Slaves to rival nationalism
Quelle: The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 19 | Issue 5 | Number 5 | Article ID 5546 | Mar 01, 2021
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus
Slaves to rival nationalisms:
UNESCO and the politics of ‘comfort women’ commemoration
In October 2017, the application to list the Voices of the Comfort Women archive on UNESCO’s “Memory of the World Register” was rejected (or “postponed”). In this paper, I set that decision in the context of other recent instances of “heritage diplomacy” in East Asia, highlighting the tensions between nationalistic agendas and UNESCO’s universalist pretensions. I then discuss the nature and extent of similar tensions in the framing of the “comfort women” issue, as manifested in “comfort women museums” (institutions closely associated with the preparation of the 2016-17 Memory of the World application). I focus especially on the case of China, where the Xi Jinping regime first sought to weaponize this issue against Japan, only to pull back in 2018 as Sino-Japanese ties warmed. I conclude by considering how the story of the comfort women might be reframed to underline its global significance (or “outstanding universal value”), in a manner that makes it more difficult for Japanese nationalists to portray the campaign for recognition and commemoration as an anti-Japan conspiracy. ....