Prof. Toshihiko Kishi (Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University) gave his lecture on “Change and Dissolution of the Concept ‘Post-War Period’ in Japan” on July 7th, for the fourth Nichi-Doku Joint Lecture co-organized by Heidelberg University Office Kyoto and Kyoto University European Center, Heidelberg Office. A number of people gathered, even though people at Heidelberg University were busy preparing for the upcoming summer exams.
The lecture began with a question, “when did ‘Postwar Period’ started in the first place?” Prof. Kishi examined how the perceptions of Postwar Period vary among the Asian nations that Japan was involved, and how Postwar Period for regaining its sovereignty and for economic recovery is very different within Japan itself. The discussion expanded to perceptions of Postwar Period in Germany and other European countries. The lecture was closed by Prof. Kishi’s call for comparative studies of Postwar Period among European countries and Japan.
Discussant for this lecture was a promising young lecturer Mr. Takuma Melber (Transcultural Studies) at Heidelberg University. He explained that German Postwar starts from the so called “Stunde Null” (Hour Zero) which is clearly defined as when Germany surrendered and so the World War II ended in Europe on May 8th, 1945. He went on to compare the differences between Germany and Japan in wartime responsibility and postwar reconciliation, and posed a sharp question if the current condition of Japan can be considered Postwar Period.
An exchange student from Kyoto University contributed to the lecture as a consecutive interpreter for the first time for this lecture series. Mr. Yusuke Okada from Graduate School of Letters at Kyoto University was highly praised by German participants for his excellent interpretation, even though the lecturer’s terminology was not in his field of research (theology and religion). This arrangement was made possible by Prof. Kishi’s intent “to give multidimensional opportunities to students,” and we at the Office were honored to have been able to assist in forming the connection.