"Becoming Chinese in Japan: Chinese Students and Nationalism, 1896 to 1911"
Mentor:Guotong Li, Assistant Professor of History, California State University Long Beach
The history of the Chinese students in Japan from 1896 to 1911 ought to attract the interest of historians for several reasons, but it has hitherto been neglected in American scholarship. Many studies of the revolution of 1911 have discounted the development of Chinese nationalism among students in Meiji Japan as being of minor importance or irrelevant to the discussion of factors contributing to the anti-dynastic revolution. Through a reading of the writings of students, intellectuals, and government officials at the time, however, one should discover the emergence of nationalism among these students and the decisive role that their experience in Japan played in this emergence. Many students in Japan became enemies to the alien Manchu dynasty—which was often the patron of their studies—and their experience of Japanese nationalism and anti-Chinese sentiment in Japan was essential to this development. This Chinese nationalism, developed at least partially in Japan, was a necessary ingredient in the revolution of 1911. Understanding the role of these students, their nationalism, and Japan in this revolution may help shed light on the importance of future student movements in post-Qing China—during such periods as the May Fourth Movement, the New Culture Movement, and the Cultural Revolution—and the peculiarity of the Chinese sense of a national identity, which subsumes some groups who would perhaps rather not be subsumed.