With the passing of the “friendship generation” and the increase in (mostly negative) societal participation in the late 1980s, the governments of China and Japan have found it increasingly difficult to navigate between the constraints and possibilities in their relationship. Based on ten years’ research in the United States, China, and Japan, this book argues that the relationship is politically now dispute-prone, cyclical, and downward-trending but manageable; militarily uncertain; economically integrating; psychologically closer in people-to-people contact yet more distant. The author develops measures of political interaction, trade, foreign direct investment, tourism, and student exchanges, and casts doubt on many prevailing assumptions about Sino-Japanese relations.

Ming Wan is Professor of Government and Politics and Director of the Global Affairs Program at George Mason University. He is the author of The Political Economy of East Asia: Striving for Wealth and Power (2008), Human Rights in Chinese Foreign Relations: Defining and Defending National Interests (2001), and Japan Between Asia and the West: Economic Power and Strategic Balance (2001).


List of Tables and Figures
Note on Personal Names, Place Names, and Transliteration
List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction: Studying Sino-Japanese Relations

Part I. Patterns and Trends
2. Political and Security Interactions
3. Economic and Sociocultural Interactions

Part II. Explanations
4. The 1972 System
5. Objectives and Approaches
6. Players, Emotions, and National Identity
7. The United States, Japan, and China
8. Systemic Explanations

Part III. Cases
9. Koizumi’s Visits to the Yasukuni Shrine
11. The Shenyang Incident
12. The Sino-Japanese Redress Movement

Part IV. Conclusion
13. Conclusion: An Emerging Sino-Japanese Rivalry


“...Ming Wan adds to our empirical knowledge, updating the literature on China-Japan relations, on which there has not been a major book in years, with the most complete, rounded, and thorough account in the English-language literature.”—Political Science Quarterly

“This work is highly important. Sino-Japanese relations are becoming increasingly problematic and have profound implications for Asian and global security and stability. Ming Wan’s work presents a wealth of empirical material in a clear and readable fashion, with an analytical argument that is sophisticated and subtle.”—Mike Mochizuki, George Washington University

“This book advances well beyond existing publications in its breadth of coverage of Sino-Japanese relations and in its depth of understanding of how and why they have been changing. It is exceptionally balanced, drawing on unprecedented research into both Chinese and Japanese reasoning and combining the two effectively.”—Gil Rozman, Princeton University

“This is a very thorough and comprehensive study of the political, security, economic, and sociocultural aspects of Sino-Japanese relations The overall quality and comprehensive nature of this book, which lead this reviewer to wholeheartedly recommend it to all interested readers.”—Reinhard Drifte, Newcastle University/London School of Economics

“This book is probably the best and most comprehensive book on contemporary Sino-Japanese relations in recent years. It is a ‘must read’ for those interested in this critical relationship, which directly impacts the peace, prosperity and stability of East Asia.”—Pacific Affairs