The present issue examines relations between memories of history and international politics. In recent years interpretation of history with political implication (rekishi ninshiki) became a serious subject in matters regarding the past of war and colonial rule between Japan and China/Korea. However, the questions of history and politics is not peculiar to East Asian countries. Similar problems are occurring in many parts of the world as shown by articles in the present issue.
History plays important and in some cases crucial role in domestic politics and international relations. In creating a nation-state a shared understanding of the past is a powerful vehicle to unite people for a common cause. Political actors therefore struggle over the monopoly of national history which is indispensable in gaining legitimacy of the government. However, such a narrative of nation-building is a double-edged sword. It is effective on one hand in maintaining the unity within the domestic community. On the other hand it fosters jingoism and causes frictions between other states. Typical of these are border disputes in which different stories of nation-building provide the confronting states with the basis for territorial claim. In recent years some states contest over registering historical sites and records in UNESCO World Heritage and Memory of the World schemes, thus opening a new battlefront of ‘war of histories’. Official recognition of a specific edition of history by an international organization such as UNESCO has political impact on relations of states concerned.
A shared understanding of history often serves as a framework for post-war and post-colonial settlements. For example Germany and Japan’s re-entry to the western democracies became possible only when the two states accepted critical edition of their past during the Second World War. History may serve politics in such a way, however, with the side effect of bringing about the clash between ‘political correctness’ and academic objectivity and impartiality. Serious academic attempts to reexamine fixed official interpretation of history are therefore often criticized as revisionism.
In an attempt to solve such a ‘war of histories’, bilateral/multilateral joint research projects were promoted by some states. European cases such as German-Polish and Franco-German projects on history studies were successful in forming certain degree of shared views of the past, and resulted in the publication of common school history textbooks. However, similar projects between Japan and China/Korea ended in confusion, widening the gap between different approaches to history by the three countries.
It is expected that articles in the present issue will shed new lights on the question of history and politics.
The memory of the War of 1898 has been a contentious point of disagreements between the United States and Cuba. For decades, North Americans viewed the so-called “Spanish-American War” as a victorious step toward the greatness of the nation. In the wake of the sinking of the Maine, the United States declared war against Spain, an old imperial power. As seen in the figures of Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, men of diverse backgrounds joined the fray to overwhelm the Spanish military. It was their heroic acts that liberated the Cuban people from the oppressive regime of European colonialism. The United States gave independence to Cuba on May 20, 1902.
Across the Florida Straits, Cubans contested this depiction of the war. For them, the North American memory was unacceptable, offensive, and intolerable. It risked downplaying the sacrifice of 600,000 women and men who had died during the Independence War, which began since 1868 and lasted until the Spanish surrender. From Cuban perspectives, the U.S. entrance into the war was a logical extension of the territorial expansion of the North American Empire. What the northern giant brought to the island was not liberation but another form of repression. The true independence arrived on January 1, 1959, when the Cuban Revolution toppled the U.S.-supported dictatorship.
It is important to explore how the two governments grappled with the historical disagreements. Why did the war produce contradictory memories? How did they shape U.S.-Cuban conflicts since the Revolution of 1959? This article examines secondary sources and textbooks, and pays special attention to U.S.-Cuban conflicts over the independence of Puerto Rico, a matter of special importance to the two nations. It analyzes the minutes of the secret U.S.-Cuban diplomatic meetings in the late 1970s and illuminates the link between the historical memory and the conduct of foreign policy. Its conclusion suggests that dialogue, respect for mutual interests, and sustained conversations helped to generate a degree of understanding between the two governments despite the remaining gaps in historical memories.
Since the end of the Cold War, two significant political phenomena have attracted a considerable amount of attention of researchers in political science and related fields: the politicization of history and third-party intervention in domestic jurisdiction matters or bilateral issues. Particularly interesting is the fact that these two not only coexist but are also intertwined in the form of third-party intervention in historical issues.
Previous studies on historical issues have presupposed that historical issues are bilateral conflicts, leaving studies on the third-party practically nonexistent, and the literature on third-party intervention has largely ignored the motives for it and its effects on the relationship between the intervener and the intervened. This study fills these gaps.
The case explored in this paper is the issue of genocide recognition of the Armenian Massacre. The predecessor of the Republic of Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, allegedly deported and killed hundreds of thousands of Armenians residing in its territory during World War I. The Armenian government and the Armenian diaspora demand that Turkey admit it was genocide and apologize. However, the Turkish government has not offered an apology to date. Consequently, the Armenian side requests foreign governments to officially recognize the atrocities as genocide, while Turkey threatens them with potential deterioration of bilateral ties. This case is the most notable example of historical issues involving third-party intervention and, therefore, the best case for this research.
