This study raises the question of “who” instead of “what” regarding the problem of collective memories in East Asia. To do so, I review the vicissitudes of the memories of two events, the Nanjing Massacre and the Comfort Women, which are now firmly entrenched in popular memories as the core Japanese atrocities against her neighbors during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) and the Pacific War (1941–1945). By prioritizing political subjects who can remember or forget—both as performative practices—I argue that history is the very central field of political struggles, not merely a tool for mobilization, in East Asia and the (re)emergence of the memories of the Nanjing Massacre and the Comfort Women in the international scene is more a function of the new subject formation in China and Korea than an un-mediated outcome of unearthed historical facts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science