The relationship between China and Japan can be described as an unsteady or resentful one. Infamous events such as the Nanking Massacre (Rape of Nanking) have implemented these feelings of resentment and distrust for many Chinese people towards the Japanese. Another event that intensified the present hateful feelings the nations had for one another was the Mukden Incident. In short, the Mukden Incident involved Japan invading the northeastern part of China and in the end Japan conquered Manchuria and set-up a “state” renamed as Manchukuo. This event further humiliated China and it should already be apparent how this should hinder kind relations with Japan in future days. Note that these are just a couple of events that affected the ongoing “neighbourly alliance” China and Japan share. Along with events such as these, China has (for centuries) this feeling of nationalism and aimed for political supremacy in Asia. Now regarding the Japanese, they have this feeling of nationalism and imperialism as well and it’s these similar feelings of nationalism, imperialism and pride that have made recent issues such as the dispute over the “Senkaku” islands and its resources more “heated” and problematic than it needed to be (explained more in-depth in “Present Conflict” heading).
Currently, China and Japan are having a dispute over the islands known as “Senkaku” to the Japanese and “Diaoyus” to the Chinese. China in some articles are comparing their actions to that of imperial Germany prior to WWI. Specifically, some compare imperial Germany’s feeling of nationalism (and eventual irrational actions leading to war) to that of China’s feelings of nationalism and vengeance for the humiliation they have endured over centuries.
Some say that this conflict will boil down soon enough from Japan’s government buying some of the islands from a private Japanese owner. However, even if this may hold to be true, it is evident that it will not hold up to optimists’ predictions of a quick end to this dispute as it created some violent demonstrations/protests in dozens of Chinese cities and overall increased tensions between the two nations.
Moreover, China’s military actions are eerily similar to that of the German’s prior to WWI in that they are asserting themselves except unlike the Germans they are sending scouting boats to encroach Japanese water. Also, with China trying to match its status as a superpower it isn’t surprising for surrounding nations to feel anxious of China using that power and status to get what they want by force. This seems to be what some are more genuinely concerned and afraid of–the possibility for a third world war to erupt. After all, the actions and demonstrations China showcases can be compared to that of German’s desire for power as well as territory prior to WWI and when people start making connections panic is distributed through various social medias, pressure is set among politics and the decisions they make to deal with this problem and speculation soon occurs which EVEN FURTHER INTENSIFIES the issue at hand.
Truly I can see how the quarrel over these islands can cause problems and speculations that may lead to another war. Yet, I believe that with America’s intervention (its diplomatic prestige and influence) as well as the reality of neither nation wanting to go to war (China has other matters such as leadership transition and Japan doesn’t want to collapse the peace they share), war will not take place. On a final note, I am not saying that these are the only reasons that have so far deterred a major conflict and that there are indeed numerous other factors that have contributed into impeding an East Asian bloodbath.