NEWS

The 97th Tobunken-ASNET seminar "The meaning of \'modernization\' and its changes in Japan and China:On the perspective of global history"

【Date】 July 17, 2014 (Thu) 5:00-6:00 p.m.

【Venue】 Ground Floor, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo

【Speaker】 ZHANG Houquan (Visiting Fellow, IASA)

【Title】 The meaning of "modernization" and its changes in Japan and China:On the perspective of global history

【Abstract】 

This is an interim report of a comparative study of the concept of "modernization" in Japan and China from the perspective of global history.
The concept of “modernization,” translated into Japanese as “kindaika,” is a concept being used by European and American scholars to assess the development, or underdevelopment, of a country.While in Japan, ”kindaika” is a very commonly used word, in China, the word “jindaihua,” the Chinese kanji equivalent of “kindaika,” has a negative connotation. Rather, in the Chinese language, “modernization” is often being translated as “xiandaihua,” or “gendaika” in Japanese kanji and pronunciation. Although the Japanese and Chinese terms share the same Chinese characters, their concepts are different. A gap is produced between the researchers as well as the common people of the two countries in their understanding of the concept of "modernization," each being influenced by the translated terminology in their own language.
This shows to a certain extent the limit of the Eurocentric and American-centric historical view of the world.

【Comment】 SONODA Shigeto (Professor, The University of Tokyo)

※The seminar will be in Japanese.