The Nanking Massacre Anniversary and the CCP’s Politics of History

Since 1949, the Chinese government’s interpretation of the history of World War II seems to be continuously changing in order to adapt to local circumstances and contemporary political needs. If it’s diplomatically useful for them to pardon Japanese war criminals as part of a warming trend (as they did in 1956), they will do so, but if it is useful both internationally and domestically to … Continue reading The Nanking Massacre Anniversary and the CCP’s Politics of History

The Shenyang Trials of 1956: Presenting the Resurrection of Defeat in Heidelberg

The University of Heidelberg will be hosting a conference later this month on post-1945 war crimes trials in East Asia, at which I will be presenting. An abstract and bio follow: The Shenyang Trials of 1956: The Resurrection of Defeat  Using now-closed files from the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archive and contemporary sources in Chinese, this paper, investigates the role of the Shenyang Trials of 1956 … Continue reading The Shenyang Trials of 1956: Presenting the Resurrection of Defeat in Heidelberg

Chongqing Hothouse: At Rana Mitter’s Wiles Lectures at Queen’s University, Belfast

Rana Mitter, a major historian of early 20th-century China, is currently in Belfast delivering a series of lectures (which I am attending and commenting on) on the history of Chongqing during the “War of Resistance” (1937-1945). Mitter is the author, most recently, of a major study of the second world war in China; he has a wonderful history of production of monographs and has also … Continue reading Chongqing Hothouse: At Rana Mitter’s Wiles Lectures at Queen’s University, Belfast

Talking Sino-Japanese Relations in Leeds

My colleague Caroline Rose has been very generous in inviting me to join two conferences of the Sino-Japanese Research Network in the past year. With a focus on contemporary history and political disputes, the group marshals a great deal of expertise (both disciplinary and linguistic) and bonhomie. At today’s conference, Professor Yinan He from Seton Hall University was the keynote speaker, discussing ‘IR Theory and … Continue reading Talking Sino-Japanese Relations in Leeds

Hatoyama in Nanking

Hatoyama Yukio [ 鳩山由紀夫]  is the former Prime Minister of Japan (2009-2010) and the grandson of Hatoyama Ichiro [鳩山 一郎]. Today, he continues on a somewhat quixotic but surely very necessary quest to calm Sino-Japanese relations. And I’m reading student essays about the Nanking Massacre (Dec. 1937- Feb. 1938). Further images of his visit by clicking the image above.   Continue reading Hatoyama in Nanking

15 Questions re: Jeff Kingston’s Japan Focus Essay (2008) Regarding the Nanking Massacre

Dr. Jeff Kingston is a historian of contemporary Japan who occupies a number of important positions at Temple University’s Japan campus. In 2008, he published the following essay on the subject of memorials and Nanking Massacre controversy; this essay is the focus of the questions that follow: Jeff Kingston, “Nanjing’s Massacre Memorial: Renovating War Memory in Nanjing and Tokyo,” Japan Focus, August 22, 2008 <http://japanfocus.org/-Jeff-Kingston/2859&gt;. In 2010, … Continue reading 15 Questions re: Jeff Kingston’s Japan Focus Essay (2008) Regarding the Nanking Massacre

Nanking Film Trailers

Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, “Nanking,” 2007, a documentary interspersing authentic historical footage with reenacted readings of journals, diaries, and letters by Westerners who were in the Chinese capital city in 1937-38. Lu Chuan’s “City of Life and Death” (2009), a black-and-white cinematic masterpiece. Realism, and the Japanese point of view, is the advanced technique taken by this Chinese director.  “City of Life and Death” … Continue reading Nanking Film Trailers

Sino-Japanese Strife and Accomodation: An Academic View

Sometimes through all the contemporary hyperventilating, it can be considered an almost extreme position to look for historical context that lies apart from the mainstream narrative of eternal, almost existential, national conflict between China and Japan.  In a recent journal article, two scholars based in Stockholm have taken the steps of looking for that context.  As the abstract explains: For the last four decades Sino-Japanese … Continue reading Sino-Japanese Strife and Accomodation: An Academic View

