The Coexistence of Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism, 1997–2015
The Coexistence of Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism, 1997–2015
Abstract and Keywords
Between 1997 and 2015, the history problem became more complex due to changes in both domestic and international situations of the three countries. The LDP returned to power, but it had to form a coalition government with other small parties. Various new actors also entered the field, including the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform that promoted “healthy nationalism” in history education. At the same time, historians and educators in the three countries began organizing joint historical research and education projects to promote the logic of cosmopolitanism, and even the LDP-led coalition government launched bilateral joint historical research projects with South Korea and China to prevent a further escalation of the history problem. Thus, nationalist commemorations in the three countries continued to fuel the history problem, but they came to coexist, in a complex manner, with mutual cosmopolitan commemoration initiated by the governmental and nongovernmental joint projects.
The Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform (JSHTR), launched in January 1997, attacked postwar history education for forcing Japanese citizens to lose national pride: “Especially the modern historiography treats the Japanese people as if they were criminals who must continue to atone and apologize forever. This masochistic tendency became even stronger after the Cold War ended. Right now, history textbooks in Japan present the propagandas of the former enemy countries as historical facts.”1 JSHTR members also met with Minister of Education Kosugi Takashi, trying to persuade him to reject masochistic tendencies—the increased descriptions of Japan’s past wrongdoings—in history textbooks.2
The LDP, too, challenged the history textbooks that had been approved during the 1996 textbook inspection. In February 1997, eighty-seven relatively young LDP members established the Association of Young Diet Members for Examining Japan’s Future and History Education (Nihon no Zento to Rekishi Mondai wo Kangaeru Wakate Giin no Kai). Nakagawa Shōichi became president of the association, while Abe Shinzō, a future prime minister, served as chief secretary. According to Nakagawa, members of the association were motivated by their shared concern that “Japanese children are now using historically inaccurate, anti-Japanese textbooks. Can these children really carry the future of Japan on their shoulders?”3 In order to examine “how Japanese textbooks should be written for the sake of the Japanese people,” the association organized seminars for Diet members by inviting a total of eighteen guest speakers, three of whom were JSHTR members.4
(p.103) This collaboration between politicians and nongovernmental actors distinguished the latest wave of nationalist attacks on history education from the earlier waves, where the LDP had either acted alone (the mid-1950s) or had failed to coordinate its action with the textbook-reform movement led by the National Council for the Defense of Japan (the mid-1980s). Thus, after the fiftieth anniversary of the Asia-Pacific War’s end, JSHTR and the LDP joined forces to undo cosmopolitanism that had been incorporated into Japan’s official commemoration.
JSHTR’s Campaign against the “Masochistic Historical View”
Conservative politicians and NGOs were galvanized most by the issue of comfort women. In the mid-1990s, the dispute between the Japanese government and former comfort women attracted worldwide attention, as it was increasingly framed as a human-rights violation in conjunction with awareness of violence against women during the Yugoslav Wars and civil wars in Rwanda, Cambodia, and East Timor.5 In January 1996, UN special rapporteur Radhika Coomaraswamy submitted an addendum report on comfort women to the Commission on Human Rights. In her report, Coomaraswamy recommended that the Japanese government should acknowledge, apologize to, and compensate former comfort women, as well as punish those who had been involved in the management of comfort stations.6 Given the growing concern for women’s human rights worldwide, Japanese NGOs organized an international symposium in Tokyo in 1997 by inviting forty guests from twenty different countries. Symposium participants then established the Violence Against Women in War Network-Japan and began advocacy activities to support three groups of female victims around the world: former comfort women during the Asia-Pacific War, women living near US military bases, and women living in countries involved in armed conflicts.7 Then, in June 1998, another special rapporteur, Gay McDougall, submitted a report, “Systematic Rape, Sexual Slavery and Slavery-like Practices during Armed Conflict,” to the Commission on Human Rights. In the appendix of her report, McDougall argued that the Japanese government should do more than simply set up the Asian Women’s Fund to atone for having forced “over 200,000 women into sexual slavery in rape centres throughout Asia.”8
JSHTR counterargued that these criticisms were based on inaccurate historical facts. For example, Coomaraswamy’s report cited Yoshida Seiji’s (p.104) 1983 book My War Crimes: The Forced Draft of Koreans (Watashi no sensō hanzai: Chōsenjin no kyōsei renkō), wherein Yoshida, a former soldier, testified how he had forcibly taken Korean women from Cheju Island in 1943. The JSHTR vice president Fujioka Nobukatsu rejected Coomaraswamy’s report by quoting Hata Ikuhiko, a Japanese history professor who had conducted interviews with residents of Cheju Island and questioned the credibility of Yoshida’s testimony. In fact, Yoshida himself admitted that he had deliberately fictionalized his testimony. Fujioka thus ridiculed Coomaraswamy’s report as follows: “Yoshida’s testimony was contradicted by all his military colleagues, dismissed by residents of the Island … and even the author himself admits it is a fiction, but it is cited in the report submitted to the United Nations commission and used as a basis for prosecuting Japan. And, in South Korea, Yoshida’s book is translated and accepted as entirely true.”9 Fujioka also questioned the credibility of former comfort women’s testimonies by pointing out how they had changed over time.10
To be sure, Fujioka deliberately inflated the significance of inaccuracies to discredit the entire issue of comfort women as historically untrue. Nevertheless, NGOs that supported former comfort women did make problematic factual claims. Yoshimi Yoshiaki and other Japanese historians who conducted research on Japan’s war crimes agreed that Yoshida’s book was not reliable enough to be used as historical evidence for the forced draft of Korean women to comfort stations.11 Japanese historians also warned that another book that Coomaraswamy extensively cited in her report, The Comfort Women by journalist George Hicks, lacked sufficient scholarly rigor: Hicks, too, cited Yoshida’s book and made various factual errors.12 Similar evidentiary problems were found in McDougall’s report, in which her estimate of the number of comfort women who had died during the Asia-Pacific War relied on an unfounded story told by LDP member Arafune Seijūrō in 1965.13 In addition, while South Korean NGOs and newspapers repeatedly stated that two hundred thousand Korean women had been forcibly drafted to serve as comfort women as part of the female volunteer corps (teishintai), Yoshimi cautioned against both overestimating the number and conflating comfort women and female volunteer corps.14 Japanese historians like Yoshimi were worried that historical inaccuracies such as these were providing JSHTR with ammunition to reject the issue of comfort women. In the heat of the controversy, however, their cautious and critical voices were not taken seriously.
(p.105) JSHTR employed a similar tactic against the Nanjing Massacre, another high-profile Japanese war time atrocity that came to be widely known beyond East Asia after Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II was published in 1997. Chang’s book argued that the Japanese military had killed about three hundred thousand Chinese civilians in Nanjing through the government’s genocidal program. It also criticized Japanese history textbooks for making no reference to the Nanjing Massacre. In response, Fujioka and another JSHTR member, Higashinakano Shūdō, coauthored Study of the Rape of Nanking (The Rape of Nanking no kenkyū) in 1999. In their book, Fujioka and Higashinakano claimed to have found nearly 170 inaccuracies in Chang’s book and questioned its credibility. They concluded that The Rape of Nanking was an attempt to continue the propaganda war initiated by the Chinese Communist Party during the Asia-Pacific War: “The Tokyo Trial imposed on Japan the stigma of war-criminal country, and the tendency to one-sidedly prosecute Japan’s past is becoming more pronounced in Japanese history textbooks in the post-Cold War period. … If The Rape of Nanking succeeds in consolidating the image of the war-criminal Japanese people, we are afraid, Japan will never be able to recover.”15
While Fujioka and Higashinakano overemphasized the inaccuracies in Chang’s book in order to discredit the Nanjing Massacre, Chang did make numerous errors and unwarranted arguments, being neither trained as a professional historian nor fluent in Chinese and Japanese languages. For example, Kasahara Tokushi, a professor of modern Chinese history at Tsuru University and one of the most respected experts on the Nanjing Massacre, was troubled by Chang’s inability to “understand the importance of critically evaluating the credibility of primary materials. She is eager to uncritically cite the statistics on victims of the Nanjing Massacre submitted to the Tokyo Trial to support her argument [even when no systematic survey was carried out at that time]. This shows that she is an amateur in historical research.”16 Kasahara and other Japanese historians were worried that JSHTR would exploit many flaws in Chang’s book to discredit the Nanjing Massacre as a fabrication, when the large number of testimonies by former soldiers as well as research by historians in the 1980s had led many Japanese citizens to accept the massacre as a historical fact.17
While trying to discredit the historical validity of comfort women and the Nanjing Massacre, JSHTR proceeded with its most important objective: (p.106) writing new history textbooks. To this end, JSHTR first teamed up with Fusōsha, a publishing company known for its conservative orientation, to produce draft history and civics textbooks for junior high schools. As they worked on these drafts, JSHTR established branches in all forty-eight prefectures to advertise the textbooks in October 1999. Then, in April 2000, JSHTR submitted its draft textbooks, History of the Japanese People (Kokumin no rekishi) and New Civics (Atarashii kōmin), to the textbook-inspection process. They also established the Liaison Council for the Improvement of Textbooks (Kyōkasho Kaizen Renraku Kyōgikai) in cooperation with other nationalist NGOs, including the Japan Council (Nippon Kaigi), a successor of the National Council for the Defense of Japan, which had produced New Japanese History in 1985. Together, they began lobbying local boards of education to adopt JSHTR’s history and civics textbooks. In the meantime, LDP members in municipal councils formed associations to support JSHTR’s activities.18
In December 2000, the Ministry of Education asked Fusōsha to make 137 and 99 revisions to JSHTR’s history and civics textbooks, respectively, as preconditions for approval. Many of the required revisions concerned sentences that downplayed Japan’s past wrongdoings and overemphasized patriotism. The sentences marked for required revision included “Japan annexed Korea legally according to the international law at the time”; “The Tokyo Trial accepted that the Japanese military had killed more than 200,000 Chinese people during the Battle of Nanjing in 1937. … Since many questions about the incident remain unresolved, however, there is still controversy today. The Nanjing Incident was nothing like the Holocaust, even if there had been some killings”; and, “Kamikaze soldiers did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives for Japan.”19 After JSHTR made the required revisions, the ministry—now reorganized and renamed as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology—approved its history and civics textbooks in April 2001.
