Who Is China? (2): Trauma, Community, and Gender in Sino‐Japanese Relations

William A. Callahan

in China

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199549955
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191720314 | DOI:
Who Is China? (2): Trauma, Community, and Gender in Sino‐Japanese Relations

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The Sino‐Japanese relationship is a paradox. This healthy economic relationship forms one of the most dynamic partnerships in the global political economy today. Yet, their political relations are cool at best. The chapter considers how these troubles are more symbolic than geopolitical, and argues that they are part of the securitization of Chinese identity where memories of historical trauma are used to generate national community. It analyzes the visual narratives of the “Nanjing massacre” (also known as the Rape of Nanking) in Chinese texts to explore two key issues: (1) the dynamic of Chinese nationalism in Sino‐Japanese relations, and (2) how official history and its visual narratives have reproduced problematic links between women, war, and patriarchal nationalism. While it is necessary to recognize the horror of Japanese atrocities in World War II, this chapter explores the pivotal role that the Nanjing massacre plays in Chinese identity and politics. Rather than just frame the problem as Japanese militarism, the chapter argues that a critical examination of this trauma can help us understand the militarization of Chinese society.

Keywords: Trauma; women; Japan; China; Rape of Nanking; nationalism; visual politics

Chapter.  11615 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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