Anti-Japanese Protests in Beijing, and the History of Diaoyu Protests

Three suitably breathless Global Times articles and photo galleries are linked below, but for a sane appraisal of at least part of what is going on, I recommend MIT professor M. Taylor Fravel’s September 15 article.  Respectively, the articles below deal with the protests in Beijing, Ferraris at the protests in Beijing, and the newly-publicized “40-year social movement” to protect Diaoyu/Senkakus with liberal borrowing from Taiwan’s … Continue reading Anti-Japanese Protests in Beijing, and the History of Diaoyu Protests

Orchestrating Changes on the Multi-Front Electronic Struggle

Decamping from Chengdu, late summer 2012

Recapitulation |  After a solid run of 32 months, the academic weblog Sinologistical Violoncellist has reached its logical conclusion. Since beginning in April 2009, this sole-authored website has been cited in some excellent venues for East Asia news and analysis, including the (web) pages of The Atlantic, Harper’s and The Economist, and Danwei.org.  

I’ve been fortunate to have been quoted in newspapers like the Portland Oregonian and journals like Foreign Policy, and to have had interviews with reporters for newspapers like the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, for whom my work on Sinologistical Violoncellist was a point of entry into my areas of expertise.

As Paul Olivier of Melville House wrote on the publisher’s literary blog, “[Cathcart’s] blog is more of a single scholar’s East Asian Journal (capital “J”) than it is a weblog.”

Sure, that.

With a parachutist’s approach to East Asia, the blog dealt with all manner of issues as they arose or came to mind: the Chinese youth movement of the 1980s as depicted in East German archives, the social calendar of CCP princelings in Paris, Chinese interpretations of World War II, or environmental movements in China.

Based on my travels, readers could get a gauge on what was going on in Tibet, Chengdu, Beijing, and China’s border with North Korea. Doing fieldwork and archive-dives as a historian can have its benefits.

New Start-Ups |  In December 2011, I made an important break from the present blog and started SinoNK.com, a site focusing on China’s evolving relationship with North Korea.  I’m the Editor-in-Chief of the site and am managing the output of the SinoNK.com Staff (which includes 20 exellent writers and analysts from around the world).

I remain engaged on a larger project on musical diplomacy generally, extending on my academic work on the role of classical music in the Nixon visit to China in 1972 and the visit of the New York Philharmonic to Pyongyang and Beijing in 2008.  A portion of this was just published at Yonsei University, and I will be lecturing on the topic at Stanford University on November 2, 2012. Also relative to this project is its “applied” element, which in my case has included a number of cello performances and recordings in both Europe and China, which can be learned more about on the Amitayus Duo website.

I’m also making a move this fall to the United Kingdom, specifically, to Queen’s University, Belfast, where I will be teaching two courses (World War II in East Asia, and the Cold War in Asia, in the fall and spring, respectively) and supervising a handful of theses and dissertations.

Let me get to the point:

The site is now SinoMondiale.

There will likely be ongoing redesigns and tweaks, but we’re here for the long run.

Expect a healthy mixture of commentary on contemporary history in China, cultural diplomacy, and — a big goal for the fall — China’s experience with Japan in World War II.

Among the questions I hope to answer is: Who is General Takahashi Gaku[高桥坦], and how did he end up surrendering to the Chinese Nationalists in October 1945 in Beijing and dying in a Nanking military prison the following year?

General Chiang Kai-shek’s adjutant awaits the arrival of Japanese Imperial Army General Takahashi on the dais in the Forbidden City, Beijing, October 10, 1945. Image via Huanqiu Shibao

The answers tendered to this and other questions should be suitably eclectic, and, I hope, give readers a reason to keep coming back.  Continue reading “Orchestrating Changes on the Multi-Front Electronic Struggle”