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U.S. author recounts ‘lecture’ he got about ‘comfort women’ from uninvited Japanese guests

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The debate on Japan’s history of wartime sexual slavery (aka the “comfort women” issue) has heated up again, with the Japanese government extending its efforts to revise school textbooks to overseas.

In November, McGraw-Hill, publisher of the world history textbook “Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past, Vol. 2,” by history professors Herbert Ziegler and Jerry Bentley, was contacted by Japan’s Consulate General in New York. The request: that two paragraphs (i.e., the entire entry) on the comfort women be deleted.

On Jan. 15, McGraw-Hill representatives met with Japanese diplomats and refused the request, stating that the scholars had properly established the historical facts. Later that month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe directly targeted the textbook in a parliamentary session, stating that he was “shocked” to learn that his government had “failed to correct the things it should have.”

In the March issue of the American Historical Association’s newsmagazine “Perspectives on History,” 20 prominent historians, including professor Ziegler, signed a letter to the editor titled “Standing with the historians of Japan.” They stated that they “agree with Herbert Ziegler that no government should have the right to censor history,” and “oppose the efforts of states or special interests to pressure publishers or historians to alter the results of their research for political purposes.”

Professor Ziegler met with JBC on Feb. 17.

JBC: What has McGraw-Hill been asked to revise?

Herbert Ziegler: The original offense was the comfort women, and I think they essentially wanted me to leave it out or change it. I got a lot of references and emails about recent scholarship by Japanese scholars that pointed out how incorrect my writing is.

It was the comfort women, the Nanjing Massacre, and one other small thing that nobody else has talked about but the Consul (for Political Affairs) in Honolulu: In the first volume of the textbook, there is a map that shows the Sea of Japan labeled as such, but in one instance, in parentheses, it says “East Sea.” And I got lectured on how incorrect that is when the consul came to my office. I didn’t know it was there because the first volume my co-author wrote, not me. I didn’t even know it was a controversial subject.

JBC: Have you been personally contacted by the Abe government?

HZ: I was contacted by the local Consul for Political Affairs in Honolulu in November, wanting to discuss my textbook. I thought it was the oddest thing I’ve ever heard. “Discuss my textbook?” I said I wasn’t interested. He gave me times that I could visit the consulate, and he kept persisting. So I told them I talked to my publisher about this, and they said to forward the consulate’s concerns to their public relations department. So I got another email (from the consul) saying, “Well, New York is New York, Honolulu is Honolulu, and I need to see you in person.” I didn’t reply right away.

Next thing I know, I’m sitting in my office just like you and I are sitting here today — the door’s open, I have office hours. I was eating lunch. In pops the consul and an interpreter. They literally pulled up chairs and sat down. And then they started talking to me about my fallacies and problems, and why they wanted me to change things. I said, a bit spitefully, “It’s a little late now, the sixth edition just came out and it is unchanged, because I wasn’t aware that I had to change any of it.” And then we got into this discussion and I said, “Now look” — and here’s the thing I always want to get across — “It’s a textbook.”

A successful textbook gets revised every two to three years. One reason for revision is that interpretations change, and the facts may change. The publisher hires maybe a dozen specialists to go over this text, and they write critiques and reviews. When I look at them, I have to decide whether or not their critiques are justifiable, or out of nowhere, and so forth. And then, my co-author and I revise our text, as necessary, especially in regards to recent literature on the subject matter.

So I’m not opposed to revising anything, and if there were 300,000 victims of the Nanjing Massacre instead of the 400,000 I wrote, I will change it to 300,000. But very quickly I try to establish that my issue here had to do with the government. I said, “I don’t care if it’s a domestic or foreign government telling me what to write and what not to write.” And I told them I found that very offensive. It’s a violation of my freedom of speech and of academic freedom. It’s not like a few scholars had contacted me and said, “I read this book and I think there are a few inaccuracies.”

