Asia Rights

Journal of Human Rights, Media and Society in Asia and the Pacific

Intersection of grass-roots restitution movements for historical justice: Thinking within Japan, UK, and Australia

Despite the passing of over half a century since WWII, historical justice for victims of colonial history has yet to be completed. In fact, historical justice has been perceived by victims to be absent until recent years. For instance, the issue of the Japanese military sexual slavery also known as ‘comfort women’ has been exposed to the public with sensation since the 1990s. This was due to the number of confessions and accusations by former victims in South Korea, the Netherlands, Indonesia and other countries around the world including Australia. In this respect, it is a contemporary issue to consider what historical justice is. Also, it is significant for people living in the current society to develop critical ideas and deeper understandings of tragedy and victims under colonial rule.

In this seminar, we aim to discuss current states of restitution movements for victims of colonial history in Australia, Africa, and Japan from both academic and activist perspectives. This will be led by experts who have been engaged for many years on the frontline of this issue. Afterwards, the discussion will move to how these movements in three different areas are able to be connected to a broader framework as well as how to encourage further development of the movements in Australia as well as other areas.

Discussants from ANU, Melbourne and Japan have been working on the issue for many years. Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki from the College of Asia and the Pacific at ANU will talk on restitution movements in Africa against the United Kingdom for the historical injustice evident in the violation of human rights. Dr. Rosanne Kennedy from the College of Arts and Social Sciences at ANU is presenting on grass-roots civic movements, including the ‘Sorry Book campaign’ with reference to the stolen generation in Australia. Ms. Anna Song from the University of Melbourne will present a history of activism on the comfort women issue in Australia and its current state. Ms. Sarah Park and Mr. Daisuke Yasui from Kyoto University in Japan will give us a talk on the impact of the comfort women issue in Japanese academia and on civic activism in Japanese society.


Schedule: May 27, 2011 from 1.00-4.00

Venue: Coombs seminar room E, H.C. Coombs Building, Fellows Rd., ANU

Contact: Shin Takahashi, Ph.D student, Pacific and Asian History, CAP


Phone: 0415-55-5875

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