The 2000–2001 textbook inspection not only approved JSHTR’s history textbook but also reduced descriptions of Japan’s past wrongdoings in history textbooks that other companies produced. Prior to this inspection cycle, all the seven textbook companies had included descriptions of comfort women in their history textbooks for junior high schools, but four of them deleted the descriptions. Similarly, two of the four textbook companies that had discussed the “Nanjing Massacre” in previous editions of their history textbooks decided to use the phrase the “Nanjing Incident,” downplaying (p.107) the magnitude of the event.20 These changes reversed the trend of history textbooks set in 1997, when the Supreme Court had ruled it illegal for the Ministry of Education to disapprove descriptions of the Nanjing Massacre, the Japanese military’s violence against Chinese women, and Unit 731 in Ienaga’s draft textbook.21 This rolling back of textbook descriptions of Japan’s past wrongdoings was linked to the LDP’s efforts to intervene in the textbook-inspection process beginning in the mid-1990s. In June 1998, Minister of Education Machimura Nobutaka had argued that “many history textbooks overemphasized negative aspects of Japan’s history especially after the Meiji period. That is why the Textbook Inspection Commission is now examining ways to help textbook editors find a better balance [between positive and negative descriptions of Japan’s history].”22 Then, in January 1999, the Ministry of Education had requested chief editors of textbook companies to revise their history textbooks to have a “better balance.”23 The Association of Young Diet Members for Examining Japan’s Future and History Education also had asked chief editors to come to LDP Headquarters and subjected them to two hours of criticism regarding descriptions of comfort women and other “biases” in their history textbooks.24
Proponents of cosmopolitanism were galvanized by the results of the 2000–2001 textbook inspection. Japan Teachers Union chairman Toda Tsunami issued a statement criticizing JSHTR for endorsing the “Greater East Asia War and failing to recognize the pains that Japan’s colonial rule and war inflicted on Asian peoples,” and twelve NGOs, including the Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21 (Kodomo to Kyōkasho Zenkoku Netto 21), held a joint press conference criticizing the Japanese government for approving JSHTR’s history textbook.25 Similarly, Nobel laureate Ōe Kenzaburo and other writers submitted a joint statement to the government. In their statement, they argued that the latest round of textbook inspection forced textbook companies to reduce descriptions of Japan’s past wrongdoings, and that JSHTR’s history textbook lacked sincere remorse for the Asian victims of the Asia-Pacific War.26
The South Korean and Chinese governments also joined the ensuing controversy over JSHTR’s history textbook. In May 2001, South Korean president Kim Dae Jung demanded that the Japanese government make twenty-five revisions in JSHTR’s history textbook and another ten revisions in the other seven history textbooks. Kim’s government criticized JSHTR’s textbook particularly for making no reference to comfort women and showing no remorse for Japan’s colonial rule.27 China’s Foreign Ministry, too, (p.108) demanded eight major revisions in JSHTR’s textbook, including descriptions of Manchukuo, the Nanjing Massacre, the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the Tokyo Trial.28 Given these domestic and international criticisms, less than 0.05 percent of the junior high schools in Japan adopted JSHTR’s history textbook.29 With such a low adoption rate, the latest round of textbook controversy subsided, at least temporarily.
A Downward Spiral of Nationalist Commemorations
While JSHTR’s history textbook rocked Japan’s relations with South Korea and China in spring 2001, Koizumi Jun’ichirō was newly elected as LDP chairman. During his campaign for the chairman position, Koizumi had already promised to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, distinguishing himself from the other candidates, including Hashimoto Ryūtarō, who had declined to make the same promise. After Koizumi took office in April 2001, he announced his plan to visit the Yasukuni Shrine on August 15, the anniversary of the war’s end: “I believe that Japan’s peace and prosperity today was built on the invaluable sacrifices made by war dead. I would like to visit the Yasukuni Shrine to offer my utmost respect and thanks to them.”30 In response, the South Korean government expressed concerns regarding both Koizumi’s planned visit to the shrine and the official approval of JSHTR’s history textbook.31 Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan also warned of the potential ramifications of Koizumi’s visit and asked the Japanese government to “consider feelings of the victim nations seriously” and “confront its past history.”32 Opposition parties in Japan, too, criticized Koizumi’s planned visit for attempting to justify the war of aggression and undermining Japan’s relations with Asian neighbors.33 Even the chairman of the LDP’s coalition partner Kōmeitō, Kanzaki Takenori, pointed out that the prime minister’s official visit to the shrine would violate the constitutional separation of religion and state, and he suggested that Koizumi “should take caution and avoid creating unnecessary tensions with Asian neighbors in light of the history of controversies over the enshrinement of Class A war criminals.”34
In the end, Koizumi chose to visit the Yasukuni Shrine on August 13, 2001, two days prior to the anniversary of the war’s end. After his visit, Koizumi issued a statement to express his remorse for damages and pains that Japan’s “colonial rule” and “aggression” had inflicted on its Asian neighbors. He also stated that he had avoided the anniversary to prevent people both inside and outside Japan from misunderstanding his true intention, to thank (p.109) war dead for “Japan’s peace and prosperity” and “pray for peace,” rather than to honor Class A war criminals and justify Japan’s past aggression.35
Nevertheless, Koizumi’s visit drew heavy criticisms from both his supporters and his critics. Chief secretaries of prefectural LDP associations expressed their disappointment with Koizumi for not honoring his original promise to visit the Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary.36 The nonpartisan Association of Diet Members Who Support Prime Minister Koizumi’s Visit to the Yasukuni Shrine (Koizumi Sōri no Yasukuni Jinja Sanpai wo Jitsugensaseru Chōtōha Kokkaigiin Yūshi no Kai) also criticized Koizumi for giving in to pressure from South Korea and China and pressed him to honor his promise the following year.37 On the other hand, Koizumi was denounced by left-leaning Japanese NGOs that had opposed his visit. These NGOs created the Asian Association of Plaintiffs against Prime Minister Koizumi’s Unconstitutional Visit to the Yasukuni Shrine (Koizumi Shushō Yasukuni Sanpai Iken Ajia Soshōdan) and filed five different lawsuits against Koizumi between October and November 2001. The plaintiffs, including members of the Association of South Korean Victims and Bereaved Families of the Pacific War, argued that Koizumi’s visit had violated the constitutional separation of religion and state as well as caused them psychological pain.38 Furthermore, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing “deep regret for Prime Minister Koizumi’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, the symbol of Japan’s militarism,” which enshrined “the war criminals that destroyed world peace and inflicted indescribable damages on neighboring countries.”39 China’s Foreign Ministry issued a similar criticism, though it did recognize the changed date of his visit—August 13 rather than 15—as evidence that the Japanese government had considered the feelings of its neighbors. But the People’s Congress dismissed the changed date as “trivial,” compared with “the fundamental issue of how Japan should understand its history of aggression.”40
Despite these criticisms, Koizumi continued to visit the Yasukuni Shrine annually, and the controversy over his visit began to intersect with the changing landscape of world politics. For example, after the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, led to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Koizumi’s government deployed the SDF to support the US-led coalition and created laws to specify what the Japanese government and the SDF could do if Japan became involved in an armed conflict. In late 2004, Koizumi’s government also pushed UN reforms to expand the membership of the Security Council, so that Japan could become a new council (p.110) member. South Korea and China, however, did not support Japan expanding its military capability and gaining greater influence in international society: the two countries did not trust Japan because they were not convinced of the sincerity of Japan’s contrition for its past wrongdoings.