Did you know that in the 15 years this book has been out, not one reviewer hired by the publisher to ferret out mistakes has ever questioned anything about the comfort women? I’d never had a single Japanese scholar contact me, nor any Japanese newspaper, for 15 years. It is only now, all of a sudden. I’m not naive; I’m aware that this is the Abe’s government’s big campaign to do what I would consider revision of Japanese history.

I’m not a specialist in East Asian history. I teach world history, meaning I know very little about many things. I’m largely a scholar of German history. Germans had to deal with their past, especially during World War II. It wasn’t easy, it took time, but by and large the Germans have acknowledged and come to terms with the ugly parts of their past. The Japanese never have.

I suspect that young people in Japan grow up without knowing half the time what went on in the Second World War. That’s just a guess; I do not know. And maybe in Japan, and I do not know this either, the government has control over textbooks in schools. Not in America. Mine is not the only textbook, so people are free to pick and buy whatever they want.

So to me it came down to this interference of a foreign government: Even if I were 90 percent wrong about what I wrote, I would not revise it just because the consul of the Japanese Consulate tells me to — it’s ridiculous.

JBC: Did they listen to what you had to say?

HZ: No. Total lecture mode. Everything I wrote was just totally wrong. It became obvious to me what was going on. It didn’t matter what argument I might have made to convince them otherwise. It was a one-sided conversation.

You see, if you would have walked in and introduced yourself as a scholar of modern Japanese history, and you had taken offense at things that I am propagating, we’d sit down and talk about it. That’s not how it was. It was a guy in a suit accompanied by a woman telling me I’m wrong, wrong. “Retract it. Revise it.”

JBC: Why this book?

HZ: I have no idea. There’s one other connection I should bring up, and it’s been incorrectly reported in many media: This is a world history textbook, designed for introductory courses at the college and university level. I don’t know the numbers, but on occasion the book is also sold to high schools that offer AP (advanced placement) courses in world history. So some high school students read the text.

The Japanese think it’s a high school textbook. There’s a great misunderstanding here. According to the Japanese consul, my book is sold all over Los Angeles to schools, and I am not exaggerating: I was accused of poisoning the minds, especially of Korean-American children, who now have taken it upon themselves to intimidate and bully Japanese-American schoolchildren.

Now, my thinking is, whether they’re Japanese- or Korean-Americans, most teenagers aged 16 to 17 don’t give a flying leap, and wouldn’t know anything about this issue at all. So I checked into this whole thing. It turns out that the textbook may have been used in Glendale, California, where they had the whole issue with the comfort woman statue. That’s what I put together after the fact.

But they were here telling me that I was poisoning the minds of children against Japan. They acted under the impression that I had sold millions of books to high schools. That’s untrue — it’s a college textbook.

JBC: As a historian, what do you think about a government getting involved?

HZ: I offer an advanced course on Nazi Germany, and this morning before I saw you I was talking about the Ministry of Propaganda and Enlightenment, and its effort to control public opinion. We talked about the press — self-censorship out of fear, for instance — so all of this obviously goes against my grain. Germans nowadays are very sensitive about interference about press and free speech. So when somebody tries to control what I write, it’s ringing bells.

I understand about how victors write history. There’s a certain amount of truth to that, but I think good historians will strive to uncover something more than just that. But whenever a government takes control, it is most likely self-serving. Therein lies the first rub, at least as far as a historian is concerned. We seek the truth, however imperfect this pursuit is.

But by definition, I think most historians think that whatever the government does must be looked at very critically, not swallowed wholesale. The odds are that if the government is in control of the historical narrative, then it is self-serving and there is something hidden. There’s a skepticism that comes immediately to the fore.

Why the pressure tactics? Do they really think that everything that has been written outside of Japan is so incorrect, and is an effort by the victors of 70 years ago to shape Japanese history in such a dark sort of fashion? I don’t understand it, actually.