The results of this study can be summarized as follows. As for the causes, cross-national and time-series qualitative analyses reveal that the genocide is mainly recognized by countries with a Christian majority and large Armenian communities. International norms of human rights also play an important role.
Regarding the effects, two aspects of bilateral relationships are examined. First, simple observations of official diplomatic relations show that the Turkish government usually recalls its ambassadors from recognizing countries immediately after recognition, but it sends him/her back after several months, preventing further damage to the relationship. Second, panel data analyses on the amount of bilateral trade and the number of foreign visitors illustrate that there are statistically significant negative effects of genocide recognition, but these effects only last for a few years at most. To summarize, genocide recognition imposes a negative impact on bilateral relations between Turkey and the recognizer in the short run, but the deterioration is only temporary.
How to commemorate the Sino-Japanese war is a controversial issue in contemporary Taiwan. The government of the Republic of China (R. O. C.) often commemorates the war from legitimate Chinese government’s point of view, whereas some Taiwanese scholars criticize it as ignoring the memories of the majority of Taiwanese people. As a result, scholarly attention in Taiwan has gradually been shifting to explore the memories of “ordinary” Taiwanese people during the war. At the same time, not enough attention is being paid to the concrete contents of the official memory of the war and how it was created. In particular, scholars are holding different images as to whether the official historical narrative of the war during Chiang Kai-shek period (1950–1975) could be recognized as containing “anti-Japanese” sentiment or not. The major factor for these divisions is lack of clear definition and indicators of what constitutes “anti-Japanese” sentiment.
This article defines the historical narrative that contains “anti-Japanese” sentiment as follows: If, in a certain period of time, a government claims that the reason why she is being cautious of Japan comes from its past adversarial relationship with her, that narrative could be characterized as containing “anti-Japanese” sentiment. As for the indicators, this paper establishes four criteria: 1) Was the war against Japan described as the most important fight in the R. O. C.’s history? 2) How strongly did the R. O. C. government stress its victimhood in the war? 3) Was reconciliation with Japan described as being done sufficiently? 4) When the R.O.C. had diplomatic conflict with Japan, did the government provoke Taiwanese people to remember the memory of war?
Using these definitions and indicators, this paper examines the R. O. C. government’s official historical narrative of Sino-Japanese war during Chiang Kai-shek administration. The author argues that when there was diplomatic relations with Japan, the R. O. C.’s official narrative of war had a conciliatory tone toward Japan. While provoking hostile feeling against the Chinese Communist party in mainland to fight a civil war, the R. O. C. formed and used the memory of the Sino- Japanese war to promote its relations with Japan in order to consolidate anti-communist camp in East Asia. Therefore, during that period, the official historical narrative was hard to estimate as “anti-Japanese”.
However, after the R. O. C. broke off its diplomatic relations with Japan, in response to latter’s normalization of relations with the People’s Republic of China, the reconciliation with Japan was described as null and void because of destruction of peace treaty between the R. O. C. and Japan. Shortly afterwards, the narrative of victimization in the war grew stronger in the official discourse of the R. O. C., the historical narrative started to contain “anti-Japanese” sentiment.
China’s transition process in its manner of approaching the Anti-Japan War history (known as the Second Sino–Japanese War in China) in different stages is characterized by the following features. (1) From 1949 to 1978, “history” was understood to be Revolutionary history; the Anti-Japan War history was not accorded much importance and addressing historical facts was determined by political considerations. (2) From 1978 to 1989, even though the Anti-Japan War history received greater emphasis, it was mainly necessary to counter historical revisionist currents in Japan and work toward unification with Taiwan; further, all this while, China was committed to maintaining friendly relations with Japan. (3) The era of rocketing patriotism that began in 1989 witnessed a steady increase in the Chinese emphasis on the history of the Anti-Japan War; thus, currently, along with countering historical revisionism from Japan’s viewpoint, domestic political considerations, modifications to foreign policy, and a revised perception regarding the two countries’ relationship in the wake of China’s rise as a major world power are the main driving forces.
