Category Archives: memory

“Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has visited the US naval base at Pearl…

“Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has visited the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, where he offered ‘sincere and everlasting condolences’ to the victims of Japan’s attack on the base 75 years ago. ‘We must never repeat the horrors of war again, this is the solemn vow the people of Japan have taken,’ he said.”

For more, see “Japan PM Shinzo Abe Makes Landmark Visit to Pearl Harbor,” BBC News (27 Dec 2016)

Image: AFP

“During China’s traditional festival for honoring the dead,…

“During China’s traditional festival for honoring the dead, Zheng Zhisheng usually visits a vine-draped cemetery where pillars declare the dead’s eternal loyalty to Mao Zedong. He walks among the mass graves, sharing memories, and sometimes tears, with mourners who greet him as their ‘corpse commander.’ They are veterans of the Cultural Revolution and their kin, who at the Qingming festival each year gather at the graves of family and friends killed in the convulsive movement that Mao unleashed upon China.

Cities and regions became battle zones between rival Red Guards — militant student groups that attacked intellectuals, officials and others — and up to 1.5 million people died nationwide, according to one recent estimate. Yet this cemetery in Chongqing, an industrial city on the Yangtze River, is the only sizable one left solely for those killed then. Mr. Zheng, 73, is one of the aging custodians of their harrowing stories. He buried many of the 400 to 500 bodies here, on the edge of a park in the Shapingba district.”

For more, see Chris Buckley, “Chaos of China’s Cultural Revolution Echoes at a Lonely Cemetery, 50 Years Later,” The New York Times (4 April 2016)

Image: Gilles Sabrie / The New York Times

“When Li Yaqin was 16, she ate what her family could scavenge:…

“When Li Yaqin was 16, she ate what her family could scavenge: dandelion leaves, alfalfa, rice sprouts, corn husks ground and pressed into cakes.As her college-age granddaughter quietly captured her on digital camera, the 73-year-old told of watching her father starve to death.

‘He was sleeping on the bed and couldn’t move because he was too hungry,’ said Li, her jet-black bangs framing an expression taut with lingering despair. ‘He called me to pull him up, but when I tried to pull him up, he just rolled around in bed and couldn’t get up. And then he stopped moving.’

The Chinese government would prefer that such stories be forgotten. Wu Wenguang won’t let that happen.”

For more, see Jonathan Kaiman, “Survivors Tell the Camera the Hidden Tale of China’s Great Famine,” The Los Angeles Times (14 October 2015)

Image: Wu Wenguang

“A Chinese campaign to have documents related to Japan’s use of…

“A Chinese campaign to have documents related to Japan’s use of wartime sex slaves and its bloody invasion of Nanjing recognised by Unesco has sparked a new round of diplomatic tension between Beijing and Tokyo. A Unesco panel in Abu Dhabi will announce on Friday successful nominations for inclusion in the UN body’s Memory of the World programme, amid efforts by Japanese officials to block the bid.”

For more, see Justin McCurry, “Wartime Sex Slaves at the Heart of UN Battle Between Japan and China,” The Guardian (8 Oct 2015)

Image: Toru Yamanaka / AFP

“Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday released a…

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday released a statement marking 70 years since the end of World War II.The statement had been watched closely by neighboring countries on whether it would include an apology for Japan’s wartime acts as expressed by its past leaders. Former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who issued a groundbreaking statement in 1995, had also called on Mr. Abe to sincerely apologize for the country’s wartime aggression.”

The Wall Street Journal has published the English translation of the full text of the statement here: “Full Text: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s World War II Statement” WSJ (14 Aug 2015)

Image: Kyodo / Reuters

“Using the carefully chosen words that govern reckonings with…

“Using the carefully chosen words that govern reckonings with Japan’s militarist past, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated his country’s official remorse for the catastrophe of World War II on Friday, the eve of the 70th anniversary of the war’s end.In a nationally televised address, Mr. Abe described feelings of ‘profound grief’ and offered ‘eternal, sincere condolences’ for the dead. He said Japan had inflicted ‘immeasurable damage and suffering’ when it ‘took the wrong course and advanced along the road to war.’

But in a potentially contentious break with previous expressions of contrition by Japanese leaders, he did not offer a new apology of his own.”

For more, see Jonathan Soble, “Shinzo Abe Echoes Japan’s Past World War II Apologies but Adds None,” The New York Times (14 Aug 2015)

Image: Chris Mcgrath / Getty Images

“’After the war ended, I came back and saw the destruction and…

“’After the war ended, I came back and saw the destruction and the place where my sister was killed,’ Mr. Lee said in an interview. ‘That street had houses on both sides. Originally there were two-story buildings, but they were completely gone.’“

For more, see Austin Ramzy, “A Gap Lingers in Taiwan’s Wartime Memory,” The New York Times (15 August 2015)

Also available in Chinese: 盟军空袭台北,被遗忘的二战历史 (2015年7月16日)

Image: Sean Marc Lee / The New York Times