IV-8. “War Memories in Southeast Asia and the Rebuilding of Relations over Post-war Reconciliation” (H24-25 FY2012-2013)

  • Project Leader : Matsuno Akihisa (Osaka University, Osaka School of International Public Policy)
  • Collaborators : Mizuno Kosuke (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
  • : Utumi Akio (Osaka University of Economics and Law, Centre for Asia Pacific Partnership)
  • : Furusawa Kiyoko(Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, School of Arts and Sciences)
  • : Suzuki Takashi (Freelance researcher)

Outline of Research

This research project studies memories of survivors in Indonesia and East Timor in past wars such as the World War II and the Indonesia-East Timor conflict, and explores the significance and the important role their “subjective” perspectives play in seeking post-war reconciliation. By doing this, the project seeks ways in which new relationships for reconciliation can be established. The research also aims to strengthen the argument, based on memories of two different types of war experience, that it is generally, facing up to “memories” and to heal the wounds therein in post-war reconciliation.


There are various studies on the wartime periods both in Japan and Asia as well as the Indonesia-East Timor conflict. T varying degrees, memories of those wars have been collected and published.However, study has yet to deepen analytical frameworks, approaches, and moreover, their significance in post-war reconciliation. “Memories” have been rather placed outside the realm of positive studies that attach more importance to facts. Against this background, this project explores the significance and roles that “memories” can play and aims to see how they can be incorporated into post-war reconciliation policies such as truth commissions in order to establish new relations in the post-war societies.

The team will conduct additional field research to collect the testimonies of survivors on both the victim and perpetrator’s sides. However, the main purpose of the project does not lie in the gathering of testimonies itself. Rather, it is a research into the theoretical aspects of dealing with the meanings of testimonies and their contributions to post-war reconciliation. By doing so, the research aims to link its academic pursuit with societal challenges, especially with post-war reconciliation efforts.

Studies on war damage and victimization in East Asia are numerous, but the situation is not the same for Southeast Asia. This research project intends to fill this gap. Research can reveal the theoretical significance of the comprehensiveness of a cognitive world of oral narratives with memories, sentiments, worldviews, and ethics. Finally, the research will contribute to new directions on welfare policies and survivors.

Walking with local people around the area where Japanese troops were stationed during war-time. Province of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photo by Takashi Suzuki.

Near the air strip the Japanese constructed, there remains a web of underground shelters. A local woman says that her mother experienced sexual violence when she brought food to Japanese soldiers there. Province of South Sulawesi. Photo by Takashi Suzuki.