The Newsletter 72 Autumn 2015

Social changes and history wars in East Asia: 70 years after Korean Liberation

Jung Keunsik

THE YEAR 1945, when World War II came to an end, is remembered as an important historical moment of structural transformation, not only in Europe, but also in East Asia. What is noteworthy is that each country in East Asia has commemorated the end of the war on diff erent dates and with diff erent methods. In Japan, they mark ‘8.15’ as the day the war ended, having many politicians visiting the Yasukuni Shrine to remember the war. In the People’s Republic of China, September 3rd is observed as Victory Day (officially, in the ‘War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War’), while Taiwan commemorates October 25th as its National Liberation Day. In both Koreas, ‘8.15’ is celebrated as Liberation Day; in South Korea, it is known literally as ‘the day the light returned’, while in North Korea, it is referred to as ‘the day of the Korean people’s liberation’.