazing that China keeps using the beautiful writing system that was invented so long ago. The style of the characters have changed, but it’s been conserved far more than any European language has. 3500 or 5000 doesn’t really change anything. 😉

  70. September 9th, 2009 at 06:06 | #70

    Hi Wukailong,

    Then you might appreciate this rendition of a 3000 year old poem. 🙂

    3000 Year Poem: 关雎 Crying Ospreys (哈辉 Hahui)

  71. Raj
    September 9th, 2009 at 07:10 | #71


    And are you going to keep asking “And what does that mean?” What are you looking for?

    I’m looking for a clarification as to what “not being politically correct” is, because in the past it was used to argue certain things that could be said to be racist in China were not racist but “not politically correct”.

    WW2 Japan’s crimes against Asia were atrocious. Since the country has not formally apologized, the victims are resentful of that fact. Are you trying to turn this simple fact on its head to now say the Chinese are racist against Japanese? If so, that’d be absurd.

    Japan has apologised – the Chinese PM said as much – even if you don’t feel it goes far enough. It isn’t racist to be feel unhappy about the war, but Lime’s definition of Nipponophobia in the first paragraph of post 67 would be racism.

  72. Dragan
    September 9th, 2009 at 07:12 | #72


    Hi Raj, I was not arguing in favour of OR against chinese political system, but merely tried to give a perspective on the chinese side of sino-japanese relations.

    To respond to your question, supporters of chinese gov’t usually argue exactly the way you described. If the public opinion was in driving seat -especially the noiser part of public opinion- and public opinion is not friendly toward Japan, China would have likely be much harsher in its stance towatd Japan, leading to uncertainty that would stall development of bussines ties and military build up that might lead to a military confrontation sparked by one of the PERCEIVED “humiliating” and “insulting” acts on Japanese side. Luckily, public koopinion is not in the driving seat and government can develop ties with Tokyo and just occassionaly give the masses space to vent their anger – anger that would otherwise go against them for being to weak to stand up to “japanese devils” ( the very existence of this term tells you about the feelings imprinted in chinese psyche re japanese)

  73. September 9th, 2009 at 07:25 | #73

    Hi Raj, #71,

    “not being politically correct” means “not appropriate.” For example, instead of using “spokesman” for both a male or female, the “politically correct” term for it is “spokesperson.” Is there something else am I missing?

    Someone calling a woman a “spokesman” does not automatically mean that person is sexist, does it?

    Lime’s point that he thinks those Chinese people he has encountered who are racist are in the minority. That’s my view too.

    Okay, so I am not sure where you are going with this “Nipponophobia” thing. Are we done there? 🙂

  74. Dragan
    September 9th, 2009 at 07:27 | #74


    Hi HUren,

    My views are based on variety of polls I have seen over last few years as well as personal experience of living in China and various literature

    re pols – I am sure you can google them out – for instance, some recent ones:


    and a very interesting one here


    and this academic one – only abstract – that I wish i could read through


  75. September 9th, 2009 at 07:27 | #75

    Hi Dragan, #72,

    I think you are exactly right. Good point. That’s vision and credit should be given to the CCP.

  76. September 9th, 2009 at 07:30 | #76

    Hi Dragan, #74,

    Thx for the links. I’ll take a look next chance I get. Ha, this last couple of exchanges feels like we are instant messaging.

  77. Raj
    September 9th, 2009 at 07:30 | #77

    huaren @73

    The thing was that I couldn’t think of a “politically incorrect” expression that could be made about the Japanese that was not racist. But if you agree with Lime’s position then it’s a moot point and am glad you feel that way.

  78. Dragan
    September 9th, 2009 at 07:46 | #78

    Yes, indded, quick exchange : ) where are you, btw?

  79. Wukailong
    September 9th, 2009 at 08:53 | #79

    @huaren: Thanks for the link! Shi Jing is an amazing work. It’s also amazing how the modern language retains words like 淑女 after all those thousands of years.

  80. September 11th, 2009 at 00:56 | #80

    Hi Dragan, #74,

    Thx for the links again. Looks like there is a very long ways to go towards reconciliation. For the sake of the region, it must happen. I have always wondered what goes through the heads of the governments on both sides on this kind of issue. Its tough.

    Anyways, regarding Hatoyama’s positions – I honestly find it encouraging.

  81. Chops
    September 24th, 2009 at 06:38 | #81

    “Japan’s new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama vowed to face up to the bitter memories of his country’s wartime past that still stir distrust in Asia, an official said.

    Hatoyama made the pledge during a meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and ahead of a Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh, said the Japanese government official.

    The leader of the center-left Democratic Party of Japan, has proposed that Japan build a new, non-religious state war memorial to serve as an alternative focus of national war remembrance to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine.

    During a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday, Hatoyama also said he would follow a landmark statement of apology for Japan’s wartime aggression issued in 1995 by then-prime minister Tomiichi Murayama — one of the few other left-leaning leaders in modern Japan.”


  82. September 29th, 2009 at 04:30 | #82

    Hi Chops, #81,

    Looks like the top leaders of Japan, China, ROK are meeting in October. Will be interesting to see what comes out of that.

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