It’s always surprising to me that Japan and China are not best friends, I mean, there are just so many things they have in common! Aside from the silly comparison that Japanese and Chinese look “exactly alike” according to foreigners, there are so many similarities in regards to the traditions and festivals that are celebrated such as the coming of a new year and sweeping of graves paying respects to deceased family members. Both societies are taught to respect the elders and pay the utmost of respect to their parents, all in the roots of Confucianism. You would find Han characters in the Japanese writing and both societies would put on traditional clothing in celebration of the New Year; the kimono for the Japanese, and the qipao for the Chinese. Rice is a staple for Chinese and Japanese, with sushi being Japan’s special delicacy and dim sum the Chinese’s. Therefore, it’s just so confusing that relations between the 2 countries are always filled with tension and sensitively considered amicable at best. I am going to take a bold move and blame the fact China and Japan are not best friends on the USA; it’s their meddling in Asia that causes such divides and tensions against other Asian nations. Clearly the Chinese cannot forget the rape of Nanking or the Japanese occupation of China in World War II, but I honestly believe there is a strong desire for Japan and China to forge ahead and extend friendship to each other, but US is poking her nose everywhere! To be fair, I don’t have enough knowledge and thorough understand on US foreign policy to defend and justify its agendas and its determination to keep a military base in Japan against the wishes of the Japanese, but I do think US is very aggressive and bossy, and completely standing in the way of Japan and China being best friends!
I remember a conversation I had when I was living in Guangzhou for a few months, shortly after the Sept 11th attack in the US. I believe the terrorist attack is horrible and should never have happened because no matter how much you hate a country, the people that were killed are innocent and should not have died. I truly condemn the attack and voiced that out. I was kind of surprise at the response to my line of thinking, and I was told a story: if you live in a house minding your own business, but you have a very bossy neighbour that keeps picking on you and bullying you, always pushing you and slapping you whenever you walk by, how would you feel? You know the neighbour is very strong and powerful, and there is nothing you could do to stop him from harassing and pestering you; therefore, what you decide to do is hurt the members of his family so you would be heard, so the neighbour will know he cannot keep messing with you and you’ll not be silent. After I was told this story, I still condemn the attack because I place very high value on human lives, but I was brought to another side of the story. I am going to conclude with the Chinese saying “淵淵相報何時了‘, roughly translated into English as “When will it end if everyone continues to seek revenge and retaliation”?