Author: Adam Cathcart

Koreans and Military Training in Japan, 1947-48

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Korean War / US occupation of Japan
Shigemitsu

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours in a single box at the US National Archives — otherwise known as RG331 (Allied Operational and Occupation HQ), SCAP Government Section, Administrative Division, Purge Miscellaneous File, 1945-51, box 2054, “Administration to Directives [Screened].” This is a box of “screened” purge candidates. It is hugely disorganized, with no real folders, everything mixed in together, but amid the probably 2000 pages there are many single documents of great interest. Without […]

Ideology and Anti-Factionalism: A Survey of North Korean Workers’ Party Publishing Output in 1958

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history and memory / North Korea
Kim-Il-song-as-Al-Capone

In May 2010, the US Central Intelligence Agency released a file which it had had in its files for many decades: Korean Books (in Korean), No. 1, Catalogue of Books by Korean Worker’s Party Publishing House.  While in most other contexts such a text would be open-source, finding the book (along with a hell of a lot of extremely interesting materials) during today’s foray into the CREST database at the US National Archives in College Park, […]

Pu Yi as Witness

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history and memory / Manchuria / War Crimes / World War II
Pu Yi in captivity in Fushun, 1956; photo by Dave Lancashire

In his 1946 testimony at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (the Tokyo Trials), Pu Yi, the former Emperor of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo, proved to be an exceptionally difficult witness. The following extract from the IMFTE Proceedings (p. 4,085) seems to capture the obdurate and unproductive nature of his eight-day appearance at Tokyo. Q. On what date was Manchukuo established as a country? A. Please don’t ask me any more about the […]

Chinese Journalists and the U.S. Occupation of Japan

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China / Chinese nationalism / history and memory / Public Diplomacy / Sino-Japanese Relations / US occupation of Japan / US-Japan relations / World War II
Wang Yunsheng in Office

At the conclusion of eight years of Japanese occupation of nearly every major city in the Republic of China, Chinese journalists were prepared not just to celebrate victory but to join the Allied nations in occupying Japan. The desire to undo the fundamental reorientation of the Sino-Japanese hierarchy of 1894-95  and restore China to regional preeminence was nearly universal, as was the consensus of seeing China finally turn the corner on economic dysfunction and to a assume a […]

Keeping Tabs on Revisionist Groups Active on the ‘Comfort Women’ Issue

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history and memory / Japan / War Crimes / World War II
Comfort Women Protest ROK via the Nation

Gaining even a cursory familiarity with the statements and logic of some right-wing revisionists groups in Japan is a salutary experience. While most Japanese people (judging from polling data) find such groups to be embarrassing, and they surely do not represent the mainstream, these groups are, nevertheless, comparatively loud. More recently, they also have a kind of harmonization of rhetoric with the state which itself is being more vocal and “aggressive” (i.e. “pro-active”) with respect to […]

Toward understanding North Korean state fears of Dandong

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Borderlands / North Korea / North Korean border region / Sino-North Korean relations
north-korean-spies-comic

On March 26, the Korean Central News Agency reported at length on a truly remarkable press conference. I say “remarkable” because it dealt with a topic that, if even half of the allegations stated were true, contained more than a few bombshells about a cluster of sensitive subjects. This characterization of sensitivity holds — not only because Dandong is the key conduit for Chinese-North Korean trade — ultimately because the narrative tacitly consists of a North Korean […]