Nationalism in transition: Japan and the formation of modern Chinese nationalism 1898-1911

China experienced a shift in the focus of loyalty from the ruler to the nation in the perspective of modern nationalism. Japan has played a significant role in the process of the formation of the transformation from 1898 to 1911.

First, the essay will focus on how China’s situation at the turn of the twentieth century was linked to the word. Second, China experienced the transformation from proto-nationalism to modern nationalism, which means from patriarchal loyalism to reformism or revolution. The definition of proto-nationalism and modern one should be considered. Japan could be the model for China. Third, not until the Chinese students in Japan had proven the Manchu empire too cumbersome to meet modern challenge did a new situation provide China with the western model of nation states. They became the “new carriers” of “new concepts”. The modem Chinese nationalism was born as reformism or revolution. They expressed their political ideas through revolutionary journals. Finally, both the reform and revolution reflected the feature of modern nationalism. These students also experienced transit from reform to revolution. Their aim changed to save the nation instead of emperor.  They sought for the most effect solution to save their nation, which was to overthrow Qing government.

Without the help of Japan at multiple levels, China could not have broken the long term tradition both intellectual and institutional and in this process the modern Chinese nationalism came into existence.