Asia’s rivalry heats up as Japan and China play host at separate global summits

Written by Hugo Dobson. Despite occasional reasons to be optimistic, relations between China and Japan have been consistently poor over recent years. This is in part fuelled by China’s rise to the position of second largest economy in the world – overtaking Japan in the process – as well as Japan’s lurch to the right …

Hong Kong during World War II: A Transnational Battlefield

Written by Chi Man Kwong. On 30 August, 1945, a combined fleet of British, Australian, and Canadian vessels entered Victoria Harbour of Hong Kong, led by Cecil Harcourt, a British admiral. Expecting the fleet ashore at the Naval Dockyard (modern-day Admiralty) was a cheerful crowd of Hong Kong Chinese and a number of emotionless Japanese …

Japan’s sorry saga

Written by Mark Beeson. What is it about northeast Asia? Why is it that a part of the world that is a byword for unparalleled economic development and astounding social transformation can’t come to terms with its past and develop co-operative intra-regional relations? Northeast Asia ought to be the most important region in the world …

Abe’s statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII and Sino-Japanese relations

Written by Karl Gustafsson. On 14 August, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered his long anticipated statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. For months, scholars and pundits have speculated about whether Abe would use words such as “apology”, aggression and regret. Would the statement reflect the revisionist views that he has …

Why Chopsticks? Their Origin and Development in Asian Culinary Culture

Written by Q. Edward Wang. Chopsticks are ubiquitous in Asia. They are so essential for one’s daily life in the region, or the “chopsticks cultural sphere” that encompasses China, Korean Peninsula, Japanese archipelago, and parts of Mongolia and mainland Southeast Asia. This is not only the impression most visitors to the region would have but many …

Why do flags matter? The case of Japan

Written by Takashi Yoshida. On Friday July 10, after a week of emotional debate between legislators, the Confederate flag came down on the South Carolina State House grounds. I may not be an expert on the Confederate flag or the Civil War, but I have studied what Japanese flags have meant and still mean to people in …

Taiwan in Japan’s historical narrative

Written by Alex Calvo. The coming 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War is not abating the debate over Japan’s historical responsibility and contemporary views of the conflict. To the contrary. Neither Beijing nor Seoul seem interested in renouncing this key aspect of their domestic and international narratives, while speculation continues about the …

Taiwan-Japan Relations: Historical Perspective

Written by Bruce Jacobs. After the United States, Japan is second most important country for Taiwan. There are several reasons for this. First, the two countries are geographically close to each other. Second, Japan was Taiwan’s colonial master for fifty years (1895-1945). Third, Japan is an important Asian democracy. Fourth, the two countries have significant …

Chinese and Japanese Nationalism: The Clash and Convergence of Ideologies

Written by Brian J. McVeigh. International relations can be understood by examining detailed specifics (individual leaders, national policies articulated in position papers and laws, etc.). Or they can be appreciated by investigating matters less changeable, such as geopolitical constraints and “deep ideologies”—abiding assumptions that shape the relations between the governed and those who govern, the …

ISIS and Abe’s security agenda

Written by Sebastian Maslow. Japan was shocked by the killings of freelance journalist Kenji Goto and security consultant Haruna Yukawa by the terrorist group known as ISIS. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has moved fast to link the hostage crisis to his security agenda envisioning a more militarily proactive Japan. In the eyes of …