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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

FAMES Room 8/9
Event date: 
Monday, 4 March, 2024 - 17:00

The Geography of Injustice: East Asia's Battle between Memory and History

In this talk Kushner argues that war crimes tribunals in East Asia formed and cemented national divides that persist into the present day. In contemporary East Asia a fierce battle between memory and history has consolidated political camps across this debate. The Tokyo Trial courtroom, as well as the thousands of other war crimes tribunals opened in about fifty venues across Asia, were legal stages where prosecution and defense curated facts and evidence to craft their story about World War Two. These narratives and counter narratives form the basis of postwar memory concerning Japan's imperial aims across the region. The archival record and the interpretation of court testimony together shape a competing set of histories for public consumption. 

Barak Kushner is Professor of East Asian History and Co-Chair of the Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies. He has edited and written eight books, including Men to Devils, Devils to Men: Japanese War Crimes and Chinese Justice, (winner of the American Historical Association's 2016 John K. Fairbank Prize), Slurp! A culinary and social history of ramen - Japan's favorite noodle soup, and The Thought War - Japanese Imperial Propaganda. In 2020, he hosted and narrated three episodes of an award-winning television documentary series on war crimes trials in China. He was a visiting fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (2019-2020) and has taught as a guest professor in the Faculty of Political Science and Economics at Waseda University over the last few summers.