Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017
- Korean-Japanese Relations, Imperial Nostalgia and Japan's New Right
- Dr. Louise Young, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Presentation summary –
The outspoken nationalist rhetoric and pugnacious saber rattling of the current Japanese government under Abe Shinzo represents a break with longstanding policy norms. Since defeat in World War II, the Japanese state has kept a low political profile while pursuing economism in relations with Korea and other Asian nations. Abe's changes in educational policy to promote aggressive nationalism, as well as his revision of the constitution to authorize unilateral military action, are both connected to a recent celebration of Japanese of colonialism in Korea. This likewise is a striking shift for a country that after 1945 had largely dealt with the history of its colonial empire by trying to forget it: an "empire mourned without a tear."
This presentation examines the tensions in relations with South Korea around economic rivalries and the Comfort Women issue that are driving the rise of the new right from the 1990s to the present, and explores the significance of nostalgia for the days of empire.