Reaction Papers

Seven Discussion Classes

Discussion Class 1: Remembering the End of the War (5 percent)

The Pacific War ended in 1945, but the memory of the war is still very much alive now 63 years later. This assignment looks at the way the war continues to remembered, looking both at the 50th anniversary in 1995 and more recent reflections. In 1995, commemorative events were held in the United States, Japan, Okinawa, Korea (North and South), China, Taiwan, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Guam, Iwo Jima, Saipan, and elsewhere. The Japanese Prime Minister, Murayama Tomoji, issued an apology for Japan’s war of aggression, while the Japanese Diet ratified its own expression of remorse. Other events in 1995 kept the war very much in peoplefs minds. A 12 year-old girl was raped by an American serviceman in Okinawa, causing many people to question the need for continued American military presence on Japanese soil. A so-called Liberal History Study Group (Jiyu-shugi shikan kenkyukai) was established by historian Fujioka Nobukatsu, who criticized what he termed a “masochistic view of history” (jigyaku shikan). Why should Japan apologize for the war? Manga artist Kobayashi Yoshinori produced a best-selling comic, Sensōron, that urged Japanese people to sympathize with rather than censure their forefathers for going to war. The United States had its own history wars. Conservative forces, including the American Veteranfs Association, forced the Smithsonian Institution to terminate a commemorative exhibit of the Enola Gay because it questioned the narrative that the atomic bomb saved lives and at the same time offered Americans a glimpse of the death, destruction, and suffering caused by the atomic blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Part 1: On the upper half of an A4 sheet of paper. write your reaction to Morio Watanabe, “Imagery and War in Japan: 1995.” This essay deals with the way young people in Japan came to understand the war through Japanese culture texts such as anime, manga, video games, etc. What did you find interesting about this reading?

Part 2: Compare the 50th anniversary with more recent anniversaries. Look at 2005, 2006, 2007, or 2008 newspapers and magazines and other sources to find how people in Japan and/or in other countries have more recently commemorated/celebrated the 50th anniversary of the end of the war. On the bottom half of the A4 sheet of paper, write down one example of a more recent reflection on August 15, giving full information on the source of your example. You will report this information to your discussion group in class (2-4 minutes for each report).

Part 3: On the top half of the back side of the A4 sheet of paper. Take notes on all the episodes and examples of reactions to the end of the war as reported by members of your discussion group.

Part 4: On the bottom half of the back side of the A4 sheet of paper. As a group, compare and contrast the way the war was “commemorated,” “celebrated,” or “remembered” in1995 (in Japan and elsewhere) with more recent anniversaries. Choose one or two similarities or differences to report to the class.

Discussion Class 2: Nanjing: A Class in Memories (5 percent)

Read Daquin Yang,”The Malleable and the Contested: the Nanjing Massacre in Postwar China and Japan,” in Perilous Memories, pp. 50

Atomic blasts over Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the war to an end in August 1945. The terrible destruction and suffering caused by these two bomb has made it easier for Japan to remember the war as victims in a war fought largely with the United States. At the same time the bombs, the gAmericanh occupation, and the cold war has made it easy for Japan to forget its own aggression on the Chinese mainland. The events that took place in Nanjing beginning on December 13, 1947, the so-called grape of Nanjing,h became contested territory from the 1980s. Why then, and not before, and why has the issue persisted up to the present day as a major obstacle to Japanese-Chinese reconciliation. What happened in Nanjing and how has these events been remembered in Japan and China?

Part 1: On the front side of an A4 sheet of paper: summarize the article by Daquin Yang and write down what you found to be the most interesting/surprising about this reading?

Part 2: Read the accounts of what happened in Nanjing in December 1937 and January 1938 as reported in: 1) The New York Times ( and 2) the account of Japan’s victory as reported in The Japan Times on December X, 1937. On the back side of the paper compare these two accounts of the same event. Why do you think are they so different? Is it possible to know what really happened? How?

