Dr. Ja-hyun Chun was a Visiting Fellow at AICGS from November 2012 through January 2013 focusing on reconciliation in Northeast Asia.

Dr. Chun worked to identify how Germany and Japan perceive their wartime atrocities by focusing on ‘acknowledgement’ and ‘denial’ and by examining ‘distinctive memories’ in the public sphere. Specific memories of a given society are distributed and reproduced by reproduction mechanisms. For this reason, reviewing a nation’s dominant discourse helps to understand its memories and how it recognizes historic events.

A number of obstacles remain in Japan’s path to reconciliation with Korea and China. This may be explained by Japan’s public discourse, which thus far has failed to acknowledge its past wrongdoings. Japan’s stance stands in contrast with that of Germany, which has faced its past, sought forgiveness from France, Poland and Israel, and offered them proper compensation. Identifying similarities and differences in an analysis of how Japan and Germany perceive their respective colonial rule and wartime past will provide information with which one can predict the likelihood of reconciliation in Northeast Asia.

Dr. Chun’s research was part of the Reconciliation Project of AICGS and provides an opportunity to analyze the implications of reconciliation in Northeast Asia and in Europe.

Dr. Chun studied politics and diplomacy and received her PhD at the Yonsei University in Seoul. Her dissertation, titled “Politics of International Reconciliation,” classifies international reconciliation into three types. Procedural reconciliation refers to the institutional recovery of relations, such as the normalization of diplomatic relations; material reconciliation refers to the economic restoration of relations, such as war indemnity or compensation; and ideational reconciliation refers to the psychological restoration of relations based on shared historical understanding and mutual trust.

She is a lecturer at Yonsei University and a research fellow at the Institute of European Studies at Hanyang University in Seoul.

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