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Pan Asianism, Nationalism and Transnationalism Essay

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Updated: Nov 20th, 2021

Pan Asianism is a combination of ideas and movements that advocate for consolidation and collaboration of Asian nations to free themselves from the western influences. Pan Asianism resulted from a number of reasons. The Asian countries believed they could unite in combating European imperialism. European countries were believed to have political, economic and military influence and dominance in Asian countries.

Pan Asianism gained popularity in the early 20th century from the resistance of European foreign involvement in Asia. Europe’s political setup and theories were not a favorite and compatible to Asian countries’ beliefs and practices. Some of the political values from Europe were the human rights and freedom which greatly contradicted Chinese communism and the Indians individualism. Pan Asianism attractiveness was heightened by conflicting interest between the European states and the Asians states (Beasley, 211).

Pan Asianism is strongly related to Russo- Japanese’s war of 1904-1905. The war was between Japan and Russia. It culminated from conflict of interest and revolted between Manchuria and Korea. Japan had adopted European ideologies and technologies by the late 19th century thereby becoming one of the industrialized imperials in Asia (Beasley, 181). Late in that century Japan had emerged victor in a war with China and acquired its territories including Port Arthur. Later, in order to quell the boxer rebellion in China, Russia occupied Manchuria where Port Arthur was located. The Russians later refused to vacate the area even after the deadline passed. Possession of Port Arthur did not auger well to Japan. Russia had absorbed some of the Asian states and was in great need of a frost free port. Port Arthur was the favorite since its port of Vladivostok could operate only during summer. Japan and Russia had interest in Korea and had managed to coexist. The refusal of Russia to vacate from Manchuria triggered Japan to get hostile. Russia had proposed to abandon Korea in exchange of Manchuria since they believed Japan could never have contemplated going to war with them. This was what triggered Japan to enter into war with Russia over Manchuria. Japan finally emerged victor. Pan Asianism was the sole fuel to this war as Japan wanted to expand its interest in Asia in opposition of the western states (Beasley, 196).

There were different versions of pan Asianism which ranged from political, cultural, economic and military aspects. Cultural independence was seen to be at stake since the Europeans had different cultures, Tōa dōbunkai was a cultural version of pan Asianism. Asian countries had unity in using the Chinese characters. The Asian religions were similar and were far much unrelated to Christianity which was practiced by the western states. Politically, the western countries were colonizing the Asian countries. Pan Asianism strongly opposed this since it wanted to maintain its political independence. Gen’yōsha and Kokuryūkai were the other version groups of pan Asianism (Espiritu, 163).

Pan Asianism was well demonstrated in Japan. Japan was the center where scholars and leaders of pan Asianism would meet and openly discuss their affairs. Various pan Asianism groups were founded in Japan under their influence. After Japan defeated china and Russia it joined the ranks of colonial powers. During world war I Japan was pushing for a movement that it named Asia for Asians, this demonstrates pan Asianism in Japan as the movement would kick out the colonizers. During 1930 to 1940 Japan had military expansion which were also expressed in official pan Asianism declarations “New Order in East Asia” and the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”( Gi-Wook, 124).

Finally, pan Asianism can be attributed to having liberalized Asian people from European domination. It can also be likened to the great East Asia wars thus it can be called war to liberalize Asia. Pan Asianism has played an important role in intellectual discourse and development of East Asia.

Works Cited

Beasley W.G. Collected writings New Yolk: Routledge, 2001

Gi-Wook Shin. Ethnic nationalism in Korea: genealogy, politics, and legacy Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2006

Yen Le Espiritu. Asian American panethnicity: bridging institutions and identities Philadelphia:Temple University Press, 1992

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