Wounds, Scars, and Healing: Civil Society and Postwar Pacific Basin Reconciliation


With registration (full, one day, a half day) for the keynote speeches and the conference program. Please see the updated draft schedule, still subject to change.

Without registration for the Pre-conference grassroots workshop, a photographic exhibition on reconciliation and a film screening of Hiroshima. Please see details by clicking the link in the left hand column.
On-line purchase of tickets for a Premier Noh performance of Oppenheimer

Concluding Conference
In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.

30 September, 1 and 2 October 2015 at the University of Sydney

Final Conference Program now available Updated 16 September 2015

Conference Themes

Seventy years after the end of the war, Japan and its neighbours have negotiated a fragile but real transition towards lasting peace and reconciliation, an achievement that has been charted over a series of four conferences held in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 in Sydney, Seoul and Kyoto. Previous conferences have explored measures taken at official and government level, gestures of memorial diplomacy and the impact of the arts, literature and cinema in challenging stereotypes and offering new grounds for understanding. For this fifth and final conference we invite contributions on the significant role of Civil Society in contributing to the process of healing. Social movements and citizens’ campaigns at grassroots level have become formidable agents for change by lobbying governments and mobilising public opinion on issues such as the representation of history in school textbooks, comfort women, forced labourers from China and Korea, and nuclear disarmament.

We invite papers on the role of Civil Society but also those that add to aspects of reconciliation covered in the previous conferences, especially where new research or events have intervened to modify our understanding of this rapidly evolving area. For information on past conferences see Language and Culture magazine Issue 29, June 2014 and Issue 32, June 2015: and the homepage of previous conferences.

Associated cultural events

  • The conference is proud to support the premier performance of a Noh drama, Oppenheimer, written by Allan Marett. The text is in English, the themes remorse and resurrection. The Japanese translation will be available at the time of the performance. This play will be performed at the Conservatorium of Music, the University of Sydney on 30 September and 1 October and will be one of the highlights of the 2015 cultural calendar. See the website for bookings.
  • An exhibition of privately taken photographs on reconciliation at the Fisher Library tracing the efforts made by grassroots peace activists worldwide.
  • Film screening of the legendary 1953 film, Hiroshima by Director, Sekigawa Hideo (104 minutes) with English subtitle made by Ritsumeikan University students. The film was funded by 500,000 teachers of Japan and 88,500 Hiroshima citizens participated in the film as extra.

Opening Address

  • Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO (Former Governor of New South Wales 2001-2014 and Former Chancellor of the University of Sydney 2007-2012)

Keynote speakers

  • Donald Keene, "Enemy turning into Friends". Unfortunately, Professor Donald Keene can not make the trip to Sydney as he is unwell. However, he has already sent us a DVD and his conference paper. You will see him on screen, and Japanese Department colleague, Dr Matthew Stavros, will read Donald Keene’s paper.
  • Thomas Keneally, "The Paris Peace Treaty and Australia's part in quenching the racial equality clause". Thomas Keneally is author of the recent novel on the Cowra Breakout: Shame and the Captives,

Guest speakers

  • Yuki Tanaka, Former Research Professor at Hiroshima Peace Institute and Hiroshima City University
  • Tessa Morris Suzuki, Australian National University
  • Christina Twomey, Monash University
  • Aiko Utsumi, Osaka University of Economics and Law, Director of Centre for Asia Pacific Partnership
  • Pankaj Mohan, Nalanda University, India
  • Keiji Sawada, Waseda University

Organising committee

Further information: please contact either Dr Yasuko Claremont or Dr Roman Rosenbaum.

  • *Dr Yasuko Claremont, Japanese Studies:
  • *Dr Roman Rosenbaum, Japanese Studies:
  • Professor Jocelyn Chey, Chinese Studies:
  • Professor Hugh Clarke (Oriental Society of Asutralia):
  • Dr Mats Karlsson, Japanese Studies:
  • Dr Judith Keene, Department of History:
  • Professor Michael Lewis, Japanese Studies:
  • Dr Elizabeth Rechniewski, French Studies:
  • Dr Matthew Stavros, Japanese Studies:

Postwar Pacific Basin Reconciliation Conference organising committee wishes to thank Yayoi Garden, Sydney.