A sober causation inquiry into the recent spiral of nationalisms between China and Japan has made it clear to me that the whole thing is based on negative reciprocity. The leader of one state struts as a bold character by frequenting a religious institution for unconstitutional reasons for four straight years. The leadership of the other
government decides it's time to give a lesson, partly motivated by 60-year-old vengeance. The gullible part of the two (or three, or four if you count in South and North Koreas) countries start to think it is patriotic to spit out hatred at each other on the 'Net, on the streets, etc. As a result, all the sides end up thinking they will not back down until the other side takes the initiative.
This is buck-passing. This is being right in a wrong place. This is Cold War mentality. This is kiss of death. The only solution is that we make the first move to open up. I now feel the same strategy viable in the linguistic arena. Japanese language should retain Chinese character of things Chinese as well as incorporating their readings as much as practical. Chinese may or may not reciprocate this. Either way, Japanese will get a fresh boost so as to continue on its way of corruption, development or simply escape from extinction.
I'm with you all the way on this one, Flam
! It is vital that politicians in Japan, China, and Korea all refrain from succumbing to the comfortable, but extremely dangerous temptation of playing the nationalism card before their respective populations, as if they wished to reenact the situation in Europe in the summer of 1914 . Memories of the last major military conflicts in which these countries were engaged are now 50 - 60 years old, and with fading memories of what war really is if it strikes one's homeland, populations are more ready to be seduced by the beguiling, but generally false notion that we are better than our neighbours, who in their iniquity are also preparing to attack us. Politicians who insist on playing with this kind of fire should be provided with room and board at the ICC....
At any rate, Flam
, thanks also for your detailed exegesis regarding current Japanese (printed) media practice with regard to Chinese names ! Even if 片仮名 is hardly the perfect instrument with which to represent the phonetics of Standard Chinese (普通话), I think the Asahi Shimbun
's practice of representing these names both by 漢字 and by 片仮名 deserves emulation. I'm not surprised that of the major Japanese dailies, it is the Asahi
that has chosen to do so - but then my partisanship for this paper goes back forty years. But newspapers are one thing - the ether media another. How, for example, does NRK deal with a name like that of Deputy Spokesman 秦剛 ? In the good old days, the anchorman would simply have referred to him as «Shin Kô» ; what is current practice ?...