One of the world’s most eminent scholars of East Asia reveals the important touchstones in the long history between China and Japan and argues that for the sake of world stability they must forge a new relationship for the twenty-first century.
China and Japan have cultural and political connections that stretch back fifteen hundred years. But today their relationship is strained. China’s military buildup deeply worries Japan, while Japan’s brutal occupation of China in World War II remains an open wound. In recent years less than ten percent of each population had positive feelings toward the other, and both countries insist that the other side must deal openly with its history before relations can improve.
From the sixth century, when the Japanese adopted core elements of Chinese civilization, to the late twentieth century, when China looked to Japan for a path to capitalism, Ezra Vogel’s China and Japan examines key turning points in Sino-Japanese history. Throughout much of their past, the two countries maintained deep cultural ties, but China, with its great civilization and resources, had the upper hand. Japan’s success in modernizing in the nineteenth century and its victory in the 1895 Sino-Japanese War changed the dynamic, putting Japan in the dominant position. The bitter legacy of World War II has made cooperation difficult, despite efforts to promote trade and, more recently, tourism.
Vogel underscores the need for Japan to offer a thorough apology for the war, but he also urges China to recognize Japan as a potential vital partner in the region. He argues that for the sake of a stable world order, these two Asian giants must reset their relationship, starting with their common interests in environmental protection, disaster relief, global economic development, and scientific research.
This elegantly written history of the relationship between East Asia’s two major powers deploys a 1,500-year chronology with a confidence that comes from decades of deep research on the topic, illustrating how influence and power have waxed and waned between the two countries.
Will become required reading…Vogel delves broadly into Japanese and Chinese societies to urge less acrimony and better mutual understanding…Displays a lifetime of deep engagement with sources in English, Chinese and Japanese…He is one of the few thinkers alive with sufficient traction to speak equally with leaders in both countries as well as people on the street.
For 1,500 years, China and Japan have taken turns as the major Asian power players, shaping each other’s destinies even as they’re often at odds. Vogel traces the nuances.
The importance of this book—by one of the great Asian specialists from the U.S. of the modern era—is in alerting what will hopefully be a wide readership to how complex, and crucial, Sino-Japanese relations are, and how any complacency about the two being able to get on easily and unproblematically can be cured by attending to their long, complex and frequently acrimonious history.
Vogel uses the powerful lens of the past to frame contemporary Chinese-Japanese relations…With scholarly care and an eye on contemporary policy, Vogel suggests that over the centuries—across both the imperial and the modern eras—friction has always dominated their relations.
A sweeping, often fascinating, account…Impressively researched and smoothly written, China and Japan is a timely reminder of how public perceptions are shaped by political expediency, how new leaders and propaganda can efface existing goodwill.
While it is not easy for outsiders to plumb the deep-seated emotions and complex psychology of the Sino-Japanese relationship, no one is better qualified to help us than Ezra Vogel. As the author of many important and influential books on both countries and possessing an extraordinary network of contacts among scholars and policy makers in China, Japan, and the United States, he is truly a unique scholar of Asia, and it is no surprise that his new volume is a work of exceptional learning.
Ezra Vogel’s China and Japan is more than just an important, new addition to scholarship. Based on more than half a century of Vogel’s own work, along with that of many others, this masterful book traces the long relationship between China and Japan in a way that favors neither over the other and covers a wide range of social, political, economic, and cultural ties. General readers and scholars alike have much to gain from reading this marvelous and welcome history of the interactions between China and Japan.
Vogel’s wonderful book offers a compelling account of over a millennium of China–Japan history…Powerful and riveting.
- 536 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
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