4. What happened in 1937?

  • The events that followed the takeover of Nanjing by the Japanese imperial army on and after December 13, 1937 are, to put it mildly, controversial.

  • There are many “history wars” – controversies over the interpretation of history.

  • What actually happened? How has this event been remembered? Why are events that took place now more than 70 years ago still important today?

  • What do you know about Nanjing? Look on the internet – what can you believe? How can you distinguish fact from fiction? Is it possible to know what really happened?

  • What is history? Is shared history possible? The study of history should open people’s minds, not close them.

  • Note what German President Richard von Weizsacker said in 1985, at the fortieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War:

  • History and Responsibility. Why has it been so difficult for Japan to achieve reconciliation with its Asian neighbors?

    1. The strength and appeal of “victim consciousness” (higaisha ishiki)

    2. The role of the American occupation of Japan and of the Cold War

    3. The legacy of prewar attitudes toward Asia

  • How can we improve the situation?