East Asia’s Nationalist Fantasy Islands

by Ian Buruma Ian Buruma is Professor of Democracy and Human Rights at Bard College, and theauthor of Taming the Gods:Religion and Democracy on Three Continents. 13.09.2012


China, Korea, and Japan, whose economic interests are closely entwined, have every reason to avoid a serious conflict. And yet all three are doing their best to bring one about. For entirely domestic reasons, each country is manipulating the history of a devastating war, triggering passions that can only cause more damage.

Politicians, commentators, activists, and journalists in each country are talking endlessly about the past. But they are manipulating memories for political ends. The last thing that interests any of them is the truth.

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