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Japan and China as Charm Rivals

Soft Power in Regional Diplomacy

Jing Sun

Publication Year: 2012

In international relations today, influence is as essential as military and economic might. Consequently, leaders promote favorable images of the state in order to attract allies and win support for their policies. Jing Sun, an expert on international relations and a former journalist, refers to such soft power campaigns as "charm offensives." Sun focuses on the competition between China and Japan for the allegiance of South Korea, Taiwan, and other states in the region. He finds that, instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, the Chinese and the Japanese deploy customized charm campaigns for each target state, taking into consideration the target's culture, international position, and political values. He then evaluates the effectiveness of individual campaigns from the perspective of the target state, on the basis of public opinion polls, media coverage, and the response from state leaders. A deep, comparative study, Japan and China as Charm Rivals enriches our understanding of soft power by revealing deliberate image campaign efforts and offering a method for assessing the effectiveness of such charm offensives.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-xii

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Introduction: “Peaceful Rise” vs. “Beautiful Japan”

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pp. 1-22

The idea for this book came to me in a rather random way. In December 2006, a news story, “Dragon May No Longer Fit to Serve as China’s Symbol,” caught my attention. Professor Wu Youfu, also the party general secretary of the Shanghai Foreign Studies University...

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1. A Short History of Charm in Japan-China Relations

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pp. 23-54

Given the high level of distrust and antagonism between Japan and China today, it is hard to believe that charm has ever played a role in Sino-Japanese relations. Japan, however, was among the first noncommunist countries that the newly founded People’s Republic sought to woo...

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2. Southeast Asia: Learning to Treat Neighbors as Peers

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pp. 55-85

In this chapter, I examine China and Japan’s efforts to woo Southeast Asia.1 Given its resources and location, Southeast Asia’s strategic importance is obvious. A long history of interactions also means that neither China nor Japan is a stranger to the region. Familiarity, however, can breed both admiration and suspicion...

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3. South Korea: A Suspicious Power Resistant to Charm

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pp. 86-121

This chapter examines China and Japan’s efforts to woo South Korea. Though geographically a small country, South Korea is a global economic powerhouse, boasting the fifteenth-biggest GDP in the world in 2010. The country is an immediate neighbor and a major trading partner with both Japan and China...

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4. Taiwan: Negotiating Self-Identity and Security

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pp. 122-149

This chapter examines China and Japan’s efforts to woo Taiwan, which differs in important ways from previously examples. Unlike South Korea and countries in Southeast Asia, the issue of national identity still hangs in Taiwan’s air. Having ruled the island in the nineteenth century and for much of the first half of the twentieth...

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Conclusion: The Dynamic Wooing Game

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pp. 150-174

Most recently, China’s wooing campaign has become more selective about whom to attract. Burned by a series of public relations debacles, the Chinese government has realized that it has only a slim chance of making itself appealing to “the West,” a concept vaguely defined in Chinese popular discourse as the industrialized democracies of Europe


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pp. 175-198


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pp. 199-214


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pp. 215-231

E-ISBN-13: 9780472028450
E-ISBN-10: 0472028456
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472118335
Print-ISBN-10: 0472118331

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 15 figures, 7 tables
Publication Year: 2012