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Seeking Historical Reconciliation: The U.S. Role in Fostering Relations Between Japan and South Korea

Democratic ideals and cultural exchanges among nations have been seen as effective tools to encourage reconciliation between former adversaries. But that seemingly has not been the case in relations between Japan and South Korea, even if democratic values are shared. Wilson Center Fellow and Waseda University professor Toyomi Asano notes that it is important to share memories of the United States-led process of decolonization after the Japanese Empire’s defeat.

Date & Time

Thursday
Jul. 23, 2015
10:30am – 12:00pm ET

Location

4th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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Overview

Democratic ideals and cultural exchanges among nations have been seen as effective tools to encourage reconciliation between former adversaries. But that seemingly has not been the case in relations between Japan and South Korea, even if democratic values are shared. Wilson Center Fellow and Waseda University professor Toyomi Asano notes that it is important to share memories of the United States-led process of decolonization after the Japanese Empire’s defeat. Since the early 1960s, the United States has tried to remain a passive mediator, stepping in only when volatile situations arise and regarding reconciliation as an issue for the Asian countries to address themselves. However, Asano argues that the United States could and perhaps should articulate a positive vision of reconciliation, including the post-war processes of decolonization and economic development in order for them to promote Japanese-Korean reconciliation. The United States should help to complete the psychological dimension of decolonization by sharing memories through making a public forum for international discussions and coordinating historical ceremonies.

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Hosted By

Asia Program

The Asia Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more

North Korea International Documentation Project

The North Korea International Documentation Project serves as an informational clearinghouse on North Korea for the scholarly and policymaking communities, disseminating documents on the DPRK from its former communist allies that provide valuable insight into the actions and nature of the North Korean state. It is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more

Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy

The Center for Korean History and Public Policy was established in 2015 with the generous support of the Hyundai Motor Company and the Korea Foundation to provide a coherent, long-term platform for improving historical understanding of Korea and informing the public policy debate on the Korean peninsula in the United States and beyond.  Read more

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