Discussion Class 3: Remembering Hiroshima (5 percent)

If the radiance of a thousand suns

Were to burst at once into the sky,

That would be like the splendor of the Mighty One

Now I am become Death,

The Shatterer of Worlds

From the Bagavad-Gita, recalled by Robert Oppenheimer at the moment of explosion of the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945.

“The bomb is the natural product of the kind of society we have created.? It is as easy, normal and unforced expression of the American Way of Life as electric iceboxes, banana splits and hydromatic-drive automobiles.”

From Dwight McDonald, Politics (August, 1945)

( )

Read Lisa Yoneyama “For Transformative Knowledge and Postnationalistic Public Spheres:? The Smithsonian Enola Gay Controversy,” Perilous Memories, 323-346.

Part 1. On the front side an A4 sheet of paper. Write you reaction to the article by Lisa Yoneyama. This essay deals with ghistory warsh in the United States. What did you find interesting about this reading? Write down one question (relating to Hiroshima and Nagasaki) that you will ask the group during the discussion session.

Part 2. Discussion on the film: Students will watch a 1995 special NHK documentary on the controversy over the exhibition of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. What did you find interesting/surprising? What sort of controversy, if any, do you think a similar exhibition would produce now in 2008? What has changed? What has not changed?? Write down your response and responses of other members in your group that you found interesting.

Discussion Class 4: Victor’s Justice? (5 percent)

Read Utsumi Aiko “Korean ‘Imperial Soldiers”: Remembering Colonialism and Crimes against Allied POWs,” Perilous Memories, 199-217

Part 1. On the front side of an A4 sheet of paper.? Write your reaction to the article by uUsumi Aiko.? This essay deals with the fate of “Korean” soldiers who fought as members of the Japanese imperial army. What did you find most interesting/surprising?

Part 2. Look at the VAWW-NET website on the Tokyo Tribunal, also known as the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal. The “people’s tribunal” was held in Tokyo on December 8 – 12, 2000.

Take some time to browse the site and read some of the papers and documents on the site.

On the back side of the A4 paper, report on one aspect of the 2000 Tokyo Tribunal. Look carefully at one of the following areas: the Judgments; the Charter; one of the Basic Papers; the proposal for a Women’s Museum; one of the “Court Cases “involving sexual slavery; the issue of Media Sabotage; and charges of Whitewashing History.? Summarize and prepare a report including your reaction to what you have read.

Discussion Class 5: Controversies over the teaching of history(5 percent)

“Whoever forgets the past is doomed to relive it.”

—–George Santayana

This week concentrates on the “history wars” have been raging over the past 60 years. We read from the autobiography of Ienaga Saburo, an historian known especially for his struggle “to tell the truth” about the war years to the youth of Japan. His textbooks were approved for use by the Minister of Education in the 1950s, but failed to win authorization in the 1960s. Why happened and why?

Reaction Paper Topics and Questions for Discussion:

Part 1. Write a one-page reaction to the Ienaga Saburo reading (all students are expected to read at least Chapters 7, 8, 9, and 10). What happened in the 1960s that made the Ministry of Education critical of Ienagafs views? Ienaga fought back with a series of law suits against the Japanese government claiming that the textbook screening process violated the freedom of education guaranteed by the Japanese constitution. What was the outcome of these lawsuits? Explain why you think he won or lost? (front side of A4 sheet of paper)

Part 2. More controversies over the teaching of history erupted in 2001 when the Ministry of Education approved a textbook for Middle School use written by the Japan Society for History Textbook Reform (Vj??). Although the new textbook, entitled gNew History Textbookh (Vj?) has not been adopted by a significant number of middle school, the text has been used as proof that the Japanese government is seeking to gwhitewashh history and not tell the gtruthh about the past. How well founded do you think these claims are? Read portions of the textbook yourself and write down your reactions. (on the back side of the A4 sheet of paper)

For general information about the recent history textbook controversy

You can find the English translation of the “New History Textbook”

You donft have to read the entire text. Look especially at pages 52-65 that cover the period between the outbreak of full-scale war on the Asian mainland (Marco Polo Bridge Incident, July 8, 1937) to Pearl Harbor (December 8, 1941), Japanfs defeat (August 15, 1945) and the end of the occupation in 1952.