The growing tensions in the region reached a new level of intensity in spring 2005. First, in late February, the Shimane Prefectural Council proposed a bill to designate February 22 as a day to celebrate the incorporation of the disputed island, Dokdo/Takeshima, into Japan’s territory. This galvanized South Korean president Roh Moo Hyun to criticize Japan at the memorial ceremony celebrating the March 1st Movement, the demonstration against Japan’s colonial rule that had taken place in 1919: “Although the South Korean government has refrained from fueling the people’s anger and hatred, South Korea alone cannot solve the history problem. … Japan should investigate historical truths and truly express remorse and offer apologies and compensation. That is the universal formula for solving a history problem.”41 Then, in late March, UN secretary general KofiAnnan stated that Japan could become one of the new permanent members of the Security Council. Annan’s statement prompted Chinese citizens to launch petition campaigns against the UN reform and vandalize Japanese stores.42 The anti-Japanese sentiments in China escalated in early April, when the Japanese government approved the new edition of JSHTR’s history textbook. On April 9, approximately ten thousand protesters gathered in Beijing and broke windows of the Japanese consulate, Japanese restaurants, and buildings that housed Japanese companies. The protests spread to other major cities, such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Shanghai. On April 16, more than ten thousand protesters attacked the Japanese consulate and restaurants in Shanghai.43 The anti-Japanese protests continued in China until late April.
These strong reactions from South Korea and China were coterminous with growing nationalist commemorations in the two countries. The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan continued to criticize the Asian Women’s Fund for “trying to drive a wedge between the Korean Council and former comfort women” and refused to meet with the fund’s representatives.44 In fact, Usuki Keiko, one of the fund’s promoters and also president of the Association for Exposing Japan’s War Responsibility, was denied entry to South Korea because she was planning to meet with former comfort women there.45 When representatives of the fund finally managed to meet with seven anonymous former comfort women in South Korea and provided each of them with a letter of apology, atonement (p.111) money, and medical and welfare relief, South Korean NGOs and mass media denounced them as traitors to the Korean nation. These anti-Japanese sentiments, widespread among South Korean citizens, were reinforced by history education centered on the struggle of the Korean people under Japan’s colonial rule; for example, South Korean history textbooks positively described all forms of resistance against Japanese imperialism while negatively presenting all of Japan’s colonial policy.46 Between 2004 and 2005, the National Assembly also passed bills to authorize the government to investigate acts of collaboration under Japan’s colonial rule and confiscate properties owned by those who were judged as pro-Japanese collaborators.47
Similarly, the Chinese government continued to promote patriotic education by defining Japan as the worst enemy in modern Chinese history. In 2001, for example, the Chinese government published new standard history textbooks for mandatory education that expanded descriptions of the Nanjing Massacre, and gave teachers the following instructions: “By showing pictures of the Nanjing Massacre and making students read diaries by the Japanese soldiers, the barbarity of the Japanese empire’s aggressive war against China must be exposed. … Students must be taught to relive the unspeakable tragedy and acquire deep resentment and intense hatred toward Japanese imperialism.”48 Indeed, many of the Chinese citizens who staged anti-Japanese protests in 2005 were younger generations who had been exposed to patriotic education in primary and middle schools since the 1990s.49 The commercial growth of print and digital media also fueled both nationalistic and anti-Japanese sentiments among Chinese citizens, frequently ignoring the official distinction between “evil Japanese fascists” and “innocent Japanese people.”50
Since the logic of nationalism dominated Japan, South Korea, and China, citizens in the three countries came to commemorate the Asia-Pacific War very differently. According to an opinion survey that Asahi shinbun, Dong-A Ilbo, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences jointly conducted in March 2005, 66 percent of the Japanese regarded the Yasukuni Shrine as a place to commemorate war dead, whereas 61 percent and 59 percent of South Koreans and the Chinese, respectively, regarded it as a symbol of militarism. Moreover, 43 percent and 48 percent of South Koreans and the Chinese, respectively, thought that an apology from Japan was the key to solving the history problem, whereas only 13 percent of the Japanese shared this opinion.51
(p.112) As the history problem escalated, Koizumi issued an official statement on August 15, 2005, the sixtieth anniversary of the Asia-Pacific War’s end by reaffirming Murayama’s apology ten years earlier: “In the past, Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. Sincerely facing these facts of history, I once again express my feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology, and also express the feelings of mourning for all victims, both at home and abroad, in the war.”52 Koizumi’s apology, however, did not help repair Japan’s relations with South Korea and China. Only after Koizumi’s successor, Abe Shinzō, refrained from visiting the Yasukuni Shrine was the Japanese government able to stop criticisms from the two countries. The two successive LDP prime ministers, Fukuda Yasuo and Asō Tarō, also did not visit the Yasukuni Shrine out of consideration for diplomatic relations with South Korea and China. This shows that the LDP government recognized the constraint imposed by the international dimension of political opportunities, and it was once again willing to moderate its pursuit of nationalist commemoration.
The Compromise of Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in Education
While the controversies raged over the Yasukuni Shrine and JSHTR’s history textbook, Koizumi’s government also tried to reform the Basic Act on Education to emphasize patriotism in school curricula. This move toward reform had begun in August 1999, when Obuchi Keizō’s government had created a new law to formally define Hinomaru and Kimigayo as the national flag and anthem, respectively.53 Obuchi had also established the National Commission on Educational Reform in March 2000, and the commission’s final report in December 2000 had emphasized the importance of “educating the Japanese people in the new era” and recommended that the Japanese government and citizens should debate how to reform the Basic Act on Education for the new century.54 In March 2003, the Central Council for Education, too, had recommended that the act be reformed to put greater emphasis on the cultivation of “love for the country” (kuni wo aisuru kokoro).55
The recommended reform gained momentum in 2005. In May, Koizumi’s government submitted a bill to privatize the postal service, and the House of Representatives passed the bill in July. However, the bill was rejected at the House of Councillors in August when a significant number of LDP members voted against it. Koizumi promptly dissolved the House of (p.113) Representatives, and the election held in September propelled the LDP to a landslide victory, thanks to popular support for Koizumi’s reform-minded gestures.56 After the 2005 election, the coalition of the LDP and Kōmeitō began to discuss the content of a bill to reform the Basic Act on Education.
At first, the LDP and Kōmeitō disagreed over how to include patriotism in a bill. The LDP insisted on the phrase “to love the country” (kuni wo aisuru), whereas Kōmeitō wanted to moderate patriotism and suggested another phrase “to value the country” (kuni wo taisetsuni suru). In April 2006, the LDP and Kōmeitō reached an agreement to adopt the phrase “to love the country,” provided that the “country” should be understood as excluding the government, and that other phrases be included to express the importance of respecting other countries and contributing to international society.57 Koizumi’s government then submitted a reform bill to the House of Representatives in May 2006.
Opposition parties objected to the bill for different reasons. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) agreed with the government on the principle of patriotism but argued that the phrase “to love Japan” (nihon wo aisuru) was better because the word “country” in the government’s proposal had a connotation of prewar Japan’s ultranationalism.58 The communist and socialist parties were squarely opposed to the idea of legally specifying inculcation of patriotism as an educational objective. Specifically, they criticized the proposed reform of the Basic Act on Education as a step toward a future revision of Article 9 of the constitution to allow Japan to engage in war again.59 While the 2006 regular session of the Diet was ending in June, the government and the opposition parties remained locked in heated debate. The coalition of the LDP and Kōmeitō therefore voted to extend deliberation to the next Diet session.
Then, during a summer recess, the LDP elected Abe Shinzō as new chairman. Abe had been more vocal about his nationalistic sentiments than his predecessor Koizumi. For example, Abe had felt that “it was a shame that the Diet passed the ‘apology’ resolution on the fiftieth anniversary of the war’s end” because he did not think that Japan should apologize to the Asian countries that it had invaded.60 After Abe was sworn in, he promised to reform the Basic Act on Education as soon as possible and emphasized the importance of “cultivating in next generations confidence and pride as the Japanese,” given that “our country has the world-class natural environment as well as long history, culture, and traditions.”61 When the Diet resumed deliberation on the reform bill in October, however, Abe’s (p.114) government and the opposition parties could not work out a compromise. In the meantime, teachers unions and antiwar NGOs across Japan held demonstrations against the proposed reform, under the slogan “Stop the Deformation of the Basic Act on Education” (Kyōiku Kihonhō Kaiaku Hantai).62 Given its majority in both houses of the Diet, Abe’s government pushed the reform bill through the Diet in December 2006, while the opposition parties boycotted the vote in protest.63
The emphasis on patriotism notwithstanding, the new Basic Act on Education retained cosmopolitanism. The preamble of the new act, for example, introduced “inheritance of the tradition” into the purposes of Japanese education, but it reaffirmed the cosmopolitan objective to “contribute to world peace and welfare of humankind.”64 The second article also introduced a new emphasis on the “cultivation of respectful attitudes to the tradition and the culture, as well as love of our country and native land that have produced them,” but again, this was coupled with the commitment to cultivate “attitudes to respect other countries and contribute to peace and progress of international society.” Thus, while the LDP finally succeeded in institutionalizing patriotism as a goal of Japanese education, it had to simultaneously reaffirm the cosmopolitan principles in the old Basic Act on Education. The process and outcome of the reform thus confirmed that, even for conservative politicians, the choice was no longer simply how to defend nationalism but how to combine it with cosmopolitanism.
