Europe and East Asia have long intermingled histories in which a number of discrete phases can be identifi ed:1 European expansion, a process carried on the back of the inherent dynamism of the industrial capitalist modernity contrived by accident in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries which found expression in the form of states/empires that impacted extant civilizations in East Asia, remaking them and drawing them into the still developing modern world; general crisis, a system-wide breakdown involving multiple wars, multiple participants and thereafter multiple memories, which marked the end of the system of state/empires, both in the hitherto peripheral areas of East Asia but also in the metropolitan cores, ushering in the current pattern of nation states;2 and then, lately, reconstruction, a still unfolding phase, in Europe taking the form of a preference for regional unifi cation whilst in East Asia a post-colonial drive for statehood has produced a concern for differentiation.