Danwei today posted an excellent set of material on the 1996 book China Can Say No (中国可以说不). The book was influential in Chinese nationalism and follows a 1989 book by Japanese novelist-turned-governor-of-Tokyo, Ishihara Shintaro, and a top Sony executive, Morita Akio, called The Japan That Can Say No.
The Danwei post includes a recent interview with one of the Chinese book’s writers, Song Qiang. In it, Song says anti-Japanese nationalism is not as warranted as anti-U.S. sentiment.
NH: What were you thinking during the anti-Japanese demonstrations of 2005?
SQ: I think that China’s biggest enemy is America. Japan is relatively harmless, so it’s easy to confuse things if you’re anti-Japan. China is a poor country, but Japan and Korea have done things better than us: each move they’ve made has been carefully considered. A national attitude of prudence and self-protection is something that China lacks. I didn’t take part in the demonstrations but I did sign my name. I said to Tong Zeng [defender of the Diaoyu Islands] that I was afraid that the anti-Japanese demonstrations would slip up and be exploited by the Americans.
China Youth Daily reported that a Japanese exchange student had posted online, saying: The “Chinamen” (支那人) don’t have any warriors; the Yamato people are superior to the Chinese. When I first read that I thought it was fake. There was no source of stimulation inside the country, so why not make up a post by a Japanese exchange student to inflame the passions of the Chinese—then we’d all have something to do. This is taking things far too lightly. A few years later, people said that the post was a fake, something cooked up by a Chinese person. If you’re anti-Japanese to such an extent, I’d say there’s a problem.