Our flagship annual event, the Modern Japan History Association's Distinguished Annual Lecture recognizes the achievements and contributions of a foremost scholar in the field of modern Japanese history. Each scholar in the field can give the lecture only once.
The first annual MJHA Distinguished Annual Lecture was given on September 9, 2023 by Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Professor Emerita of Japanese History, Australian National University.
Writing War: History in Occupied Japan and its Echoes for Today
As the world edges into a new Cold War, rising political tensions in East Asia are reflected in growing conflict over memories of history, and particularly of the history of the Asia-Pacific War. Increasing nationalism in all the countries of the region find expression in rewritings of that history. In Japan, a central feature of recent waves of historical revisionism has been a focus on the shaping of historiography in post war occupation period. The period from August 1945 to May 1952 was the era when historians first struggled to give meaning to the disastrous events of the war which had ravaged East Asia during the previous decade or more. The diverse ways in which they did this has had an enduring effect on the way in which the war is remembered to the present day. In the context of contemporary controversies over history, it is important to return to that occupation era and to reassess the possibilities and limitations of the way in which the history of the war was written by those who had just experienced it in their own lives.
A full-text version of Professor Morris-Suzuki's lecture can be found HERE (pdf).
A video of Professor Morris-Suzuki's lecture can be found HERE.