In a new review at the JCA website, Murdoch University’s James Boyd has looked at a new book by Robert Hoppens, The China Problem in Postwar Japan: Japanese National Identity and Sino-Japanese Relations (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2015.1075309).
The 1970s were a period of dramatic change in relations between Japan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The two countries established diplomatic relations for the first time, forged close economic ties and reached political agreements that still guide and constrain relations today. This book delivers a history of this foundational period in Sino-Japanese relations. It presents an up-to-date diplomatic history of the relationship but also goes beyond this to argue that Japan’s relations with China must be understood in the context of a larger “China problem” that was inseparable from a domestic contest to define Japanese national identity.
Boyd explains that using “Japanese, Chinese and English-language primary and secondary sources,” Hoppens reminds readers that “that between the conclusion of hostilities in 1945 and the early 1980s, the two countries were able to largely reconcile their differences and overcome their past animosity.”
He concludes that “Hoppens’ work will be the standard to which those interested in this period of Sino-Japanese relations first turn for the foreseeable future.”