The full text in “Traditions and Encounters” on the comfort women is at www.debito.org/?p=13103. The full Ziegler interview will be up at The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus website (www.japanfocus.org) in a few days. Twitter @arudoudebito. Comments: community@japantimes.co.jp

  • johnniewhite

    I am astonished to read how Prof. Ziegler behaved — as a scholar he should demonstrate modesty to what he does not know, and when pointed out something wrong of what he has written, he should respond professionally, and not easily offended. Clearly he isn’t a specialist himself in the history of Japan as he admits in this interview. He also does not feel responsible for what he has written. This is a very important article, and I thank The Japan Times for publishing it.

    • Ken5745

      IMHO Prof Ziegler behaved professionally. It is the Abe Govt that tries to change history 15 years after the book was written. Please read what he said:

      “Did you know that in the 15 years this book has been out, not one reviewer hired by the publisher to ferret out mistakes has ever questioned anything about the comfort women? I’d never had a single Japanese scholar contact me, nor any Japanese newspaper, for 15 years. It is only now, all of a sudden. I’m not naive; I’m aware that this is the Abe’s government’s big campaign to do what I would consider revision of Japanese history.”

      The $64.000 question is : Why now?

      • johnniewhite

        Why now? It’s because the information war is waged against Japan by China (and Korea), and it is getting really dangerous for the US-Japan alliance. Japan must speak out to preserve the peace in East Asia.

      • Joce

        But this is not preserving the peace. This is antagonizing their neighbors and allies as well. If their strategy is to combat China’s expansion, this is not even a reasonable strategy. Comfort women and China’s expansion are two completely unrelated issues.

      • johnniewhite

        Japan needs a strong alience with USA to counter against the imminent threat posed by China. The CWI used to be a separate issue with Korea, but it is now hijacked by CCP as part of their propaganda.

      • CrimsonTears

        I replied above, however my comment is “waiting to be approved” (something that has been happening a lot to me lately).

        I desire a strong alliance between the United States and Japan as well, however this outright denial of events has only proven to strain this alliance as well as increase tensions abroad.

        I also highly doubt that McGraw textbooks has been hijacked for the past 15 years to spread falsities about Japan in the form of two paragraphs (in a several hundred page text). I consider reading the “Why this book?” paragraph of this article.

      • Joce

        I agree. It’s not a winning strategy. Japan should place more focus on the positive aspects of its country as a counter argument. Also you lose credibility if you do not have the proper people representing an issue. You wouldn’t have a janitor represent medical issues. A government official cannot be the face of historical issues. Debate is okay. But as you would want the other side to admit if it’s wrong you must be willing to do the same if presented with evidence.

      • Jonathan Fields

        You’re clearly a Japanese net uyoku. When Tisho points out that the comfort women issue has little to do with China, you immediately respond with “but the threat from China!”

        Japan is becoming just as bad as China in the propaganda department. Bullying academics at home and abroad, making weirdly patriotic TV shows on NHK, visiting Yasukuni as a political tool, etc. Ridiculous and totally transparent.

      • Alexis Sanchez

        Absurdity is the norm in Japan. As for China? Well…..

      • 武 東郷

        Do not fall into the trap of labelling and dismissing, please.

      • Lennon

        Look towards history, Japan has done plenty to normalise relations between the victims but we can all see that China’s anti-Japan rhetoric is borne out of political agenda as it is useful to have your people be united against a falsely perceived threat and directing their hate and anger towards it rather than their own government.

      • Joce

        Then this only further proves that this is a bad strategy. If this doesn’t affect your enemies and hurts your allies, how does this help them. The U.S. has not dropped its alliance and commitment with Japan. What is the point of doing this then?

        As for thomama, this issue didn’t just suddenly appear. The Japanese government has been aware since the start. There official stance on comfort women has always been that they did not force them. That was what it was 30 years ago, 15 years ago, and today. That has not changed. The difference now is their strategy. Which is wrong.

      • R0ninX3ph

        Lennon, if China is guilty of making Japan the enemy… Japan is equally guilty in making China and Korea the enemy to distract from their government too. I’ve met really nice, normal people living in Japan, who all seem very liberal in most ways, until you bring up China or Korea and its all out right-wing rhetoric about them. The comments in this article are good examples…. They didn’t read the article, they just see “comfort women” and go into “KOREANS ARE EVIL!!!!” mode.

