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Historical Denialism and Colonialism in Japanese Society - Focusing on the background and issues of denialism of forced mobilization

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2023, (150), pp.87-130
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History
  • Received : May 20, 2023
  • Accepted : June 10, 2023
  • Published : June 30, 2023

Kim Min Chul 1

1경희대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article explains the main logic and issues of denial of forced mobilization and forced labor, the historical background and origins of that logic, and analyzes historical revisionism/denialism in Japanese society from the perspective of the crisis of democracy. This article traces the background and origins of the Japanese government’s denial of forced mobilization to a deep-seated sense of colonialism in Japanese society. It demonstrates this through two Foreign Ministry reports published in 1945 and 1946, the Allied occupation of Japan, postwar Japanese war memories reconstructed in terms of a “victim consciousness,” and returned “grassroots colonizers” who were caught up in invasion and colonialism. In response, I see that there is also an awareness and effort to radically critique colonialism, albeit weakly. This article analyzes the relationship between the conservatization of Japanese society, which began in earnest in the 1990s, and historical denialism by examining Abe's history policy, the arguments of historical denialists, the “Thought War” of the 1930s, and the “History War” of the 2000s. As historical denialism at the policy level dominates the public discourse, it is also addressed in civil society, where historical denialism that denies wars of aggression and colonization, such as the denial of the Nanking Massacre and the Japanese military’s “comfort women,” the denial of the Korean-Chinese massacre during the Great Kanto Earthquake, and the denial of forced mobilization and forced labor, dominates the public discourse. It also emphasizes that historical denialism is linked to hate speech and hate crimes, which threaten democracy, and that overcoming it is a necessary task to safeguard democracy.

Citation status

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