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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 13 Discursive perpetuation of collective memory The macro-strategy of perpetuation is used to reproduce ideas, norms and narratives that link to national identity (de Cillia, et al., 1999). A core aspect of national identity is a shared common history and the recollection of past events. Such remembrance and reproduction is important for the group because they are symbolic, provides citizens a common historical narrative in which to relate themselves to the nation, and legitimizes present claims and actions. Yet, as Wodak and Richardson (2009) note these “hegemonic narratives” are often the versions sanctioned and proliferated by those in power, which is then diffused through various institutions such as the mass media and education institutions. As the sovereignty issue of the islands is inextricably tied to historical claims both newspapers to varying degrees were engaged in the interpretation of historical narratives that justified their respective arguments. For the China Daily the focus on history and the narration of a common political past was central to their case, as evidenced by three of the commentaries which devote over 40% of the word count to describe in minute detail China’s historical relationship with the islands, as extracts 1 and 2 show. Extract 1 The Diaoyu Islands have been recorded in Chinese historical documents as Chinese territory since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Japanese government, however, regards them as a part of the Okinawa prefecture, which was under the independent Ryukyu Kingdom until 131 years ago. China had friendly relations with the Ryukyu Kingdom for about 500 years, before Japan annexed it. (China Daily, September 10) Extract 2 Fu Sheng Liu Ji (Six Chapters of a Floating Life), a famous book written by Shen Fu during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), has records showing the Diaoyu Islands are part of Chinese territory. The book says Qing Emperor

Authors: Chan, Michael.
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News, identity and ideology 13
Discursive perpetuation of collective memory
The macro-strategy of perpetuation is used to reproduce ideas, norms and narratives 
that link to national identity (de Cillia, et al., 1999). A core aspect of national identity is a 
shared common history and the recollection of past events. Such remembrance and 
reproduction is important for the group because they are symbolic, provides citizens a 
common historical narrative in which to relate themselves to the nation, and legitimizes 
present claims and actions. Yet, as Wodak and Richardson (2009) note these “hegemonic 
narratives” are often the versions sanctioned and proliferated by those in power, which is then 
diffused through various institutions such as the mass media and education institutions. 
As the sovereignty issue of the islands is inextricably tied to historical claims both 
newspapers to varying degrees were engaged in the interpretation of historical narratives that 
justified their respective arguments. For the China Daily the focus on history and the 
narration of a common political past was central to their case, as evidenced by three of the 
commentaries which devote over 40% of the word count to describe in minute detail China’s 
historical relationship with the islands, as extracts 1 and 2 show. 
Extract 1 
The Diaoyu Islands have been recorded in Chinese historical documents as 
Chinese territory since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Japanese 
government, however, regards them as a part of the Okinawa prefecture, 
which was under the independent Ryukyu Kingdom until 131 years ago. 
China had friendly relations with the Ryukyu Kingdom for about 500 years, 
before Japan annexed it. (China Daily, September 10)
Extract 2
Fu Sheng Liu Ji (Six Chapters of a Floating Life), a famous book written 
by Shen Fu during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), has records showing the 
Diaoyu Islands are part of Chinese territory. The book says Qing Emperor 


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