Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific


DPJ Victory in Lower House Election: Hopes and Fears of the Asia-Pacific
September 4, 2009, 6:46 pm
Filed under: China, China-Japan, China-Korea, Japan, Japan-Korea, Korea, Yasukuni Shrine

The landslide victory of the DPJ and its junior partners over the LDP-Komei coalition in the recent general election for the Lower House of Parliament has led many to consider the possibility of a positive change in regional relationships between Japan and its neighboring countries.  Since the beginning of the campaign period, Yukio Hatoyama and his fellow DPJ leaders have articulated the importance of developing closer, more amicable relationships with Japan’s Asian neighbors, and Hatoyama has been extremely vocal when addressing issues pertaining to the legacy of historical issues that has consistently tested Japan’s relations with its neighbors.  While these promises for closer ties has left some in neighboring China and S. Korea optimistic toward the incoming administration, across the Pacific there are many who raise the question, “at what cost?”  Hatoyama’s recent Op-Ed in the New York Times entitled, “A New Path for Japan” raised some concerns in the United States of a possible distancing between the US and its ally in the Far East.  While DPJ officials quickly dispelled the idea of Japan moving away from the US, the question remains as to how Japan’s role in the region will (or will not) change with the arrival of the DPJ leadership.

This week’s news brief focuses on the varying hopes and fears of the Asia-Pacific as it witnesses the historic change in leadership within Japan:

A New Path for Japan, The New York Times, Aug. 26, 2009.

Korea Hopes for New Era in Japan Relations, The JoongAng Daily, Sept. 01, 2009.

South Korea Eyes Better Ties with Japan’s Next Leader, ChannelNewsAsia, Aug. 26, 2009.

Likely Japan Leaders to Focus on Asia Ties, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 27, 2009.

Hatoyama Seeks ‘Yukio-Barack’ Rapport, China Ties, Bloomberg, Sept. 1, 2009.

Interest High Among Foreign Media in ‘Historic’ Election, The Japan Times, Sept. 1, 2009.

U.S. May Profit from Better Japan-Asia Ties, Reuters, Sept. 3, 2009.

Sino-Japanese Ties not to be Affected After DPJ Assumes Reins of Government, SINA, Aug. 31, 2009.

DPJ to Further Advance Japan-China Ties: Party Chief, Xinhua, Aug. 11, 2009.



Weekly Update – August 8

Two articles on South Korea reports Korean movements against Japan on Dokto Islets or Takeshima and the Sea of Japan or East Sea. The Northeast Asian History Foundation organized a scholary forum on Dokto Issue.

 Korean Times provides a positive commentary on Chinese Director Li Ying’s documentary film, ‘Yasukuni’, which was recently released in Korea.

A Mainichi Shimbun journalist writes on her interaction with hibakusha and introduces a second generation hibakusha Hiromi Peterson, a Japanese who married to an American in Hawaii. She produced a textbook that recounts her family’s experiences after the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. The textbook is now used across Hiroshima.

Jay Taylor’s new book titled “The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the Struggle for Modern China” sheds a new light on Chiang Kai-shek’s life highlighting his talent as a strategist and rebutting some of popular conceptions such as his reluctance to exhaust his army in battles against the Japanese Army, utilizing new materials.

South Koreans want water called East Sea, UPI August 6, 2009

‘Japan’s Claim to Dokdo Threatens Peace in N-E Asia’, Korea Times, August 6, 2009

‘Yasukuni’ Cuts Into Spiritual Dimension, Koera Times, August 6, 2009

Serving as a bridge to spread the message of the atomic bombing, Mainichi Shimbun, August 6, 2009

The Generalissimo, Christian Science Monitor, August 6, 2009



Sixty Fourth Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb to be used in war was dropped on the city of Hiroshima.  Sixty-four years later, as the number of survivors from the bombing steadily grow thin in numbers–Hiroshima, the bomb, and their legacy continue to live on as symbols within contemporary debates over the future of nuclear armaments, denuclearization, and non-proliferation.  The media surrounding the sixty-fourth commemoration of the bombing include articles on the reparations for under-represented Korean victims of the bombing, an American public opinion poll indicating that 61 percent of 2,400 questioned Americans believe the US did the “right thing” by dropping the bomb, personal narratives by both the Hibakusha victims and from Enola Gay crew member Morris Jeppson, and the controversy over former-JASDF Chief of Staff Gen. Toshio Tamogami’s lecture in Hiroshima entitled “Casting Doubt on Hiroshima’s Peace.”

