The Roots of Chinese/Japanese Rivalry

by Liah Greenfeld Liah Greenfeld, Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Anthropology at Boston University, is Visiting Professor at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. She is the author of Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity, The Spirit of Capitalism: Nationality and Economic Growth, and the forthcoming Mind, Modernity, Madness: The Impact of Culture on Human Experience. 01.10.2012


The anti-Japan protests that continue to roil China are just another indication of the rise of a potent Chinese nationalism. After a century slowly fomenting among Chinese intellectuals, national sentiment has captured and redefined the consciousness of the Chinese people during the last two decades of China’s economic boom. This mass national consciousness launched the Chinese colossus into global competition to achieve an international status commensurate with the country’s vast capacities and the Chinese people’s conception of their country’s rightful place in the world.

Rapidly, visibly, and inevitably, China has risen. Indeed, our era will likely be remembered as the time when a new global order, with China at the helm, was born.

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