During the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1973, more than 310,000 Korean soldiers were dispatched to Vietnam. The killings of many Vietnamese civilians that occurred during this period are often mentioned in the recent ‘anti-Korean sentiment’ boom in Japan. This article discusses narratives of the memory of killings in both Korea and Vietnam. At the end of the 20th century in South Korea, what was once a ‘bravery story’ that killed ‘Aka (Communist)’ began to be viewed as an event that ‘killed civilians’. This difficulty in facing the reality of the home country’s negative history resulted in divided public opinion. A Korean NGO, NAWAURI, has attempted to contribute to future peace by apologizing to the Vietnamese people, listening to the people who survived from the killings, and understanding victims’ feelings.
On the other hand, in Vietnam, based on the slogan ‘Close the past and head towards the future’, Vietnamese survivors can only mention the historical recognition of the war in a way that does not affect international relations. This slogan has not only been simply championed by the state but also become a national consciousness, so there is little movement to record war memories of the general people so as to convey them to posterity. The slogan suppresses the honest feelings of survivors of mass killings, who have been forced to live difficult lives.
The national history of the Vietnam War, therefore, is a story of the brilliant triumph of the North Vietnamese army, or the National Liberation Front, who fought risking their lives. As a result, memories of mass killings that are unrelated to the victory would inevitably be unrecognized in Vietnamese national history. This means that when the state regulates memories and constitutes it as ‘the history of so-and-so country’, only favourable events are recorded, and some memories that do not promote nationalism are truncated. Memories of mass killings by the Korean army usually disappear with the death of the survivors, but ironically, the activities of the Korean NGO, which is revealing war memories of survivors in an attempt to ensure future peace, are contributing to the healing of the survivors and also to maintaining diverse war memories that are not subsumed by the state.
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.
Why and how do violent conflicts happen in a stable democracy? India, the motherland of non-violence movements, has experienced numerous violent conflicts like religious riots, caste riots and class struggles since Independence. Especially after 1980's, the extent of violence has risen up drastically as Ayodhya-related riots and Naxalite-related violence. How can we explain these violent conflicts in the 60-year experience of “The world's largest democracy”?
This paper focuses on the formation of Ranvir Sena, which was set up by Bhumihar landlords in 1994. Ranvir Sena, which is the most organized and brutal private army in Bihar's Post-Independence history, provides an important case to analyze the relationship between democracy and violent conflicts.
One important variable to explain the emergence of militia is the “democratization” in Bihar. The traditional dominance of upper castes in rural society has declined decisively by the political change in 1990 onwards, which led to the formation of Ranvir Sena. Simultaneously, though, the case of Ranvir Sena indicates that the institution of democracy has the capacity to absorb once uncontrollable violent elements and gradually overcome the chain of violence.