11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Norma FieldHow Long Do We Need to Remember?: Reflections on the 60th Anniversary of the Bomb and the End of the Asia-Pacific War

Norma Field Bio

Mandel Hall (1131 E. 57th St.)

1995, the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, was treated in Japan as an attempt to put paid to the war – both by the state that wanted to get rid of comfort women, compensation to East Asian citizens, and the “no-war” clause, as well as opponents that wanted the state to acknowledge and act on its responsibility toward the same. This year, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary, things are in fact more unsettled, as recent anti-Japanese demonstrations in Korea and China and the intensified battle over constitutional revision attest. The anniversaries of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were emotional occasions for aging survivors, who witness their own country’s waning commitment to peace in the context of ongoing war. There is incomparably greater awareness in Japan than in the U.S. that depleted uranium in Iraq represents not just the threat but the actualization of constant nuclear contamination. All this notwithstanding, there is also a paralyzing lethargy and constant anxiety about the demography of aging and the not-quite reviving economy. Prof. Field considers these ongoing effects in Japan and across East Asia of a war now generations passed.