'Japanese Devils': The conditions and limits of anti-Japanism in China
The 2005 anti-Japan protests in China inaugurated a new era of Chinese popular nationalism with their pervasive visuality and virtuality. The outpouring of emotions in cityscapes and cyberspaces - anger, outrage, zealousness and even pleasure - requires us to take emotion, passion, hope or sheer delight seriously and to recognize the power of some of the more alarming forms of popular nationalist sentimentality. This chapter analyses one instance of Sino-Japanese relations: the epithet of 'riben guizi' or Japanese devils in Chinese popular culture in four historical moments: late-Sinocentric imperium, high imperialism, socialist nationalism and post-socialist globalization. I want to suggest that while this 'hate word' performs an affective politics of recognition stemming from an ineluctable trauma of imperialist violence, it ultimately fails in establishing a politics of reconciliation. I argue that anti-Japanism in China is less about Japan than China's own self-image mediated through its asymmetrical power relations with Japan throughout its modern history. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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