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Dark PastsChanging the State's Story in Turkey and Japan$
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Jennifer M. Dixon

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781501730245

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501730245.001.0001

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Unfreezing the Question of History (1998–2008)

Unfreezing the Question of History (1998–2008)

(p.129) 7 Unfreezing the Question of History (1998–2008)
Dark Pasts

Jennifer M. Dixon

Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes Japan’s narrative of the Nanjing Massacre between 1990 and 2008. Over this period, the official narrative came to include admissions of responsibility and apologies, and then backtracked to resume mythmaking and relativizing (while continuing to apologize.) Pressures from China and Korea, along with transnational activism, contributed to the shift to apologizing and deepening acknowledgment. At the same time, domestic political considerations in Japan – most notably, domestic contestation, party politics and electoral concerns, and concerns about compensation claims – frequently shaped the content and extent of changes in the state’s narrative. In particular, deepening revisionism in Japan, including high-profile “gaffes” related to “history issues” and official visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, both fed and served as markers of the backtracking.

Keywords:   Japan, Nanjing Massacre, history issues, apology, gaffe, domestic contestation, transnational activism, Yasukuni Shrine, revisionism

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