Beyond Indelible Pain: History, Memory, and the Actuality of Wartime Violence

Date: 
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Time: 
9:00 AM
To: 
2:00 PM
Venue: 
College '79 Creative Collaborative Room, The Arete

Speakers include:
Yoshiya Makita (Historian)
Isabel Consuelo A. Nazareno (ALIWW Director)
Sharon Cabusao-Silva (Women's rights advocate)
Daisuke Takeya (Artist)

With performances by:
Daisuke Takeya
Racquel De Loyola

 

Attendance sign-up: https://forms.gle/LqhmWsiFp6J7E9Fx7

 


Symposium Overview
Over the last few decades, scholars in Asian history and other related fields have uncovered the hidden 
histories of wartime violence the Japanese military did in the Asia Pacific during World War II. In tandem with the progress of historical inquiries into the Japanese war crimes, activists and supporters for war victims raised their voices to press charges of war responsibilities against the Japanese government. In the Philippines, with brave testimonies of “comfort women” since the 1990s, wartime sexual violence the Japanese military committed in the archipelago has been “re-discovered” and fiercely disputed by many parties. In the last few years, so-called “statues of comfort women” have been erected and removed again and again at various places in the archipelago, highlighting harsh political confrontations the past war has still caused among different groups. Driven by academic research and activist outcry, concerned artists are now attempting to respond to the faint voices of war victims by creating artworks on these and other related issues.
 
Through ardent efforts of these committed advocates, the questions of wartime violence have slowly but steadily come to be recognized in the Philippines and the world. Yet, the current political disputes have been often waged without a common arena for these diverse parties and groups to share their ideas, goals, and strategies. With scholars, activists, and artists who have unique career and educational backgrounds in and out of the Philippines, this symposium contributes to facilitating critical dialogue between different groups of people who are engaged in the same issues of wartime violence but often with different goals and different approaches. By promoting intellectual exchanges beyond professional sectors and national borders, the symposium would pave a new path to bridge the past experience, present debates, and future visions on war-related violence.
 
At stake in this symposium is whether we can create critical dialogue with people with different goals and different backgrounds. In close entanglement with current political interests, economic desire, and nationalistic fervor in each country, the present debates on Japan’s war responsibilities have often lacked proper historical grounds. Activist claims for Japan’s apology and compensation have been in some cases divorced from the past reality by ignoring historical evidences. On the other hand, some groups of scholars invest all their energy into the fact-findings of the historical past, while paying little attention to their positionalities in the present political constellation. Artists’ attempts to tackle with these historical issues in their artworks have often ended up in just tracing the secondhand information provided by scholars and activists. With awareness of these current limitations of the three different groups as the starting point, this symposium inquires the ways to better tackle with the issues through mutual criticism beyond professional boundaries. Bridging the professional cleavage by creating a common arena for critical and in-depth dialogue, this symposium facilitates mutual understanding between scholars, activists, and concerned artists and thus opens up new perspectives on the questions of wartime violence.