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Global Perceptions of WWII: Japan

While the German Reich surrendered on May 8, 1945, thus ending World War II in Europe, the war in the Pacific was not yet over. It only ended after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August 1945, forcing Japan to surrender in September of the same year. In Europe little is known about this war in the Pacific. In recent years, global historians have repeatedly pointed out that World War II began in 1937 with the Japanese invasion of China. In this issue of histoTALK, historians Yukiko Koshiro (Nihon University, Tokyo) and Torsten Weber (German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tokyo) will talk about the history of the war in the Pacific and how Japan deals with this history.

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Yukiko Koshiro, Japan

Yukiko Koshiro (Ph.D., Columbia University) is Professor of History at Nihon University College of International Relations, Japan. Her publications include: Trans-Pacific Racisms and the U.S. Occupation of Japan (Columbia University Press, 1999), which received the 2001 Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Award, and Imperial Eclipse: Japan’s Strategic Thinking about Continental Asia before August 1945 (Cornell University Press, 2013), which has been translated into Chinese (2014) and Japanese (2016). Her upcoming book explores race and technology in U.S.-Japanese relations with a focus on television and discusses how the two nations almost created the universal television culture and lifestyle that transcended the traditional East-versus-West divide.

Torsten Weber, Japan/Germany

Torsten Weber is a historian of modern East Asia and principal researcher at the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo. He specializes in the relations and interactions between China and Japan from the late 19th century onwards, including war memory and the politics of history. He is the author of Embracing ‘Asia’ in China and Japan. Asianism Discourse and the Contest for Hegemony, a study of how East Asians have challenged the global political and epistemological order during the 20th century. His current research project focuses on John Rabe’s war diaries and their politicization in Japan and China (rabediaries.hypotheses.org).