The U.S.-led post-conflict transitional justice in the Asia-Pacific War’s aftermath has not only rendered certain violences illegible and unredressable. It also left many colonial legacies intact. In Cold War Ruins: Transpacific Critique of American Justice and Japanese War Crimes I argued that, much more than products of the East Asian state policies capitalizing on the anti-Japanese sentiments or the ethnonational politics of recognition in North America, the transnational efforts especially intensifying since the1990s to bring justice to the victims of Japanese imperial violence must be seen as a trace of failed justice—in particular, the failure of decolonization—under the Cold War. This presentation considers the Japanese conservative revisionism in the transpacific “Comfort Women” redress culture. Once critiqued conjunctively across the seemingly discrepant categories and geographies, Japan’s revisionism and the post-1990s redress culture of which it is a part can reveal the disavowed history of violence and entanglement, while pointing to the limits of pursuing justice within the bounds of Cold War formations and their structuring legacies.
Lisa Yoneyama received her B.A. in German Language Studies and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Stanford University. Her research focuses on the memory politics of war and colonial empires, gender and militarism, transnationalism, nuclearism, and the transpacific Cold War U.S.-Asia relations. Yoneyama taught cultural studies, gender studies, and Asian and Asian American studies in Literature Department, University of California, San Diego, where she also served as Director for the Program for Japanese Studies and Critical Gender Studies. Since 2011 Yoneyama has been teaching at University of Toronto. Her book publications include: Hiroshima Traces: Time, Space and the Dialectics of Memory (University of California, 1999), a co-edited volume, Perilous Memories: Asia-Pacific War(s) (Duke University Press, 2001), Violence, War, Redress: Politics of Multiculturalism (published in Japanese, Iwanami Shoten, 2003), and Cold War Ruins: Transpacific Critique of American Justice and Japanese War Crimes (Duke University Press, 2016).
Sponsored by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies.