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 …

From Cairo to Chongqing: Global vs. Local Histories of the Second Sino-Japanese War in the PRC

Written by Adam Cathcart and Wankun Li. Urged on by Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its arts, scholarship, and regional bureaucracies have gone into overdrive to shape a new version of China’s history during World War II. As the 3 September “Victory Day” march in Beijing approaches, the film The Cairo Declaration has …

The living ghosts of 1945 haunt Asia’s rival powers

Written by Nick Bisley. Following the devastation of twin atomic attacks, Japan announced its unconditional surrender to the Allied forces on August 15, 1945. Seventy years on from that momentous day, the war continues to haunt the peoples of East Asia. In the West, it is often forgotten that 1945 marks the end of not only …

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, …

Taiwan and the Diaoyutai Spat: Is All that Noise Really Necessary?

Written by J. Michael Cole. If a few years ago you had asked people outside the region whether they had ever heard about the Diaoyutai islets, or the Senkakus as they are known in Japan, the likely answer would be that they had not. That this is no longer the case is in large part due …

Why do flags matter? The case of Japan

Written by Takashi Yoshida. On Friday July 10, after a week of emotional debate between legislators, the Confederate flag came down on the South Carolina State House grounds. I may not be an expert on the Confederate flag or the Civil War, but I have studied what Japanese flags have meant and still mean to people in …

Anti-Japanese Outbursts and Beijing’s Dilemma amid Territorial Row

by Su-Jeong Kang. Amid ongoing territorial spats between China and Japan, several anti-Japanese demonstrations have been reported across China (see CPI blog here). The latest demonstrations followed Japan’s recent move to nationalize disputed islands in the East China Sea, called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan. The group of five small uninhabited islands are …