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Title: Reconsidering the Sino-Japanese history problem : remembrance of the Fifteen-year War in mainland China prior to the 1982 textbook incident
Author: Chan , Yang
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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This dissdertation concerns the evolution of the collective remembrance of the Fifteen-year War (1931-1945) in China between 1945 and 1982. Exploring how the Fifteen-year War has been remembered in mainland China is an essential step in understanding the origin of the currently explosive Si no-Japanese History Problem. Moreover, remembrance of the war has been entangled with Chinese international relations and various domestic affairs in the postwar era. However, despite its importance, research on the evolution of mainland China's Fifteen-year War remembrance is a relatively new genre. Most of this research argues that the Fifteen-year War remembrance was discouraged in China before 1982, and the current problematic aspects of the Chinese Fifteen-year War remembrance should be attributed to the patriotic campaigns sponsored by the CCP regime since around the 1982 Textbook Incident, which was considered as the first large-scale diplomatic conflict between China and Japan over the Fifteen-year War history. Nevertheless, two major shortcomings of this research's examination on the pre-1982 period - a lack of thorough firsthand study and a strong government-centred view - render its above argument oversimplified and partial. This thesis aims to overcome these shortcomings and present a new picture as to the situation of the Fifteen-year War remembrance in mainland China before 1982. The thesis's first chapter examines pre-1982 Sino-Japanese relations to find out what the correlation was between the Fifteen-year War remembrance and China's relationship with Japan. Chapter 2 explores the manoeuvre of glorifying the Fifteen-year War Martyrs before 1982. Chapter 3 examines the realms of the Fifteen-year War remembrance constructed by the state as an agent: the national anthem, the school history textbooks and history museums; and pays attention to the central-local dimension of the Chinese war remembrance. Chapter 4 examines the realms of the war memory constructed by unofficial agents - the Fifteen-year War themed arts, scholarly works and grassroots memories -and emphasises the interaction between the state and unofficial agents in constructing the PRC war remembrance. The thesis's Conclusion consists of two parts. Firstly, I argue that the Fifteen-year War was well remembered in China before 1982, although not on a scale as large as today. Central as well as local authorities and various unofficial agents of the war memory interacted with each other to shape a relatively unified remembrance of the Fifteen-year War in China. The core part of the national memory promoted by the central CCP regime, as reflected in school history textbooks and national history museums, was the series of heroic and tragic wartime events which could justify the CCP's wartime leadership. On the top of that were various memories that thrived in the local areas and were remembered privately by individuals. Further, this thesis' empirical research has provided evidence to invalidate the three explanations which are given in the existing literature to support the pre-1982 'Chinese generous amnesia' argument. Secondly, I argue that, as in China, the Fifteen-year War remembrance was also an integrated part of postwar Japanese society. However, unlike its Chinese counterpart, the Japanese war remembrance was highly contested. Still, there was one thing which was shared by almost all groups in postwar Japanese society - the victim mentality. Moreover, both the PRC and Japan's war remembrance after 1982 is a natural continuation of that of before 1982; the origin of the current problematic war remembrance in China and Japan comes from this period as well.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available