The Sino-Japanese War and Youth Literature : Friends and Foes on the Battlefield book cover
1st Edition

The Sino-Japanese War and Youth Literature
Friends and Foes on the Battlefield

ISBN 9781138351530
Published August 14, 2018 by Routledge
240 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Sino-Japanese War (1937 – 1945) was fought in the Asia-Pacific theatre between Imperial Japan and China, with the United States as the latter’s major military ally. An important line of investigation remains, questioning how the history of this war has been passed on to post-war generations’ consciousness, and how information sources, particularly those exposed to young people in their formative years, shape their knowledge and bias of the conflict as well as World War II more generally.

This book is the first to focus on how the Sino-Japanese War has been represented in non-English and English sources for children and young adults. As a cross-cultural study and an interdisciplinary endeavour, it not only examines youth-orientated publications in China and the United States, but also draws upon popular culture, novelists’ memoirs, and family oral narratives to make comparisons between fiction and history, Chinese and American sources, and published materials and private memories of the war. Through quantitative narrative analysis, literary and visual analysis, and socio-political critique, it shows the dominant pattern of war stories, traces chronological changes over the seven decades from 1937 to 2007, and teases out the ways in which the history of the Sino-Japanese War has been constructed, censored, and utilized to serve shifting agendas.

Providing a much needed examination of public memory, literary representation, and popular imagination of the Sino-Japanese War, this book will have huge interdisciplinary appeal, particularly for students and scholars of Asian history, literature, society and education.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Chinese Youth Literature: An Overview  2. The Sino-Japanese War as Depicted in Chinese Youth Literature: The Big Picture 3. The Sino-Japanese War as Depicted in Chinese Youth Literature: A Thematic 4. Family Narrative as Information Source: A Case Study  5. Ethnic Chinese Wartime Experience in American Youth Literature 6. Conclusion

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Minjie Chen works at the Cotsen Children's Library, Princeton University, USA.


'Chen's book is an interesting, much need study opening up an important interdisciplinary field of research.'

Lucia Obi, International Youth Library, Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature

'The author demonstrates a rich and nuanced understanding of the literature and its impacts on young audiences over the last seven decades, and in so doing highlights the importance of taking a hohstic approach in trying to grasp the full implications of the momentous events of the 1930s and 1940s in Sino-Japanese relations... the book deserves to be read widely, and will appeal not only to students and teachers of East Asian history, politics, literature and society, but also to the general reader wanting to find out more about the anatomy of the ongoing and bitter dispute between China and Japan over their wartime history.'

Caroline Rose, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. University of London, Vol. 80, No. 1, 2017

'Minjie Chen’s volume is the first crosscultural study on the representation of the second Sino-Japanese War (SJW; 1937–45) in both Chinese and English sources available to children and young adults from 1937 to 2007. This book provides a broad overview of the portrayals of the Chinese wartime experience in Chinese and US children’s literature and offers readers rich and multifaceted information on the subject.'

 Xu Xu, Children's Literature Association Quarterly, Vol. 42, No. 4, Winter 2017