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Asianism, Nationalism And Culturalism In Early Twentieth Century China

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Chapter Summary

In the first half of the twentieth century in China, various apparently contradictory trends began to manifest themselves that profoundly affected how the Chinese viewed Asia, as well as themselves in relation to Asia. It was around the same time that the Chinese began to develop an acute sense of nationhood that they also began to develop a sense of Asianness ('Asianism'), that is, a sense of belonging to a region wider than the nation-state. The 'Eastern civilization versus Western civilization' debate was not confined to China, but developed more or less simultaneously, adopting appropriate forms, in Japan, India, China and the West. By 1924, the predatory aspects of Japanese Pan-Asianism were obvious to all nationalist Chinese, even to those like Sun Yat-sen who had had warm relations with many Japanese. Sun Yat-sen used the occasion of speaking to a Japanese audience to challenge the Japanese militarists' concept of Pan-Asianism.

Keywords: Asianism; China; Eastern civilization; Japan; Sun Yat-sen; Western civilization



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