Hong Kong during World War II: A Transnational Battlefield

Written by Chi Man Kwong. On 30 August, 1945, a combined fleet of British, Australian, and Canadian vessels entered Victoria Harbour of Hong Kong, led by Cecil Harcourt, a British admiral. Expecting the fleet ashore at the Naval Dockyard (modern-day Admiralty) was a cheerful crowd of Hong Kong Chinese and a number of emotionless Japanese …

On our side: remembering the national and international in China’s war

Written by Andres Rodriguez. When did the Second World War start? For most people in the West this doesn’t sound like a difficult question. The answer varies, however, depending on who you ask. Back in 1944 US soldiers deployed to the Asian front were already made aware that no simple answer existed. The US Army …

The 70th Anniversary of Japan’s surrender

Written by Hans Van de Ven. On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced in his first ever radio broadcast that he had instructed his cabinet ‘to communicate to the governments of the USA, UK, China, and the Soviet Union that Our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration’. This was the Potsdam Declaration in which …

Abe’s Subtle Apology: Can It Help Japan Become ‘Normal’?

Written by Niv Horesh. Visitors to Japan can feel this is a country undergoing an identity crisis. After more than two decades of economic stagnation, falling birth rates and unstable governments, the Japanese have slowly become accustomed to the notion that the heady 1980s are long gone. Back then, amid a real estate and stock …

The Abe Statement and the politics of war memory in Japan

Written by Edward Vickers. Since the mid-1990s, successive Japanese premiers have issued expressions of regret for wartime aggression and colonialism. Nevertheless, anti-Japanese nationalism in China and South Korea has reached new heights. Hardly surprising, then, that apology fatigue has set in. Channeling this sentiment in his August 14 statement, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo stated, ‘We must …

Abe’s statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII and Sino-Japanese relations

Written by Karl Gustafsson. On 14 August, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered his long anticipated statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. For months, scholars and pundits have speculated about whether Abe would use words such as “apology”, aggression and regret. Would the statement reflect the revisionist views that he has …

Japan’s way of remembering World War II still infuriates its neighbours

Written by Sarah Hyde. The two atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 have left the country with a legacy of victimhood unique in human history – and uniquely codified in law. In early 1946, US General Douglas MacArthur brought in his staff to write the country’s new Constitution and sanctioned on May 3 1947, …

70 Years of ‘Cold Peace’ and ‘Cold War’ in East Asia Coming to an End?

Written by Christian Wirth. 70 years passed since Emperor Hirohito declared Imperial Japan’s surrender and ended what is often referred to as The Pacific War.  25 years passed since the Soviet Union’s disintegration ended the global confrontation between the US-led ‘West’ and the Soviet-led ‘East’, commonly referred to as the Cold War. Yet even in this …

Sir David Warren on Japan/China relations

Sir David Warren is the recent former British Ambassador to Japan (2008-12). Here is the video of a talk he gave at Nottingham last week.

Ma’s Peace Initiative and Taiwan’s Diaoyutai Debate

By Michal Thim. The ROC (hereafter Taiwan) President Ma Ying-jeou’s East China Sea Peace Initiative came at time of heightened tensions between Japan and the PRC (hereafter China), and to a certain extent also between Taiwan and Japan. It was announced on August 5, 2012 and implementation guidelines were subsequently released on September 6 on the occasion …