chapter  4
24 Pages

The Temple Of Ethnic Nationalism: War Memorial Museums In Korea And Japan

Japan and Korea, postwar, have been marked by attempts to define their histories via memorials, museums and monuments.1 These institutions provide narratives of each nation’s recent past and articulate the ideals of “nation” and “citizenship.” They recompose tales of a nation in order to make them relevant to public and private life. The museum collects and assembles fragments of the past and carefully re-contextualizes them into a narrative of the present, in a process similar to that of writing history. Precisely because of its role in institutionalizing social norms and values, the museum plays a crucial role in the production of national identity. It shapes the manner in which the nation creates its history, imagines its boundaries, and constitutes its citizenship.