Rethinking Historical Injustice and Reconciliation in Northeast Asia: The Korean Experience

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The Northeast Asian region has witnessed phenomenal economic growth and the spread of democratization in recent decades, yet wounds from past wrongs - committed in times of colonialism, war, and dictatorship - still remain. Of all the countries in the northeast region coping with historical injustice, the Republic of Korea has the rare distinction of confronting internal and external historical injustices simultaneously, both as a victim and as a perpetrator. Korea's experience highlights the major forces shaping the reckoning and reconciliation process, such as democratization, globalization, regional integration, and nationalism, in addition to providing valuable insight into the themes of historical injustice and reconciliation within the region.

The book aims to move beyond a nation-state oriented analysis of Korea as the victim/aggressor, seeking instead to understand reconciliation as a mutual, interactive concept. Although there is no universal formula for reconciliation, the contributors examine the reaction of society from the perspective of citizens' groups, NGOs, and victim-activist groups toward such issues as enforced labor, comfort women, and internal injustices committed during the wars to foster a better understanding of the past and thus aid in future reconciliation between other Northeast Asian countries. Rethinking Historical Injustice and Reconciliation in Northeast Asia represents the first book written in English to address these significant issues and as such will be of huge interest to those studying East Asian politics, history, and society.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415770934
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/28/2006
  • Series: Politics in Asia Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

List of figures     xi
List of tables     xii
List of contributors     xiii
Acknowledgments     xvi
Introduction   Gi-Wook Shin   Soon-Won Park   Daqing Yang     1
Coming to terms with the darker past in Korea     15
The Korean "comfort women" tragedy as structural violence   Chunghee Sarah Soh     17
The resignification of the "comfort women" through NGO trials   Hideko Mitsui     36
The politics of remembrance: the case of Korean forced laborers in the Second World War   Soon-Won Park     55
The war against the "enemy within": hidden massacres in the early stages of the Korean War   Dong-Choon Kim     75
Justice incomplete: the remedies for the victims of the Jeju April Third Incidents   Tae-Ung Baik     94
From Seoul to Saigon: Gook meets Charlie   Kyung-Yoong Bay     114
Toward a Northeast Asian approach to historical injustice?     131
The aesthetic construction of ethnic nationalism: war memorial museums in Korea and Japan   Hong Kal     133
Difficult neighbors: Japan and North Korea   Gavan McCormack     154
Dynamics of denial: responses to past atrocities in Germany, Turkey, and Japan   JohnTorpey     173
Pop culture, public memory, and Korean-Japanese relations   Chiho Sawada     192
A strong state, weak civil society, and Cold War geopolitics: why Japan lags behind Europe in confronting a negative past   Andrew Horvat     216
Economic integration and reconciliation in Northeast Asia: possibilities and limitations   Wonhyuk Lim     235
Epilogue: lessons and future agenda for reconciliation in Northeast Asia   Soon-Won Park   Daqing Yang   Gi-Wook Shin     254
Index     261
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