You can find the Japanese text of 新しい歴史教科書

Again, you do not have to read the entire text. Look at relevant sections dealing with the years between 1937 and 1952.

Discussion Class 6: Museum Review Project (10 percent)

This assignment involves going to a history museum in the Tokyo area, including the Yushukan at Yasukuni Shrine.

History Museums, like history books, are put together by people whose views on history, politics and the world shape the kinds of themes that they choose and the way they present them. These museums serve at least three different functions: the display of curiosities; the urge to commemorate and celebrate; and the attempt to raise consciousness.

For this week’s discussion class, all students are urged to visit one or more history museums in Tokyo and write a 3-page “museum review” noting especially ways in which the war and occupation years are presented. (For those of you unable to travel, “virtual” visits are permitted ? see websites below ? but please take advantage of the fact that these interesting museum are within an hour of the ICU campus). The report must be typed, neat, and checked for spelling. All direct quotes must be given proper reference in footnotes or endnotes.

Visit all of these museums if possible, but at least one of them. Given the nature of this course, I especially recommend the Yushu-kan, located at Yasukuni Shrine. The websites will give you some basic information about the museums, hours of operation, and directions on how to get there.

Edo-Tokyo Museum (江戸東京博物館)

Showa-kan (昭和館):

Yushu-kan (遊就館):

Your review may consist of a critique of any one of these museums or a comparison of museum presentations. Remember that the layout of the museum, the choice of display items, and the order in which they are viewed are not random decisions by some clueless curator. Look at the museum with the same critical eyes that you would look at a book. What is the museum trying to tell you? How effective is the message that gets across? What was your reaction to the information given you?In particular, take notes on the following:

a) The displays:

How are they arranged? Which historical periods get the most attention? What topics are chosen as themes? What topics are not covered? Who is the intended audience?

b) The viewpoint on Japanese history

As you observe the displays, try to catch the view of history that is being presented. Is it a view that emphasizes change? continuity? the lives of common people? the farsightedness of Japanfs leaders? bad or misguided government? patriotism? Is there any attempt to offer different views of the same event?

c) Representation of conflict

Which displays focus on conflict? In what section are displays on World War II? What image of the war is presented? Does it suggest who or what caused the war? Is the emperorfs role treated? What does the display suggest about the attitudes of ordinary people?

Discussion Class 7: Okinawa in Postwar Japan (5 percent)

Okinawa has been described as gJapanfs Cold War Island.h The occupation of Japanfs mainland ended in 1952, but Okinawa remained under American control until 1972. Even now American military bases occupy 20 percent of Okinawa prefecture. The island prefecture, moreover, is the poorest in terms of per-capita income. Is there any connection?

Read Ishihara Masaie, “Memories of War and Okinawa,h Perilous Memories, pp. 87-106. See also Gregory Smitsfs internet textbook: Okinawa in Postwar Japanese Politics and the Economy:

Part 1. On the front side of an A4 sheet of paper, compare the postwar experience of Okinawa with mainland Japan. What has been different? Why? (half page)

Part 2. Referring to the Ishihara text, why do you think it is important to pass down memories of the war years? Would it be better to allow the people who have suffered from war to remain silent? (half page)

4. On the back side of the A4 sheet of paper: What do you know about recent events taking place that concern Okinawa? Do some library research and report on a recent newspaper article (in the last 5 years, for example; any language) that relates to Okinawa. Be prepared to discuss this article with members of your group (2-4 minutes). Attach a photocopy or printout of the newspaper article.