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Under what conditions do sets of two former adversary states with deeply rooted historical animosity try to reconcile with each other? When they seek bilateral reconciliation, why are the outcomes significantly different? France and Germany were historic antagonists that fought three catastrophic wars between 1870 and 1945. In the postwar era, however, their antagonism and hostility dramatically evolved into mutual partnership and cooperation. Unlike the Franco-German case, Japan-Republic of Korea relations still remain frigid due to mis- trust and enmity, although sixty-three years have passed since Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule. This article argues that in both cases, the motives for reconciliation were mainly derived from realpolitik concerns such as security and economy. Structural conditions also affected the initiation of international reconciliation. Nonetheless, it was the dynamics of political leaders and nongovernmental organizations that played central roles in differentiating the reconciliation processes and outcomes in the two dyadic relationships.