The Crisis in Japanese and Chinese Public Opinion: Can Soft Power Soften an 'Enemy
Philippines Conference Room
Encina Hall, 3rd Floor
Visiting Associate Professor at Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University
Why are Japan and China perpetually at odds? In this talk, Christian Collet will discuss the growing role of public opinion in bilateral tensions and the conflicting images that are held by Chinese and Japanese of one another. While there has long been a mixture of affection, anger and rivalry at the diplomatic level, Collet will explain that the roots of contemporary discontent lie, in part, in contradistinctive citizen impressions: in China, perceptions of threat borne of history and new media; in Japan, discontent manifest in domestic political culture, including eroding trust and right-wing ideology. Collet will examine the potential of soft power for ameliorating the relationship, providing some evidence to suggest that pop cultural exchanges may have a desired impact on segments of both publics. But soft power can only go so far to soften a negative image; concerted efforts, Collet will argue, also need to be made by opinion leaders to reassure citizens and restore trust in governmental decision-making.
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