The 1920s and 1930s were a time of increasing friction between the two nations, Professor Christopher Keaveney says, but were nevertheless something of a golden age for cultural exchange.
According to Beyond Brushtalk: Sino-Japanese Literary Exchange in the Interwar Period, the interactions were boosted by a new ease of travel between the two countries and the large number of Chinese writers who studied in Japan.
Unfortunately, the literary exchange didn’t last, due to rising political tensions that eventually led to all-out warfare. The book’s analysis of Sino-Japanese literary fellowship is set against the narrative of surging Japanese militarism and grim Chinese suffering, but the friendship and affinity that literature can bring is heartening.
Professor Keaveney’s approach is transnational and suggests that modern Chinese literature and its Japanese counterpart are so intertwined that neither can be understood without reference to the other.
Keaveney is associate professor of Japanese and co-chair of both the Department of Modern Languages and the Asian Studies program at Linfield. His publications also include The Subversive Self in Modern Chinese Literature and articles about Sino-Japanese literary relations.