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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 14 Jiaqing (1760-1820) granted a title to the ruler of Ryukyu Kingdom with detailed descriptions, which show the territory of Ryukyu Kingdom started from Gumi Mountain (renamed Kumejima after Japan annexed Ryukyu). (China Daily, September 14) Using such specific descriptions with a high degree of detail and completeness adds to weight of the propositions made by the passages. Moreover, the passages generally follow the ‘ideological square’ in that China is constructed as a civilization with a long, continuous, and distinguished history with cordial relations with another sovereign nation. On the other hand Japan is deemphasized of any historical significance and its agency is limited to its annexation of the Ryukyu Kingdom. The use of the verb “annex” has militaristic overtones and introduces an interdiscursive element linking with institutional discourses that reproduce the collective memory of past Japanese invasions and its militaristic ambitions. The Daily Yomiuri’s very first sentence in the first editorial on the collision makes its position very clear: “There is no question that the Senkaku Islands belong to Japan both historically and under international law” (September 10). However, the newspaper is devoid of specificity on the historical dimension. Instead, it is characterized by vague presuppositions describing the islands as an “inherent part of Japan” and “inherently Japanese” in a matter-of-fact way. Extract 3 is the only substantive description of Japan’s historical claims. Extract 3 … no country protested when the Meiji government incorporated the islands into Japanese territory in 1895. Under the San Francisco Peace Treaty signed in 1951, the islands were not included among those territories abandoned by Japan. (Daily Yomiuri, September 10) The key proposition of the passage implies a nonchalant China who did not care much about the fate of the islands. In other words, the responsibility lay in the inactions of others.

Authors: Chan, Michael.
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News, identity and ideology 14
Jiaqing (1760-1820) granted a title to the ruler of Ryukyu Kingdom with 
detailed descriptions, which show the territory of Ryukyu Kingdom started 
from Gumi Mountain (renamed Kumejima after Japan annexed Ryukyu). 
(China Daily, September 14)
Using such specific descriptions with a high degree of detail and completeness adds to 
weight of the propositions made by the passages. Moreover, the passages generally follow the 
‘ideological square’ in that China is constructed as a civilization with a long, continuous, and 
distinguished history with cordial relations with another sovereign nation. On the other hand 
Japan is deemphasized of any historical significance and its agency is limited to its 
annexation of the Ryukyu Kingdom. The use of the verb “annex” has militaristic overtones 
and introduces an interdiscursive element linking with institutional discourses that reproduce 
the collective memory of past Japanese invasions and its militaristic ambitions. 
The Daily Yomiuri’s very first sentence in the first editorial on the collision makes its 
position very clear: “There is no question that the Senkaku Islands belong to Japan both 
historically and under international law” (September 10). However, the newspaper is devoid 
of specificity on the historical dimension. Instead, it is characterized by vague 
presuppositions describing the islands as an “inherent part of Japan” and “inherently 
Japanese” in a matter-of-fact way. Extract 3 is the only substantive description of Japan’s 
historical claims.
Extract 3
… no country protested when the Meiji government incorporated the islands 
into Japanese territory in 1895. Under the San Francisco Peace Treaty signed 
in 1951, the islands were not included among those territories abandoned by 
Japan. (Daily Yomiuri, September 10)
The key proposition of the passage implies a nonchalant China who did not care much 
about the fate of the islands. In other words, the responsibility lay in the inactions of others. 


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