Memory, Others, and Intergenerational Responsibility Among the Japanese Youth

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:50
Oral Presentation
Kazuya FUKUOKA, Saint Joseph's University, USA
Sachiko TAKITA-ISHII, Yokohama City University, Japan
Memory wars in Asia still revolve around Japan. It has been seventy years since the end of the last war and Japan has never fully reconciled with its Asian neighbors, especially China and South Korea. Japanese society is still haunted by the question of how to commemorate Japan’s past wrongs and atone for the physical as well as the psychological wounds it caused in Asia. In this context, also problematized is the question of Japan’s apparently rising nationalism among its youth. As it is reported that the Japanese public’s sense of affinity toward Asian neighbors (China and South Korea) was greatly deteriorated in the 2010s with territorial disputes with them, it seems imperative to capture a current state of affairs in Japan. In this study, by referring to the original interviews of 31 college students, we try to explore and clarify the cognitive connection between the Japanese youth’s sense of nation and their perception on and moral responsibility about Japan’s militaristic past. Can the members of a generation feel responsibility and obligation to make restitution for wrongs perpetrated before they were born? If so, how? If not, why not?