Since the early nineties we have been witnessing renewed calls for histori-
cal justice, which are unparalleled in their intensity and scope.1 In dif er ent
parts of Asia, the Pacific Islands, and North Amer i ca, redress demands at
the turn of the new century have gained increasing visibility and urgency.
Primarily if not exclusively concerned with the losses wrought by Japan’s
military and colonial aggression, this resurgence in calls for historical jus-
tice has not only added new stories to the inventory of war time sufering.
It has revealed that previously concluded postbelligerency adjudications,
war indemnities settlements, and vari ous state-to-state normalizations have
rendered many instances of vio lence unredressable, or only incrementally
redressed. In others words, the post-1990s redress eforts have been a major
force in illuminating the gross oversights of the administration of transi-
tional justice in the war’s immediate aftermath. Much of the pathos uniting
the collectivities of redress activism across vari ous borders is spurred by the
sense of belatedness and the indignation it renders. Why so late? Why after
almost half a century? Why failure?
Cold War Ruins: Transpacific Critique of American Justice and Japa nese War
Crimes takes on this question of belatedness. It asks, in what ways must
we deem the initial moment of transitional justice a failure, what are the
geohistorical circumstances, international protocols and cultural forces
that left certain injuries to certain bodies unredressed, and what implica-
tions might the belated attempts to address these initial shortcomings have
on broader cultural politics and the production of knowledge? More than
an examination of individual case histories, Cold War Ruins examines the
post-1990s redress pursuits as a culture, that is, a complex social formation
that is also embodied, an ideological matrix of juridico- political processes
(which include backlashes, controversies, and their po liti cal unconscious),
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