Samuel Johnson defined a nation as "people distinguished from other people" (quoted in Fried 1975, 9). His definition is a particularly pleasing one because it exposes the enormous questions concealed inside this self-assertive little word. How do we distinguish between people? Where do we draw the lines? What gives us the confidence not simply to sum up 124 million "Japanese," 80 million "Germans," 1.1 billion "Chinese," or 250 million "Americans" in a single word, but actually to turn these words into actors in the stories we tell: The Japanese are group conscious; the Germans are worried about Russian nationalism; the Chinese mistrust the Japanese; the Americans disapprove of the Chinese attitude to human rights, and so on.