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The end of major world conflicts signified new dawn for most nations that were actively involved in the World War I. This was a significant time where nations had to restructure their international relations and revamp their political and economic projects to ensure they regain their previous states. This essay examines how historical legacies have affected relationships between Japan, China, and South Korea.
History is the most challenging and complex part of human life due to the existence of many translations, meanings, and origins of various cultural and political systems. However, it is necessary to explain that even though there may be various reasons that explain circumstances surrounding an event, the truth is that all details provided always reflect the truth about an event or a person. Historians have explained in various ways that the relationships between China, Japan, and South Korea were based on parasitism where Japan benefited from these two nations in many ways (Brazil 2009). For instance, the origin of the Japanese language is largely associated with China and South Korea.
Also, there are many occasions where historians and researchers have proved that Japan derived its language and symbols from China. This means that there was a lot of cultural exchange amongst these three countries and this promoted healthy relations amongst their citizens. Information obtained before the 18th century shows that those nations shared a lot of social and cultural aspects that enabled them to interact freely. However, it is necessary to explain that Japan had not matured politically and was highly influenced by the decisions of its neighbors (Santiago 2013).
Therefore, China and South Korea had stronger political powers and regimes compared to Japan and this made them play significant roles in determining the political and economic decisions in the Asian region. It is also believed that Japan did not have a distinctive religious identity because it had relied heavily on China’s Buddhism (Mitter 2013). The present Japanese Buddhism is believed to have originated from the South Korean and Chinese religions that were very influential in the 16th century.
However, the beginning of the 19th century marked a dark future for the Chinese empire especially when the western nations started to pile pressure on the political and economic decisions of this region. China had all along thought that it was the most civilized nation and that others were barbaric (He 2013). This made it feel superior and thus controlled the activities of Japan and South Korea without questions.
It is important to explain that China expected its neighbors to pay tribute in case they wanted to trade with it. This was viewed as a dictatorship by Japan and it later started exploring other possibilities since China had started to exercise excessive power over the sovereignty of its neighbors. On the other hand, Korea sought support from Russia and this became a major blow in the political decisions of Japan regarding the politics and economies of this region (Mitter 2013). All these activities triggered enmity between Japan, China, and South Korea that has never been fully resolved even though other nations have tried to find a lasting solution to this problem.
Japan believes that Korea was a Chinese slave and thus it cannot agree on any treaty that will try to bring together these two nations. On the other hand, China believes that Japan is a barren land and cannot offer any financial help to Korea; therefore, it should not contemplate annexing itself or part of it to Japan. This rivalry has continued to affect the relationships amongst these nations and thus has motivated other nations like the United States to try to find solutions to these conflicts.
Lastly, it is important to explain that China is winning a lot of financial support from Asian and African countries and this has surprised the United States and other European nations (Mitter 2013). Therefore, it has achieved economic independency and this has enabled it to offer grants and loans to developing nations. On the other hand, Japan was adversely affected by World War I and is still struggling to revive its economy and politics. However, this journey is proving to be very difficult because other nations like the United States and France are busy attending to their needs and thus have no time to listen to Japan (Macri 2012). As a result, it has been plagued with many challenges and this limits its ability to influence other nations.
The relationship between Japan, China, and South Korea will continue to face serious challenges since China is slowly becoming an influential nation in the world. Even though these nations share a lot of economic, social, and political aspects Japan must work hard to forge healthy relations with other powerful nations to enable it to stand high chances of competing and challenging China and South Korea. However, this will not be an easy task since most nations are faced with various domestic and international challenges that are taking a lot of their resources.
Brazil, M. (2009). Birds of East Asia: China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Russia (Princeton Field Guides). New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
He, W. (2013). Paths toward the Modern Fiscal State: England, Japan, and China. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Macri, F. (2012). Clash of Empires in South China: The Allied Nations’ Proxy War with Japan, 1935-1941 (Modern War Studies). New York: University Press of Kansas.
Mitter, R. (2013). China’s War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival. New York: Allen Lane Publishers.
Santiago, R. (2013). Communist Perspectives on North Korea. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.