Letters to the dead: Grassroots historical dialogue in East Asia's borderlands

Tessa Morris-Suzuki*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    On Ainu land In a small temple in central Hokkaido, Ogawa Ryūkichi, an elder of the indigenous Ainu community, stands facing the altar, speaking to a man he has never met. The rain patters steadily on the tin roof of the temple and on the lush greenery all around. Within the building, a group of people – Japanese, Koreans, including second and third-generation ethnic Koreans from various parts of Japan, and a sprinkling of visitors from Europe and elsewhere – sit on the mat-covered fl oor, listening intently. The altar is decorated with brocade cloth and fl owers. Behind it stand rows of small wooden memorial tablets to those who died in the hills around the temple, and whose bodies rested here, far away from their homes and families, for the fi nal night before their burial. Faded photographs on the walls of the temple show the places where they died: vast construction sites gouged out of hillsides and forests for dams, mines and railways.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEast Asia Beyond the History Wars
    Subtitle of host publicationConfronting the Ghosts of Violence
    PublisherTaylor and Francis
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Print)9780203084533
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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