Joint Historical Research and Textbook Projects
Indeed, cosmopolitanism expanded in the field of the history problem at large because more and more historians and educators joined the transnational network of NGOs supporting cosmopolitan commemoration. In fact, transnational projects by historians in East Asia had already begun to emerge in the early 1980s. After the 1982 textbook controversy, Japanese historians had formed the Comparative History and History Education Research Group (Hikakushi Hikaku Rekishi Kyōiku Kenkyūkai) in Tokyo in December 1982. Since August 1984, the research group had organized the East Asia History Education Symposium every five years by inviting South Korean and Chinese historians to exchange interpretations of historical events in the region.65 Moreover, in December 1997, the Japan History Education Research Group (Rekishi Kyōiku Kenkyūkai) and the South Korea History Textbook Research Group began holding joint symposiums on Japanese and South Korean history textbooks. They tried to understand how Japanese (p.115) and South Korean historians interpreted the history of relations between the two countries differently, as well as explore the possibility of creating common teaching materials. Then, in June 2000, the Japanese and South Korean research groups jointly published Perspectives on Japanese and South Korean History Textbooks (Nihon to Kankoku no rekishi kyōkasho wo yomu shiten), a collection of research reports by symposium participants. In addition, professors of history and history education from Japan and South Korea organized a joint symposium in Tokyo in December 2001, criticizing JSHTR’s history textbook as “inappropriate as a history textbook that should seek historical truths and facilitate mutual understanding and peaceful cooperation.”66
In contrast, it was difficult for historians in Japan and China to organize similar joint projects given the Chinese government’s policy. In 1994, Murayama Tomiichi’s government tried to start joint historical research with the Chinese government, but in fall 1995, the Communist Party’s propaganda department, the State Education Commission, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences reportedly issued a secret directive to ban Chinese historians from participating in research projects sponsored by the Japanese government. Although the Chinese side later retracted the directive, it still demanded that the Japanese side “should not engage in free exchange with Chinese research institutes and scholars. … Since Japan’s aggression toward China is an objective historical fact, there is no need for joint historical research to create a new historical understanding or reevaluate existing ones. … The problem is that Japanese people do not sufficiently acknowledge and feel remorse [for Japan’s past aggression].”67
In July 2001, however, a small but important development occurred in Beijing. At the international symposium on Japan’s militarism organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Japanese participants proposed creating a forum for exchanging historical views and collaborating on historical education through the nongovernmental channel. The Chinese Academy welcomed the proposal and organized the Forum on Historical Understanding and Peace in East Asia in Nanjing in March 2002. At the forum, participants from Japan, South Korea, and China agreed to jointly produce a history textbook.68
To implement the joint history textbook project, participants from the three countries held the first editorial meeting in Seoul in August 2002. The Japanese side consisted of university professors, high school history teachers, and members of Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21 and (p.116) the Asian Network for History Education in Japan—NGOs that had been demanding more extensive coverage of Japan’s past wrongdoings in Japanese history textbooks. The South Korean side consisted mostly of university professors and high school teachers affiliated with NGOs that had investigated historical facts about Japan’s war time atrocities; for example, the Council for Correcting Japanese Textbooks (later renamed Solidarity for Peace in Asia and History Education) and the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan. The Chinese side consisted of members of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, university professors and doctoral students in history and history education, and researchers at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, who specialized in the Second Sino-Japanese War and Japan’s war time atrocities in China.69
Throughout the duration of the project, participants critically examined their textbook drafts. Their discussions became heated at times because the participants had different educational backgrounds and understandings of what historical research should be.70 Given these differences, the participants strongly disagreed with one another over the section on the Nanjing Massacre. The Chinese side originally submitted a draft that contained graphic pictures and descriptions of rapes, looting, and atrocities to illustrate how three hundred thousand people had been massacred. The Japanese side argued that students could not properly understand both the massacre and the Second Sino-Japanese War unless the textbook described the sequence of events that had led the Japanese military to Nanjing in the first place. Eventually, the editorial board decided that it was more constructive to develop a comprehensive picture of the Nanjing Massacre based on historical evidence than to pass down the Chinese government’s official commemoration to the next generation. The editorial board therefore decided not to present three hundred thousand as the correct number of dead, but to cite the various numbers of dead estimated at the Nanjing Military Tribunal and the Tokyo Trial and to provide detailed descriptions of historical contexts that had led to the massacre.71
Another point of contention was how to describe civilian victims of the Asia-Pacific War. At first, the Japanese side presented a draft chapter that discussed the bombings of Chongqing by Japan and the atomic and fire bombings of Japanese cities by the Allied powers as examples of large-scale damages to civilian populations. The South Korean and Chinese sides responded by expressing the following concerns: first, it might not be appropriate to categorize Chinese and Japanese victims as the same type of (p.117) victims of indiscriminate bombings; second, in countries that had suffered from Japan’s aggression, some people might think positively of the atomic bombings as bringing an end to the war; third, the Japanese side, for its part, might risk downplaying Japan’s war responsibility by emphasizing the inhumane aspects of the atomic bombings. In the end, the editorial board decided not to use the pictures of dead bodies that the Japanese side had originally submitted, but to focus on detailed descriptions of the capabilities of the atomic and fire bombs, and print Japanese survivors’ testimonies of the bombings.72
After three years of discussion, the editorial board published the joint history textbook, A History to Open the Future, in May 2005, in three different languages and countries. The editorial board noted that the textbook was meant to offer a counterpoint to the nationalist commemoration of the Asia-Pacific War in Japan—specifically, JSHTR’s history textbook that “ justifies Japan’s war of aggression and colonial rule, distorts historical facts, look down on Asia from a Japan-centered xenophobic perspective, and promotes narrow-minded nationalism.”73 Between 2005 and 2007, about 79,000 copies of the joint history textbook were sold in Japan, 65,000 in South Korea, and 130,000 in China.74 After the publication of A History to Open the Future, the project continued and published the second and expanded edition of the textbook in September 2012.
