Sino Japanese Relations Essay Format

China and Japan used to have good energy cooperation before China switched into a net oil importer in the mid-1990s, but the recent years have witnessed an increasingly intensive competition between the two countries over petroleum supplies. While many saw such competition as inevitable with China's growing energy demands, the paper argues that the energy relationship between the two countries was never separated from political and strategic concerns, and heavily affected by the concern of ‘relative gains’, as suggested by the neorealists. Like the case prior to the mid-1990s when the non-energy factors underpinned the Sino–Japanese energy cooperation, the key factors that prevented the two from continuing energy cooperation today also lay in political and strategic aspects. Being two regional powers in East Asia, China, and Japan need to recognize the fact that their lack of energy cooperation due to mutual political distrust will not only impair their own energy security, but may also have negative implications on regional stability.

International Relations of the Asia Pacific Vol. 7 No. 1 © Oxford University Press and the Japan Association of International Relations 2006, all rights reserved

A full understanding of China-Japan relations after World War II requires knowledge of the nature of the relationship as it developed from the late 19th century (late Qing dynasty in China, early Meiji period in Japan) through the tumultuous events of the early 20th century, before the descent into a bitter war of attrition between the two countries from 1937 to 1945. Thus Coox and Conroy 1978 and Jansen 1975 provide richly detailed accounts of the pre–World War II period, and Iriye 1992 is a concise and masterful guide to the key determinants of one hundred years of China-Japan relations from the 1880s onward. Tanaka 1991 is a compact but informative overview that deftly combines analysis of the international environment and domestic political developments. Jin 2002 takes a similar approach, though the focus is limited to relations since 1972. Whiting 1989 continues to be widely cited for its considered analysis of the role of mutual images and the patterns of behavior in China-Japan relations up to the 1980s. Söderberg 2003 is essential reading for undergraduate students and covers the main issues in post–Cold War relations. Wan 2006 offers a more holistic view of the main determinants of the relationship.

  • Coox, Alvin D., and Hilary Conroy, eds. China and Japan: A Search for Balance since World War I. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1978.

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    Deals mainly with the pre–World War II period but has some useful chapters focusing on the run-up to normalization in 1972 and remains a solid, accessible history of the key developments in China-Japan relations flagging some of the controversial debates, for example, about Japan’s war responsibility.

  • Iriye, Akira. China and Japan in the Global Setting. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992.

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    A compact but enlightening overview of China-Japan relations from the 1880s into the post-1945 period up to the late 1980s. Organized thematically by the three main dimensions of power, culture, and economics.

  • Jansen, Marius B. Japan and China: From War to Peace, 1894–1972. Rand McNally History. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1975.

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    A comprehensive and highly readable history of the vicissitudes of China-Japan relations, including a final chapter on the early post–World War II period up to 1972.

  • Jin Xide 金熙德. Zhong Ri guanxi: Fujiao 30 zhounian de sikao (中日关系:复交30周年的思考). Beijing: Shijie zhishi chubanshe, 2002.

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    Representative of a number of publications that marked the thirtieth anniversary of Sino-Japanese relations after normalization. Jin takes a thematic approach and considers the prospects for China-Japan relations in the 21st century in light of the relative power of each country.

  • Söderberg, Marie, ed. Chinese-Japanese Relations in the Twenty-First Century: Complementarity and Conflict. European Institute of Japanese Studies: East Asian Economics and Business Studies 2. London: Routledge, 2003.

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    Essential reading for an understanding of the nature of political, economic, and strategic aspects of Sino-Japanese relations after the Cold War. Highly informed and informative contributions from long-term observers of China-Japan relations, such as Jin Xide, Yang Daqing, Zhao Quansheng, Marie Söderberg, Reinhard Drifte, and Phil Deans.

  • Tanaka Akihiko 田中明彦. Nitchū kankei 1945–1990 (日中関係 1945–1990). UP Sensho. Tokyo: Tokyo daigaku shuppankai, 1991.

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    This is a general overview of Japan-China relations from 1945 to 1990, and it remains a solid, relevant, and well-balanced study that underscores the complexities of Sino-Japanese relations, including domestic political forces in both countries and the influence of the international environment.

  • Wan, Ming. Sino-Japanese Relations: Interaction, Logic, and Transformation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006.

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    Seeks to provide a systematic and holistic explanation of the structure and patterns of Sino-Japanese relations since 1989 through case studies of Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro’s Yasukuni Shrine visits, Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), the Shenyang incident of 2002, and the redress movement; provides a balanced account of the multiple factors influencing China-Japan relations.

  • Whiting, Allen S. China Eyes Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.

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    Pioneering study focusing on mutual images in China and Japan with an emphasis on the evolution of China’s Japan policy, the role of the media in China, the influence of student protests, and so forth. Useful case studies of the events of the mid-1980s, especially Nakasone’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine visit and the anti-Japanese protests in China.

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