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Exhibiting the PastHistorical Memory and the Politics of Museums in Postsocialist China$
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Kirk A. Denton

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836870

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836870.001.0001

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Heroic Resistance and Victims of Atrocity

Heroic Resistance and Victims of Atrocity

Negotiating the Memory of Japanese Imperialism

(p.132) Chapter 6 Heroic Resistance and Victims of Atrocity
Exhibiting the Past

Kirk A. Denton

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter looks at three important museums/memorial sites devoted to Japanese imperialism and to atrocities committed by the imperial army: Memorial of the People's War of Resistance against Japan (Zhongguo renmin kangRi zhanzheng jinianguan), Memorial to Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Army Invaders (QinHua Rijun Nanjing datusha yunan tongbao jinianguan), and Crimes Evidence Exhibition Hall of Japanese Imperial Army Unit 731 (QinHua Rijun diqisanyao budui zuizheng chenlieguan). All three museums were developed in the post-Mao era. In their emphasis on atrocity and horror, they present something new in the exhibitionary representation of Japanese imperialism in China, and they constitute an important dimension of the global remembering of World War II and of the gradual shift in PRC historical memory away from narratives in which class struggle plays a key role. With their emphasis on atrocity, these museums fit loosely into the victim narrative, i.e. the discourse on China's victimization at the hands of the Japanese.

Keywords:   Chinese museums, memorial sites, Japanese imperialism, imperial army, Japan, victimization

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