Korean historical memory is preoccupied with lingering legacies of the colonial era and divisive interpretations of the Korean War. A Japanese woman, Ms. Tauchi Chizuko, the “Japanese mother of Korean War orphans,” is commemorated at the intimate intersection of bilateral mnemonic politics and historical reconciliation. The daughter of a colonial master married a local man of humble origin, and continued to aid the socially underprivileged even after Japan’s defeat in WWII. Tauchi’s social services during the Korean War define her symbolic significance where a former oppressor was transformed into the repentant sinner. This article argues that Tauchi’s memories are closely connected with the dynamic memory politics of Korea-Japan relations: her symbolic representation as remorseful Japan and a possibility of Korea-Japan historical reconciliation.
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