a1 School of Arts, Histories, and Cultures, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper examines the role that veterans played in the construction of historical memory narratives in mainland China, Taiwan, and Japan. I argue that veterans, who had long established a ‘language community’ with a particular way to speak about the war, found it difficult to communicate with post-war audiences that did not share that experience. The paper analyses six categories of ‘memory writing’ that veterans used to engage with memory debates: post-war diaries, ‘testimonial literature’, articles and literary works, surveys and oral histories, memoirs, and paratext. This study thus proposes that veterans do not avoid discussion of war, but can only be ‘heard’ by members of their language community, or by a post-war society that is prepared to ‘listen’ to their message with little mediation. This is a direct consequence of their experience of the war, and how they crafted their language community at that time.
(Online publication March 16 2011)
* The research presented in this paper was funded by the Itō Foundation, the Mrs Giles Whiting Foundation, and the Institute of Modern History (Academia Sinica, Taipei). The conference where this paper was presented was funded by the China's War with Japan programme at Oxford University, funded by the Leverhulme Trust (www.history.ox.ac.uk/china [accessed 21 December, 2010]).