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Reconciling the Past: Japan’s Wartime Atrocities and the Legacies of Post-War Narrative Tensions between Japan, China and South Korea

Sugama, Terence
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts: Department of Political Science, Calgary, Alberta

This thesis will examine the role of narrative in shaping the Japanese account of its war past in the lead-up and throughout the Second World War and, specifically, Japanese atrocities and aggression directed against China, Korea and its nationals. It will argue that Japan has thus far been unable to definitely resolve those tensions within Japanese society and without, from the victims of atrocity in the People’s Republic of China (China) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in forming a coherent wartime narrative that remembers both the horror of war for the Japanese and acknowledges the suffering of their victims. Further, this thesis contends that a meaningful engagement in acts of reconciliation, a tool of restorative justice, between Japan and victims in China and South Korea is both desirable and necessary in alleviating those tensions.


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