November 2010: Second International Symposium

November 2010: Second International Symposium

Symposium: "Historical understanding and historical reconciliation in EU and Asia"


November 3rd and 4th, 2010. Participation in the symposium and the film showings is free of charge. Registration is not required. (download flyer in pdf)


The history of European integration, which originated from the framework of "The United States of Europe" in 1946, besides being a process of creating political systems and basic economic arrangements, has been constructed as a process of reconciliation in Europe, a continent which had experienced an endless succession of armed conflict between various peoples and nations through the centuries. An essential support for this reconciliation process is a shared understanding of history, and from that perspective Europeans have been attempting to produce a common history textbook.

How can aggressor and victim be taught to perceive history when the place of this education is in that same theater which experienced two world wars and became a battlefield in the course of the twentieth century? In this symposium, we shall consider three main topics: how Belgian and German history textbooks present the aggressors and the victims of World War II; how a common understanding of history was arrived at by aggressor and victim countries; where there exist discrepancies between them and what problems they are still facing. We will subsequently examine the same problem in history textbooks concerning the aggressors and victims of World War II in the case of Japan and Korea, in an attempt to find opportunities to reach a similar understanding of history in the case of Asia.

Points of argument addressed during this symposium:
• How to represent aggressors and victims of the war in history
• Possibilities of introducing other countries' views into a place of
• War guilt and responsibility of one’s own country and public opinion.
• Multilateral dialogue and a process of creating a common
understanding of history.


10.00-10.10: Symposium opening by professor Willy Vande Walle

10.10-11.40: Yoshinori Hirose

11.40-13.10: Junghee Lee: Current controversies surrounding Korean history textbooks

13.10-14.00: lunch break

14.00-15.00: Hans Cools

15.00-15.15: coffee break

15.15-16.15: Eckhardt Fuchs: The Decade of Violence (1939 – 1949) in German Textbooks and Current Approaches to History Reconciliation

16.15-17.15: Final discussion

17.15-17.30: Closing remarks by professor Willy Vande Walle

20.00-21.30: Film "Children of Hiroshima" (synopsis at bottom of page)


12.00-20.00: Field trip to Ypres, including visits to Tyne Cot Cemetary and the Flanders Fields Museum (presenters only)

20.00-21.30: Film "The Naked Island" (synopsis at bottom of page)


Yoshinori Hirose (Kansai University)
Yoshinori Hirose researches educational systems and education policy. His areas of interest include the reexamination in educational systems research of the "right to learn", the training of preschool educators, the integration of courses and other aspects of educational reform on the high school level, survey research on the recruitment of foreign teachers in Japan after World War II, and trends in historical research on educators in Korea while it was still a Japanese colony.

Junghee Yi (Seibi University)
Junghee Yi is currently an associate professor at the Faculty of Business Administration of Seibi University. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics of Kyungpook National University and earned his Master's degree in economics at the same university. He attended the Kyoto University Graduate School of Economics and worked as a contributor to the Korean newspaper Yeongnam Ilbo before assuming his current position in 2000. His areas of specialization include the modern history of overseas Chinese in Korea and East Asian economic history.

Hans Cools (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
Hans Cools (1969) studied history and philosophy at the universities of Antwerp, Lille III and Ghent. From 1992 until 1995 he was a junior research fellow at European University Institute in Florence. In 2000 he obtained his doctorate at the University of Amsterdam with a dissertation on the impact of state formation on the aristocracy in the Burgundian-Habsburg Netherlands between 1475 and 1530. Then he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University. Between 2003 and 2006 he was director of studies in medieval and early modern history at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome. Since autumn 2006 Hans Cools lectures early modern history at the K.U.Leuven. Moreover Hans Cools edits together with Kaat Wils Passages, a series of textbooks for history education in Flemish secondary schools.

Eckhardt Fuchs (Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research)
Eckhardt Fuchs studied from 1983 to 1988 at the University of Leipzig and completed his PhD in 1992. He has worked as an historian at numerous academic institutions, such as the Historical Commission in Berlin, the John F. Kennedy Institute of the Freie Universität of Berlin, the German Historical Institute in Washington and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. His research interests include the global history of modern education, international education policies, curriculum and textbook development, world history and the history of science and historiography.
From 2001 until 2007, Eckhardt Fuchs worked as an Academic Assistant at the University of Mannheim (Chair of Educational Sciences I) , where he qualified as a university lecturer in 2004. He has been awarded scholarships by a variety of organisations. He is co-editor of the journal “Comparativ”, a member of numerous academic societies and an evaluator for foundations and journals as well as review editor for the German internet list, “H-Soz-u-Kult”. In 2007, he took up his position as Research Director of the Georg Eckert Institute, where he has now held the office of Deputy Director since June 2009. Eckhardt Fuchs has been an Outside Lecturer and Non-budgetary Professor at the Technical University in Braunschweig since December 2009.


Children of Hiroshima/Genbaku no Ko (Kaneto Shindo, 1952)
Nursery school teacher Takako, orphaned in the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, returns to city seven years after the end of WWII. She meets several old friends whose lives have been turned upside down by the bomb, and discovers that three of the children she used to teach have survived. "Children of Hiroshima" shows how the children made it through the bombing and its aftermath. The film was part of the selection of the Cannes Film Festival in 1953.


The Naked Island/Hadaka no Shima (Kaneto Shindo, 1961)
The Naked Island tells the story of a small family struggling to survive on a tiny island in the Inland Sea of Japan. The island does not have its own fresh water source, so the life of the family revolves around the parents' daily boat trips to a larger nearby island to get water for their farm and their two sons. When one of the young boys falls ill, the family's isolation suddenly becomes all the more dangerous and tragic... Notable for its lyrical tone and almost total absence of dialogue, The Naked island won several awards and is considered to be one of Kaneto Shindo's most impressive works. A trailer, more extensive synopsis, and essay about The Naked Island can be found here. A compilation of scenes from the film is also available on YouTube.