      • Lennon

        Please, if you have to live under the constant shadow of being guilt tripped and blamed for everything, being repeatedly ripped off monetarily and the de facto preferred choice to throw hate on and brand as a devil and satan incarnate, I bet you’d be rather frustrated as well.

      • R0ninX3ph

        Oh, its so hard for the citizens of Japan with their daily lives being affected so adversely by talk of comfort women. Heavens to betsy, we had better protect their sensibilities and not have them deal with any negative opinions aimed towards them, whilst also letting them spout negative opinions towards their neighbours.

        The hate speech on both sides is pretty god damn vile, so to defend one side alone saying they are allowed to spew hate speech just because the other side is “being mean with accusations” is a load of bollocks. You wouldn’t get away with saying “the gays” shouldn’t be given rights because someone who is gay once accused you of wrongdoing, why the hell is it okay for a nation to do the same?

      • Lennon

        sorry i think you totally missed the point but I didn’t expect much from one only intent on spewing hate.

      • R0ninX3ph

        If you think wanting both sides to actually sit down and talk about things instead of both spewing hate towards each other is “spewing hate” then, we have nothing else to talk about.

      • CrimsonTears

        I’m not sure how erasing war crimes from historical texts in an effort to say those crimes didn’t happen, will help “preserve peace”. Denying these war crimes has only increased tensions.

      • johnniewhite

        Why do you have to think that way? Japan is only pointing out what is clearly baseless, and alerting to American scholars to look at the facts, and not believing the propaganda that are coming from the oppositions who dislike the Abe administration.

      • Alastar

        It would be clearly baseless if it didn’t have a strong basis in evidence. Unfortunately for your position, it does.

      • Frank Schirmer

        Well, there is plenty of brain washing and propaganda going on in Japan so it is probably best to not ask any Asian sources but rely on 3rd parties only.

      • Ian SUTTLE (サトル・イアン)

        Racist much? I’m guessing my (as-yet unconfirmed) comment’s use of a Chinese-language source for the number killed in Nanjing is also suspect? I’m guessing you don’t trust any Asian source because you can’t actually read any Asian language and you are completely subject to what other people tell you they say, then?

      • Hendrix

        its based on fact not fiction….the only propoganda is coming from Abes regime..

      • Morningstar

        If you want to endanger the US-Japan alliance, keep fighting against history.

        Most Americans think well of Japan now, except when people like you try to deny these atrocities. These are literally the only negative news stories about Japan that people see, and if you and Abe and others keep creating them, you will do more harm than any information war waged by China or Korea. No Americans hear stories about comfort women from China and Korea, we only hear about it when idiotic Japanese nationalists try to deny the story.

      • Alastar

        Yeah, I mean, what does the US have to gain from spreading false stories demonizing its strongest ally in the region?

      • Lennon

        Inaccuracies does not mean intentional lying, it can merely mean well… an inaccuracy.

      • Lennon

        Isn’t it easy to simply brand those who are objective and not a slave to emotional knee-jerk responses as ultra-nationalists?

      • Frank Schirmer

        I think the strategy by the Japanese government is to break up the US-Japan partnership to create a reason for Japan to change the constitution and acquire weapons of mass destruction. If that happens, when we will see Japan return to imperialism overnight.

      • Ian SUTTLE (サトル・イアン)

        And in which learned scholarly journal of Japanese studies, international politics or military history did you read that?
        Oh, you just pulled it out of the air? Nice.

      • Alexis Sanchez

        I know, you JPs must preserve the peace in East Asia for Greater Co-Prosperity within Japan’s Sphere of influence.

        Your lot are no better than the nazis.

      • kension86

        Hmm.. as far as political alliance is concerned, I really don’t think US politicians cares one way or the other about Japan inside History text.

