Transitional Justice and East Asian Community: Two Patterns of Civil Engagement

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Sang-Jin HAN , sociology, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
Lizhong XIE , Beijing University, Beijing, China
Tao LV , Beijing University, China
This paper deals with two salient patterns of civil engagement in South Korea and China as a collective response, first, to the lack of transitional justice on the part of Japan concerning war crimes committed by its imperial army and its colonial rule and to the difficulties in forming East Asian community in its genuine sense as we can see in European Union. Confronted with, and challenged by, this unfortunate legacy of the past which is still wielding enormous influence on the domestic politics and international relations in East Asia, the authors want to delineate two contrasting patterns of civil approaches to this problem via discursive analysis: one is driven by a nationalist ideology and emotional mode of confrontation in various forms of popular movement, another is characterized by civil discourses and NGO activities aiming at mutual understanding and solidarity among citizens of East Asian countries rejecting a state-centered and politically motivated nationalist drives. The authors argue that the advance in transitional justice in Japan is an important condition for East Asian community. At the same time, the authors also argue that   retributive justice is not enough for creating a new future but a genuine care by Chinese and Korean citizens over the pains of the Japanese civilian victims of the war (created by atom bomb, for instance) will enhance the possibility of mutual understanding and solidarity among citizens and eventually overcoming the ghost of the past and establishing East Asian community.