The inability to accept the past by Japanese leaders stands in stark contrast to Germany’s clear acknowledgment of its responsibility for the Holocaust. The deep layers of reconciliation Germany developed with France, Poland, Israel, and the Czech Republic stand in contrast to Japan’s apologies to its neighbors, which have been thin, intermittent, and devoid of follow-up in bilateral policies toward China and South Korea that show a genuine desire to make amends. Germany’s experience—apologize, offer compensation, build other relationship—can serve as a guideline for continuing reconciliation in East Asia.
“Comfort women,” the Dokdo/Takeshima islands, and the Yasukuni shrine are the Achilles’ heel of South Korean-Japanese relations. Recurring for decades, the clashes over history issues this year have taken a serious turn. Despite the ever-flourishing trade relations and socio-cultural interaction, the acrimonious mood between two state leaders seemed to drag the whole… Read more >
Comparing reconciliation politics of different states helps us to understand better the reasons why reconciliation, i.e., the process of normalization of bilateral relations after conflict between former perpetrator and victim states, is or is not taking place. In order to gain valid insights, a rigorous analytical framework is needed which can be… Read more >
Everyone knows what the term “reconciliation” means, but few can provide a proper answer to the question, “Have Korea and Japan achieved reconciliation?” This irony arises partly from the conceptual definition of “reconciliation,” but it also springs from considering reconciliation to be a single fixed state.
A Proposal for Historical Reconciliation: The “Dokdo Movement” of Korean Americans in the Washington Area
Watching the daily lives of Korean Americans, one thing stands out: the way they live. Korean Americans are distinct, from the wrapping paper they use at dry cleaners, their supermarkets, their senior citizens associations, Korean restaurants, or even the inside of their
cars. The reason for Korean Americans’ distinction is Dokdo, a small group of islets between
Korea and Japan. Wherever there are Korean Americans you will find objects or people related to Dokdo. That does not mean, however, that Korean Americans are obsessed with
Compensation as a Mechanism of Reconciliation? Lessons from the German Payments for Nazi Forced and Slave Labor
In the growing scholarly discussion on reconciliation after violent conflicts, compensation
payments to former victims are described as a fundamental tool besides apologies, truth
commissions, or trials. Germany’s confrontation with its Nazi past is generally considered
a role model. Even if there is no consensus about a definition, “reconciliation” can be described as a process that offers former enemies a way to a shared future. The aim is to
overcome the past, but not to forget it …
In a new Transatlantic Perspectives essay, DAAD/AICGS Fellow Prof. Dr. Michael Brenner analyzes the role the Jewish past and the small contemporary Jewish community played in the foreign policy of the two German states before 1989, and to a smaller extent of unified Germany. The symbolic role the Jewish community played in the recognition of West Germany as a major player on the international stage was one of importance, Prof. Dr. Brenner argues, but in contrast, only during its last years of existence did the GDR use its official Jewish community to improve its foreign relations.
In Policy Report 39, “Different Beds, Same Nightmare: The Politics of History in Germany and Japan,” Professor Thomas Berger examines the characteristics of Germany and Japan that have shaped how the two countries respond to their histories from the Second World War. Citing differences in their histories, reckonings, and international political contexts, Professor Berger shows how despite these differences, Germany’s successes can provide a roadmap for reconciliation in northeast Asia.
In the sixty years since Israel’s founding, German-Israeli relations have been nothing if not complex. On the occasion of Israel’s sixtieth anniversary, the essays in German-American Issues 8 examine the issues of remembrance, the fading of the survivor generation, the new challenges faced by both countries in the twenty-first century, and the idea of a “normal” relationship between Germany and Israel. This volume features essays written by Michael Brenner, Lily Gardner Feldman, Harald Kindermann, Shimon Stein, and Frank Stern.