In addition to A History to Open the Future, other joint history textbooks and teaching materials came out of similar collaborative activities by Japanese and South Korean NGOs in the mid-2000s: for example, Gender in the Modern History of Japan and Korea (Jendā no shiten kara miru Nikkan kingendaishi) by the Japan-South Korea Joint Commission for History Teaching Materials in 2005; Confrontation of Japanese and Korean Histories (Mukaiau Nihon to Kankoku no rekishi) by the History Educationalist Conference of Japan and the South Korea National Associations of History Teachers in 2006 and 2015; A History of Japan-Korea Relations (Nikkan kōryū no rekishi) by the Japan History Education Research Group and the South Korea History Textbook Research Group in 2007; and Learn and Connect: A Modern and Con temporary History of Japan and South Korea (Manabu tsunagaru Nihon to Kankoku no kingendaishi) by Japan-South Korea Team for the Production of Common History Teaching Materials in 2013.75
Along with these joint projects by NGOs, the governments of Japan, South Korea, and China also began to organize joint historical research projects in response to the escalating history problem. First, the Japanese and (p.118) South Korean governments launched the Joint Historical Research Project in May 2002, based on the agreement that Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichirō and President Kim Dae Jung had made during their summit meeting in October 2001. Between May 2002 and March 2005, the members of the project had meetings in both Japan and South Korea and published a final report in June 2006.76
Mitani Taichirō, cochair of the project and professor of Japanese politics and diplomacy at the University of Tokyo, explained that they hoped to create “an academic community of historians that transcends national borders through the joint historical research project [because] the problem of history textbooks is rooted ultimately in various controversies over the history of relations between Japan and South Korea.” At the same time, however, he recognized that the creation of such a transnational academic community was difficult, “particularly in the discipline of history because every country has a tradition of national history … [and] the discipline of history contributed to the formation of nationalism.”77 Bearing this out, several South Korean members expressed their frustration with the Japanese side in the final report. In particular, they questioned why the Japanese side refused to discuss the issue of history textbooks even when it had motivated the joint historical research project in the first place. They also noted that both the Japanese and South Korean sides failed to adequately address nationalist biases in their own versions of history. Jeong Jae Jeong, a history professor at Seoul City University, observed, “Every commission member felt pressured to speak on behalf of his government … and this increased distrust and misunderstanding between the two sides.” Kim Hyeon Gu, a professor of history education at Korea University, was also disappointed that “neither side could move away from self-centered nationalism in any significant way.”78
Although the project members were frustrated, they nonetheless agreed to continue the dialogue. The Japanese and South Korean governments then launched the second round of the joint historical research project in June 2007. This time the governments expanded the project by creating a new subcommittee on history textbooks. This new subcommittee was also the largest, consisting of twelve members.79 They held multiple meetings in Japan and South Korea between June 2007 and November 2009 and published a final report in March 2010. Again, Japanese and South Korean project members had strong disagreements over the interpretation of various historical events. The debates of the subcommittee on history textbooks were (p.119) so intense that one of the South Korean members later reflected, “Since both sides engaged in criticisms that came close to personal attacks, we could not have scholarly debates,” while another noted that “committee members were unable to have constructive discussion because they lacked mutual trust.”80 Despite these problems, the Japanese and South Korean governments agreed in December 2011 to organize the third round of the joint historical research project.81
Concurrently, the Japanese government started a similar joint project with China. At the height of anti-Japanese sentiments in China in April 2005, Japan’s minister of foreign affairs, Machimura Nobutaka, met with his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing, in Beijing, and they agreed to pursue a joint historical research project. After Abe Shinzō became prime minister in September 2006, he immediately visited Beijing to repair Japanese relations with China. During the summit meeting, Abe and Chinese president Hu Jintao agreed to proceed with a joint historical research project, and the two governments launched the Japan-China Joint Historical Research Project in December by commissioning a total of twenty historians.82 The project was cochaired by Kitaoka Shin’ichi, a professor of diplomatic history at the University of Tokyo, and Bu Ping, a professor of modern Chinese history at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who had also participated in the production of A History to Open the Future. Between December 2006 and December 2009, project members held multiple meetings to discuss their research papers and exchange comments on the history of Japan-China relations. Then, in January 2010, the Japanese and Chinese governments published a final report of the joint historical research project.83
The final report adopted a “parallel history” format: for each historical event or period, two different papers were presented—one by a Japanese historian and one by a Chinese historian. Despite this parallel-history format, papers written by Japanese and Chinese historians converged on the interpretation that Japan had waged a war of aggression against China. Another convergence was found in the research on the Nanjing Massacre. As Shōji Jun’ichirō, a historian at the Ministry of Defense, recounted, all members of the subcommittee on the modern-con temporary period agreed that it was more important to examine how and why the massacre occurred than to argue over the number of dead.84 In other respects, however, the Japanese and Chinese versions of history remained divergent. The Japanese participants tended to describe Japan’s aggression against China in terms of a (p.120) nonlinear and contingent sequence of events that resulted from a complex interplay between geopolitical situations and decisions made by Japanese government officials. Their Chinese counter parts, on the other hand, tended to see Japan’s aggression in terms of a linear and deterministic sequence of events originating from the Meiji Restoration.85
Moreover, the final report did not publish two components of the joint project: papers on the con temporary period (after 1945) and comments on all the papers. Originally, the Japanese and Chinese sides agreed to incorporate these two components in the final report. The Chinese government, however, reportedly intervened during the final stages of the project. After the Japanese and Chinese sides had negotiated for over a year, the latter eventually agreed to publish all but the six papers on the post-1945 period and the participants’ comments. Throughout the negotiations, China’s project leader Bu repeatedly told the Japanese side that they wanted to publish all the outcomes of the joint project, but it was difficult for them to do so because of “various pressures.”86
In January 2010, the Japan-China Joint Historical Research Project finally published its report with twenty-four papers on the history of relations between the two countries from the seventh century to 1945. Both Kitaoka and Bu evaluated positively the final outcome of the project because they believed that both Japanese and Chinese members managed to reach “the level of proper scholarship where both sides can say, ‘Even though I cannot agree with the other side’s opinion, I can at least understand how the other side came to such an opinion.’”87
Thus, despite their shortcomings, the joint projects promoted the logic of cosmopolitanism: the process of constructing historical narratives incorporated foreign perspectives, and the content of historical narratives focused on transnational interactions. Specifically, the fact that the national governments of Japan, South Korea, and China supported the joint projects demonstrated the degree of institutionalization of cosmopolitanism. Although national governments had previously focused on nation-building, they now began to operate as vehicles for “cosmopolitan nation-building” by combining nationalism and cosmopolitanism.88
New Dynamics in Domestic and Regional Politics
While these joint historical research projects were making progress, the LDP decisively lost an election for the House of Representatives in August 2009. In place of the LDP, the DPJ became the largest party in the Diet and formed (p.121) a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party and the People’s New Party (Kokumin Shintō) in September 2009. Overall, the DPJ was less nationalistic than the LDP, partly because many of its founding members came from the JSP, the New Party Sakigake, and Japan New Party—namely, the political parties that had played a key role in increasing cosmopolitanism in Japan’s official commemoration in the early 1990s.89 DPJ members had not only strongly criticized Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni Shrine but also actively supported government compensation for former comfort women. In December 1999, for example, the DPJ had published the Draft Bill for Promoting a Resolution of the Problem of Victims of War time Forced Sex (Senji Seiteki Kyōsei Higaisha Mondai no Kaiketsu no Sokushin ni Kansuru Hōritsuan). This draft bill had held the Japanese government responsible for providing former comfort women with apologies and compensation to “restore their honor.”90 In November 2001, the DPJ had submitted the bill to the House of Councillors jointly with the JCP and the Social Democratic Party; however, it had been discarded because the LDP had opposed it by arguing that all issues of compensation had been resolved upon the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty.91
After the DPJ took control of the government, former comfort women and their supporters hoped that the bill would pass the Diet.92 However, the coalition government headed by DPJ chairman Hatoyama Yukio faced many difficulties from the beginning. Hatoyama’s changing position on relocation of the Futenma Air Station for the US Marine Corps frustrated the US government, Okinawa Prefecture, and one of the coalition partners, the Social Democratic Party. Hatoyama’s illegal dealings in campaign finance also undermined his credibility.93 Since these difficulties were more urgent for the DPJ than compensation for former comfort women, the DPJ did not submit the bill to the Diet.94
Furthermore, the DPJ faced growing diplomatic tensions with South Korea and China over Dokdo/Takeshima and the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, respectively. In fact, ever since Japan surrendered to the Allied powers in 1945, the Japanese government had continuously engaged in territorial disputes over the islands with the two neighboring countries. For example, during the normalization talks between Japan and South Korea in the 1950s, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry responded to Japan’s claim over Dokdo/Takeshima by arguing, “Dokdo was the first victim of Japan’s aggression against Korea. With the defeat of Japan, it came back to us. It is the symbol of our independence. … Remember, if Japan tries to take over (p.122) Dokdo, it means another round of Japan’s aggression against Korea.”95 The Japanese and South Korean governments had continued to dispute their sovereignty over Dokdo/Takeshima until June 1965 when they had finally agreed not to resolve the dispute with the normalization treaty.96 The issue of Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, by contrast, had not interfered with Japan’s normalization talks with China because Zhou Enlai had already decided to defer discussion of territorial claims over the islands.97 And yet, the negotiations of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship had been almost derailed in April 1978 when Chinese activists critical of Deng Xiaoping had landed on the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands to disrupt the signing of the treaty.98 While the Japanese and Chinese governments had signed the treaty by agreeing not to engage in a diplomatic dispute over the islands, fishermen and activists in both Japan and China had continued to assert their claims over the islands.99
