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Aomi Mochida MA

PhD candidate


Area(s) of interest: Asian History, Memory Studies, Modern & Contemporary History, War & Conflict

Cohort/Start PhD: 2018-2019

Travelling War Memories: National and Global Dynamics of Japanese WWII Sites Since 1945

Radboud University Nijmegen
Promotor(es): Prof. dr. Jan Hein Furnée, Prof. dr. Marjet Derks, and Dr. Eveline Buchheim
Aanstelling: vanaf september 2018

As the bloodiest global war in history, World War II has generated numerous narratives and memories among the different nations affected. In recent years these often nationally framed narratives and memories have been subject to major processes of transformation. Now that the war-generation is demographically fading out, ‘living’ memory is definitely shifting to ‘cultural’ memory. At the same time, globalization of tourism, media and expertise increasingly fuels the global circulation and interaction of narratives and ‘travelling memories’.
Building on these developments, this PhD project analyses the interaction between various global and national layers and players of WWII memory in late twentieth-century and contemporary Japan. It focuses on three major heritage sites – Nagasaki (atomic bombing site), Noborito (ill-famed science institute) and Kure (WWII naval base) – each attracting annually hundreds of thousands of Japanese and foreign tourists. The project first scrutinizes how, in the historical construction of these sites into both commemorative and tourist sites, various stakeholders have struggled and negotiated to strike a balance between Japanese victimhood and aggression in a national and international context. Then, with the uses of interviews and surveys, the project explores how contemporary tourists from various national backgrounds integrate their own national and personal memory culture within the dominant narrative framework of the sites, creating new layers of meaning.