Many Americans are now aware . . . that the dropping of the atomic bombs
on Japan was not necessary. . . . How better to make a contribution to amends
than by offering Japan the means for the peaceful utilization of atomic energy.
How better, indeed, to dispel the impression in Asia that the United States
regards Orientals merely as nuclear cannon fodder!
Peter Kuznick, Washington Post, 1954
It is therefore quite significant, a structural ele ment in the realm of human
affairs, that men are unable to forgive what they cannot punish and that they
are unable to punish what has turned out to be unforgivable.
Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition
No other image more fabulously captures post- Cold War redress
culture than the late Kang Duk- Gyeong’s (Kang Tŏk-kyŏng)
painting, “Punish the Responsible— For Peace.”1 Kang publicly
identified herself as a former “comfort woman” in 1992. She then
moved into the House of Sharing (Nanum Jip), a residential col-
lective which a Buddhist association initiated for the support of
aging survivors.2 Until she succumbed to terminal lung cancer in
1997 at the age of sixty- nine, Kang spent her final years leading
weekly rallies in front of the Japa nese embassy in Seoul, calling
for an unequivocal state apology and reparations from the Japa-
nese government.3 Kang also produced a series of paintings dedi-
cated to the lives and afterlives of those who perished under the
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