Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific


August 15: The Legacy of World War II on the Sixty Fourth Anniversary of Japan’s Surrender
August 14, 2009, 8:34 pm
Filed under: Japan, Korea, POW and Forced Labor, Yasukuni Shrine

On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced to the Japanese public Japan’s acceptance of the Potsdam declaration, and the country’s surrender to the Allied powers.  Although the official instrument of surrender was not signed until September 2, 1945, August 15 is recognized as the date of the conclusion of World War II in the Pacific theater.

In the post-War period, August 15 has come to be commemorated as “Victory over Japan” or “V-J” day in the United States, the “Shusen Kinenbi” or the “Anniversary of the War’s End” in Japan, and “Gwangbokjeol” or “Restoration of the Light” (Liberation) day in South Korea.

Despite the differences in naming, today, August 15th 2009 (August 14th in the United States) marks the sixty fourth anniversary of the day Japan announced its surrender to the World in 1945.  The evening edition of the news in the United States, and the morning edition of the news in Japan and Korea have thus far carried minimal coverage of this event.  The ‘non-remembrance’ of the end of World War II in the Pacific has frustrated veterans such as Albert Perdeck (NY Times, “Keeping Alive Memories That Bedevil Him,” Aug. 13, 2009) and furthermore, begs the question of whether this symbolizes the world moving on past the post-War era, or whether it is simply a symptom of historic amnesia?

The articles that do, however, report on this event are as follows:

On Liberation Day: It’s Crucial to Know and Surmount Former Colonizer, The Korea Times, Aug. 14, 2009.

The 64th National Ceremony to Mourn the War Dead Held Today, 7200 Bereaved Families Participate [Japanese], The MSN-Sankei News, Aug. 15, 2009.

This Land–Keeping Memories Alive That Bedevil Him, The New York Times, Aug. 13, 2009.

Summer of the General Election, With a Quiet “Yasukuni” Resolution to the Issue Remains Unforeseen [Japanese], The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 15, 2009.

Government to Invite U.S. Bataan POWs, The Daily Yomiuri, Aug. 15, 2009.



On Japanese Ambassador’s Apology for Bataan
July 6, 2009, 6:45 pm
Filed under: Japan, POW and Forced Labor

Japan’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki attended a meeting of former American prisoners of war on May 30, and became the first Japanese government official to apologize for the Bataan Death March in 1942. Mainichi Shimbun provides a commentary on his apology, pointing out the double-standard in Japanese conservatives’ attitudes towards the US and Asian countries over the issue of the memory of WWII.

Differing views on WWII crimes overshadowed by U.S.-Japan security treaty, Mainichi Shimbun, June 22, 2009



Japan Apologizes for Bataan Death March
June 1, 2009, 4:14 pm
Filed under: Japan, POW and Forced Labor

Ichiro Fujisaki, Japanese Ambasaddor to the Untied States, the 73 surviving POWs of the Bataan Death March in the Philippines in April 1942 during World War II:

Japan Apologizes for Bataan Death March, ABC News, May 30, 2009

Opinion: Unsung heroes of Bataan Death March never received their due, Mercury News, May 24, 2009



Weekly Update – April 06, 2009

Korea-U.S. Relations: Fact v. Fiction, JoongAng Daily, April 06, 2009.

Chinese President Puts Five-Point Proposal on China-Japan Relations, Xinhua News Agency, April 02, 2009.

Lu Chuan (“Nanjing!Nanjing!”) Brings History to ‘Life and Death’, The Hollywood Reporter, April 02, 2009.

Japanese Anthem Controversy Reflects Broader Cultural Battle Over Nation’s Past, The Jurist, April 04, 2009.

Japanese High Court Turns Down Lawsuit by Chinese Forced Laborers During WWII, Xinhua News Agency, March 27, 2009.

On City’s Plastic Bags, an Old and Distant Dispute, New York Times, March 20, 2009.



Weekly Update – Feb. 23

War Crimes Trial Lawyer Aided Judges, Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 23, 2009.

Government Denounces Japan’s ‘Dokdo Day’, Chosun Daily, Feb. 23, 2009.

Japanese and Koreans Learn to Live Together in Harmony in L.A.’s Little Tokyo, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 23, 2009.

China Haunted by Khmer Rouge Links, Asia Times, Feb. 21, 2009.

Local Tourism Bites Back, JoongAng Daily, Feb. 20, 2009.

Invasion of Malaysia: One Man’s Fight against Japan’s Historical Amnesia, The New Strait Times, Feb. 19, 2009.



Weekly Update – Feb. 9

History Sets Scene for Two Musicals, The Korean Herald, February 9, 2009.

Movie About China’s Schindler Tells Story of Unlikely German Hero, Deutsche Welle, February 9, 2009.

Unexploded Bomb Removed from Southern Japan Site, The Daily Yomiuri, February 8, 2009.

Sudden Change in North Korea, The Korea Times, February 8, 2009.

Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea [Related PDF], CFR, January, 2009.

Japan Court Upholds Nanjing Libel Pay-out, AFP, February 6, 2009.

Aso Mining POWs Seek Redress, The Japan Times, February 6, 2009.

Galleries go Low-key, JoongAng Daily, February 6, 2009.

Smithsonian Puts East Sea, Dokdo on Korean Map, JoongAng Daily, February 6, 2009.

Japan Must Not Be Rewarded the 2016 Olympics under Ishihara, The Seoul Times, February 6, 2009.

Sinking Feeling, JoongAng Daily, February 4, 2009.

Victims of Colonialism? Japanese Agrarian Settlers and Their Repatriation to Japan, Japan Focus, February 2, 2009.

From the Nanjing Massacre to American Global Expansion: Reflections on American and Japanese Amnesia, Japan Focus, February 1, 2009.

Japan Should Follow the International Trend and Face Its History of World War II Forced Labor, Japan Focus, January 29, 2009.



Weekly Update – Feb. 2

China: New Defense Posture, ISN Security Watch, February 2, 2009

‘East Sea’ Labeled ‘Sea of Chosun’ on Old Japanese Map, Chosun Ilbo, February 2, 2009

120,000 Koreans Drafted to Japan During Colonial Rule, Chosun Ilbo, February 2, 2009

Japan to Send Anti-Piracy Vessels to Somalia, AFT, February 1, 2009

East Asian Trio, The Daily Mail, January 31, 2009

Another Trilateral Commission, The National Interest, January 30, 2009

China to Tighten Ties with N. Korea, Chosun Ilbo, January 30, 2009

N. Korean Collapse Might Require Major Foreign Military Response, Global Security Newswire, January 29, 2009

Seoul, Tokyo to Launch Joint Study Next Month [PDF Available via Lexis], The Korea Herald,  January 28, 2009

The Secret History of Fortune Cookies, Examiner.com, January 26, 2009

China’s National Defense in 2008 (White Paper), Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China [Courtesy of FAS], January 23, 2009