The 2nd Hasekura Seminar "Islands of Memory: History, Culture, and the Politics of Commemoration in Okinawa and Gunkanjima"Invited teacher
|Wed., 17th Oct. 2018 0:30~2:30
|東北大学 文学研究科棟 208号室MAP
Historical Revisionism has been a recent global phenomenon across Europe, Asia and the United States. Facts and Fictions have become blurred like never before with professional and popular historical narratives fighting for a place in the public’s imagination. History no longer seems to be something one studies to learn about what happened in the past but it is increasingly utilized to benefit or criticize a particular version of the present or a desired direction of the future. There are numerous means of fueling debates about “correct” history from school textbooks, movies, and challenges to a country’s legal codes ranging from constitutions like article nine in Japan or legalizing the Nazi symbol of a swastika in computer games like in Germany. Writing history then is no longer limited to a more antiquarian and archival expert pursuit of preserving records to generally prevent us from forgetting so we understand history and we can learn from it. Exploring history may become a selective search for a usable past whereby the political act of commemoration often tends to supersede and replace what has hitherto been widely considered an essential part of the truth as accepted by common wisdom. The lectures will show how history and memory are entangled in Japan and the world as shown through the creation of memory over islands.
Small Islands have become contested territories in international relations between Japan, China and Korea to the extent that they define our image of history, memory and nationalism in East Asia. This lecture will reflect Japan’s current culture, society and politics as it reflects in attitudes towards other islands of Japan, namely Okinawa, the only World War II battlefield on Japanese soil and still a location for a large military contingent of American troops and Gunkanjima, an artificial coal-mining island off the coast of Nagasaki that recently became a UNESCO World Heritage Site despite the fact that Chinese and Korean laborers worked there during the war.