After the Chinese trawler captain came back home, the tense relationship between China and Japan seemed to ease for a short time, but friction between the two countries may still be inevitable. But a healthy relationship between the neighbors is beneficial not only for Asia but also the world.
The history of the two countries, for the two countries, is not only a political issue but a serious social problem as well. To develop Sino-Japanese relations, a broad sense of history is needed along with the political wisdom. People, especially the younger generation, should do something practical to increase understanding, emotion and friendship between the two countries. Japanese teenagers should face up to their history, while Chinese youth must reject irrational blind nationalism.
The youth of both countries lack the broad vision and necessary knowledge of the other. According to a Tongji University survey, 55 percent of Chinese students know Japanese history while 28 percent of Japanese students know Chinese history. In Japanese history books, mention of recent Sino-Japanese relations are hard to find, which is not good for younger generations to develop a correct view of history.
Nowadays, some radical anti-Japan or anti-China youth like to express their anger on the Internet, which often is formed through a narrow view of history and information from media. Irrational words and actions are harmful to transnational communication and could even stoke deeper hatred between the two countries. But an objective and impartial perspective and a broad sense of history are preconditions for the younger generation's transnational communication and the only way out of the shadow of Sino-Japanese relations.
To build a broad sense of history, medium should take an essential role. As the window and bridge for Sino-Japanese exchanges and young generation's communication, Chinese media have to seize initiative during international report against right-wing forces in Japan, while Japanese media should be objective and fair towards China and respect the history to separate from inside parochial nationalism.
To build a broad sense of history, education should bear an important mission. Younger people have to know more about the history of the two countries. Chinese youth have to gain a deep understanding about the history and establish national self-confidence. Japanese teenagers need to not be influenced by right-wing forces.
Long-term communication is particularly significant. The China-Japan Youth Friendly Exchange Year has helped promote communication and understanding between the younger generations of the two countries. It provides more opportunities for teenagers to visit and study in both countries, enhancing perceptual knowledge into rational thinking.
Chinese President Hu Jintao said that the reason that we keep on emphasizing not forgetting history is not to continue enmity but to take history as a mirror, face the future, cherish and maintain peace, keep the friendship from generation to generation and let people in the world have lasting peace. Sino-Japanese friendship depends on the people's friendship, and the people's friendship should start with the younger generation. Chinese and Japanese youth need to carry out more communication activities. Only a broad and correct sense of history can help them more sincerely face up to history and the future.
The author is a teacher at Renmin University of China.
(This article was translated by Lin Liyao.)