Blocking the Road to the Future: Biases and Misperceptions of Chinese Youth

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 6:15 PM
Room: F206
Oral Presentation
Anya HOMMADOVA , International Area Studies, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan
The future of Asia will be highly influenced by the current opinions of its youth and bilateral relations between China and Japan. The current perceptions of the Chinese youth have not been explored to their full extent and there is a gap in perceived and actual perceptions on issues which are acting as roadblocks in bilateral relations. Previous research suggests that there are highly emotional responses to numerous controversial issues from both sides (Yong, 1997; Choi, 2010; Fan 2012), but little fieldwork has been done to identify the feelings involved in these emotional responses and how individuals perceive their peers’ opinions.

Recent surveys conducted by Genron-NPO in 2012 have been able to capture the opinions on a number of topics and the reason for negative opinion, but failed to ask to identify respondents’ feelings as well as how they believed themselves to be perceived by the other nation. 

Therefore, to improve the relations between the two countries in the future it is imperative to identify the feelings and the perceptions of the Chinese youth concerning Japan and opinions on the controversial issues. Preliminary analysis of data collected from 261 college students indicates that, on average, Chinese students rate themselves and their peers to be more knowledgeable than the average Japanese student on China-Japan relations; what is more, they perceive the Japanese to have more amiable feelings towards China than their Chinese counterparts feel toward Japan. There is evidence to suspect the false-consensus bias is present and the possibility of naïve realism which has conflict resolution implications. Though numerous social scientists have focused on the past and the historic issues between Japan and China, my goal is to focus on the current perceptions and their implications for building a better future.