I still remember my first class in Japan when my students asked me: "Sensei, Japan is such a peace-loving country. Why are Koreans and Chinese angry at us?" I also remember what my students said in South Korea: "What is wrong with them? Why are they not apologizing for their misdeeds?" There was little space for any reflection why the other side does not think the way we do.

Teaching peace and reconciliation in Japan and in South Korea is not an easy experience. When I asked my Korean students to tell me whether their argument would have remained the same if they had been born Japanese, their reaction was violent. When I asked my Japanese students to do the same exercise, they looked at me not as their professor any more but as the "other" side.

It was only when I gave lectures about Polish-German, Armenian-Turkish or French-Algerian relations that they started having a deeper reflection on the reconciliation issue. The first step toward reconciliation — I prefer saying "efforts to rebuild a broken relationship"— is the willingness to deeply understand why and how the other side sees the same issue from different angles.