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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien


Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
3-3-6 Kudan-Minami, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 102-0074
Tel: 03 – 3222 5077
Fax: 03 – 3222 5420


Early Postwar Japanese Reconciliation with China: Was the Glass Half Full?

April 19, 2004 / 6.30 p.m

Daqing Yang, George Washington University

Mass media as well as researchers often focus on the antagonistic aspects of the history issue in East Asia, while giving short rift to the other side of the picture. We have numerous works on almost all areas of the “history problem” – forced labor, comfort women, bacteriological experiments, history textbooks, to name a few. Yet, there is not a single study that systematically examines and evaluates Japan’s past efforts at reconciliation apart from works dealing with reparations or diplomatic normalizations. Largely overlooked in the study of postwar Sino-Japanese relations are those individuals on both sides who wrestled with the “history problem.”

My presentation examines some of the Japanese efforts at reconciliation with China before 1971. I shall look at Japanese politicians, intellectuals, and especially veterans, some of whom visited China in the late 1950s. By studying the Japanese motives and actions, as well as responses from China, I hope to place the “history problem” in its historical context, shed new light on an important aspect of the Sino-Japanese relations, and broaden the scope of “reconciliation studies.”