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Korea Journal

  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

Limits of Reflective Memory Culture: The German Media’s Understanding of the Japanese Military Comfort Women Issue, 1990–2019

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2021, v.61 no.1, pp.72-99
정용숙 (춘천교육대학교)
  • 다운로드 수
  • 조회수

Abstract

This study investigates how the German-speaking media published in Central Europe have dealt with the Japanese Military comfort women issue. Germany is regarded by the East Asians to have better reflected on their atrocities during the Wars than Japan. The forced prostitution in Nazi Germany, however, has been silenced for decades just as that in Japan. In this comparison, my purpose in this study is to investigate how the German public understands the comfort women through media coverage. The findings are as follows. First, the German media understand the issue primarily as part of East Asian international relations. On the basis of consciousness of responsibility through their own historical experiences, they recommend the German model of historical reconciliation for East-Asian peacebuilding. Second, Germany’s memory culture on its tragic past is limited to Nazi genocide, but remains largely unaware of the historical atrocities of the German Empire. They are also oblivious to past sexual crimes of the Nazi regime. Finally, the memory of comfort women through the installation of the Statue of Peace in Germany is not connected with, nor does it promote, reflections on their own past, at least not to the German public. On the other hand, the installation of this statue outside South Korean territory is a test for the (im)possibility of global solidarity through victim memories.

keywords
comfort women German-speaking media historical reconciliation forced prostitution Statue of Peace solidarity of memory

Korea Journal