Yoshiko Nakano is Associate Professor in the Department of Japanese Studies at the University of Hong Kong. After moving from Washington, D.C. to Hong Kong in 1997, she began looking into the globalization of “Made in Japan” products. Using the rice cooker as an example of this process, she has examined how this electrical appliance was localized for the Chinese market, and how it has followed in the footsteps of Asian migrants and made its way around the world. The resulting book is Where There Are Asians, There Are Rice Cookers: How “National” Went Global via Hong Kong (HKU Press 2009). As a teacher, she looks for chances to involve Hong Kong’s Japanese community in the programs. In 2007, she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Japanese Club to sit alongside 24 Japanese business leaders in the city. Her essays appear in Yomiuri Shimbun International Edition.
This study examines how young Chinese people in Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhous and Hong Kong perceive Japan and the United States based on their narratives. Through open-ended focus group discussions, individual interviews and ethnographic observation, I examined the following questions: What do Chinese university students think of Japan and the United States and their people? How have they constructed their perspectives? What role does popular culture plan? Has the influx of American and Japanese popular culture blurred the nation-state boundaries? How do the Chinese students claim their own identities when they talk about the two countries? While the students will address their views of Japan and the United States, their discourse will inevitably show us how they draw distinctions between "us, the Chinese" and "them". In other words, the underlying theme of the study is national identities in the age of globalization.