        Germany was clear bad guy in history text, but she still has alot of allies and respect today.

        If Japan wants to preserve the alliance, it’s more effective to just “donate” money to top US politicians.

        The threat of chinese propaganda against the alliance is overrated imo. The American public really don’t give a **** about all these complains from China against Japan. Americans still trust modern Japan much more than China regardless of their perception of Japanese past, same with Germany.

        Go over to the world subsection of CNN/Foxnews, and one can hardly find anything about Japanese past controversy. Go over to US political forums, you may only find one topic about this among hundreds of other topics. The fact is, this is not a hotspot issue in US.

        If the US government somehow leans toward China on some issues, it’s not because of Japan’s past. If there’s anything to sway them to be in favor of China, it would be due to more pragmatic issues, such as economic gains, or alliance against Russia or huge donations to the lobbyists.

      • Hendrix

        Wrong! .. why now? well because Abe is hellbent on whitewashing history , his grandfather was a Class A warcriminal who by the way helped found the LDP, so Abe is trying to clear his name and japans warcrimes.. simple really

      • johnniewhite

        That’s pathetic. Do you really think that the priminister of Japan only thinks of himself in such a hopelessly degraded way? If this makes you happy, then please keep it in your mind. I don’t mind that.

      • Hendrix

        what is pathetic is the way Abe is whitewashing history and nobody is willing to stop him in japan, stop deluding yourself.

      • thomana

        My answer to that, Ken5745, is that the Japanese government was not aware of it in the last 15 years — it was only brought to attention of Mr Abe during the parliament discussion. It implies that the Japanese government wasn’t interested in what is being taught in USA. It was noticed only now as there are lots of noise of defaming coming from USA. Does this answer your question?

    • DC Musicfreak

      It is important, but for exactly the opposite reason you think it is important.

    • Alexis Sanchez

      What’s more astonishing is the temerity with which the JP consul behaved, harassing him at his office and demanding an unmerited revision – unsubstantiated by any material evidence besides their insistence that he is wrong. These JPs behave like a 5 year old kids!! It’s always “oh the Chinese and Koreans are lying about me ~”. Weak.

    • Barry Rosenfeld

      I agree. As he pointed out, he doesn’t know his material, but yet like an American know nothing, he sticks his neck out.

      • Lennon

        Indeed, Americans always thinks they rule the world when they’re merely the laughing stock of the world.

    • Lennon

      That is what I thought as well, his responses feels more like ranting than an objective response a scholar is expected to give.

  • Ron NJ

    It really is disgusting how the current government of Japan is attempting to erase history and sweep the blemishes under the rug. They could have been past this all if they had followed Germany’s mark and truly accepted what they did, educated their people about it, and seriously attempted to make amends (nb, this does not mean giving people money). Sadly, none of this has happened, and instead we have them going the opposite direction, outright denying that these things happened at all and trying to pressure even foreign entities to conform to their warped views.

    Really disgusting, and it makes me very sad for the future knowing that there are people being raised in Japan who likely have no concept of any of the atrocities committed by Japan during World War 2. They will grow up in the world wondering “why do so many of our neighbors have such strong feelings about Japan?” because they were never educated properly and told about the events that stirred those feelings. It really is just heartbreaking. The governments of Japan and its neighbors, being so geographically close, could be doing so much to foster youth exchange programs to ensure that future generations don’t have to deal with the enmity that is so strong in the region, instead fostering a sense of unity and equality rather than the current oft-held feelings of superiority and hatred. So many missed chances to build bridges, and instead here Japan goes burning them left and right because they’re too proud to admit that Japan actually did do some bad things during the war.

    • johnniewhite

      Why do you come to such a conclusion? Isn’t there another answer, namely that Japanese has finally decided to speak out as the threat from China is imminent? Please look at the events more widely, including what is happening in South China Sea. Naturally, another answer will emerge.

      • 151E

        Your reasoning is muddled. Any perceived threat from the present PRC has nothing to do with the historical veracity of claims of deception and coercion in the procurement of ianfu.

