Asia Becomes an ism: Early Chinese and Japanese Asianism
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This chapter reviews Asia discourse in Japan and China until the beginning of the twentieth century. It analyses early Chinese and Japanese affirmations of Asianism as a newly established, but still peripheral concept in the pre-World War One period. Conceptually, Asianism discourse from the mid-1910s onwards could draw on a multi-faceted, albeit marginalized and mostly negative heritage of Asia discourse in the preceding decades. This gradually changed with the inception of Asianism in mainstream discourse from the early 1910s onwards which triggered an intensive debate about the meaning and relevance of Asia for Japan and China as nation states, as peoples and societies, and as empire of the past or empire-in-the-making.