The History Issue in East Asia 2018

Welcome to the class homepage for my course Understanding Cross-cultural Issues of Collective Memory: The “History Issue” in East Asia. The course is taught in English. This course has now finished.

Week 13 (2 July): International Negotiations to Resolve All Outstanding War-Related Issues


Homework (25 June to 2 July): Writing your end of term assignment. Revising in preparation for the role play next week.

Week 12: Is Overcoming the Past Possible? (25 June)

Lecture Materials: 20180625 HIEA Final

Week 11: Fifth Debate (18 June)

The motion is “The Senkaku Islands, Takeshima, and the Northern Territories are Japanese territory”

Homework (11 June to 18 June): Prepare for the debate next week. Read materials you can find about the three territorial disputes, including: the Japanese official position, Reinhard Drifte’s article on the Senkaku dispute, Mark Selden’s article on the Dokdo/Takeshima dispute, Georgy Buntilov’s article on the Northern Territories dispute.

Week 10: Postwar Relations and Territorial Disputes (11 June)

Lecture Materials: 20180611 Postwar Relations

Links in the materials: 60 Years (Japanese government document), The Constitution of Japan, BBC/Globescan polls in 2014 and 2017.

Week 9: Fourth Debate (4 June)

The motion is: “The A-bombs did not force Japan to surrender.”

Homework (28 May to 4 June): Prepare for the debate next week. Read about the A-bombs (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum) and air raids (The Firebombing of Tokyo and its Legacy). See also debates about Japan’s decision to surrender involving Tsuyoshi Hasegawa and the American official position.

Week 8: The End of the War and Occupation (28 May)

Lecture Materials: 20180528 HIEA Occupation

Homework (21 May onwards). Make sure you have solid plans for your active learning assignment and have scheduled some time to write your report in the coming weeks!

Week 7: Third Debate (21 May)

The motion is: “The Japanese Prime Minister should worship at Yasukuni Shrine on 15 August every year.”

Homework (14 May to 21 May): Prepare for the debate next week. Read the research of Akiko Takenaka and John Breen. Visit also the Yasukuni Shrine website and find other materials online (they’re easy to find!).

Week 6: The Yasukuni Shrine Issue

Lecture Materials: 20180514 HIEA Yasukuni

Week 5: Second Debate (7 May)

The motion is “Japan has not paid sufficient compensation for its actions during the Asia-Pacific War.”

Homework (30 April to 7 May): Prepare for the debate next week about whether Japan has paid sufficient compensation. Start with the official government position here and the various other statements concerning Issues Regarding History. The “comfort women” issue has stirred most debate. See the Asian Women’s Fund, Documents relating the the 1965 Basic Treaty,  Asahi Newspaper special, APJ Fact Sheet, Women’s Active Peace Museum, Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact. And “settling the dispute” (again) in December 2015.

Week 4: Japanese apologies (30 April)

Class discussion about apologies. Under what conditions is an apology considered sincere and valid? Have Japanese apologies for WWII met these conditions? Can Japan reach a point where it “no longer needs to apologize”?

Let’s consider words of apology in the following statements: Kono 1993, Diet Resolution 1995, Murayama 1995, Koizumi 2005, Kan 2010.  How do these compare with the Abe statement of 2015?

And how do these compare with the statements at the Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead? Kan 2010, Abe 2013.


Homework (23-30 April): Start thinking about where you want to do your active learning at a war-related site. We will discuss plans at the beginning of Week 4.

Week 3: First Debate (23 April)

The motion is “Japan had no choice but to go to war in 1941 against the US and Britain”

Homework (16-23 April): Go to the library and read a general history of prewar Japan to familiarize yourself with the history of the period. Open access online resources include: Jeffrey Record, “Japan’s Decision for War in 1941”, Richard J. Smethurst, “Japan, the United States, and the Road to World War II in the Pacific”, Yoshizawa Tatsuhiko, “The Manchurian Incident, the League of Nations, and the Origins of the Pacific War”.

Week 2: Japan’s Decision to Go To War (16 April)

Lecture Materials: 20180416 HIEA Road to War

Week 1: Introduction (9 April)

Socrative: Student login page

Online Materials: Prime Minister Abe’s Statement (14 August 2015): Japanese original, English translation

Lecture Materials20180409 HIEA Intro

Assessment: Participation in class (50%, i.e. double weighted), Active learning (25%, deadline 4 June), Term Paper (25%, deadline 2 July).  Grading Rubric

シラバス(日本語): 412064-多言語・多文化社会論研究A

Syllabus (English): 412064-多言語・多文化社会論研究A Eng

Recommended Books (General Course Reading): Philip Seaton, Japan’s Contested War Memories; Hiro Saito, The History Problem; Gi-Wook Shin and Daniel Sneider, Divided Memories; Akiko Takenaka, Yasukuni Shrine; Michael Lucken, The Japanese and the War.