Editor's Introduction: In mid-August 2015, Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo gave a high-profile speech looking back at the Japanese surrender of 1945. Three weeks later, also to mark the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II in Asia, China's Communist Party head and president Xi Jinping presided over a lavish parade in the heart of Beijing, which featured missiles and other Chinese military hardware as well as large contingents of People's Liberation Army soldiers and small contingents of troops from various other countries. Following up on a trio of essays in the August issue of the JAS, which looked ahead to events such as these, we now publish this special “Asia Beyond the Headlines” section made up of four essays that explore the meaning, for different individual or sets of countries, of Abe's speech and Xi's spectacle. This quartet of commentaries, by three political scientists and one historian, is designed to complement the last issue's contributions by historians Carol Gluck, Rana Mitter, and Charles Armstrong, as well as the historical photograph from seventy years ago that appears on the cover of this issue.
The set begins with an essay by historian John Delury, a scholar trained in Chinese history and currently teaching in Seoul, who has written on varied aspects of East Asian international relations and notes, among other things, the curious fact that the representative from South Korea rather than from North Korea got the warmer reception from Xi during the recent Beijing spectacle. Following this comes Sheila A. Smith, a scholar based at a Washington, D.C., think tank, reflecting on the current state of the complex bilateral relationship between Tokyo and Beijing. Appearing next is a commentary by Maria Repnikova, a specialist in both Chinese and Russian affairs who was trained in political science and holds a postdoctoral fellowship in a school of communications. She writes on the increasingly close ties yet lingering tensions between Beijing and Moscow, as well as the way that official media has celebrated, while some users of social media have mocked, the symbolism of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping presiding over recent victory day parades in their respective capitals. The series concludes with a commentary by Srinath Raghavan, a London-trained scholar now based at a New Delhi policy institute. He completes our survey of commemoration of the end of World War II with a look at the way recent parades revealed the Indian government's tricky position vis-à-vis Moscow and Beijing, as well as the relatively scant attention that India's significant contributions to World War II received, at home and internationally, during the season of commemorative speeches and displays.