All posts tagged: Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung

Angela Merkel and Japan’s Wartime Past

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EU-East Asia relations / German / German-Japanese Relations / history and memory / Japan / Sino-Japanese Relations / War Crimes / World War II
Comfort Women in Java

The German Chancellor was in Tokyo for a couple of eventful days. Although Merkel sees Abe Shinzo regularly, she noted before leaving  that she has not been to Japan, the country that she tactfully calls “Germany’s second-biggest trading partner in Asia” (after China, naturally), since 2008. There cannot be a great deal of desire on Merkel’s part to talk about World War II amid the rest of this massive bilateral agenda — mainly the Chancellor wants to […]

“Hitler’s Stomach” in Beijing: A Review

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Art / Beijing / Chinese Avant-Garde / Chinese communist party / Cultural Politics / EU-East Asia relations / German / history and memory / Sino-German Relations / War Crimes / World War II

Today in Berlin, I was cruising through the Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, the businessman’s preferred paper, for German response to the Wen Jiabao visit when I ran across an article so completely fascinating that I decided to translate it for inclusion on the blog, as it actually adds something new to the giant slapping waves of somewhat repetitious commentary in the area of China’s relations with Germany. This translation represents 脑力劳动, which is to say, it is […]

Contested Era, Blossoming Memory: Reconsidering the Early 1950s in the Present PRC

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China / Chinese communist party / Cultural Politics / German / history and memory / Korean War / Manchuria / My Publications / Sino-North Korean relations / Tibet / War Crimes / World War II / Yanbian

In walking around Chinese book markets, perusing Chinese newspapers, talking to Chinese scholars and intellectuals, and just plain thinking here in the PRC, the remarkable fact emerges of the enormous gap between what is printed and discussed here and how we talk about it back in the West. In other words, there are some thorny themes being worked out here in the PRC that seem to have totally escaped commentary by Western scholars and pundits.  […]

Creating the Glass Man: Hiroshima Anniversary

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EU-East Asia relations / German / history and memory / Japan / US-Japan relations / War Crimes / World War II

Today is the 65th anniversary of the American atomic attack on the southern Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.  For the first time, the U.S. government is sending a representative to the commemoration ceremony.  Liberation, the left-wing Parisian paper, has a worthwhile photo gallery on the subject: The German press is of course also watching closely.  The Berlin Tagesspiegel carries a long testimony by a bombing survivor, a photo gallery of standard images, and a […]

Postwar Meditation: Berlin/Tokyo

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East Asian modernity / Pensee / World War II

Postwar is post-nothing: it is the beginning of something.   “Ach!”, trained instinct cries, “but what of ‘tragen’, to carry heavy burdens, of its simple past  trug?  Do not ponderous and blackened memories determine future projections?”  No {we say, affected with blithe mannerisms}, because the burdens have been bombed away.  Digs, belongings, spouses, families, pensions: the war wiped it all away, and one has to begin again. Rubble is a consequence of conflict, but so too […]