Monday, January 01, 2007

A Powerful Japanese Conservative Reassesses Japan's Role in WWII

Tsuneo Watanabe, a powerful voice of conservatism in Japan and the editor in chief of the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper has taken a surprising about-face in reconsidering Japan's culpability in its behavior during WWII. The article says, "Whereas former European enemies reconciled after the Second World War, in Asia history has been frozen." Watanabe argues that Japan and China can't continue their standoff, because both countries have mutual interests in resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

China and Japan complete first joint study

Scholars from China and Japan finished their first series of study groups on the Nanjing Tragedy. This two day meeting in Beijing of 20 scholars (10 from China and 10 from Japan) is an indication that relations between China and Japan are improving. At issue are disputes about the nature and extent of the Najing tragedy that took place in 1937 when Japanese soldiers over-ran the city of Nanjing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Japan and China: Reaching Reconciliation or Stuck in the Past

This in-depth article gives much back-ground material on Chinese and Japanese relations. While both continue to disagree about their history, there are serious attempts at reconciliation taking place because of their mutual concern over North Korea.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Japan and China undertake Joint Historical Study

Japanese and Chinese foreign ministers met in Hanoi and agreed to undertake joint historical studies of their disputed wartime history. This is a welcome development and may help to heal some of the wounds from the war.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cultural Evolution

My friend, Peter Cunningham, who joined me for my last trip in China and will join me again this December to help photograph and document our work there has created a wonderful piece he calls "Still TV" from his photographs of China. It offers a rare glimpse at modern China and it's rapid growth and change.

Monday, September 25, 2006

December Visit to Nanjing and Harbin

I am planning to visit Nanjing and Harbin in this December. I will meet with my Chinese collegues, Prof. Zhang and Prof. Yang, along with my Japanese collegues, Kaz Tanahashi and Dr. Huru Murakawa. We will be finalizing our plans for the International Conference, "Remembering Nanjing" and the Bearing Witness retreat I will lead following that confernce. These two programs coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing Tragedy. The conference will bring together for the first time, both Chinese and Japanese scholars on the Nanjing Tragedy.

The conference will be held at Nanjing Normal University from Nov. 21 to 24, 2007 and the Bearing Witness Retreat will follow on Nov. 26-28, 2007.

On this trip I also plan to visit Harbin in Northern China. I will visit a factory which is still standing there, where the Japanese operated a biological and chemical weapons research center from 1932 until 1945.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Koizumi's Visits to the Yasukuni Shrine

Here is an article that makes it apparent that many Japanese do not support the current Japanese Prime Minister's actions of visiting the Yasukuni Shrine. The shrine honors 14 Class-A war criminals who were leaders in the Japanese military during WWII. His visits have been a source of much concern and protest by China and other Asian nations.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Chinese Court Awards Nanjing Massacre Survivor $200K

A Chinese court has awarded Xia Shuqin, a survivor of the Nanjing Massacre, $200,000 in a lawsuit against two Japanese historians who claimed she fabricated her story. The verdict requires historians, Shudo Higashinakano and Toshio Matsumura to immediately stop publishing their books and recalled those books already distributed. Mr. Higashinakano rejected the ruling, disputing the jurisdiction of the court.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Japan-China: Nationalism on the rise

Each year at this time of year, the Japanese Prime Minister visits the Yasukuni War Shine and China and South Korea perdictably lodge strong protests against this action. Here is an article from the International Herald Tribune that reports about this.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Nanjing Update

We have finalized our plans for Nanjing and there have been a few changes. We will hold the International Conference called "Remembering Nanjing" from Nov. 21-24, 2007. This conference is for people from China, Japan and other parts of the world, who have had different war experiences and educations, to open their hearts and listen deeply to one another on issues of the Sino-Japan War and the Nanjing (Nanking) Tragedy.
The Conference begins on Wednesday, Nov. 21 with a welcome, briefing by Chinese historians, tour of the city and an exchange of views and feelings. On Nov. 22nd there will be testimonies from victims, a visit to the Nanjing Memorial Hall and more exchanges of views and feelings. Nov 23 there will be an international scholars' symposium called "Nanjing Tragedy: History, Rememberance, and the Future", related art exhibitions and exchange of views and feelings. Nov 24 there will be a Chinese and Japanese Women's Symposium called "Sino-Japan War and the Nanjing Tragedy", a memorial service, exchange of views and feelings and a closing dinner.
Following the conference Rev. Robert Joshin Althouse will lead a retreat called "Bearing Witness Retreat: Nanjing - Healing the Wounds of War" from Nov. 26-28. Participants from China, Japan and elsewhere will listen to stories of survivors, visit sites where executions took place, spend time in silent reflection and meet together in small and large groups. The organizing principles of this retreat will be the Three Tenets of a Peacemaker and the practice of Inner Disarmament.
The Three Tenets consists of: 1) not knowing, which is the practice of giving up fixed ideas, opinions and points of view, 2) bearing witness by listening deeply without judgment and 3)loving action which arises naturally from practicing the first two principles.
The basic principle of Inner Disarmament is that peace begins by transforming our own enemy images, by not taking sides or blaming anyone. It teaches a wise use of language, not concerned with winning arguments but with connecting to others through deep empathic listening.
Conference cost will be US $375. You can register for the conference with A World Without Armies at
Retreat cost will be US $225. You may register for the retreat with the Zen Community of Oak Park by calling 708.445.1651 or emailing them at