How a nation fights a war, and loses it, then forms an understanding of historical memory is a matter of great complexity. This article analyzes the postwar evolution of historical memory in Japan. The San Francisco Peace Treaty, and its acceptance of the judgment given by the Allies’ tribunal, was a major event in shaping Japan’s understanding and memory of World War II. But the Japanese had to go through their own process of self-recognition and understanding of the effect of their deeds in other countries. This culminated in the 1995 statement of Prime Minister Murayama. Although that statement played a key role in promoting government-to-government reconciliation, it resulted in a backlash in conservative politics. Japan is now at the third stage of identifying the next path in responding to its historical responsibility and at the same time contributing to the creation of a more integrated East Asian regional framework.