Vol. 23 (2016)

Cultural Relations within Sino-Japanese "People’s Diplomacy": Nakajima Kenzō and the <em>Japan-China Cultural Exchange Association</em>

Casper Wits
Doshisha University


This article analyzes the role of the Japan-China Cultural Exchange Association (日中文化交æµå”会) and its director-general Nakajima KenzÅ (中島å¥è”µ) in facilitating cultural exchange within Sino-Japanese "People’s Diplomacy" in the period from 1956 to 1972. Cultural exchange was highly politically charged, and aimed at promoting favourable views of China among the Japanese intelligentsia. The article looks at how Nakajima cultivated a non-political image by distancing himself from party politics within Japan, in order to attract a wide variety of Japanese cultural figures to take part in cultural exchange with China. A staunch ally of Beijing, he mobilized Japanese cultural figures to become active in the movement to change Japan’s China policy and promote China’s position in the wider progressive movement. It is an analysis in three parts: of the trajectory leading to the founding of the association in 1956; of Nakajima’s efforts to combine pro-China activism with promoting cultural exchange under the Kishi government (1957-1960); and of the cultural exchange and its political significance in the 1960s and early 1970s.