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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 4 daily basis through the seemingly innocuous routine use of ‘flags’ such as common symbols and routines that explicitly refer to aspects of the nation in a taken-for-granted fashion. As he says: “The metonymic image of banal nationalism is not a flag which is being consciously waved with fervent passion; it is a flag hanging unnoticed on the public building” (p. 8). Ironically, both the English-language newspapers in this study came into being as a direct consequence of globalization. Both China and Japan were at different times engaged in the process of economic expansion and integrating with the global economy. The English- language media therefore were important channels for them to reach out to the non-Chinese and non-Japanese speaking local and international community 1 . The China Daily was founded in the early 1980s soon after economic reforms enacted by the Chinese government that opened up the country to international trade. It is considered the de facto English voice of the Chinese government and a way to explain and elaborate the government’s stance on foreign policy issues (Stone, 1994). The Daily Yomiuri was founded in 1955 soon after the end of the allied occupation after the Second World War and the country entered a phase of economic reconstruction. It is the sister-newspaper of the Yomiuri Shimbun, the largest national newspaper in Japan and considered to be a conservative pro-government and pro-US paper (Nanri, 2004). The two newspapers were chosen for comparison because they both target international audiences and have bureaus and offices throughout the world. Therefore, they have the necessary resources and manpower to report on international events. Their layouts and design follow the same conventions and practices of other international newspapers and they use content from international news agencies such as Reuters and the Associated Press. Moreover, both newspapers gave prominent coverage to the East China Sea incident. During 1 According to the respective newspapers the China Daily has a reader demographic that was 60% Chinese and 40% non-Chinese while the Daily Yomiuri has a reader demographics that was 60% Japanese and 40% foreign, of which 73% were nationals from the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

Authors: Chan, Michael.
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News, identity and ideology 4
daily basis through the seemingly innocuous routine use of ‘flags’ such as common symbols 
and routines that explicitly refer to aspects of the nation in a taken-for-granted fashion. As he 
says: “The metonymic image of banal nationalism is not a flag which is being consciously 
waved with fervent passion; it is a flag hanging unnoticed on the public building” (p. 8). 
 Ironically, both the English-language newspapers in this study came into being as a 
direct consequence of globalization. Both China and Japan were at different times engaged in 
the process of economic expansion and integrating with the global economy. The English-
language media therefore were important channels for them to reach out to the non-Chinese 
and non-Japanese speaking local and international community
. The China Daily was 
founded in the early 1980s soon after economic reforms enacted by the Chinese government 
that opened up the country to international trade. It is considered the de facto English voice of 
the Chinese government and a way to explain and elaborate the government’s stance on 
foreign policy issues (Stone, 1994). The Daily Yomiuri was founded in 1955 soon after the 
end of the allied occupation after the Second World War and the country entered a phase of 
economic reconstruction. It is the sister-newspaper of the Yomiuri Shimbun, the largest 
national newspaper in Japan and considered to be a conservative pro-government and pro-US 
paper (Nanri, 2004).
The two newspapers were chosen for comparison because they both target 
international audiences and have bureaus and offices throughout the world. Therefore, they 
have the necessary resources and manpower to report on international events. Their layouts 
and design follow the same conventions and practices of other international newspapers and 
they use content from international news agencies such as Reuters and the Associated Press. 
Moreover, both newspapers gave prominent coverage to the East China Sea incident. During 
1
 According to the respective newspapers the China Daily has a reader demographic that was 60% Chinese and 
40% non-Chinese while the Daily Yomiuri has a reader demographics that was 60% Japanese and 40% foreign, 
of which 73% were nationals from the US, UK, Canada and Australia.


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