Recommended Book: The Coldest Winter, David Halberstam

As the six-party talks continue to dance around the question of the future of the Korean peninsula — and the major powers plan for the collapse of the DPRK — it is worthwhile to look back to the (unresolved) conflict that cemented the division of the peninsula and had untold consequences for US Asia policy.In …

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Recommended Book: In The Ruins of Empire, Ronald Spector

My apologies for not recommending a new book sooner, but blame it on a hectic few weeks in Japanese politics.This book, though, is well worth reading. A sequel of sorts to Eagle Against the Sun, his account of the Pacific War, Ronald Spector outdoes his earlier effort in providing a comprehensive record of the bloody …

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Another sign of lingering Japanese war guilt

Following yesterday's finding that a plurality of respondents indicated that Japan still needs to apologize for its actions during the war, I have found, thanks to a tip from a trusted correspondent, a survey conducted by Fuji TV'sHodo 2001" program in April that suggests that the Japanese people are far from defiant when it comes …

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More sorrow, more pity

The International Herald Tribune published a long review by Bernard-Henri Lévy of newly elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy's campaign book Testimony, recently translated into English.Lévy notes that one of the Sarkozy's leitmotifs is a reassessment of twentieth century French history that dwells less on moments of national disaster and tragedy, enables the French people to …

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Murakami Haruki and Sino-Japanese relations

Joel Martinsen at Danwei posted a translation of an interview in the Southern Metropolis Weekly with Lin Shaohua, Murakami Haruki's Chinese translator.It is a bizarre interview, to say the least, starting with the unironic use of the word "bourgeois" to describe novels like Norwegian Wood. Bourgeois? I guess. And then there's a statement like, "his …

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Those other historical issues

Defense Minister Kyuma Fumio — a Lower House representative from Nagasaki of all places — remains under attack today despite backing away from his argument that the US atomic bombings "could not be helped."The Nagasaki Prefectural Assembly has, in fact, passed a resolution condemning Kyuma's remarks.Kyuma has once again showed his utter lack of political …

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The nationalism question, revisited yet again

Although the comfort women resolution appears to be on hold until after Japan holds Upper House elections next month, the waters have been roiled by a full-page advert in the Washington Post taken out by a bipartisan group of Japanese legislators, as well as journalists and commentators (including Abe confidante Okazaki Hisahiko) laying out "The …

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I love the smell of nuance in the morning

Robert Koehler of The Marmot's Hole writes of a talk by Park Yu-ha, a Korean professor of Japanese literature, at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, in which she argued that Koreans are also to blame for the comfort women system.And hence my problem with the congressional resolution condemning Japan and only Japan. History is …

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