Then, the territorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands exploded in September 2010, when the Japan Coast Guard arrested the captain of a Chinese fishing boat near the islands: the fishing boat was operating inside territory claimed by Japan and collided with two Japanese patrol boats.100 In the end, the Japanese government, headed by DPJ chairman Kan Naoto, released the Chinese captain.101 This action prompted LDP members to criticize Kan for undermining Japan’s sovereignty over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands and exposing the lives of Japanese citizens to security risks.102 Nationalist NGOs in Japan, most notably the Do Your Best Japan! National Action Committee (Ganbare Nippon! Zenkoku Kōdō Iinkai), also voiced their criticism of Kan’s government and organized multiple protests between early October and December in Tokyo and Osaka.103 Former and current members of the Diet and municipal councils joined these protests, calling on Japanese citizens to defend the islands against “China’s aggression.” In turn, anti-Japanese protests broke out in multiple cities in China in mid-October, attacking Japanese department stores and restaurants, burning Japanese flags, and calling for the boycott of Japanese products.104
Although these anti-Japanese protests in China had subsided by November, they flared up again in summer 2012. This new round of disputes was set in motion by Tokyo governor Ishihara Shintarō, who declared in April 2012 that his prefectural government planned to legally purchase the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Ishihara’s plan collected nearly one billion yen of monetary donations. Realizing that Ishihara’s plan was on course to become reality, DPJ prime minister Noda Yoshihiko decided that it would be better (p.123) if the Japanese government, rather than the Tokyo metropolitan government, owned the islands. After Noda’s government purchased the islands on September 11, the Chinese government responded by sending six patrol boats—the largest number ever—to the islands, as well as cancelling events to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the 1972 Japan-China normalization.105 Moreover, Chinese citizens began to protest against Japan on September 15, and these protests spread to nearly one hundred cities on the eve of the anniversary of the 1931 Mukden Incident. This cycle of anti-Japanese demonstrations was much larger and more violent than those in 2005 and 2010.106
Concurrently, the South Korean government pressed the Japanese government over the issue of comfort women. In October 2011, the South Korean Constitutional Court ruled it unconstitutional that the South Korean government had not taken appropriate action toward Japan with regard to individual compensation claims of former comfort women and A-bomb victims.107 Given the court ruling, Lee Myung Bak’s government brought up the issue of compensation with Noda’s government, but the latter maintained that it had been already resolved upon the 1965 normalization. Then, in December 2011, the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan erected a statue of “13-year-old Comfort Woman” as a “symbol of sadness and anger” in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.108 When the Japanese government requested that the statue be removed, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry rejected the request, stating, “The statue embodies the victims’ wish for Japan’s responsible action and restoration of their dignity” and “Japan needs to make an effort on the issue of comfort women.”109
Increasingly frustrated with the Japanese government’s refusal to negotiate the issue of compensation for former comfort women and other South Korean victims, Lee made the first presidential visit to Dokdo/Takeshima on August 10, 2012, in spite of the Japanese government’s protest, where he erected a monument with the Korean-language inscription, “Dokdo, the Republic of Korea, President Lee Myung Bak, Summer 2012.”110 On August 14, a day before the anniversary of Korea’s liberation, Lee also stated that he would welcome Emperor Akihito to South Korea only if the emperor were prepared to “offer sincere apologies to those independence activists who died in their struggle against Japan’s colonial rule.”111 Then, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry distributed to its embassies and consulates 3.5 million copies of a pamphlet in ten different languages, which presented (p.124) Dokdo/Takeshima as “the first victim of Japan’s past aggression” and criticized Japan for “continuing its unjustifiable behavior.”112
While Japan’s territorial disputes with South Korea and China deepened, the DPJ began to lose popular support because Noda’s government passed the bill to raise consumption tax from 5 to 10 percent in August 2012, while Japanese citizens were still grappling with the aftermath of the triple disaster—the earthquake, tsunami, and the nuclear accident—of March 11, 2011. Dissatisfied with the DPJ, Japanese citizens handed the LDP the majority in the House of Representatives in December 2012. This allowed the LDP to form a coalition government with Kōmeitō and its chairman, Abe Shinzō, to become prime minister again.113 The LDP and Kōmeitō went on to win the House of Councillors election in July 2013 and secured the majority in both houses of the Diet.
During his first term as Japan’s prime minister, between 2006 and 2007, Abe had worked hard to repair Japan’s relations with South Korea and China that had been damaged by Koizumi’s repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine. However, Abe had always maintained strong nationalist sentiments. In fact, Abe’s “greatest regret” (tsūkon no kiwami) during his first term was being unable to visit the shrine.114 Although he did not immediately visit the shrine after taking office in December 2012, he sent offerings to the shrine on annual festivals in April and October 2013, and his cabinet members visited the shrine.
Around the same time, South Korea and China also chose new political leaders who were more assertive toward Japan than their predecessors. In December 2012, South Korea elected Park Geun Hye, a daughter of Park Chung Hee, for president. When Park attended a ceremony commemorating the March 1st Movement in 2013, she characterized the relationship between South Korea and Japan as “victim and perpetrator” and demanded that Japan “squarely face its past and take responsibility,” so that the two countries could become partners.115 Moreover, in November 2012, the Eighteenth Central Committee voted in Xi Jinping for general secretary of the Chinese Community Party. In his speech to the assembly, Xi repeatedly emphasized the greatness of the Chinese people, signaling more assertive foreign policy. This was evinced by a significant increase in the number of Chinese boats and jet fighters entering Japan’s territories during 2012.116
Park and Xi introduced a new dynamic into East Asia’s history problem by joining hands to press Japan. First, Park visited Beijing in June 2013 for a summit meeting with Xi. This was the first time any South Korean (p.125) president had visited China before Japan, indicating Park’s intention to strengthen South Korea’s relations with China. At the summit meeting, she requested Xi to build a memorial in Harbin for Ahn Jung Geun, a Korean independence activist, hailed as a national hero in South Korea for his 1909 assassination of Japanese prime minister Itō Hirobumi.117 Xi promised cooperation, and the Chinese government built a memorial hall, not simply a memorial, inside the Harbin Station in January 2014.”118 On November 23, 2013, the Chinese government also unilaterally declared it would expand its Air Defense Identification Zone to include the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.
Partly responding to the increasing assertiveness of South Korea and China, and partly acting out his personal belief in the importance of love for the country, Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine on December 26, 2013. He justified his visit as an act to “honor war dead who sacrificed their precious lives for our country … and to renew my commitment to the renunciation of war (fusen no chikai),” whereas the South Korean and Chinese governments immediately issued statements to “strongly protest and criticize” his action.119 Opposition parties in Japan, too, criticized Abe’s action for escalating tensions in Japan’s relations with South Korea and China. DPJ member Okada Katsuya pointed out that the two countries criticized Abe’s visit because “the Yasukuni Shrine enshrines Class A war criminals and promotes a particular historical view … [that] justifies the Greater East Asia War as a war of self-defense and liberation of Asia.”120 JCP member Kasahara Akira also asked Abe, “Are you aware of this historical view that the shrine defends, and you still visit the shrine?”121 Instead of answering the questions in a straightforward manner, Abe indicated his defiance of the Tokyo Judgment: “It is true that the defendants were judged guilty of crimes against peace at the Tokyo Trial … but the sentences handed out at the trial are not valid according to our domestic law.”122
In the end, Abe did not visit the Yasukuni Shrine again because the US government pressed him to make efforts to maintain friendly relations with South Korea and China for the stability of the region. Soon after Abe’s visit to the shrine, the US government expressed its disappointment with his action “that will exacerbate tensions with Japan’s neighbors.”123 President Barak Obama also organized a trilateral meeting between Park, Abe, and himself during the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague in March 2014.124 Abe then briefly met with Xi in Beijing in November 2014 during the meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and (p.126) held another brief talk with him during the Asian-African Conference in Jakarta in April 2015.125 Thus, just as during his first term as prime minister, Abe chose to compromise his own nationalistic sentiments in favor of Japan’s economic and geopolitical gains.
To prevent the history problem from negatively affecting Japan, Abe also decided to issue an official statement to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Asia-Pacific War. To this end, in February 2015, he created the advisory panel (21-seiki Kōsō Kondankai) to reflect on the history of the twentieth century and to envision a new world order and Japan’s role in the twenty-first century.126 Based on the advisory panel’s final report, Abe held a press conference on August 14, 2015, and read out a statement that had been officially approved by his cabinet. His statement exemplified the mixture of nationalist defiance and cosmopolitan contrition, consistent with the trajectory of Japan’s official commemoration since the 1990s. At the beginning of his statement, Abe narrated the history of modern Japan by positively evaluating the Russo-Japanese War as a historic event that “gave encouragement to many people under colonial rule from Asia to Africa,” on the one hand, and by clearly acknowledging “Japan took the wrong course and advanced along the road to war,” on the other hand.127 Similarly, he implicitly warned against South Korea and China by stating, “We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize,” while simultaneously emphasizing, “We have the responsibility to inherit the past, in all humbleness, and pass it on to the future.”128
Although the governments and citizens in South Korea and China were critical of Abe’s statement, no huge controversy erupted, unlike in 1995 and 2005. For example, at a memorial ceremony celebrating the seventieth anniversary of Korea’s liberation, Park expressed her disappointment with Abe’s statement, but she also took note of his commitment to the historical view articulated by the previous cabinets, including Murayama’s.129 Similarly, while China’s Foreign Ministry stated that Japan should have made a “clear statement on its war responsibility” and offered a “sincere apology” to victims, it nonetheless toned down the statement by choosing not to use the phrase “strongly dissatisfied,” the ministry’s official expression of diplomatic protest.130
In fact, in early November 2015, Abe, Park, and China’s premier Li Keqiang held a trilateral summit meeting in Seoul. At the meeting, the three leaders agreed to strengthen regional cooperation on security, economic, environmental, (p.127) and other issues facing East Asia and international society.131 After this meeting, the Japanese and South Korean governments also began negotiations to resolve the issue of former comfort women. These negotiations led to an official agreement on December 28, 2015, wherein “Prime Minister Abe expresses anew his most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women. … To be more specific, it has been decided that the Government of the ROK [Republic of Korea] establish a foundation for the purpose of providing support for the former comfort women, that its funds be contributed by the Government of Japan as a one-time contribution through its bud get … for recovering the honor and dignity and healing the psychological wounds of all former comfort women.”132 While it remains to be seen whether this agreement will resolve the issue of former comfort women “finally and irreversibly” as the two governments intended, the escalation of the history problem seems to have stopped, at least temporarily, as 2015 came to a close.
