Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International Studies

Committee Director

Regina Karp

Committee Member

David Earnest

Committee Member

Peter Schulman


East Asia is embroiled in one of the most titillating historical memory wars in present-day politics. A highly complex and intricate matter, conflict over history is the underpinning strain behind political and social relations between China, South Korea and Japan. Mired by the past, tension often rises from conflict over the Yasakuni Shrine visits, comfort women and the textbook matter.

This dissertation will examine how China, South Korea and Japan maintain their historical memory narratives. Through a case study method, each state is analyzed through five factors: commemoration, rhetoric, education, compensation and punishment.

Overall, China and South Korea have maintained relatively stable historical memory narratives while Japan has exhibited a rather volatile one. Further, historical memory is significant to political leaders and will likely be part of trilateral relations for the foreseeable future. In spite of it all, minor advancements have been made in the overall historical memory war.


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