Publication Date

4-15-2015

Advisor(s)

Akira Shimizu

Major

History (HIST)

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis contributes to the study of oral history and memory by reviewing Korea and Japan’s national historical narratives regarding WWII through the personal memories of children during the war. The personal memories used in this project have been collected through personal interviews by the author. The childhood memories of forty Korean and Japanese elders not only reflect the wartime living environment of Japan’s home front and its Korean colony, but also challenge the official memories of colonial Korea and wartime Japan. The discrepancies illuminated by comparing the personal and official memories demonstrate how the trends in Korea and Japan’s historical narratives have been shaped in favor of each government. This process also proves that the personal memories are beneficial to historians’ search for historical truth by providing fresh and diverse perspectives. Beyond historical scholarship, this thesis aims to contribute to the conversation of rapprochement and understanding between Korea and Japan in determining historical truth.

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