Popular Culture and Historical Memories of War in Asia

Authored by: Rumi Sakamoto

Routledge Handbook of East Asian Popular Culture

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415749428
eBook ISBN: 9781315643106
Adobe ISBN: 9781317285014

10.4324/9781315643106.ch17

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Abstract

Seventy years after the end of World War II, living memories of the war are fast being replaced with mediated “second-order memories” (Nora 1989). At this critical juncture, when history turns into representation, we face many questions. How do nations keep their war memories alive? How do young people locate themselves in relation to historical violence and trauma? What makes mediated second-order memories “memories,” not mere “representations”? Such questions are especially pertinent in East Asia, where postwar healing and reconciliation are desperately needed and yet not even remotely in sight. Controversies over history textbooks, the Yasukuni shrine, “comfort women,” and the Nanjing Massacre show that memories of the Asia-Pacific War continue to be sources of bitter discord within the region.

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