MRI Forum 60

“We are victims, aren't we?”
Self-victimizing nationalism as an obstacle to Sino-Japanese reconciliation


by Martin Chung

16 February 2011







Press Play to listen (Full length: 58 minutes)

Summary of the Presentation

In late 2010, anti-Chinese and anti-Japanese protests erupted in Japan and China respectively. The ostensible “cause” was the sovereignty dispute over Diao Yu Tai/Senkaku Islands (釣魚台/尖閣諸島), which few, if any, of the protesters, have actually seen with their own eyes or personally set foot on. What does this tell us about the state (and the problems) of  the relationship between the Japanese and the Chinese?

Borrowing from the German-Jewish and the German-Polish experiences of “coming to terms with the past”, the speaker will attempt to explore the relational illness that lies beneath the Sino-Japanese territorial dispute, namely, a type of nationalism that has self-victimizing characteristics, and to trace its cultural roots in Chinese historiography and hermeneutical thinking. From this diagnosis, the talk will finally lead to the discussion of “mutual-turning” as a possible – and emergent – remedy in East Asia.


Profile of the Speaker

Martin Chung Chi-Kei (鍾子祺) was a lecturer at the University of St. Joseph (from 2007-2009). He is now a Research Postgraduate, PhD in European Studies, at the University of Hong Kong. He has published a number of articles on collective reconciliation in Europe and in East Asia, and is also a frequent contributor to the Macau Observer, a Chinese weekly published by the Catholic Lay Association of Macau.