Pride, Not Prejudice

National Identity as a Pacifying Force in East Asia

Subjects: Political Science, Conflict Resolution & Peace Studies, Asian Studies, China, Japan, Korea, International Relations
Hardcover : 9780472132942, 334 pages, 48 charts, 48 tables, 6 x 9, February 2022
Open Access : 9780472902934, 334 pages, 48 charts, 48 tables, 6 x 9, February 2022
Paperback : 9780472039050, 334 pages, 48 charts, 48 tables, 6 x 9, February 2022

This open access version is made available thanks in part to the support of libraries participating in Knowledge Unlatched.
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Nationalism as a path to international peace

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Are Strong National Identities Harmful For Peace?
Chapter 2 Why Can’t We Move Beyond the Past?
Chapter 3 Theories of Identity-Affirmation: Trust, Guilt, and Images
Chapter 4 National Identity and Trust: Experiments in China, Japan, & South Korea
Chapter 5 National Identity and Guilt Recognition: Experiments in Japan
Chapter 6 National Identity and the Ally Image: Surveys in South Korea
Chapter 7 Application to Policy 1: Security Cooperation
Chapter 8 Application to Policy 2: Reparation Endorsement
Chapter 9 Conclusion
Appendix A Survey Materials
Appendix B Supplementary Empirical Materials


As shown by China’s relationship to Japan, and Japan’s relationship to South Korea, even growing regional economic interdependencies are not enough to overcome bitter memories grounded in earlier wars, invasions, and periods of colonial domination. Although efforts to ease historical animosity have been made, few have proven to be successful in Northeast Asia. In previous research scholars anticipated an improvement in relations through thick economic interdependence or increased societal contact. In economic terms, however, Japan and China already trade heavily: Japan has emerged as China’s largest trading partner and China as second largest to Japan. Societal contact is already intense, as millions of Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese visit one another’s countries annually as students, tourists, and on business trips. But these developments have not alleviated international distrust and negative perception, or resolved disagreement on what constitutes “adequate reparation” regarding the countries’ painful history.

Noticing clashes of strong nationalisms around the world in areas like Northeast Asia, numerous studies have suggested that more peaceful relations are likely only if countries submerge or paper over existing national identities by promoting universalism. Pride, Not Prejudice argues, to the contrary, that affirmation of national identities may be a more effective way to build international cooperation. If each national population reflects on the values of their national identity, trust and positive perception can increase between countries. This idea is consistent with the theoretical foundation that those who have a clear, secure, and content sense of self, in turn, can be more open, evenhanded, and less defensive toward others. In addition, this reduced defensiveness also enhances guilt admission by past “inflictors” of conflict and colonialism. Eunbin Chung borrows the social psychological theory of self-affirmation and applies it to an international context to argue that affirmation of a national identity, or reflecting on what it means to be part of one’s country, can increase trust, guilt recognition, and positive perception between countries.

Eunbin Chung is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Utah

“Chung makes important and fascinating points with large implications about how states can overcome elements of national identity that emphasize the distinctiveness, and often superiority, of the state over relevant others.”

—Joslyn Barnhart, Wesleyan University

- Joslyn Barnhart

“. . . advances a novel, even counterintuitive, solution to a frustratingly enduring problem among Northeast Asia’s states and, most especially for the United States since two of the three countries are its most important regional allies.”

—Bridget L. Coggins, University of California, Santa Barbara

- Bridget L. Coggins

"This intriguingly fresh idea—that national identify can serve as a pacifying rather than a divisive force—should be welcome news because it is highly unlikely that any of these regional powers will ever abandon their well-developed national pride. This book paves new paths forward for international relations in East Asia. Highly recommended."


Winner: American Library Association (ALA) Choice Outstanding Academic Title 

- ALA Choice Outstanding Academic Title

"Pride, Not Prejudice offers an innovative approach to the role of national identity and
collective memory in east Asia. . . the book is a recommended read for students and scholars interested in east Asia and who are already familiar with social psychology."
International Affairs

- Flavia Lucenti

Watch: Emerging Scholar Lecture from the Korean Society | 12/13/2022 
Read: H-Diplo Roundtable Review on Pride, Not Prejudice: National Identity as a Pacifying Force in East Asia | 03/06/2023