In other recent news, the Yokohama city board of education approved the use of the controversial Jiyuu-sha textbook, setting the precedent as the first major city in Japan to approve the use of the controversial history textbook.  Additionally, as the August 30th election for the lower-house of the Japanese parliament looms near, media sources are speculating on the impact a DPJ government may have on historical memory issues in the Asia-Pacific.

Hiroshima Marks 64th Anniversary of Atomic Bombing, Asahi Shimbun, August 6, 2009.

Aso, Hibakusha Sign Accord on Peace Measures, Asahi Shimbun, August 6, 2009.

Panel Proposes Inviting Obama to Visit Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Asahi Shimbun, August 3, 2009.

U.S. Poll Finds Support for Atomic Bombing of Japan, Mainichi Shimbun, August 5, 2009.

Interview with Enola Gay Crew Member Morris Jeppson, Mainichi Shimbun, August 4, 2009.

A-bomb Victims Refuse to Lapse into Silence, Mainichi Shimbun, August 3, 2009.

Strive for Nuclear Disarmament, The Japan Times, August 6, 2009.

Tamogami’s A-bomb Speech Plan Slammed, The Japan Times, August 2, 2009.

Ex-Soldier to Stir Up A-bomb Survivors, The Australian, August 4, 2009.

Recent News:

Yokohama OKs Disputed History Text, Asahi Shimbun, August 5, 2009.

Yokohama Adopts Nationalistic Junior High History Textbook, The Japan Times, August 5, 2009.

Japan Party Set to Shun War Shrine, The China Daily, August 5, 2009.

Yuji Hosaka: Born to Defend Korea’s Dokdo Claims, The Korea Herald, August 3, 2009.

History May Haunt Asia Less Under Japan Democrats, Reuters India, August 2, 2009.



How to Move Forward with Reconciliation in East Asia

Professor Mike Mochizuki pointed out the importance of developing a web of institutions for reconciliation in East Asia in his presentation at the Northeast Asian History Foundation, Seoul. Mainichi Shimbun argues that Japan needs to find its atonement in East Asia after the demise of the the San Francisco Treaty structure.

Web of Institutions Can Resolve History Issues in Northeast Asia, Korea Times, July 8, 2009

Japan must find its own path to atonement for wartime, colonial history, Mainichi Shimbun, July 7, 2009



Economic Integration in East Asia
July 6, 2009, 6:44 pm
Filed under: China-Korea, Japan-Korea, Korea

The first article reports that Busan in Korea and its Japanese sister city of Fukuoka have agreed to create a common economic zone, bringing the economies, cultures and peoples of both cities more closer together than ever. The opinion piece in the second article criticizes moves towards more economic integration in East Asia.

Busan, Fukuoka to Become One Economic Zone, Korea Times, June 25, 2009

Korea-China FTA — Terrible Idea, Korea Times, June 26, 2009



Weekly Update – July 1
July 6, 2009, 6:35 pm
Filed under: China, Japan-Korea, Korea

Dong-A Ilbo reports the interview with Hatoyama, the Japanese opposition party leader who visited South Korea. Korea Times delineates the history of Seoul Buses, which were first introduced 60 years ago.

US lodges China censorship complaint, Financial Times, June 21, 2009

Seoul Buses: 60 Years of Ups and Downs, Korea Times, June 24, 2009

[Viewpoint] Sweat from the soul, JoongAng Daily, June 29, 2009

[Viewpoint] Obsession with ideology, JoongAng Daily, June 30, 2009

History of the Communist Party of China, People’s Daily Online, July 1, 2009

Japan`s Opposition Leader Speaks to Dong-A, Dong-A Ilbo, July 1, 2009



Gate of Independence
June 12, 2009, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Japan-Korea, Korea, Museums/Memorials

The article describes history surrounding the Gate of Independence in South Korea:
Gate of independence, spirit of triumph, JoongAng Daily, June 8, 2009