The establishment of the concept of “nation” or“people” in modern Japan and China: The contribution of intellectuals in promoting a new terminology for the constituent members of the state
312 , 2016-04-01 , 関西大学東西学術研究所
The word guomin in Chinese or kokumin in Japanese, which translates into Englishas either “nation” or “people”, is not a term of modern coinage; it has been used sinceantiquity in both China and Japan. The promoting of the modern nation and its people is closely related to success or failure in the formation of the nation-state. Because of this, in both China and Japan, it has been said that the establishment of the concept of the “nation/people” (guomin, kokumin) is a crucial part of this modernization process. A look at the changing terminology for the constituent members of the state should be useful in clarifying what is subsumed under the concept of guomin/kokumin, as well as aiding towards a deeper awareness of the value judgments and interaction with foreign cultures that were involved in fostering the modern nation and its people. This paper offers a modest analysis of the changes in value judgments and personal perspectives thattook place in both China and Japan during the progress of modernization, both from theperspective of how the concept of the modern nation and its people was established, andby reference to the discourse of intellectuals regarding the constituent members of the state.