An excellent international education conference will be held in Mays Landing, NJ on October 8-10, 2010 on the “History of Atrocities in the Asia-Pacific War: 1931-1945.” Unlike Germany that has admitted to committing the Holocaust and has apologized and compensated the victims (or their heirs), Japan up to today still has not acknowledged the existence of these atrocities. As a matter of fact, they have rewritten their school history books, denying that these events ever happened or at least minimizing the atrocities committed, and many of their political leaders have gone even as far as claiming that the atrocities were fabricated by China and other Asian countries.
The theme of the conference is “Acknowledge, Apologize, Reconcile.” The purpose of the conference is not to dig up old wounds, but because its importance is so eloquently captured in the following three quotes:
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it” — George Santayana
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing” — Albert Einstein
Four documentary films will also be shown:
- “Iris Chang – Rape of Nanking” – A classic film about the Nanking Massacre and about Iris Chang
- “Torn Memories of Nanjing” – Directed by Tamaki Matsuoka, a Japanese teacher from Japan, who interviewed former Japanese soldiers about the atrocities they committed in China
- “Lessons of the Blood” – A film made by a young Chinese American
- “Nanjing, Nanjing: City of Life and Death” – A film made in China
Experts from around the world (including China, Japan, Canada, U.S.) will give presentations on their area of expertise. These speakers include:
- Professor Su Zhiliang, Shanghai Normal University – The world’s foremost expert on the issue of sex slaves (or comfort women)
- Tamaki Matsuoka, movie director and teacher from Japan – Director of the Japanese film “Torn Memories of Nanjing,” a film with interviews of Japanese soldiers about the atrocities they committed in China
- James Bradley, American, author of the best selling book “Flags of Our Fathers” – Made into a movie of the same name by Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg
- Werner Gruhl, American, expert on Asia Pacific War – Author of the book “Imperial Japan’s WWII, 1931-1945″
- Professor Zhang Lianhong, Professor of History and Chairman of the Center for Studies on the Nanjing Massacre in Nanjing Normal University – Co-author of the book “The Undaunted Women of Nanjing: The Wartime Diaries of Minnie Vautrin and Tsen Shui-Fang”
- Kang Jian, Chinese lawyer – Lead lawyer for many lawsuits related to Japanese atrocities
- Wang Xuan, Chinese researcher and activist – Leading a legal group to assist WWII victims to sue Japan for damages resulted from its germ warfare in China
- Dr. Paul Winkler – Executive Director of the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education, a part of the NJ Department of Education
- Dr. Ying-Ying Chang and Dr. Shau-Jin Chang – Parents of Iris Chang, author of the famous book “The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of WWII”
- Flora Chong, a retired Canadian CEO and EVP of Toronto ALPHA (Alliance for Learning and Preserving the History of WWII in Asia) – Reports on the formation of an ALPHA group by Japanese in Japan
- Chu-Yeh Chang, now a resident of Middletown, NJ – Eyewitness and survivor of the Nanking Massacre
- Several teachers who participated in NJ-ALPHA’s China Study Tours
- Plus others
The conference is organized by the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of World War II in Asia (Global Alliance) and the NJ Alliance for Learning and Preserving the History of World War II in Asia (NJ-ALPHA), and is co-sponsored by the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education, Brookdale Community College, the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and the Oakcrest High School in Mays Landing NJ.
The conference is open to the public. We especially welcome teachers and students to attend. The registration fee for the two-and-a-half day conference is only $130, including two dinners, one lunch, one breakfast, and refreshments for two coffee breaks. Teachers and students enjoy a discount of 40% and 60%, respectively. Teachers can receive up to 15 Professional Development credits.
The objective of the conference is to increase the public’s awareness of this part of history and its importance to keeping this kind of history from repeating itself in other parts of the world, and to persuade Japan to change from its inhumane and self-damaging position. Because of recent progress on this issue, we believe that it is a question of when that will happen, and not if it will happen. We are encouraged that a chapter of ALPHA has recently been established in Japan by Japanese. We are encouraged that a documentary film like “Torn Memories of Nanjing” was made and directed by a Japanese. We are encouraged that for the first time in decades, no Cabinet member of the Japanese ruling party will attend the Yasukuni Shrine, where many Class-A war criminals are enshrined.