China’s approach to the history of the Anti-Japan War is not a simple historiographical problem; the fact that it is a general problem with a high degree of political sensitivity suggests that, for the reasons provided below, it is one that is fraught with side effects for the Chinese authorities. First, the close relation of the Anti-Japan War’s history to a more multifaceted history implies that the rise of interest in the former will not stop with the China–Japan relations but will highlight the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) history and its relations with the Kuomintang (KMT). On the other hand, the diversification and increased availability of sources of information indicates that information with a bearing on history can no longer be controlled as in the past. Thus, the expanding interest into historical problems associated with the anti-Japan war’s history suggests that the Chinese populace is gaining awareness regarding some historical facts avoided by the ruling authorities until now. Second, applying a “proper view of history,” which China had demanded from Japan, is certainly also being demanded from China. Thus, how China recognizes and responds to its own history has been questioned inside and outside the country.
Manifestation of these side effects is palpable in the China–Taiwan dispute regarding claims to leadership in the anti-Japanese war and the internal Chinese controversy about the authenticity of its “historical nihilism.” Considering the China–Japan interactions, China’s demand to take a “direct view of history” has not only spurred improvements in Japan’s historical awareness but also served to promote improvement in China’s own historical awareness.
How do we apply history in politics? The purpose of this paper is to analyze how recognition in civil society, such as perception of history, plays a role in public opinion and parliamentary government. To clarify this research question, incorporating a political concept into the analysis, this paper focused on roles of the General Association of Korean Residents (Chongryon) and the North Korean Lobby and looked into the backgrounds in the repatriation massively expanded between 1959 and 1961.
Before repatriation movements started, changes of organization structures were observed in the Chongryon and they began to speak in favor of North Korea. Simultaneously, the nature of the Niccho-Kyokai (日朝協会), which had been taking a politically neutral position, also began to change. They began to be a lobbying group in order to support the North Korean foreign diplomacy against Japan.
Applying a concept of “Pseudo Environment” defined by Walter Lippmann as a subjective, biased, and abridged mental image of the world, this section reflected on influences of the two key players over North Korean residents in Japan and Japanese public opinion. The analysis found a social trend with regards to repatriation issues being manipulated by a correlation of three components in the Pseudo Environment: (1) unified perception of history, (2) motherland-oriented nationalism, and (3) economic rationality.
Based on a data-mining method, the influences of the Pseudo Environment in the Diet were analyzed. The penetration of such an environment into civil society assisted the Diet members with the repatriation project being recognized ethically and humanitarianly. Therefore, intentions of the North Korean strategies against South Korea were insufficiently discussed.
The Pseudo Environment lost its effect as (1) demand of mobilization was weakened, (2) activities were diversified among the North Korean Lobby, and (3) information about North Korea was brought by returnees, and gaps were gradually closed between the Pseudo Environment and reality.
As a result of the Pseudo Environment effectively created by the two players among the North Korean residents in Japan and in the Japanese public opinion, one-sided recognition of North Korean strategies influenced civil society and parliamentary government to bring the mass repatriation out. This analysis also concludes that a nation is capable of controlling a social trend in other countries via intermediaries from outside of its country taking advantage of certain recognition. When we see international relations in East Asia, perception of history is an ongoing issue and has been more complex. This indicates that more case studies will be expected on how history has been utilized in politics.
This article examines how Japan and the Philippines dealt with the historical memories of war in their reparations problem by focusing on humanitarian consideration for symbolic cash reparations. After the Pacific War, which made the Philippines a main battlefield, Japan paid the largest amount of reparations to the Philippines than other victim countries. While Japan wanted to restrict reparations to be economically acceptable, the people of the Philippines felt that they have suffered so much pain that material compensation would never be enough. How to deal with their memories of war experiences became the essential problem for the two nations to reach reparations agreements.
Regarding how Japan and the Philippines compromised the amount of reparations and reached the agreements, I emphasize the importance of their agreement on symbolic compensation for victims’ losses based on the negotiators’ consideration of humanitarian norms. Since the human cognitive framework is more sensitive to the losses than to the gains, victims tend to feel that compensation for losses is small, while perpetrators tend to feel that victims undervalue gains from compensation. These tendencies require negotiators to make some manipulations. In the case of reparations negotiations between Japan and the Philippines, Japan was unable to accept the amount of reparations which surpassed Japan’s ability for payment. While the Philippines at first strongly demanded compensation for the past losses, they sought to acquire the benefits of future development soon in the process of negotiations. It was Japan’s consideration for cash reparations to war widows and orphans that provided a normative basis for the Philippines to compromise with Japan. Cash reparations to the war widows and orphans, who were the significant symbol of the war victims, became the main issue of the negotiations. In the result, Japan substantially accepted cash reparations, while it nominally sidestepped them. Expecting that the psychological effect of humanitarian consideration might mitigate anti-Japanese feelings in the Philippines, Japan established a loophole system which applied the part of export gains to reparations. Introducing the system should have promoted the conclusion of reparation agreements and the establishment of diplomatic relationship between Japan and the Philippines.
