Sino Japanese Relations in the 20th Century
Relations between China and Japan are contradictory; they both rely heavily on each other economically, but they are distrustful of each other and there are huge cultural and political tensions between them. Japan helped provide infrastructure that allowed for the rapid industrialization of China, and if it were not for all of the foreign trade opportunities in China, Japan’s economy could have collapsed. At the same time however, China is still offended by the massive massacres and inhumane acts committed by the Japanese. Japan’s government is also very weary, and almost threatened, by China’s continuing growth economically, politically, and militarily. Despite the fact that China and Japan rely on each other economically and are so similar culturally, relations remain tense because of unresolved historical issues. The relationship between China and Japan really began to sour after Japan became industrial and imperialistic during the mid nineteenth century. This period, known as the Meiji restoration, changed Japan from a feudal society to a more capitalist one. Japan’s military was also greatly strengthened during this time, and taking after the British and other western ideas, began to occupy China. This led to the First Sino-Japanese war in 1894. At the time, China was still relatively weak and a very primitive country compared to the new imperial Japan. This war was fought mainly over control of the Korean peninsula and was easily won by the powerful Japanese military. This wasn’t a particularly bloody or violent war, but it was the first incident that caused China to think negatively of Japan. Japan’s imperialism continued throughout the twentieth century, but never turned into a full out war until the Second Sino-Japanese war in 1937. The Second Sino-Japanese war was one of the most brutal wars in Asian history, and it is a significant root cause for the bad relations between China and Japan. This is mostly due to The Rape of Nanking, which was a gruesome mass murder and war rape committed by the Japanese in 1937. The Rape of Nanking occurred during a six-week period after the Japanese took over the city of Nanking (the capital of China at the time). During this time, the Japanese military proceeded to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians, and rape tens of thousands of innocent women. In fact, the acts of violence were so unnecessary and horrid, that this is also known as the “forgotten holocaust of world war two”. Pregnant women were often a target of murder, and they would often be bayoneted in the stomach, sometimes after rape. Tang Junshan, a survivor and witness to one of the Japanese army’s systematic mass killings, testified: The seventh and last person in the first row was a pregnant woman. The soldier thought he might as well rape her before killing her, so he pulled her out of the group to a spot about ten meters away. As he was trying to rape her, the woman resisted fiercely ... The soldier abruptly stabbed her in the belly with a bayonet. She gave a final scream as her intestines spilled out. Then the soldier stabbed the fetus, with its umbilical cord clearly visible, and tossed it aside What has really caused the Rape of Nanking to be such a pressing issue though, is that Japan has done almost nothing to apologize to China. What’s worse, is that some Japanese scholars and officials claim the entire incident to be a hoax. Members of the Prime Minister’s Party state the “no evidence to prove the mass killings by Japanese soldiers in the captured [Nanking] and they even accused Beijing of using the alleged incident as a "political advertisement." Of course, the Chinese government is very offended by these claims and since then, relations have deteriorated greatly. China also does nothing to try to forget about the unpleasant incident, and many Chinese textbooks horrifically describe the acts of the Japanese, which darkens the image of Japan to the...
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