• Offered by Department of International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject International Relations
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr David Envall
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2018
    See Future Offerings
Japan and Northeast Asia in the Postwar World: war and national identity (INTR8063)

In the 21st century, Japan is widely regarded as a peacefully- inclined, democratic member of the Western alliance. It is one of the world’s largest aid donors, it contributes to UN peacekeeping operations, and champions humanitarian causes. And yet, more than 60 years after World War II, Japan continues to be adversely affected by that conflict. Japan’s regional diplomacy, its defence, security and peacekeeping policies and its effectiveness as a multilateral player are all constrained by the war, by memory and by ongoing domestic political ambivalence concerning Japan’s role and responsibility in that conflict.


What is the nature and substance of the historical factors that so restrict Japan’s existence as a contemporary world power? This course seeks to elaborate the debates and deep angst that attaches to the articulation of a postwar national identity for Japan, one that is projected outwards as an integral part of its international presence. The course will examine postwar Japan in relevant thematic contexts (such as collective responsibility, victim consciousness, war guilt, compensation, memory, patriotism etc), with a view to contextualizing Japan’s experience in the company of other nations in the postwar era. The course is particularly focussed on conveying the importance of the retrospective political management of war memory for Japan’s contemporary relations with Northeast Asian nations.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

* An appreciation of the nature and substance of the historical
     factors that so restrict Japan’s existence as a contemporary world
   * An understanding of the importance of the retrospective political
     management of war memory for Japan’s contemporary relations with
     Northeast Asian nations
   * An appreciation of how these historical factors play out in
     particular thematic contexts such as collective responsibility,
     victim consciouisness, war guilt and compensation.

Indicative Assessment

1. Short paper; equals 15% of total grade

2. Long essay; equals 30% of total grade

3. Seminar Presentation (based on long essay); equals 15%of total grade

4. Written examination; equals 30% of total grade

5. Attendance and participation; equals 10% of total grade

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  The course requires two contact hours each week and from six to ten hours a week outside the contact hours.

Prescribed Texts


1. Sheila Miyoshi Jager and Rana Mitter eds., Ruptured Histories: War, Memory, and the Post-Cold War in Asia. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007.

2. Franziska Seraphim, War Memory and Social Politics in Japan, 1945 – 2005. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006.



1. Franziska Seraphim, "Relocating war memory at century's end", in Jager and Mitter eds., Ruptured Histories: War, memory and the post-Cold War in Asia. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007, pp 15-46.

2. Karl Jaspers, The Question of German Guilt. New York: Fordham University Press, 2000 {1947}.  E.B. Ashton trans., pp 21 – 44.

 3. Maruyama Masao, Thought and Behaviour in Modern Japanese Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969{1946}. See "Theory and psychology of ultranationalism", pp 1-24



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $5160
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4696 19 Feb 2018 27 Feb 2018 31 Mar 2018 25 May 2018 In Person N/A

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