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Seaton's Japan War Memory

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criminal law
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USIU

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  1. Introduction
  2. Japanese War Memories are contested
  3. Accusations of ?Amnesia? against the Japanese
  4. Selective Historical Gaze
  5. Conclusion

The stories of World War II remain more alive and widely argued about in Japan than any other of the nations that was a major combatant in the war. Seaton focused on the time between 1972 and 2005 when Japan held the 60th anniversary commemorations. He outlined that Western media generally addressed this issue in an ?orthodox? manner as they criticize Japan and the Japanese for ?addressing the past inadequately.? He claims that ?ignorance,? ?denial,? and ?amnesia? were widely referenced. But the views of the Japanese people were mainly based on family and personal experiences other than what was said by the media, politicians, or textbooks (Seaton 2). The orthodoxy is viewed as not being an investigation of Japanese views but a toll in the power relations between Japan and the English speaking world.

It is a basic dissertation that Japanese remembrances on the war remain contested. This contest has resulted in a critique of the orthodoxy about Japanese war memories especially in the English speaking media. The criticism agrees with the large evidence of Japanese atrocities and aggression when fighting in World War II. The criticism does not look down upon the efforts that victims are making towards seeking justice either. In fact, this orthodoxy does more harm than good as far as the search for justice is concerned (6).

[...] These aspects of war history can be categorized into three main types. The first type are the main battlegrounds for the ideological poles (such as Nanking or the ?comfort women,? acknowledged or emphatically denied as severe war crimes by progressives and nationalists respectively). Secondly, there are stories that are treated largely across the field (the sufferings of soldiers, the A-bombs, and Siberian internment). Lastly, the third types are stories favored by a specific ideological camp (for instance, kamikaze stories have little to offer a progressive view of history but are rich in themes of sacrifice and patriotism for conservatives, while Unit 731's human experiments confirm the depravity of militarism for progressives but are avoided by nationalists because they do nothing for affirmative versions of the war). [...]


[...] The key to understanding the complex Japanese war memories is not judging what Japanese people aware or not but rather identifying the theoretical frames they use to assess war-related matters when they come across them in their daily life endeavors. It is also evident that the current generation of the Japanese society is not to blame for the contested war memories. Rather, this notion has been as a result of negative publicity by the western world in addition to internal conflicting ideologies in conservatisms and nationalism. Works Cited Seaton, P. Japan's Contested War Memories: The "Memory Rifts" in Historical Consciousness of World War II . New York: Routledge Print. [...]

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