Reconciliation Prospects and Divided War memories in Japan

An analysis of major newspapers on the comfort women issue

Authored by: Shunichi Takekawa

Routledge Handbook of Memory and Reconciliation in East Asia

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415835138
eBook ISBN: 9780203740323
Adobe ISBN: 9781135009212


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Contemporary politics and the Asia Pacific War memories are often intertwined in Japan. Politicization of war memories occurs not only between an aggressor Japan and aggrieved Asian nations, which Japan invaded and/or colonized, but also between right-leaning conservatives and left-leaning liberals in Japan. These ideological rivals have repeatedly confronted each other over war memory issues, such as the Yasukuni Shrine and the government-authorized textbook issues, and they have brought up competing views on Japan’s war responsibility, national pride, and relationships with relevant nations, and different interpretations of war history and commemorations. Conservatives attempt to restore the dignity of Imperial Japan, and believe that postwar Japan has already apologized and worked out compensations and other issues with most of the countries that Imperial Japan invaded and/or colonized.1 They also think that liberals in Japan lack loyalty to their own country and use foreign pressure for their own causes. On the other hand, liberals believe that Japan still has many things to do to build better relations with former aggrieved nations, and argue that conservatives in Japan attempt to roll Japan back to the past. Those conservatives and liberals are politicians, scholars, and writers, as well as concerned ordinary citizens.

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