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A rigorously historical investigation into the ongoing issues in Japan-Korea relations and how and why both governments have acted—and not acted—to address them

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The Burden of the Past reexamines the dispute over historical perception between Japan and South Korea, going beyond the descriptive emphasis of previous studies to clearly identify the many independent variables that have affected the situation. From the history textbook debates, to the Occupation-period exploitation of “comfort women,” to the Dokdo/Takeshima territory dispute and Yasukuni Shrine visits, Professor Kimura traces the rise and fall of popular, political, and international concerns underlying these complex and highly fraught issues.
Utilizing Japanese and South Korean newspaper databases to review discussion of the two countries’ disputed historical perceptions from the end of World War II to the present, The Burden of the Past provides readers with the historical framework and the major players involved, offering much-needed clarity on such polarizing issues. By seeing behind the public discourse and political rhetoric, this book offers a firmer footing for a discussion and the steps toward resolution.

Kan Kimura is Professor at the Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies at Kobe University, and has previously been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, the Sejong Institute, and the University of Washington. He has published more than seventeen books and numerous articles and is an expert on the relationship between Korea and Japan.

"The strength of Kimura’s book lies in his analysis of the broad context of political and social circumstances that explain why controversies over certain historical issues escalate at specific points in time... The Burden of the Past could be used for teaching anthropology/history/sociology to undergraduates and/or postgraduates..." - Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute

- Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute