Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor/ Director, History/Asian Studies Program, Boston College

Franziska Seraphim is associate professor of modern Japanese history and director of Asian studies at Boston College. She is the author of War Memory and Social Politics in Japan, 1945-2005 (Harvard Asia Center, 2006). Her research focuses on public memory, historical justice, and social movements in Asia in comparative and global perspectives. Recent publications include “Carceral Geographies of Japan’s Vanishing Empire: War Criminals Prisons in Asia” in Kushner, ed. The Dismantling of the Japanese Empire in East Asia (Routledge, 2016) and “A ‘Penologic Program’ for Japanese and German War Criminals after World War II” in Cho et al., eds. Transnational Encounters and Comparisons between Germany and Japan, 1860s-2000s (Palgrave, 2015). Her current book manuscript is entitled “Geographies of Justice: Japan, Germany, and the Allied War Crimes Program.”

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2006
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Assistant Professor, History, Boston College
The Politics of Social Integration in Post-Occupation Japan and Germany

Postwar social reconstruction in Japan and West Germany in the 1950s meant nothing less than redrawing the boundaries of society after war and occupation: rehabilitating those who had been criminalized, denied aid, or otherwise disadvantaged by occupation policies, marginalizing those of ambiguous social status, such as Koreans and Chinese who chose not to repatriate and mixed-race children of occupation and military personnel, and other overt or concealed processes of social realignment . The focus of this project lies on emerging regimes of social integration and exclusion, to which U.S. policies-first of occupation and then of unequal alliance-proved crucial in the Cold-War context of the 1950s and into the 1960s. It argues in effect that important social norms about citizenship evolved not from lessons learned from the occupiers but from processes of rehabi litation, compensation, and the recasting of ethnic and racial distinction in the broader contexts of Cold-War politics and economic recovery. West German leaders proved no more willing to wrestle with the political and moral legacies of wartime crimes in the face of All ied indictment than did Japanese leaders. Indeed, the Adenauer administration was, if anything, more effective in orchestrating a broad public consensus around collective German victimization at the hands of the Allies than was the Japanese government under Yoshida, whose social reconstruction policies immediately became tools for political contention between the political right and left. And yet, West Germans ' consensus on their victimization eventually turned into self-critical examinations of Germany' s criminal past, whereas war memory in Japan remained so deeply contested and divisive on the political landscape that official acknowledgments of Japanese atrocities are rare even today. A close comparison of the two cases spotlights the politics of overcoming the social legacies of foreign occupation as a key to understanding both the respective challenges of social integration in the 1950s and their long-term consequences, which inform many current policy debates, from compensation to immigration. The research is structured around four issues of public policy through which politicians, legislators, civic organizations, and opinion leaders confronted or manipulated different legacies of foreign occupation in the 1950s and 1960s: rehabilitating war criminals, granting compensation to war victims disadvantaged under foreign occupation, negotiating the status of refugees, resident aliens, and immigrants from neighboring countries, and managing the social impact of U.S. military bases on local communities. It makes use of a wide variety of archival sources in Japan, Germany and the United States, including U.S. occupation records,diplomatic exchanges with the United States, social legislation records, parliamentary debates, newspapers, political posters, personal memoirs, and films. It is an ambitious project that require3s the use of national, municipal, and private archives and libraries in Boston, Washington D.C., Tokyo and Soaka, Munich, Kobelnz. Berlin and Bayreuth .