This work argues that, far from being a negligible aspect of contemporary identity, racialised senses of belonging have often been the foundation of national identity in 20th-century East Asia. The construction of symbolic boundaries between racial categories has undergone many transformations in China and Japan, but this text shows how the attempt to rationalise and rank differences between population groups remains widespread. The historical background and contemporary implications of these potentially explosive issues are addressed by the contributors to this volume.
Frank Dikötter is Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong. Before moving to Asia in 2006, he was Professor of the Modern History of China at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has published nine books about the history of China, including two international bestsellers, Mao's Great Famine, which won the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction in 2011, and The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution, 1945-1957.