Volume 19, Issue 1, 2022
Conceptual History: China, Asia, and the Global
On the Term Guominxing (National Character)
Its Current Status, Etymology and Related Issues in the History of Modern Chinese and Japanese Thought
The term guominxing (国民性, national character) is undoubtedly an important term in both the history of modern thought and the history of modern vocabulary. However, it seems that the term has never been specifically explored as an object of study in the field of lexical history whereas in the field of intellectual history, the emphasis has often been on the ideas represented by the term as opposed to the term itself, which is in fact marginalised. This article focuses on the Chinese word guominxing, examining both the process of its production and dissemination as well as its current usage, in order to reveal its significance for the history of modern intellectual exchanges between China and Japan and the history of modern Chinese thought.