Sino-Japanese relations appear to have a dual structure which is built into the long history of exchanges and interaction between the two countries. Some phrases such as ichii taisui (“neighbours across the strip of water”) and dobun doshu (“same Chinese characters, same race”) have long been regarded as a symbol of the friendly relationship between the two countries. Such a symbol, however, implies dual and conflicting sentiments of the Japanese and the Chinese, namely the feelings of inferiority and superiority with each other in a hierarchical order of foreign relations in Asia.
To be more specific, the Chinese have a superiority complex deriving from their cultural influence in pre-modern history and hatred stemming from Japanese military aggression against China in the modern period, while having an inferiority complex based upon Japan's co-operation in their modernization, and admiration for Japan's advanced economy. On the other hand, the Japanese have an inferiority complex due to their cultural debt to China and the sense of original sin stemming from their past aggression against China, while having a superiority complex based upon their assistance to China's modernization and contempt for China's backwardness.