An analysis of reparations negotiations between Japan and the Philippines supports that it is important for perpetrators to acknowledge the responsibility of past wrongdoings and accept the victims’ historical memories of damages and agonies. Therefore, the analysis suggests that, while reparations are not problems that can be solved just by material compensation for damages, reparations can promote conflict resolution if the handling of historical memories gains high reputation for being appropriate compensation for the past.
This paper examines how and when apology by a defeated state is made. In order to analyze the incentive of apology, this article sheds light on the difference between Japan and Germany after the World War II.
2015 marked the 70th anniversary since the end of World War II. Many articles were written in Japan and abroad about how Japanese and German governments succeeded or failed in their efforts to reconcile with neighboring countries. Jennifer Lind (2008) analyzed that apologetic remembrance determines reconciliation, while Thomas U. Berger (2012) made it clear that “narrative” is the essence of apology. Both studies pointed to how a government and society narrate history of their own country as the determinant of reconciliation. However, these studies fell short of illuminating the incentive of apology.
This article seeks to answer how apologetic narrative emerges from the point of view of international politics and leadership. First, international politics determines how reconciliation is needed for a country or not. For example, as the occupied countries, Japan and Germany had to be in a good relationship with occupying powers. Furthermore, during the cold war, it was very important to have close ties within capitalistic countries. In Europe, there was also a movement for European integration, so the incentive for reconciliation with France was enormous for Germany. The reconciliation with Israel was also needed, because the Nazi-crime for Jewish people was seen as “crimes against humanity” and was criticized internationally.
Japan did not need reconciliation so much with China and Korea, which were divided into two countries after World War II. Both Chinese governments, Beijing and Taipei, wanted to be recognized as the “official” government of China, so it was not a good strategy for them to argue with Japan over the history problem. In addition, as South Korea was far behind North Korea economically, it also wanted Japanese investment first. So it is clear that international politics set the incentive to apologize.
Second, even if the incentive for reconciliation exists, political leadership is also necessary, especially when the narratives of government and society are not the same. Willy Brandt was hardly criticized when he got down on his knees in front of the monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1970. Yet he did not change his and government’s narrative, and criticism disappeared over time. On the other hand, Japan-South Korea relationship serves as the model for the lack of leadership on the narrative of apology.
The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is an emerging norm regarding the national and international protection of populations from genocide and mass atrocities. After the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty proposed the principle of R2P in 2001, the idea was unanimously adopted by member states of the United Nations (UN) at the General Assembly in 2005 and 2009, and also used by the Security Council as a rationale for international action in Libya in 2011. The fact of this normative development is a puzzle, because the R2P potentially represents a challenge to state sovereignty for both developing and developed countries, and also because existing literature argues that norms are less likely to be created in the issue area of sovereignty and security. Nevertheless, it is important to ask why the R2P norm has been increasingly accepted by UN member states.
Researchers who have attempted to answer this question tend to describe its chronological and historical process, but do not clarify or identify actors, factors and mechanisms which have promoted the norm diffusion of R2P. In addition, constructivist scholars who have been engaged in explaining norm diffusion processes pay attention to the role of norm entrepreneurs who persuade actors to accept their newly advocated norms by changing actors’ preferences. However, based on such explanations, it is difficult to understand the case of R2P norm diffusion, since the agreement of R2P in 2005 was achieved while there was a group of member states who were suspicious of or strongly opposed to the norm, including the United States. The purpose of this article is thus to elucidate the political process in which the R2P norm has diffused by analyzing why and how UN member states unanimously agreed upon R2P in 2005 and 2009.
The article concludes that mechanisms of persuasion and negotiation among UN member states functioned successfully in gaining a consensus and promoting norm diffusion of R2P. In the early stage of norm diffusion, agreement is likely to be achieved through negotiation in order to accommodate various preferences of member states and seek mutual concessions. The agreement on R2P in 2005 through such negotiation was then a reference point by which norm entrepreneurs successfully persuaded member states to accept the R2P norm. Through persuasion by such entrepreneurs as the UN Secretary-General, his special adviser and NGOs, many states which were skeptical of R2P in 2005 changed their discourse in its favor. As a result, member states by consensus adopted the General Assembly resolution on R2P in 2009. This shows that norm entrepreneurs succeeded in stimulating the norm diffusion by persuading member states to change their preferences on R2P.