Author: Adam Cathcart

Chinese Journalists and the U.S. Occupation of Japan

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China / Chinese nationalism / history and memory / Public Diplomacy / Sino-Japanese Relations / US occupation of Japan / US-Japan relations / World War II
Wang Yunsheng in Office

At the conclusion of eight years of Japanese occupation of nearly every major city in the Republic of China, Chinese journalists were prepared not just to celebrate victory but to join the Allied nations in occupying Japan. The desire to undo the fundamental reorientation of the Sino-Japanese hierarchy of 1894-95  and restore China to regional preeminence was nearly universal, as was the consensus of seeing China finally turn the corner on economic dysfunction and to a assume a […]

Keeping Tabs on Revisionist Groups Active on the ‘Comfort Women’ Issue

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history and memory / Japan / War Crimes / World War II
Comfort Women Protest ROK via the Nation

Gaining even a cursory familiarity with the statements and logic of some right-wing revisionists groups in Japan is a salutary experience. While most Japanese people (judging from polling data) find such groups to be embarrassing, and they surely do not represent the mainstream, these groups are, nevertheless, comparatively loud. More recently, they also have a kind of harmonization of rhetoric with the state which itself is being more vocal and “aggressive” (i.e. “pro-active”) with respect to […]

Toward understanding North Korean state fears of Dandong

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Borderlands / North Korea / North Korean border region / Sino-North Korean relations
north-korean-spies-comic

On March 26, the Korean Central News Agency reported at length on a truly remarkable press conference. I say “remarkable” because it dealt with a topic that, if even half of the allegations stated were true, contained more than a few bombshells about a cluster of sensitive subjects. This characterization of sensitivity holds — not only because Dandong is the key conduit for Chinese-North Korean trade — ultimately because the narrative tacitly consists of a North Korean […]

On Northern Ireland and Hong Kong

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China / EU-East Asia relations / Hong Kong
Macartney in Peking 1793

Telling the story of Hong Kong from 1840-now, Northern Ireland — or the six counties of Ulster — may seem an odd place to begin. What, after all, could be further away from Hong Kong’s density, its economic fecundity, its almost magnetic international capital and trade flows, its apparently successful blending of Asian and Western traditions, sitting perpetually as it does within the nook — or was it a suffocating embrace? — of the Chinese […]

Old Chapters, New Chapters: The Memory Wars in East Asia

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China / EU-East Asia relations / history and memory / Japan / Sino-Japanese Relations / World War II
Shenyang Trials Case File for Fujita

From the very beginning of the so-called ‘post war,’ the territorial and temporal parameters of the memory wars between China and Japan were never drawn particularly cleanly. The war ended formally in Tokyo Harbour on 3 September 1945, but it took nearly another week for Okamura Yasuji to formally surrender to General He Yingqin at Nanjing. It then took months (in some rare cases, years) for Japanese troops to disengage themselves from the mainland. After […]

On Reincarnation

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China / Chinese communist party / Tibet
Barbara-Hannigan-007

As everyone knows, the Chinese Communist Party is fully committed to reincarnating itself as the Qing dynasty, but with more aircraft carriers and a Communist Dalai Lama who tells choking city dwellers to be less materialistic. In today’s lead editorial, Huanqiu Shibao puts it this way: “众所周知,中国藏传佛教的活佛转世有一整套历史定制和宗教仪轨,持续三百多年,从清朝开始,新达赖的确定必须得到中央政府的批准。达赖这几年不断抛出人们闻所未闻的异端邪说,称他可以转世为外国人、女人等等。最近又干脆说他可以不转世了.” In other news, women who believe in stopping sexual harassment on public transport in China have been targeted and detained by the state. It’s almost as if the Standing […]