Museums, Manga, Memorials and Korean-Japanese History Wars


  • Jeff KINGSTON Temple University, Japan



South Korea, Japan, museums, manga, comfort women, reconciliation


This paper examines why the history wars between South Korea and Japan are intensifying in the 21st century and the prospects for reconciliation. South Korea’s history museums promote anti-Japanese nationalism, making it difficult to unshackle the present from the past. In 2014 there was controversy over a Japanese manga exhibit that resonates with broader bilateral disputes over colonial history ranging from the comfort women to forced labor. These battles over the shared past have become internationalized, stoking mutual vilification and jingoistic sentiments






Download data is not yet available.


ANN. 2014. “France’s Angoulême Comics Festival Displays Comfort Women Manhwa.” Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall website, translations by Hyun Sook Yun. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Asahi. 2014. “One Piece exhibition held in Seoul after all.” Asahi July 26. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

AWF. 2007. Digital Museum. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Choe, Sang-hun. 2007. ‘Unearthing War Horrors Years Later in Korea.’ New York Times Dec. 3. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Denton, Kirk. 2014. Exhibiting the Past: Historical Memory and the Politics of Museums in Post-socialist China. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.

Denney, Steven, and Green, Christopher. 2014. “National Identity and Historical Legacies: Ahn Jung-geun in the Grand Narrative.” Sino-NK June 6. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Dower, John. 2012. Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern World. NY: New Press.
Dudden, Alexis. 2005. Japan’s Colonization of Korea: Discourse and Power. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

–––. 2008. Troubled Apologies among Japan, Korea and the United States. NY: Columbia University Press, 2008.

–––. 2010. “Memories and Aporias in the Japan-Korea Relationship.” The Asia-Pacific Journal, 14-3-10, April 5. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Dudden, Alexis. 2012. “Apology Laid Bare: Colonialism, War and Japanese Historical Memory.” The Asia-Pacific Journal April 3. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Han, Jung-sun N. 2014. “Japan in the Public Culture of South Korea, 1945–2000s: The Making and Remaking of Colonial Sites and Memories.” The Asia-Pacific Journal 12(15, 2), April. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Hatch, Walter. 2014. “Bloody Memories: Affect and Effect of World War II Museums in China and Japan.” Peace and Change 39(3), July: 366–94.

Johnston, Eric. 2014. “Comfort Women Statues Spur Debate.” Japan Times Feb. 27. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Keene, Donald. 2002. Meiji and His World, 1852–1912. New York: Columbia University Press.

Kim Seong-ho. 2014. “Jeon-beom-gi Nol-lan Hae-gyeol-doen ‘won-pi-seu’ Jeon-si-hoe Ga-bo-ni-t (Visiting the One Piece Exhibition in the Aftermath of the Japanese Imperialist Flag Controversy).” Money Today News 29 July 2014. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Kingston, Jeff. 2007. “Awkward Talisman: War Memory, Reconciliation and Yasukuni.” East Asia 24: 295–318.

–––. 2008. “Nanjing’s Massacre Memorial: Renovating War Memory in Nanjing and Tokyo.” Japan Focus, September 2008. Accessed Aug. 5, 2014. -Jeff-Kingston/2859.

–––. 2010. Contemporary Japan: History, Politics and Social Change since 1945. London: Wiley-Blackwell.

–––. 2011. “Contextualizing the Centennial of Japanese Colonial Rule in Korea.” Asia and African Studies 15(3): 71–94.

–––. 2013. “Japan and Korea: Reconciliation and Redress for Wrongs Remain Elusive.” Japan Times Sept. 28. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Kleeman, Faye Yuan. 2003. Under an Imperial Sun: Japanese Colonial Literature of Taiwan and the South. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

K-pop. 2013. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Levine, Brittany. 2014. “Lawsuit Seeks removal of Glendale ‘Comfort Women’ Statue.” LA Times Feb. 22. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Morris-Suzuki, Tessa. 2009. “Remembering the Unfinished Conflict: Museums and the Contested Memory of the Korean War.” The Asia-Pacific Journal 29(4), July 27. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

––––. 2014. “Addressing Japan’s Comfort Women from an Academic Standpoint.” The Asia-Pacific Journal 12(9, 1), March 2. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Pillay, Navi. 2014. “Japan Urged to Provide Redress to Victims of Sexual Slavery.” Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Rausch, Franklin. 2013. “The Harbin An Jung-Geun Statue: A Korea/China-Japan Historical Memory Controversy.” The Asia-Pacific Journal 11 (48, 2), Dec. 2. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Saaler, Sven. 2005. Politics, Memory and Public Opinion: The History Textbook Controversy and Japanese Society. Munich: iudicum Verlag.

Sakamoto, Rumi, and Allen, Matt. 2007. “Hating ‘The Korean Wave’ Comic Books: A sign of New Nationalism in Japan?” The Asia-Pacific Journal Oct. 4. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Schreiber, Mark. 2013. “Tabloids Brimming with anti-Korea Diatribes.” Japan Times Oct 12. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Selden, Mark. 2014. “Bombs Bursting in Air: State and Citizen Responses to the US Firebombing and Atomic Bombing of Japan.” The Asia-Pacific Journal 12(3, 4), Jan. 20. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Soh, C. Sarah. 2008. The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Togo, Kazuhiko. 2014. “Obama Visit Fails to Strengthen US-Japan Trust.” East Asia Forum May 7. Accessed August 13, 2014.

Tokudome, Kinue. 2007. “Passage of H. 121 on ‘Comfort Women’, the US Congress and Historical Memory in Japan.” The Asia-Pacific Journal Aug. 30. Accessed August 13, 2014.

Trends in Japan. 2014. “Breaking the Ice: South Korea Lifts Ban on Japanese Culture.” Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Wada, Haruki. 2008. “The Comfort Women, the Asian Women’s Fund and the Digital Museum.” The Asia-Pacific Journal Feb. 1. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Wakabayashi, Ippei. 2008. “Ahn Jung-geun and the Cultural Public Sphere.” Bunkyo daigaku kokusai gakubu kiyō 19(1), July: 157–63. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

White House. 2014. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.

Yoshida, Takeshi. 2014. From Cultures of War to Cultures of Peace: War and Peace Museums on Japan, China and South Korea. Portland, Me.: Merwin Asia.



31. 12. 2014

How to Cite

KINGSTON, Jeff. 2014. “Museums, Manga, Memorials and Korean-Japanese History Wars”. Asian Studies 2 (2): 41-71.

Similar Articles

1-10 of 84

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.