      • johnniewhite

        Would you please read the response I made to Jonathan Fields where I gave a link to the analysis of the issue by Michael Yon? You will know what I mean.

    • tisho

      Well this happened because after the war ended, unlike in Germany where they had a full reform of their government, the criminals were executed and a new government came to be, in Japan the criminals got head positions in the government. War criminals became education ministers, interior ministers etc. so it was obvious that they would continue their narrative. This, combined with a culture of deception, face saving and complete inability to acknowledge ones mistakes and reflect on yourself equals the current situation.

      • Lennon

        thats some top grade BS you’re serving there.

      • Hendrix

        Sounds like you have been drinking the japanese kool aid.

      • Lennon

        yeap, thats the best response you can give naturally.

      • Hendrix

        well then you are either an apologist or completely deluded, tisho made a very sound point and you poo pooed the whole thing as BS..

      • Lennon

        its certainly easy to dismiss everything you don’t agree or understand as being something from a delusionist or apologist. Tic made not a single sound point.

      • Lennon

        c’mob you guys can think of new insults to use right? this is getting old.

    • Lennon

      Well, your narrative shows how little you really know about Japan, almost every Japanese knows of the war crimes their previous generations had committed hence the nature of their humility and efforts to “do good”, not discussing it openly does not mean ignorance, not openly telling people how Japanese in the past slaughtered humans in war does not mean they’re not ashamed of their history, perhaps it is about time you stop forcing your opinion on how things should be done down another culture’s throat and respect the differences in cultures as part of human diversity.

      Japan does not deny their war crimes, they merely wishes historians to not exxagerate those crimes by inflating the number of casualties and/or the degree of atrocities committed.

      In my opinion, do you know whats sadder? for a country like China, a victim of war who has experienced first-hand the suffering of wars to ratchet up military tension in the Asia region and constantly use their WW2 victimisation as a political tool to incite violent acts and hatred towards Japan as a way to distract their citizens from their low standards of living, you’d think that a country who claims to be ‘for the people’ and understands the suffering of war would be significantly more responsible and peaceful but the inverse seems to be true in China’s case.

      To be quite honest, I doubt you have an in-depth understanding academically about Japan, Japanese, their culture or their society but yet you certainly do enjoy criticising them and overly-simplifying complex societal matters by branding it all as mere Japanese arrogance, hubris, ignorance, feeling of superiority, pride, ego and whatever negative words you can churn up.

      • Joce

        Your argument would be sound if it wasn’t for this article. The Japanese government did not go after someone who wrote extensively about comfort women. They went after a historian who only covered that issue in 2 paragraphs. I imagine he only included generic information.

        You are correct that we shouldn’t assume that the Japanese are unaware about the war time atrocities but I did hear from one of my friends that some of these things she only first heard about after studying abroad. There is a chance that maybe it is not being addressed as much as it should be within Japan to the current generation.

      • Lennon

        My response was towards Ron where he asserts a number of false accusations and an immense over-simplification of societal issues.

        I am from a country in Asia that suffered under Japanese rule during WW2 but I am positive that there remains a significant number of my countrymen that would not know exactly of their own country’s history.

        This does not mean my country is deliberately or intentionally hiding them.

        Japan has a free internet that is uncensored and Japanese are offered unfettered access, information is freely accessible to those who are interested but to expect Japan to literally force a sense of shame and guilt unto the Japanese born in the modern era is rather inhumane and absolutely unnecessary if you ask me.

      • Frido

        I don’t think that Japan’s antagonism to China should serve as a justification to revision
        history. Is the current Japanese government trying to withstand the pressure by approaching China in terms of their “concept” of civil rights? The occurrences reported in this article give cause for concern.

        I wonder if JT also gets sometimes visits from uninvited guests. I wish the editors will be able to withstand and to continue publishing with a concept that adheres to what civil rights actually mean. The protection of human dignity, self fulfillment, equality, freedom of speech and belief must not be sacrificed for the sake of so called cultural differences. If you ask an individual, I suppose, he or she would like to enjoy those values, to get them if they are not available, or not to lose them if they are on hand, regardless of cultural origin. The cynical argument of “cultural differences” has been brought up by those who claim those rights for themselves but not for others.

