Unresolved World War II animosity dampens empathy toward 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami

Journal article


Yang, Ying, Liu, Xiao-xiao, Fang, Yang and Hong, Ying-yi. (2014) Unresolved World War II animosity dampens empathy toward 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. 45(2), pp. 171 - 191. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022113509118
AuthorsYang, Ying, Liu, Xiao-xiao, Fang, Yang and Hong, Ying-yi
Abstract

The 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami evoked widespread empathy and sympathy. We examine how historical representations of WWII among Chinese and Americans affect their empathy toward the Japanese disaster. In three online surveys conducted 8 days, 4 weeks, and 10 months after the Japanese earthquake, we recruited over 900 participants from diverse age groups and geographic locations in China and the United States. We consistently found that the Chinese participants showed less empathy toward the Japanese disaster (but not toward the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami) than did Americans, and these cross-national differences were partially mediated by Chinese participants’ tendency to attribute the disaster to retribution or associate Japan as an aggressor in WWII. We also manipulated participants’ identity (national vs. global identity) and found it had an interaction effect with patriotism on empathy toward the Japanese. We discuss how these findings shed light on identity, patriotism, shared historical representations, and lingering international conflicts.

Keywordsempathy; identity; patriotism; historical representation; intergroup conflicts
Year2014
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Journal citation45 (2), pp. 171 - 191
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN0022-0221
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022113509118
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84891518889
Page range171 - 191
Research GroupSchool of Philosophy
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/8930y/unresolved-world-war-ii-animosity-dampens-empathy-toward-2011-japanese-earthquake-and-tsunami

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