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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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The Legacy of the Tokyo Trial

The Legacy of the Tokyo Trial

(p.129) Chapter 5 The Legacy of the Tokyo Trial
The History Problem

Hiro Saito

University of Hawai'i Press

Since relevant political actors used the Tokyo Trial as a reference point, a critical reassessment of the trial holds the key to resolving the history problem. First, elements of victor’s justice in the trial need to be critiqued in light of the world-historical context of imperialism and colonialism. This critique will decrease ambivalence that many Japanese citizens feel toward the trial and help them accept Japan’s war crimes decisively. Second, Japan’s victimhood vis-à-vis war crimes of the Allied Powers need to be recognized. Such recognition will allow Japanese citizens to draw on their own victimhood to fully empathize with South Korean and Chinese victims and, in turn, help South Korean and Chinese citizens better understand Japan’s war commemorations. Third, the trial’s government-centered view on Japan’s past aggression needs to be challenged to clarify each Japanese citizen’s share of war responsibility and allow cosmopolitan contrition to become truly nationwide.

Keywords:   Japan, South Korea, China, the Allied Powers, Tokyo Trial, war responsibility, victimhood, cosmopolitanism, colonialism, imperialism

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