The Future of the History Problem
During this period, the history problem peaked once in the early 2000s, when Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni Shrine intersected with JSHTR’s history textbook and the changing landscape of world politics. It then escalated again in the early 2010s, when commemorations of Japan’s past wrongdoings combined with the territorial disputes over Dokdo/Takeshima and Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. But the history problem had deescalated somewhat by the seventieth anniversary of the Asia-Pacific War’s end, and the governments of Japan, South Korea, and China began to take steps to improve their diplomatic relations and promote trilateral cooperation.
Importantly, Japan’s official commemoration during this period consolidated the trajectory that had emerged in the 1990s: the coexistence of nationalism and cosmopolitanism. To be sure, the LDP regained control of the government and tried to use this political opportunity to reinvigorate nationalism in Japan’s official commemoration; for example, Koizumi and Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine, descriptions of Japan’s past wrongdoings were reduced in history textbooks, and the government continued to deny compensation to South Korean and Chinese victims. At the same time, however, even Koizumi and Abe reaffirmed Japan’s remorse and apology in their official statements. The new Basic Act on Education also maintained cosmopolitan principles, and the LDP government initiated the joint (p.128) historical research projects with South Korea and China. This was partly because political opportunities for nationalist commemoration came to be constrained by the growing scrutiny from the governments and citizens in South Korea and China, and partly because the logic of cosmopolitanism had been already institutionalized in Japan’s official commemoration during the previous period. As a result, the best the LDP could do was to compromise, not replace, cosmopolitanism with nationalism in Japan’s official commemoration. In this respect, the LDP turned into a mobilizing structure of both nationalist and cosmopolitan commemorations.
And yet, the future of East Asia’s history problem is still uncertain, because the LDP-led coalition government is still unwilling to decisively incorporate cosmopolitanism in Japan’s official commemoration, whereas South Korea and China continue to use nationalism as the dominant logic of commemoration. Given the latest dynamic and trajectory of the field, what actions can Japan, South Korea, and China take to move toward resolving the history problem? The next two chapters will prepare the ground for answering this question by unpacking the most important findings of the field analysis.
(2) Details of the meeting are described in Atarashii Rekishi Kyōkasho wo Tsukurukai, ed., Atarashii Nihon no rekishiga hajimaru (Tokyo: Gentōsha, 1997), 111–123.
(3) Nihon no Zento to Rekishi Kyōiku wo Kangaeru Wakate Giin no Kai, ed., Rekishi kyōkasho eno gimon (Tokyo: Tendensha, 1997), 3.
(5) For discussion of the globalization of a human-rights discourse for redress movements in the 1990s, see John Torpey, Making Whole What Has Been Smashed: On Reparation Politics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006); Kiyoteru Tsutsui, “Redressing Past Human Rights Violations: Global Dimensions of Con temporary Social Movements,” Social Forces 85, no. 1 (2006): 331–354.
(6) “Addendum Report on the Mission to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery in War time, January 4, 1996,” http://www.awf.or.jp/4/un-01.html.
(7) “Introduction of VAWW-NET Japan,” http://www1.jca.apc.org/vaww-net-japan/aboutus/index.html.
(8) “Con temporary Forms of Slavery, June 22, 1998,” http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/fb00da486703f751c12565a90059a227/3d25270b5fa3ea998025665f0032f220?OpenDocument.
(9) An excerpt from “Shokugyōteki washi Yoshida Seiji no shōtai,” December 1996, reprinted in Nobukatsu Fujioka, “Jigyakushikan” no byōri (Tokyo: Bungei Shunjū, 2000), 121.
(11) Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Fumiko Kawata, eds., “Jūgun ianfu” wo meguru 30 no uso to shinjitsu (Tokyo: Ōtsuki Shoten, 1997), 26–27.
(12) For a critical assessment of Hicks’s book by Hata and Yoshimi, see Ikuhiko Hata, Ianfu to senjō no sei (Tokyo: Shinchōsa, 1999), 266–282.
(13) Yasuaki Ōnuma,“Ianfu” mondai towa nandattanoka? (Tokyo: Chūō Kōron Sha, 2007), 149–150.
(15) Nobukatsu Fujioka and Shūdō Higashinakano. The Rape of Nanking no kenkyū: Chūgoku ni okeru “jōhōsen” no teguchi to senryaku (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1999), 275.
(p.222) (16) Tokushi Kasahara, Nankin Jiken to Sankō Sakusen: mirai ni ikasu sensō no kioku (Tokyo: Ōtsuki Shoten, 1999), 290–292.
(17) Tokushi Kasahara, Nankin Jiken ronsōshi: Nihonjin wa shijitsu wo dou ninshiki shitekitaka (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 2007), 145–164.
(18) For a sequence of these activities by conservative NGOs and politicians, see Yoshifumi Tawara, Tettei kenshō abunai kyōkasho: “sensō ga dekiru kuni” wo mezasu “Tsukurukai” no jittai (Tokyo: Gakushū no Tomosha, 2001), 54.
(19) The sentences marked for revisions are reprinted in Kodomo to Kyōkasho Zenkoku Netto 21, ed., Konna kyōkasho kodomo ni watasemasuka: “Tsukurukai” no rekishi-komin kyōkasho hihan (Tokyo: Ōtsuki Shoten, 2001), 62–70; Asahi shinbun, March 17, 2001.
(21) Yoshiko Nozaki, War Memory, Nationalism and Education in Postwar Japan: The Japanese History Textbook Controversy and Ienaga Saburo’s Court Challenges (London: Routledge, 2008), chap. 6; Toshio Tokutake, Ienaga saiban undō shōshi (Tokyo: Shin Nihon Shuppansha, 1999), 165–183.
(22) House of Representatives Committee on Administrative and Fiscal Reforms and Tax, June 8, 1998.
(24) Asahi shinbun, April 4, 2001.
(26) Ibid., March 17, 2001.
(28) Asahi shinbun, May 18, 2001.
(29) Ibid., September 3, 2005.
(30) House of Representatives Plenary Session, May 10, 2001.
(31) Asahi shinbun, May 27, 2001.
(32) Ibid., May 25, 2001.
(33) Ibid., August 10, 2001.
(34) House of Representatives Plenary Session, May 9, 2001.
(35) Asahi shinbun, August 14, 2001.
(36) Ibid., August 29, 2001.
(37) Ibid., August 16, 2001.
(38) Ibid., October 11, 2001.
(39) Ibid., August 14, 2001.
(40) Ibid., August 14 and 15, 2001.
(41) Ibid., March 1, 2005.
(p.223) (42) Tsuyoshi Itō, “Hu Jintao seiken to shinshikōgaikō no zasetsu, 2003–05 nen,” Nitchū kankeishi, vol. 1, ed. Akio Takahara and Ryūji Hattori (Tokyo: Tōkyō Daigaku Shuppankai, 2012), 432.
(43) Asahi shinbun, April 9, 10, and 16, 2005.
(44) Yu Ha Park, Wakai no tameni: kyōkasho, ianfu, Yasukuni, Dokto (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 2011), 106.
(46) Kazutaka Kikuchi, Higashi Ajia rekishi kyōkasho mondai no kōzu: Nihon Chūgoku Taiwan, Kankoku oyobi zainichi Chōsenjin gakkō (Kyoto: Hōritsu Bunka Sha, 2013), chap. 4; C. Sarah Soh, “Politics of the Victim/Victor Complex: Interpreting South Korea’s National Furor over Japanese History Textbooks,” American Asian Review 21, no. 4 (2003): 145–178.
(47) Asahi shinbun, March 3, 2004, and December 9, 2005.
(48) Reprinted in Toshihiro Yuge, “Chūgoku no rekishi kyōkasho ni okeru ‘Kōnichi Sensō’ no hensen to sono haikei ni kansuru kōsatsu, vol. 2,” Ehime Daigaku Hōgakubu ronsyū 122 (2007): 123.
(49) Zheng Wang, Never Forget National Humiliation: Historical Memory in Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012).
(50) Jungmin Seo, “Politics of Memory in Korea and China: Remembering the Comfort Women and the Nanjing Massacre,” New Political Science 30, no. 3 (2008), 387–388.
(51) For detailed statistics, see Asahi shinbun, April 27, 2005.
(52) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Statement by Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichiro, August 15, 2005,” http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/2005/8/0815.html.
(53) Nobumasa Tanaka, Hinomaru Kimigayo no sengoshi (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2000).
(54) “Seventeen Recommendations for New Education, December 22, 2000,” http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/kyouiku/houkoku/1222report.html.
(55) Asahi shinbun, August 13, 2003.
(56) Harukata Takenaka, Shushōshihai: Nihonseiji no henbō (Tokyo: Chūkō Shinsho, 2006).
