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The discursive reproduction of Chinese and Japanese national identities: Editorials and opinions of the East China Sea dispute in the China Daily and Daily Yomiuri
Unformatted Document Text:  News, identity and ideology 10 justified with the argument that it was the only nation to ever suffer the devastating consequences of the atomic bomb (Schalow, 2000). Yet, van Dijk emphasizes that the linkage between ideology and discourse is not direct but is instead linked by mental models. These are cognitive representations of personal and subjective experiences of individuals that help them make sense of the environment. Newspaper discourses are therefore a mixture of the mental models of the journalists themselves and the social representations commonly understood by people within the group. News commentaries are constructed with text and visual elements in such a way to represent such mental models while the readers use their own mental models and social representations to construct meaning from the news discourses. This study investigates specifically the discourses of editorial and opinion sections of newspapers because they are often persuasive in nature and not constrained by the journalistic norm of objectivity (Lee & Lin, 2006). In fact, the genre of editorials and opinions are often sites of argumentation on a particular issue and is often representative of the ideological stance of the newspaper as a whole. Therefore, these are the sites most likely to be engaged in the construction and reconstruction of national identity and ideology. Analysis and findings Editorial and opinion commentaries of the China Daily and Daily Yomiuri were collected for the analysis through the Factiva database. For the search parameters “Japan” was inserted for the China Daily and “China” for the Daily Yomiuri with the date range starting from the arrest of the captain on September 7, 2010 to the end of the month. The results returned four editorial/opinion commentaries published by each newspaper. The headlines and key arguments of the commentaries are summarized in Table 1. Following an in-depth reading of the eight commentaries two semantic macrostructures common to both

Authors: Chan, Michael.
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News, identity and ideology 10
justified with the argument that it was the only nation to ever suffer the devastating 
consequences of the atomic bomb (Schalow, 2000).
Yet, van Dijk emphasizes that the linkage between ideology and discourse is not 
direct but is instead linked by mental models. These are cognitive representations of personal 
and subjective experiences of individuals that help them make sense of the environment. 
Newspaper discourses are therefore a mixture of the mental models of the journalists 
themselves and the social representations commonly understood by people within the group. 
News commentaries are constructed with text and visual elements in such a way to represent 
such mental models while the readers use their own mental models and social representations 
to construct meaning from the news discourses. 
This study investigates specifically the discourses of editorial and opinion sections of 
newspapers because they are often persuasive in nature and not constrained by the 
journalistic norm of objectivity (Lee & Lin, 2006). In fact, the genre of editorials and 
opinions are often sites of argumentation on a particular issue and is often representative of 
the ideological stance of the newspaper as a whole. Therefore, these are the sites most likely 
to be engaged in the construction and reconstruction of national identity and ideology. 
Analysis and findings
Editorial and opinion commentaries of the China Daily and Daily Yomiuri were 
collected for the analysis through the Factiva database. For the search parameters “Japan” 
was inserted for the China Daily and “China” for the Daily Yomiuri with the date range 
starting from the arrest of the captain on September 7, 2010 to the end of the month. The 
results returned four editorial/opinion commentaries published by each newspaper. The 
headlines and key arguments of the commentaries are summarized in Table 1. Following an 
in-depth reading of the eight commentaries two semantic macrostructures common to both 


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