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The History ProblemThe Politics of War Commemoration in East Asia$
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Hiro Saito

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824856748

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824856748.001.0001

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Cross-National Fragmentation, 1945–1964

Cross-National Fragmentation, 1945–1964

(p.20) Chapter 1 Cross-National Fragmentation, 1945–1964
The History Problem

Hiro Saito

University of Hawai'i Press

Between 1945 and 1964, the history problem did not yet exist because Japan had no diplomatic relations with South Korea and China. In the meantime, the Tokyo Trial prosecuted Japanese leaders for waging an aggressive war against the Allied Powers. But conservative politicians in power openly rejected the trial as invalid and instead justified the Asia-Pacific War as an act of self-defense and honored Japanese war dead at the Yasukuni Shrine. After the conservative LDP came to dominate the government in 1955, it promoted nationalism in Japan’s official commemoration. In contrast, the Japan Socialist Party and the Japan Communist Party actively commemorated Japan’s past wrongdoings against Korea and China. Moreover, A-bomb victims and affiliated NGOs began to adopt cosmopolitanism to commemorate all war victims irrespective of nationality. Since these political parties and NGOs were outnumbered by the LDP and its supporters, however, they did not influence Japan’s official commemoration.

Keywords:   Japan, South Korea, China, Tokyo Trial, LDP, Yasukuni Shrine, nationalism, Japan Socialist Party, A-bomb victim, cosmopolitanism

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