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Few countries are simultaneously as close and distant as China and Japan. Their economically intertwined but politically fraught relationship is a geostrategic fault line with global consequences. For Japan, China poses a unique problem: it is not just any rival, but one that Japan owes an enormous debt to. Its language, religion, aesthetics, architecture and many of its social norms can be traced to the erstwhile Middle Kingdom. Over the centuries Japan's attempts to define a sense of self have, at least in part, sprung from the need to create distance from this debt. And it is from this tension, between the impulse to differentiate itself from China while being rooted in so much that is Chinese, that many of contemporary Japan's contradictions arise. In this talk, senior foreign correspondent Pallavi Aiyar, will explore this argument drawing from the manuscript of her forthcoming book on Japan, No Strangers Under the Cherry Tree (Harper Collins, April 2021).

Pallavi Aiyar is an award-winning foreign correspondent with two decades of reporting experience from India, China, Western Europe, Indonesia and Japan. She is the author of the China-memoir Smoke and Mirrors (Harper Collins 2008), which won the Vodafone-Crossword Popular book award. Her 2011 novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in Beijing, was published in the United States, Italy, Belgium and India. She is also lead author of a special Lonely Planet guide to China for the Indian market. Her book on contemporary Europe's crises, Punjabi Parmesan: Dispatches from a Europe in Crisis, is also published in the United States as New Old World: An Indian Journalist Discovers the Changing Face of Europe. Her latest books are Babies and Bylines: Parenting on the Move and Choked, an in-depth look at the crisis of air pollution in New Delhi and Beijing. Pallavi is a former Reuters Fellow at Oxford University. She is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and serves on the Forum's Global Future Council on Information, Media and Entertainment.

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