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Misunderstandings between Japan and China

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BEIJING — Confrontation between Japan and China over the perception of their shared history continues to only deepen nearly 70 years after the end of World War II. 
 北京——在二战结束之后七十年,日本与中国对于其共同历史的认知冲突仍在加剧。

In a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun, Sun Ge, a leading Chinese scholar of Japanese social thought who has actively promoted exchanges between intellectuals of both countries, shared her views on the wisdom of leaving it up to the states and politicians alone to argue history and the possibility of rapprochement between a victimized nation and the responsible nation.
 在朝日新闻最近做的访谈中,研究日本社会的中国学者孙格就让两国及其政治家如何处理历史恩怨以及在施害国和受害国之间建立友好关系的可能性发表了自己的看法。她同时还致力于促进两国知识分子的交流。

Excerpts of the interview follow:

以下是访谈摘要:

 

Question: Mutual distrust between Japan and China is not likely to go away any time soon. What do you have to say to that?
提问:日中之间的互不信任短时间内绝不会消除。你对此有何看法?

 

Sun: Japanese often say, “China is a very vibrant country, but it lacks freedom of speech.” They say China is prospering in economic terms but its citizens remain poorly civilized, their human rights are slighted, and their life is difficult under a dictatorship.
孙:日本人经常说:“虽然中国是一个非常有活力的国家,但是缺乏言论自由。”他们说中国虽然表面经济繁荣,但是人民缺乏公民素养,他们的人权被漠视,还进行独裁统治,民生艰苦。 

 

The problem is they have this foregone conclusion before they ever see what China is really like. That is a sort of Cold War thinking.

问题在于,他们在做出这个臆想的结论前根本就不知道真实的中国是怎样的。这是一种冷战思维。

 

China certainly has restrictions on freedom, but it has freedom in the sense that you don’t have to respect conformity as you typically do in Japan. Individuals who think for themselves in a realm that is neither pro nor anti-establishment are definitely growing in number. Those people have really diverse voices, perceptions and ideas.

中国确实在自由上有约束,但比起日本人典型的对一致性的尊重而言,中国人还是有自由的。那些在一个既不支持也不反对当权者的范围内思考的人绝对是越来越多了。这些人有真正不同的声音、观念和见解。

 

A sense of superiority in terms of social life is engendering a discriminatory attitude. The notion of the Japanese that “food ingredients are dangerous if they are from China” has attained a status of ideology. Japan has its own problems, such as false labeling of production areas, but somehow they don’t apply the same standards of thought.
一种在社会生活方面的优越感正在催生一种成见。日本人“从中国来的食材都很危险”的观念已经到了成为一种意识形态的地步。日本也有他自己的问题,譬如出产区的错误标识,但不知何故他们不使用一致的思考标准。

 

Q: Are there no problems on the Chinese side?
问:中国方面就没有问题吗?
 

A: China, which was colonized by great powers of the world, has lived a history with a strong sense of inferiority. That has also fueled a backlash in the form of resentment. The Chinese cannot look at other countries without thinking about the status of their own nation. They are not yet ready to face foreign nations on an equal mindset and out of genuine curiosity. They also have bitter feelings about Japan, which used to sit on the periphery of Greater China but has now become one of the world’s leading nations.
 答:中国这个被世界强权殖民过的国家长期以来有着浓重的自卑感,这也加剧了仇恨的逆潮。中国在面对其他国家时总会反观自己目前所处的地位。中国还没做好 以平等心态和出于真正的好奇心来看待他国的准备。他们还对日本有着苦涩的感觉,日本曾经只是大中华的边陲小国,但现在已经是世界上有领导地位的国家了。

 

A sense of superiority (on the one side) has never struck an emotional balance with a sense of inferiority (on the other side). In other words, the Japanese and the Chinese have never had matching social mentalities.
在情感上,优越感和自卑感从来就没有达到平衡的状态。换言之,日本和中国从来就没有过相称的社会心态。

 

Q: The anti-Japanese protests that swept across China two years ago shocked many Japanese. What do you think?
问:两年前席卷中国的反日游行让很多日本人震惊异常。你怎么看?
 

A: Chinese society is not so much discontented with Japan as with its own government, which it sees as “weak-kneed.” While I don’t share that view, there certainly is an atmosphere that facilitates the mentality to believe that it should stand firm against Japan, which refuses to squarely face its past.
答:中国社会不像中国政府,虽然对日本不满,但没政府那么强烈,中国社会认为这是“软弱的“。可我不这么觉得,中国社会确实存在着一种氛围,让人们觉得一定要对日本强硬,因为日本拒绝承认自己的过去。

 

During the anti-Japanese protests, however, one message made the rounds among young people: “Diaoyu (the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea) belongs to China, and Sola Aoi (a sexy Japanese actress) belongs to the world.” The Chinese of the manga generation have an affinity toward Japan via mass culture. The same can be said of tourists who have visited Japan.
在反日抗议期间,有一句话在年轻人中流传开来:钓鱼岛属于中国,苍井空属于世界。通过大众文化,中国的漫画一代对日本有好感。同样的,那些去日本旅游过的中国人也是如此。
 

Antipathy runs deep toward the Japanese administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but the “anti-Japanese” stance on the level of state politics is detached from the real feelings of life. The understanding of Japan by contemporary Chinese is really complicated, as it rests on both antipathy and affinity that lie on those different levels.
人们对日本安倍政府非常的憎恨,但是国家政治层面的”反日“立场脱离了实际生活。当代中国人对日本的看法相当的复杂,因为在不同的层面上既有对日本的憎恨又有对日本的好感

 

Q: The view of Japan is toughening over the perception of shared history. What is your take on that?

问: 由于对历史的看法不同,中国对日本的看法变得更加强硬, 您怎么看?

 

A: Japan and China have fairly different time frames for viewing their postwar processes, and their perceptions differ with each other. Many Japanese thought their postwar processes were over when Japan signed a peace treaty with Taiwan in 1952, but for Chinese on the mainland, postwar processes with Japan only began (when diplomatic ties were normalized) in 1972.
  答:两国对于战后程序的时间范围不尽相同,他们的观察出发点也是不一样的。很多日本人认为他们的战后程序在1952和台湾签署和平协定的时候就结束了,但是对于大陆的中国人来说,同日本的战后程序在1972和日本外交正常化后才刚刚开始。

 

The honor of the state took precedence over compensation issues under the Cultural Revolution of the time. But Japan did not apologize enough. When Chinese society started to change in the 1990s, the private sector, which began to stand on its own feet, started making compensation and other claims.
 文化大革命期间中国把国家荣誉看得比战争赔偿问题高。但是日本人并没有足够的道歉。当中国社会在90年代开始变化, 开始独立经营的私营部门才开始提出赔偿和其他要求。

 

Meanwhile in China, people of certain generations had very vivid experiences and awareness of having been victimized. Many were killed in places other than Nanjing (where mass killings took place in 1937). Aren’t the Japanese, without giving their thoughts to the sentiment of the victims, assuming that the Chinese are controlled by their government?
  同时在中国, 有一代人亲身经历了战争,明白自己是受害者。很多人在南京之外的地方被杀了(南京大屠杀发生在1937)。 在没有对受害人感同身受的情况下,日本人认为现在中国人的反日是受到了中国政府的煽动。

 

The sensible people in Japan, who admit their country is responsible for the war, have only argued domestically with right-wingers who deny that view, and their solidarity with the victims has been less than adequate.
承认战争罪行的理智的日本人也只是在日本国内和否认战争的右翼争论,他们和受害者并没有足够的接触和合作。

2016-06-22

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