Nationalism and Regionalism: Chinese Intellectuals' Writings on Asianism and the Empire of Japan


Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowships




Until recent decades, historians of modern East Asia generally considered Asianism to be an imperialist ideology from Japan. However, early proponents of this discourse looked upon it as a strategy of uniting nations to defend against Western imperialism. This study investigates Chinese intellectual discourse from Sun Yat-sen’s speeches in 1924 to the beginning of Japan’s occupation of China proper in 1937, considering calls for regionalism in their intellectual and historical contexts. Focusing upon Sino-Japanese conferences, as well as a number of key intellectuals from both the Communist Party and the Guomindang, I will show how pan-Asian strategies were earnestly discussed in pre-war China, and that this discourse had a strong influence upon the construction of Chinese nationalism.