This lecture situates the ‘history problem’ in historical perspective, focusing on the ‘textbook issue’ in twentieth century Sino-Japanese relations. Professor Kawashima argues that far from being the beginning of a new problem, the diplomatic tensions that arose in 1982 over Japanese textbooks actually had clear historical antecedents. Even before WWII, these two countries fought over the representation of the past and sometimes competed over rival historical truth claims on the diplomatic stage. We should accordingly examine contemporary problems over the past in light of this basso continuo.
Shin Kawashima teaches the history of international relations in East Asia at the Komaba Campus of the University of Tokyo. He received his BA from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, and his MA and PhD in Oriental History from the University of Tokyo in Oriental history. He served at Hokkaido University in the Department of Politics and the Faculty of Law, until 2006 when he moved to the University of Tokyo. He has also been a visiting scholar at Academia Sinica in Taipei, the Beijing Center for Japanese Studies, National Chengchi University at Taipei and Peking University. His research focuses on Chinese Diplomatic History and he has recently started a project on radio history in East Asia. He has published widely in academic journals and his first book was awarded the 2004 Suntry Academic Prize.