Event Title

Political Survival and the Yasukuni Problem: The Logic Behind the Rising Chinese Popular Nationalism Towards Koizumi Junichiro’s Annual Prime Ministerial Visits to Yasukuni Shrine and Koizumi’s Diplomatic Policy in Relation to China

Presenter Information

Yingyue Kang, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 239

Start Date

4-27-2018 5:30 PM

End Date

4-27-2018 6:50 PM

Abtract

Over the past decades, bilateral ties between China and Japan have seen moments of strain due to unresolved historical grievances stemming from World War II. While such discord had already existed in the Sino-Japanese relations in the 1970s, it burgeoned instead of dissipating with time, and slid the two states into the worst quagmire in recent memories following former Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro’s annual visits to the politically controversial Yasukuni Shrine. Notably, factors that foster the mitigation of antagonistic anti-Japanese emotions, such as an increasingly interdependent bilateral economic relation and a diminishing emotional baggage that the two nations’ new generations of populace harbor towards each other, exist in present days. Hence, there emerges the uncertainty that questions the root of the exacerbation of China’s popular anti-Japanese emotions, as well as an inquiry of why the Japanese side still displayed recalcitrance on official Shrine visits even though constant pressure from domestic China compromised Japan’s diplomatic relations with its neighboring state. Addressing these issues, this paper analyzes real-world cases that illustrate the rising tide of popular anti-Japanese nationalism towards the Yasukuni controversy in domestic China during Koizumi’s tenure from 2001 to 2006. It also assesses Chinese government’s effort in mobilizing these contentious reactions towards Koizumi’s official worship to the Shrine in particular, and presents an interpretation of China and Japan’s respective state vision on the Yasukuni issue from the perspective of political survival. The interpretation of this paper further offers insights demonstrating the possibility for the two nations to rid bilateral relations of the Yasukuni controversy in the foreseeable future, and can be suggestive to resolutions dealing with other areas of frictions induced by the negative historical legacy between the two states, such as the textbook controversies.

Keywords:

political history, Japan, China, Yasukuni Shrine

Notes

Session VII, Panel 20 - Postwar | Asia
Moderator: Renee Romano, Professor and Chair of History, Professor of Comparative American Studies and Africana Studies

Major

East Asian Studies

Advisor(s)

Ann Sherif, East Asian Studies

Project Mentor(s)

David Kelley, History; East Asian Studies

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Apr 27th, 5:30 PM Apr 27th, 6:50 PM

Political Survival and the Yasukuni Problem: The Logic Behind the Rising Chinese Popular Nationalism Towards Koizumi Junichiro’s Annual Prime Ministerial Visits to Yasukuni Shrine and Koizumi’s Diplomatic Policy in Relation to China

King Building 239

Over the past decades, bilateral ties between China and Japan have seen moments of strain due to unresolved historical grievances stemming from World War II. While such discord had already existed in the Sino-Japanese relations in the 1970s, it burgeoned instead of dissipating with time, and slid the two states into the worst quagmire in recent memories following former Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro’s annual visits to the politically controversial Yasukuni Shrine. Notably, factors that foster the mitigation of antagonistic anti-Japanese emotions, such as an increasingly interdependent bilateral economic relation and a diminishing emotional baggage that the two nations’ new generations of populace harbor towards each other, exist in present days. Hence, there emerges the uncertainty that questions the root of the exacerbation of China’s popular anti-Japanese emotions, as well as an inquiry of why the Japanese side still displayed recalcitrance on official Shrine visits even though constant pressure from domestic China compromised Japan’s diplomatic relations with its neighboring state. Addressing these issues, this paper analyzes real-world cases that illustrate the rising tide of popular anti-Japanese nationalism towards the Yasukuni controversy in domestic China during Koizumi’s tenure from 2001 to 2006. It also assesses Chinese government’s effort in mobilizing these contentious reactions towards Koizumi’s official worship to the Shrine in particular, and presents an interpretation of China and Japan’s respective state vision on the Yasukuni issue from the perspective of political survival. The interpretation of this paper further offers insights demonstrating the possibility for the two nations to rid bilateral relations of the Yasukuni controversy in the foreseeable future, and can be suggestive to resolutions dealing with other areas of frictions induced by the negative historical legacy between the two states, such as the textbook controversies.