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Pacifism or Peace Movement?: Hiroshima Memory Debates and Political Compromises

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Authors
Kim, Mikyoung
Issue Date
2008-06
Publisher
Institute of International Affairs, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University
Citation
Journal of International and Area Studies, Vol.15 No.1, pp. 61-78
Keywords
Japanese pacifismideological dividevictim consciousnessmnemonic amnesiaHiroshima Peace Memorial Museumpolitical compromiseKorean A-bomb victimspacifist movement
Abstract
This paper explores the complicated workings of Japan’s mnemonic praxis in its establishment of

moral authority. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima was a decisive moment inaugurating Japan as the

torch-bearer of pacifism. Given Japan’s ideational multiplicity as the victim and the victimizer, its

pacifist ideology needs further examinations in conceptual and empirical manifestations. This research

situates the ambivalent amnesia and political compromises demonstrated during the renovation project

of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum from 1985 until 1994. As for a nation yet to achieve

meaningful reconciliation over the past with Asian neighbors, the political divide opens room for

utilitarian considerations in its pacifist discourse. The Hiroshima experience suggests that Japan’s

pacifism can be a problematic representation given its selective mnemonic praxis and situational ethics.

This paper argues that Japanese pacifism should be redefined as ‘pacifist movement.’ Pacifism is

foundational ethics, whereas pacifist movement accommodates political contextualization.
ISSN
1226-8550
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/96462
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Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원)Dept. of International Studies (국제학과)Journal of International and Area StudiesJournal of International and Area Studies vol.15 (2008)
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