Sunday, February 06, 2005

China-Japan relations

The Times had a nice Week in Review article on China-Japan relations. Although China recently became Japan's number one trading partner, political relations are still tense between the two nations. The real source of these tensions is of course WWII, which Japan has never adequately apologized for. While young Germans are acutely aware of their country's role in the war, and in the holocaust, most young Japanese know almost nothing about Japan's wartime atrocities or imperial aspirations. When traveling abroad in Asia they are often shocked at the anti-Japanese sentiment which persists to this day.

Younger Asians are more likely to have a positive view of Japan, perhaps due to the widespread appeal Japanese pop culture (a form of "soft-power"). China is the exception, where, amazingly, young people tend to have stronger anti-Japanese feelings than older people with more direct ties to the war. The PRC government deliberately uses nationalism as an outlet for political tensions, and this is yet another area in which that policy may backfire.

NYT: Over the long term, the economic trajectories of the two countries are clear. Barring catastrophes, "China will become the sole leader in Asia, with Japan as an important subordinate," Toyoo Gyohten, a Japanese business leader, warned in a speech last fall.

Mr. Gyohten questioned the wisdom of antagonizing China out of pique over Chinese harping on World War II. "Many Japanese believe they have already apologized," he said. "But I, for one, believe that we should apologize as many times as possible."

But for Mr. Koizumi, Mr. Ishihara and their generation, there is a statute of limitations on contrition. As Jeffrey Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, said in an interview: "This is a Japan that doesn't flinch any more."

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Japanese friends tell me there are many Japanese who wish the would flinch. There is much of the past the Japanese struggle with, and political organization can be more autocratic than local groups of Japanese mgiht wish. We argue, is Japan becoming more democratic? We switch sides.

Anne

Anonymous said...

Anne aside :)

CENTRAL PARK NATURE NEWS
&
PALE MALE & LOLA NEWS

2/6/05 -- HAWKWATCHER REPORT

AERIAL ATTACK

Marie,

Yesterday (Sat) Pale Male delivered some twigs to the nest after circling the pond two or three times. He then sat on the nest for between 5 and 10 minutes. Then the most incredible thing happened....he jumped off the nest and soared low across the pond, like a jet plane, wings back and went after some pigeons in the small grassy area behind the benches. He was no more than 5 feet above our heads. A spectacular aerial show. Somehow the pigeons all got away and Pale Male landed in a nearby tree empty handed. It must have taken about 5 or 6 seconds from beginning to end. What a thrill to have seen that.

Bob Brooks

Anonymous said...

Anne aside :)

http://store1.yimg.com/I/palemale-store_1831_76175637

Anonymous said...

http://store1.yimg.com/I/palemale-store_1830_26277228

Our dear hawk.

Anne

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that the Koreans felt the similarly towards the Japanese, as the Chinese (as in evidence during recent World Cup Soccer). And since most of the Indian subcontinent did not have any negative experience with the Japanese, they do not have any strong opinions about the Japanese.

It seems the problem in Japanese (and Chinese too, for that matter) culture is that the ancestors are revered; hence directly atoning for their sins (as the Germans have done) is unthinkable. To do that would "bring eternal shame" that would be unacceptable. It is for a similar reason no Chinese leader (even if it becomes democratic in the future) can ever let Taiwan be an independent country.

MFA

Anonymous said...

MFA

Interesting observations. We are curious creatures.

Anne

Anonymous said...

The Japanese have always struck me as the least formally religious of people, but there is a cultural religion that is as compelling to many Japanese. Interesting to ask this.

Anne

Anonymous said...

Thinking of curious times and curious people, imagine the death of a reknowned chemist being covered in the New York Times only to print an essay in short order by a notorious denier of chemistry. Let us now have time for those who question the color of the red shift, and question the color for God wished that it might be blue.... Well, today the New York Times has an essay by an intelligent designer as though in response to the death of Ernst Mayr. Oh dear.

Were I God, surely the red shift would be blue to match my eyes :)

Anne

Anonymous said...

Physicists can take biology seriously, I hope :)

Anne

steve said...

MFA: the Korean government is sternly anti-Japanese: they even limit the amount of Japanese cultural materials (movies, cartoons, books) that can enter Korea, precisely so that the younger generation does not begin to identify too strongly with Japanese culture. However, outside of the PRC and Korea (i.e., in SE Asia, Taiwan, etc.) it seems that the younger generation is gradually forgetting about WWII and the role of the Japanese.

Anne: Sadly, I didn't know much about Mayr. I have to admit I'm not a big fan of Gould. But I do like Dawkins very much, and I liked Dennett's book on evolution "Darwin's Dangerous Idea."

There is a kind of dichotomy between the way physicists approach nature (looking for simplicity and deep organizing principles), and the traditional approach to biology, which necessarily involves a lot of detail. Evolution is one of the deep organizing principles we physicists like about biology, but I always found the modern theorizing of people like Gould (and perhaps Mayr) to be kind of trivial (perhaps unproveable) embellishments of Darwin. (Perhaps I am totally wrong here, but I did spend time thinking about "punctuated equilibrium" and was not impressed.) On the other hand, recent work in genomics is amazing and will have a tremendous influence on human civilization in the future.

Rutherford: "In science, there is only physics; all the rest is stamp collecting."

(This is of course no longer true, but wasn't so far off the mark in his day :-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Anne,

It is all about 'balance': The title of a Krugman's essay "Shape of the Earth: Two Views" sums it up :)

Seriously though, the fight over the evolution is only the first step: the Big bang is sure to come next.

And some of the current work in string theory (landscape) will soon be used to further strengthen the "intelligent design" movement, I think.

MFA

steve said...

PS Anne, I agree: that "Intelligent Design" essay in the Times is ridiculous. Who on the editorial page let that through?

I hope you are formulating a letter to the editor :-)

Anonymous said...

Fine responses. The work in molecular biology is exciting, akin in a sense to quantum mechanics, but but. Evolution does not work on the individual genetic level, rather on the level of the individual orgamism. The importance of molecular biology will have to be expressed on the level of the individual organism, as though molecular biology must be integrative to be gradually significant. So too in biology the individual orgamism must be considered as part of an ecosystem. Play about and wonder at a tide pool when the weather warms. Reduction in biology is not the same as in physics; will not work quite well enough. Yes; physics is beautiful. So birds are.

Stephen Gould was a splendid teacher and writer, but not quite a theorist.

Anne

Anonymous said...

http://store1.yimg.com/I/palemale-store_1829_6459010

Physicists still have to learn how to make a hawk :)

Anne

Sam Helgren said...

Rather disputable.

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