Angela Merkel and Japan’s Wartime Past

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 … Continue reading Angela Merkel and Japan’s Wartime Past

“Hitler’s Stomach” in Beijing: A Review

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. … Continue reading “Hitler’s Stomach” in Beijing: A Review

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

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

Creating the Glass Man: Hiroshima Anniversary

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 … Continue reading Creating the Glass Man: Hiroshima Anniversary

Postwar Meditation: Berlin/Tokyo

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 … Continue reading Postwar Meditation: Berlin/Tokyo