Breaking News: WWII won’t go away

OK, that’s not all that surprising at this point. But I was a bit taken aback when three articles all about separate aspects of WWII in Japan showed up in the History News Network Breaking News file in one day:

  • A French politician (le Pen’s National Front) and professor of Japanese studies at Lyon whose degrees are from Kyoto University is under investigation in France for Holocaust denial.
  • The Japanese Minister of Education Nakayama Nariaki is “really glad that recently there are fewer words such as ‘comfort women’ and ‘forced relocation’ used in textbooks.” He thinks that earlier editions propogated a “self-tormenting” view of history whereas “It is very important to teach the future children of Japan so that they can live with pride in their race and their history.”
  • Japan’s Supreme Court has ruled that there is no constitutional grounds for the Japanese government to compensate victims of Japan’s colonial and wartime policies in Korea.

Frankly, this is all business as usual. That’s quite disappointing, of course. I tell my students that history is as much about stability as it is about change, and the roots of stability need to be examined as closely as the causes of change. But it’s still disappointing.

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