Wartime History and Beijing’s Response to the New Defence Minister in Tokyo

In the wake of the Upper House elections in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has completed a reshuffling of his cabinet. As described by Japan hand Michael Cucek, it was not a particularly inspiring set of choices made by the newly-consolidated Prime Minister: Taro Aso (the right-wing former PM perhaps best recalled for his off-the-cuff endorsement of Hitler’s constitutional revision style) remains at the helm … Continue reading Wartime History and Beijing’s Response to the New Defence Minister in Tokyo

Recent Work on Sino-North Korean Relations, History, and Chinese Foreign Policy

The arbitrarily configured 70th anniversary of the Korean Workers’ Party, and the presence of a high-level Chinese delegation in Pyongyang, created a need for some commentary and context.  This post aggregates some of things I did in response to the event, and in the two months since the “August DMZ loudspeaker crisis” earlier this year. On October 10, I was quoted in the Washington Post, … Continue reading Recent Work on Sino-North Korean Relations, History, and Chinese Foreign Policy

On the ‘Cairo Declaration’ Fiasco

While the tendency of the CCP to insert itself at the main junctures of Chinese history in the 20th century is anything but new, there has been an increasing alignment with the earlier Republic of China that has been quite pronounced, I would argue, since at least 2005. For the past ten years, scholars have interpreted this (and the inclusion of ROC troops in various … Continue reading On the ‘Cairo Declaration’ Fiasco

Old Chapters, New Chapters: The Memory Wars in East Asia

From the very beginning of the so-called ‘post war,’ the territorial and temporal parameters of the memory wars between China and Japan were never drawn particularly cleanly. The war ended formally in Tokyo Harbour on 3 September 1945, but it took nearly another week for Okamura Yasuji to formally surrender to General He Yingqin at Nanjing. It then took months (in some rare cases, years) … Continue reading Old Chapters, New Chapters: The Memory Wars in East Asia

Xi Jinping’s Tripod: Updating the National Humiliation Narrative in Nanjing

This essay was originally published at the China Policy Institute Blog at the University of Nottingham on 15 December 2014, under the title ‘Xi Jinping’s Nanking Massacre Commemoration and China’s Anti-Japanese Calendar,’ and is republished here with permission.  2014 has been a banner year for the Chinese Communist Party’s politics of historical commemoration of the War of Resistance against Japan (1937-1945). As the Party has faced a … Continue reading Xi Jinping’s Tripod: Updating the National Humiliation Narrative in Nanjing

The Shenyang Trials of 1956: Presenting the Resurrection of Defeat in Heidelberg

The University of Heidelberg will be hosting a conference later this month on post-1945 war crimes trials in East Asia, at which I will be presenting. An abstract and bio follow: The Shenyang Trials of 1956: The Resurrection of Defeat  Using now-closed files from the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archive and contemporary sources in Chinese, this paper, investigates the role of the Shenyang Trials of 1956 … Continue reading The Shenyang Trials of 1956: Presenting the Resurrection of Defeat in Heidelberg

New Scholarship on China’s War Against Japan: Rana Mitter and the Wiles Lectures at Queen’s University Belfast

Rana Mitter is among the most dynamic, productive, and visible historians working on East Asia in the UK today. Dr. Mitter will be delivering a series of uniquely prestigious and endowed lectures in Belfast, at Queen’s University, from 28-31 May of this year. The series title is ‘Fighting Fate: Wartime Society and the Making of Modern China.‘   I’m delighted to have been invited to … Continue reading New Scholarship on China’s War Against Japan: Rana Mitter and the Wiles Lectures at Queen’s University Belfast

Sino-Japanese Strife and Accomodation: An Academic View

Sometimes through all the contemporary hyperventilating, it can be considered an almost extreme position to look for historical context that lies apart from the mainstream narrative of eternal, almost existential, national conflict between China and Japan.  In a recent journal article, two scholars based in Stockholm have taken the steps of looking for that context.  As the abstract explains: For the last four decades Sino-Japanese … Continue reading Sino-Japanese Strife and Accomodation: An Academic View

Post-Soulevement

The earthquake and subsequent tsunami that thrashed the northeastern Japanese coast has generated a great deal of thinking from me, not much of it coherent or of use to readers.  Thus the silence.  At some point, I would imagine that some discussion of the following questions would emerge: To what extent have regional responses to the catastrophe intensified transnational goodwill?   Does this forceful reminder of … Continue reading Post-Soulevement

Germ Warfare and Panda Diplomacy in Tokyo: Unit 731 Excavations

This is a cross-post from my Japanese War Crimes blog. — AC Unit 731, the bacteriological warfare research wing of the Kanto Army in Manchuria, has been discussed in Japan with varying degrees of postwar intensity, but this discovery in Tokyo last week (via the Guardian) seems poised to bring the activities — and the difficult subject of history in Sino-Japanese relations — back out … Continue reading Germ Warfare and Panda Diplomacy in Tokyo: Unit 731 Excavations