The Memory of the Second World War in Asia and Europe

Course Type: Lecture
Study Focus: SEG, VMC

Teacher: Takuma MELBER, Mitsuyo WADA-MARCIANO

Course Code: JK25001

This course will focus on the culture(s) of memory, the remembrance and commemoration of World War II I in a comparative global perspective by focusing on the Asia-Pacific region and Europe in particular.



For natural meaning biological reasons are the last witnesses of the Second World War slowly but surely passing away. However, a demand for war remembrance and for tackling the issue of “War and Memorystudies” is still continuing in academia, the humanities, cultural and social sciences. The remembrance of World War II remains an important topic for societies across the globe maybe more than ever.

In the early 21st century are debates on questions related with responsibility for war, war guilt and its admission or compensation still in progress in Asia, in East-Asia in particular. Prominent examples are territorial disputes, e.g. about Takeshima/Dokdo Island between Japan and South Korea, the controversy about ‘Ianfu’ (called “Comfort Women” by the Japanese wartime propaganda — a better term might be ‘forced prostitutes’ or ‘sex slaves’) and the debate on (financial) compensation for former forced labourers. The governments of the United States of America and Japan are mutually waiting for official
gestures of apology — for the Pearl Harbor attack on the one hand and for the drop of the A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the other hand. The process of reconciliation is in Asia still in an early stage and far from coming to an end.

In post-war Europe predominates a consensus about the remembrance of World War II and the Holocaust. Germany and its historical archrival France — two neighbouring countries, which had been in military conflicts for decades — became closest political and military partners after 1945. It looks like European countries are successful in overcoming the past #8211 but is that actually true?

This course will focus on the culture(s) of memory, the remembrance and commemoration of World War II I in a comparative global perspective by focusing on the Asia-Pacific region and Europe in particular. Diverse ‘memorial sources’ such as statues, memorials, cemeteries, remembrance days and festivities, war movies, graphic novels, manga etc. will be analyzed in this course.


Course Information

Module: Research 1-3
CATS Requirements: BA 3rd. year or above

Day/Period: Intensive
Location: Sem. 1
Credits: 2


Course Goals

This course aims to provide students with an overview of the culture of World War II-memory in Asia and Europe in a comparative perspective. Students should get a better understanding for reconciliation processes and learn on how to deal with WWII-controversies in a global perspective.

Course Schedule and Evaluation

For a detailed course schedule, please visit KULASIS.

To JDTS/MATS students: This is course can be taken as a reduced (4 ECTS) or full seminar (8 ECTS). Required are active participation in class and in its discussion (25%), a (short) presentation (25%) and a term paper/essay (50%). The length of the paper will be in accordance with the number of Credit Points.