(57) Yomiuri shinbun, April 13, 2006.
(59) House of Representatives Plenary Session, May 16, 2006; House of Councillors Special Committee on Administrative Reforms, May 25, 2006.
(60) Shinzō Abe, Shin’ichiro Kurimoto, and Seiichi Etō, “Hoshu kakumei” sengen: anchi riberaru eno sentaku (Tokyo: Gendai Shorin, 1996), 54.
(p.224) (61) House of Representatives Plenary Session, September 29, 2006; House of Councilors Plenary Session, October 4, 2006.
(62) Asahi shinbun, November 13, 29, and 24, 2006.
(63) Ibid., November 17 and December 16, 2006.
(64) “The New Basic Act on Education,” http://www.mext.go.jp/b_menu/kihon/about/index.htm.
(65) For the history of the Comparative History and History Education Research Group, see “Invitation to Join the Group,” http://members.jcom.home.ne.jp/lerrmondream/hikakusi.html.
(67) Reprinted in Satoshi Amako and Shigeto Sonoda, eds., Nitchū kōryū no shihanseiki (Tokyo: Tōyō Keizai Shinposha, 1998), 123–124.
(68) For a detailed sequence of these events, see Yoshifumi Tawara, Abunai kyōkasho no! mou 21-seiki ni sensō wo okosasenai tameni (Tokyo: Kadensha, 2005).
(69) For a comprehensive list of participants and their institutional affiliations, see Kazuharu Saitō, Chūgoku rekishi kyōkasho to Higashi Ajia rekishi taiwa: Nitchūkan sangoku kyōtsū kyōzai zukuri no genba kara (Tokyo: Kadensha, 2008), 20–27.
(70) Soon-Won Park, “A History that Opens to the Future: The First Common China-Japan-Korean History Teaching Guide,” in History Textbooks and the Wars in Asia: Divided Memories, ed. Gi-Wook Shin and Daniel C. Sneider (London: Routledge, 2011), 236.
(73) Nitchūkan Sangoku Kyōtsū Rekishi Kyōzai Iinkai, ed., Mirai wo hiraku rekishi: Higashi Ajia sangoku no kingendaishi (Tokyo: Koubunken, 2005), 221.
(76) “The First Joint Historical Research Project,” http://www.jkcf.or.jp/projects/kaigi/history/first/.
(77) “The Japan-South Korea Joint Historical Research Report, March 26, 2005,” http://www.jkcf.or.jp/projects/kaigi/history/first/.
(78) “The Japan-South Korea Joint Historical Research Report.”
(79) “The Second Joint Historical Research Project,” http://www.jkcf.or.jp/projects/kaigi/history/second/.
(p.225) (80) These statements were made at the international conference to reflect on the Japan-South Korea and Japan-China Joint Historical Research Projects in Seoul on September 10, 2010, reprinted in Tokushi Kasahara, ed., Sensō wo shiranai kokumin no tameno Nitchū rekishi ninshiki (Tokyo: Bensei Shuppan, 2010), 263–264.
(81) Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko and President Lee Myung Bak made the agreement during the summit meeting on December 18, 2011. See the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/area/korea/visit/1112_pre/meeting.html.
(82) For a sequence of the establishment of the Japan-China Joint Historical Research Project, see “Summary of the Japan-China Joint Historical Research Project,” http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/area/china/rekishi_kk.html.
(83) “Final Report, January 31, 2010,” http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/area/china/rekishi_kk.html.
(84) For Shōji’s recollection of the subcommittee meetings, see Jun’ichirō Shōji, “‘Nitchū rekishi kyōdō kenkyū’ wo furikaette: sono igi to kadai,” in Sensō wo shiranai kokumin, 93–118.
(85) Kasahara, Sensō wo shiranai kokumin no tameno Nitchū rekishi ninshiki, ed. Tokushi Kasahara (Tokyo: Bensei Shuppan, 2010), 51–52.
(86) For Kitaoka’s recollection of these negotiations between the Japanese and Chinese sides, see Shin’ichi Kitaoka, “‘Nitchū rekishi kyōdō kenkyū’ wo furikaeru,” in Sensō wo shiranai kokumin no tameno Nitchū rekishi ninshiki, ed. Tokushi Kasahara (Tokyo: Bensei Shuppan, 2010), 230–234.
(87) “Summary of the Japan-China Joint Historical Research Report, January 31, 2010,” http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/area/china/rekishi_kk.html.
(88) Hiro Saito, “Cosmopolitan Nation-Building: The Institutional Contradiction and Politics of Postwar Japanese Education,” Social Science Japan Journal 14, no. 2 (2011): 125–144.
(89) Takayoshi Uekami and Hidenori Tsutsumi, eds., Minshutō no soshiki to seisaku: kettō kara seiken kōtai made (Tokyo: Tōyō Keizai Shinpōsha, 2011).
(91) House of Councillors Cabinet Committee, July 18 and 23, 2002; House of Representatives Supervisory Committee on Accounts and Administration, May 17, 2004; House of Councillors Bud get Committee, March 23, 2005.
(92) Asahi shinbun, March 27, 2007.
(93) Yoshiaki Kobayashi, Seiken kōtai: Minshutō seiken towa nandeattanoka (Tokyo: Chūō Kōron Shinsha, 2012).
(p.226) (94) Asahi shinbun, July 29, 2010.
(95) Reprinted in Dae Song Hyeon, Ryōdo nashonarizumu no tanjō: “Dokdo/Takeshima mondai” no seijigaku (Tokyo: Minerva Shobō, 2006), 278.
(97) Masaya Inoue, “Kokkō seijōka 1972-nen,” in Nitchū kankeishi 1972–2012, vol. 1, edited by Akio Takahara and Ryūji Hattori (Tokyo: Tōkyō Daigaku Shuppankai, 2012), 61–63.
(98) Hidekazu Wakatsuki, “Heiwa Yūkō Jōyaku teiketsu kōshō” in Nitchū kankeishi 1972–2012, vol. 1, ed. Akio Takahara and Ryūji Hattori (Tokyo: Tōkyō Daigaku Shuppankai, 2012), 113–114.
(99) Kazuko Mouri, Nitchū kankei: sengo kara shinjidaie (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2006), 140–141.
(100) Asahi shinbun, September 8, 2010.
(101) For a detailed sequence of interactions between the Japanese and Chinese governments, see Sheila Smith, Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015), chap. 4.
(102) House of Representatives Plenary Session, October 6, 2010; House of Councillors Plenary Session, October 7, 2010.
(103) The committee is led by Tamogami Toshio, a former air force general known for his pro-military and nationalist statements. For a list of protests organized by the committee, see “History of Our Activities,” http://www.ganbare-nippon.net/report.html.
(104) Asahi shinbun, October 17, 2010.
(105) For the sequence of interaction between the Japanese and Chinese governments, see Asahi shinbun, September 26, 2012.
(106) Ibid., September 15 and 16, 2012.
(107) Ibid., August 31, 2011.
(108) Joong Ang Ilbo, December 15, 2011.
(109) Asahi shinbun, December 15, 2011; Yomiuri Shinbun, December 15, 2011.
(110) Yomiuri shinbun, August 17, 2012.
(111) Nihon keizai shinbun, August 14, 2012.
(112) Asahi shinbun, September 1, 2012.
(114) Asahi shinbun, October 18, 2012.
(115) Sankei shinbun, March 2, 2013.
(116) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Nihon no gaikō seisaku (Senkakushotō wo meguru jōsei to Nitchū kankei), http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/files/000011300.pdf; Ministry of Defense, “Heisei 24-nendo no kinkyūhasshin jisshijōkyō nit suite,” http://www.mod.go.jp/js/Press/press2013/press_pdf/p20130417_02.pdf.
(p.227) (117) Joong Ang Ilbo Japan, November 20, 2013.
(118) Asahi shinbun, February 24 and March 24, 2014.
(119) Ibid., December 26 and 27, 2013.
(120) House of Representatives Plenary Session, January 28, 2014.
(121) House of Representatives Bud get Committee, February 12, 2014.
(123) Embassy of the United States in Tokyo, “Statement on Prime Minister Abe’s December 26 Visit to Yasukuni Shrine,” December 26, 2013, http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/p/tp-20131226-01.html.
(124) Asahi shinbun, March 27, 2014.
(125) Ibid., November 10, 2014, and April 23, 2015.
(127) Cabinet Office, “Statement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on August 14, 2015,” http://japan.kantei.go.jp/97_abe/statement/201508/0814statement.html.
(129) Asahi shinbun, August 15, 2015.
(130) Ibid., August 16, 2015.
(131) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Dai 6-kai Nitchūkan Samitto,” http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/a_o/rp/page3_001447.html.
(132) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Announcement by Foreign Ministers of Japan and the Republic of Korea at the Joint Press Occasion,” http://www.mofa.go.jp/a_o/na/kr/page4e_000364.html.