Constructing a National Memory of War

Constructing a National Memory of War - Kimberly Zhang...

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Kimberly Zhang “Constructing a National Memory of War” Reading War, Peace, Asian-American Museums 1. Major war museums in China a. 1980s i. Response to Japanese revisionism of Nanjing massacre ii. August 12, 1982, Special exhibition entitled “ Historical Exhibits of the Nanjing Massacre Committed by Japanese Aggression ” opened in the Museum of Nanjing 1. First public exhibit to show Japan’s wartime crimes and inhumanity in the city iii. Chinese government decided it was necessary to build public facilities to educate younger generations “not to forget China’s tremendous disasters caused by Japanese aggressors” 1. August 15, 1985, the day of commemoration of 40 th anniversary of Chinese people’s victory against Japan, decision led directly to the opening of the Memorial Museum of the Nanjing Massacre and the Museum of Unit 731’s Biological Warfare Crimes 2. Purpose of two museums was to expose Japan iv. Later, museums to commemorate various war incidents were constructed throughout China 1. July 7, 1987, Museum of the War of the Chinese People’s Resistance against Japan was opened on the occasion of the 50 th anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident v. Scale of war museums constructed in China in 1980s was small, function was to expose Japan’s brutality while emphasizing Chinese suffering 1. Embedded with strong political and strategic meanings, so museums assumed greater importance as domestic/international environments changed b. 1990s i. September 18, 1991, 60 th anniversary of Mukden Incident, the September 18 th Incident Museum founded in Shengyang, northeast China 1. Built at original site where Japanese army staged attack 2. After museum was built, great social changes took place in China 3. Economic reforms of 1980s, reunification of Germany, Tiananmen Square, issue of how to maintain CCP prestige while achieving political solidarity
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Constructing a National Memory of War - Kimberly Zhang...

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