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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Chinese and Japanese Population Want Relations To Improve

I've read some pretty ballsy headline statements in my time, such as "Dewey Defeats Truman" (Chicago Tribune, November 3, 1948), or even my own where I ahead of time typed in a US victory over Japan in women's soccer (I changed the headline, but the incorrect one is still there in the URL!), but the Asahi Shimbun boldly stating (or is it 'stating boldly'? - yes, the latter) that:

Survey: Japanese sentiment toward China at worst level

It appeared in the English-language portion of Asahi Shimbun on September 10, 2014

Worst level?

That implies there hasn't been a time ever when Japan has hated China as much as it does now in 2014.

Let's not blame the writer Masumitsu Yuichiro, because it is easy to get caught up in the hyperbole.

Despite a long past where the Japanese went to great pains to emulate and borrow very large swathes of Chinese culture and adapt it to Japanese society, and Japan always wanting to prove itself a keen protege to China's mentorship, somewhere along the many centuries Japan got it in its head that China was weak - and for a very long time, that was correct.

It's why Japan invaded China many a time. It doesn't explain why Japanese invaders treated the Chinese population with such violent contempt—except perhaps it was a loss of respect, or the Chinese were a reminder at how Japan could also become weak "so let's get that image out of our heads and just kill them" —but funny how times change.

China is no longer the weak sister in the Asia game of political intrigue. It's now a super-power with enough nuclear weaponry to put Japan back into the Stone Age or into complete extinction with the dinosaurs.

Having lived in Japan for three years, I state emphatically that the Japanese (generally-speaking) did not care for the Chinese or any other Asian nation.

There was like either a disdain for others, or a pride in themselves, but the feeling was that Japan was superior to others.
Miss Universe Japan 2013 Matsuo Yukimi (surname first) 松尾 幸実.
There's nothing wrong with national pride, but not at the expense of other nationalities. That's where Japan, Japan and Italy went so wrong in the years prior to and including WWII.
Miss Universe China 2013 Jin Ye 靳燁.
According to a survey, as reported by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, 93-percent of the Japanese people surveyed (again… it's not every person in Japan, but rather just the sampling of people asked), that 93 percent of Japanese have an unfavorable impression of China - up by 2.9 percentage points from 2013, as the China-Japan dispute of the Ryukyu Islands continues with offensive posturing from both sides.

The flipside of this, is that 86.8 percent of Chinese have an unfavorable impression of Japan, which is actually DOWN by six percentage points from 2013, according to Genron NPO, a think-tank and publisher of the English-language newspaper China Daily, which for some reason started this particular survey back in 2005.

It makes ME wonder why such a survey even needed to be constructed 10 years ago.

The surveys, conducted in July and August of 2014 got the results from a total of 1,000 Japanese and 1,539 Chinese.

When asked why the Japanese respondents had a negative feeling about China, 55.1 percent ticked the option: "China is not complying with international rules."

Some 52.8 percent complained that "China is acting selfishly in developing natural resources."

For the first time, the survey asked respondents if they were worried/concerned about the worsening public sentiment in Japan and China toward each other.

In both instances, over 70 percent the Japanese and Chinese respondents said that they ARE concerned and that both countries need to take measures to improve the situation.

So… at least there is hope. It's not like everyone wants a war. They would prefer a non-violent resolution rather than an escalation of hostilities.

Leaders would do well to heed that bit of public sentiment - regardless of the survey's admittedly small sample size.

Andrew Joseph

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