Yasuko Claremont et al, Citizen Power: Postwar Reconciliation

Dr Yasuko Claremont recently retired from the University of Sydney’s Japanese Studies Department, but is still actively publishing several works from a major conference and other events held in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Asia-Pacific War, for a 5-year project on grassroots post-War reconciliation initiatives. (See also her recent translation of a well-known book about the 321 junior high school students killed by the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima.) One event was a photographic exhibition displayed at the University of Sydney library, and Dr Claremont and photograph contributors are now bringing together photographs and commentaries together into a bilingual book entitled “Citizen Power: Postwar Reconciliation”, published by the Oriental Society of Australia, and distributed by Sydney University Press. (Two other volumes will be published by Routledge, and are also very timely given the ongoing sensitivities over the current Japanese government’s new security legislation.) Below are endorsements for the book by Profs Hugh Clarke, Tessa Morris-Suzuki and myself, followed by the Table of Contents.

“Seventy years since the end of the Pacific War, despite symbolic gestures like President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima in 2016 and Prime Minister Abe’s return-visit to Pearl Harbor, national leaders continue to equivocate over the ultimate responsibility for the conflict, or attempt to justify the fire-bombing of civilian populations. Japanese wartime atrocities against the peoples of China, Korea and Southeast Asia remain as a blight on relations between Japan and its nearest neighbours and an obstacle to peace and stability in East Asia. This volume of text and photographs documents how, against this inhospitable political background, an active network of individuals and citizens’ groups in Japan has been reaching out in a spirit of genuine repentance to those who suffered at the hands of the Japanese during the war. Dr Claremont and her colleagues are to be congratulated for enlightening us regarding these little-known grass-roots efforts towards reconciliation, and, in so doing, themselves making a valuable contribution to peace and friendship between Japan and its former enemies.”
Hugh Clarke, Emeritus Professor, University of Sydney
“At a time of rising nationalism and xenophobia, this wonderful book highlights the extraordinary achievements of citizen-powered reconciliation between Japan and its former colonies and wartime enemies. The case studies presented in its pages provide inspiring models for others to follow, and give fresh hope for the future of ‘reconciliation from below’.”
Tessa Morris Suzuki, Professor, Australia National University
“This book offers a graphic illustration of the diversity and persistence of civil society groups in Japan pursuing post-War reconciliation. These longstanding and ongoing initiatives have been little known outside Japan or indeed across many academic disciplines, including legal studies. Yet this volume indicates how such grassroot activity plays a significant role in lobbying the Japanese government for law and policy change, on domestic and international planes, as well as supporting lawsuits for victim redress. By bringing this work together in an eye-catching and cohesive manner, Dr Claremont and her rich array of contributors have provided a major service to Japan and the Asia-Pacific community.”
Luke Nottage, Professor, University of Sydney / Co-director, Australian Network for Japanese Law
Foreword Utsumi Aiko
Introduction Yasuko Claremont
Part 1: Testaments
Chapter 1 The determination of Japanese former soldiers to apologise
My father’s dying wish, Legacies of war guilt in a Japanese family
Association of Returnees from China (Chūkiren), Chiba Chapter
Japanese former army soldier, Azuma Shirō
Chapter 2 The Thai–Burma railway
Nagase Takashi and Eric Lomax
Yi Hak-Nae, ‘Weary’ Dunlop and Tom Uren
Chapter 3 Reconciliation through mutual understanding
‘Hap’ Halloran and Kaihō Hideichi
Humane POW camp commanders—Kamaishi Camp and Fukuoka No. 2 Camp
Chapter 4 Article 9 memorial monument and Kurihara Sadako
Part 2: Reaching out in understanding and friendship
Chapter 5 Individual reconciliation
Mori Shigeaki and CaptainThomas Cartwright
Onogi Yoshiyuki and Malay Peninsula Peace Cycle (MPPC)
Saotome Katsumoto and The Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage
Lewis Hill, and Ishizuka Shōichi & Yōko at Naoetsu POW Camp
Keiko Holmes and the Agape Foundation
Chapter 6 Civil society reconciliation
Bridge for Peace
NPO Chūkiren Peace Memorial Hall
Dialogue Netherlands–Japan–Indonesia
POW Research Network Japan
Women’s Active Museum (WAM)
Chapter 7 State reconciliation
Resolving ‘comfort women’ issues
Foreign Affairs Ministry’s invitation program for former POWs’ visits to Japan
Japanese cemetery in Cowra, Australia
Sandakan Memorial Service, Malaysia
Chapter 8 Judicial cases
Unpaid forced labourers’ wages at Ôeyama mine
Women’s War Crime Trial in 2000 and tenth anniversary symposium in 2010
Atomic bomb victim card and compensation, Willy Buchel van Steenbergen
Chapter 9 Memorials
Unveiling ceremony at the former site of Fukuoka No. 2 POW camp
Okinawa Han no hi
Part 3: Fostering the next generation
Chapter 10 Involving youth
Korean forced labourers’ remains returning home
A school project: winning the prize for history
Searching for the crash site, by the ‘Nagasaki Eight’
My great-grandfather’s past
Chapter 11 Visiting war memorial sites
Youth camp at Maizuru
Fushun War Criminals Management Centre
Japanese war cemetery at Cowra
Chapter 12 Japanese children meeting former POWs
William Shumitt, Australian former POW
Russell Ewin, Australian former POW
Robert Airhard, American former POW
Part 4
Ibaragi Noriko’s poem The Tale of Liu Lianren, with an introduction
Part 5: Summation
Chapter 13 On postwar reconciliation issues
Wartime indoctrination and conformism
Lack of a sense of responsibility
The power of understanding and friendship
Transferring knowledge to future generations
Chapter 14 Pre-conference grassroots workshop and the conference
Relations between Australia and Japan
Wounds, Scars, and Healing: Civil Society and Postwar Pacific Basin Reconciliation conference
The 1953 film Hiroshima
A Noh play in English: Oppenheimer

Author: Luke Nottage

Prof Luke Nottage (BCA, LLB, PhD VUW, LLM LLD Kyoto) is founding co-director of the Australian Network for Japanese Law (ANJeL), Associate Director (Japan) of the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at the University of Sydney (CAPLUS), and Professor of Comparative and Transnational Business Law at Sydney Law School. He specialises in international dispute resolution, foreign investment law, contract and consumer (product safety) law.