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Sino-Japanese Relations: Old Enmities and New Rivalries

Published 05 Mar 2014

The contemporary China-Japan relationship is scarred by the legacy of Japanese war and imperialism in China. Yet in the midst of this tension and hostility, the two countries enjoy major trade and investment ties.

Dr Amy Catalinac and Dr Amy King examine the Sino-Japanese relationship from two different perspectives. In her talk, Amy King examines the origins of this paradoxical China-Japan relationship. She will take us back to the late 1940s, 50s and 60s—the decades immediately after the Second World War—when the People’s Republic of China worked hard to try and build an economic relationship with Japan, then its Cold War opponent and erstwhile wartime enemy. She explains what motivated China’s Communist leaders to try and reach out to Japan, and the implications of this period for our understanding of the contemporary China-Japan relationship.

Amy Catalinac discusses Japan’s apparent lurch to the right, which is making headlines around the world. Numerous studies have assumed that Japan’s rightward shift is a no-brainer, attributing it to growing concerns about the rise of China. In her presentation, Amy Catalinac challenges the notion that Japanese politicians or the Japanese public are lurching to the right. She presents evidence that Japan’s contemporary obsession with national security has little to do with China and would have occurred even if China was not rising. Instead of moving to the right, she explains that Japan is lurching to the ideological centre, where it is likely to stay.