The “History Issue”

This section of the website highlights contestations over the official narrative regarding Japanese imperialism and wars that culminated in 1945. It supplements and extends the arguments in my books Japan’s Contested War Memories (Routledge 2007) and Local History and War Memories in Hokkaido (Routledge 2016).

A Timeline

A chronological overview of the main moments in the history issue.

Official Narratives

Key statements, apologies and other documents giving the official Japanese government position.

Remembering the Dead

The Yasukuni Shrine issue and remembrance of military and civilian casualties in Japan.

War Responsibility

Debates over the nature of Japanese war responsibility, and how it should be addressed.

History Education

The textbook controversy and other battles over the telling of history.


Territorial disputes as part of the “history issue”


Can the “history issue” be resolved?

Reading List

Other general reading resources not in the above sections.

Photo gallery and captions for the photos on this page