Japan History Lab

1945~ :Post-War: Responsibility and Memory

The Second World War was the most destructive and devastating conflict in history. Although it ended with the surrender of Japan on 2 September 1945, the effects and consequences of its events continued to manifest for decades afterward. The articles in this sub-theme deal with the long-term impact of wartime hardship and atrocity and discuss the allocation of responsibility in the postwar period. They also explore past and present narratives of the war in individual and collective memory both in Japan and worldwide. By looking at the immediate and long-term consequences of the war and ongoing remembrance and commemoration in the present, we can come to a fuller understanding of the meaning of the Second World War for those who lived through it and for the world more broadly.

Articles in this Sub-theme:

Survivors of Hiroshima

Looks at the bombing of Hiroshima in terms of its immediate and long-term effects on survivors and its place in personal and national Japanese memory.

How the Wind Shifted:The Average Perspective of the Destruction of Nagasaki

The article on Nagasaki discusses how civilian life was affected by the atomic bomb immediately afterwards and in the long term.

Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal

In an article examining the overview and effect of the Tokyo Trials it can be discerned that the expedience of the trials and omission of cases led to issues in the post-war period in relation to the war’s remembrance. This can be seen in the exclusion of crimes against women in the form of the Comfort Women system. This omission led to the denial of such crimes for several decades until an additional trial was held in 2000 in order to gain acknowledgment over these issues.

Unit 731: The Side of the Scientist

Delves into the everyday life of a scientist within the unit, and looks at the war crime trials for the scientists which took place following the war.

Tokyo Rose: Narratives of Race, Nationality and Gender for Nisei during the Second World War

An article that looks at the everyday lives of Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans) in Japan and America during the world. Narratives of race, nationality and gender of the lives of the Nisei are understood through the lens of the Tokyo Rose, Iva Toguri.