        And yes, Germans are extremely sensitive when it comes to tendencies of “Gleichschaltung”.

    • Steve Jackman

      This is a really excellent article, especially for exposing the widespread and ever-present problem of “uninvited guests” in Japan, who are in the habit of showing up at the homes, public spaces or workplace of anyone who does not toe the party line. In this case the “uninvited guests” happen to be Japanese diplomats, however, depending on the situation they can range from Yakuzas to other hired-guns who are common criminals and are paid to get a job done against a targeted person. Such persistent pressure, coercion, intimidation, bullying and harassment are the dark underbelly of Japan which few foreigners get to see.

      But, as most Japanese know it is always there, and it is a big reason why many Japanese learn to keep to themselves, self-censor, conform and readily bow to pressure. Things in Japan are rarely what they appear to be, so one has to be skeptical when someone Japanese or non-Japanese who had previously been critical of Japan retracts their story to suddenly conform to the “official” or “sanctioned” narrative. The question should always be asked if there were dark forces operating behind the scenes. This type of thing also contributes to the uniquely Japanese form of corruption which is so common in many Japanese institutions, like the judiciary, since they are not truly independent.

  • Taira Matsuoka

    If a Japanese history textbook mistakenly says
    “American soldiers kidnapped 200,000 Japanese girls as
    spoils of war given by Douglas MacArthur, and happily raped them and massacred them in the latter half of 1945″, how do you feel? Is it just about “freedom of speech or academic freedom”?

    Professor Herbert Ziegler, who is supposed to be a professional historian, is basically doing the same thing. Totally wrong.

    When pointed out, Professor Ziegler claims “It’s a violation of my freedom of speech and of academic freedom.”

    Maybe Japanese Consulate people could have acted smarter, but when you are disseminating totally wrong information and groundlessly insulting and defaming other people including my ancestors, that is not at all “freedom of speech or academic freedom.”

    What Professor Ziegler teaches American students in the textbook is way beyond factual interpretation.

    • blondein_tokyo

      If someone, somewhere, wrote an academic text with deliberate falsities, then no- it would not be a matter of freedom of speech, but a matter of academic honesty.

      That is not the case here, however, because it is an undeniable truth that many of these women were either
      lied to by the recruiters, sold by their families, or else kidnapped and taken by force to the brothels where they were raped repeatedly. The Japanese government has admitted this, so it is not even in question.

      The only part that I see as arguable is the culpability of the Japanese government. Although it is suspected, and is highly likely, it has not actually been proven that the government itself was complicit in giving the orders. The text should at the very least reflect that controversy; and that should be the debate we are having.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Thank you for your opinion without any foul and dirty languages.

        I am not trying to deny that there were comfort stations and paid prostitutes working there.

        1 What do you mean by “many of these women”? Majority? 10%? 10,000 women? Please show me some proof.
        2 Were the recruiters Japanese or Koreans or else?
        3 Who sold who to whom?
        4 Who kidnapped whom and took by force ?
        5 Were they raped repeatedly?
        6 The Japanese government has admitted what? In what form?
        7 You talk about the “unproven culpability of the Japanese
        government”, but what are already proven in the first place?

        Because we want to learn more, please show us some proof.

      • Kevin

        Well, if you need so much information why not look it up on the net or get a text-book. Just don’t get one influenced by Japanese right wing.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        You got me wrong.

        I want Mr./Ms. blondein_tokyo to answer my questions regarding his/her claims.

      • Kevin

        Because…? He’s an expert or something? I don’t get it.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Because blondein_tokyo claims many thins as “facts, facts, facts” without being able to show any solid evidence.

      • Kevin

        The same could be said about you though. Where is your evidence that the claims of mainstream historians about comfort women is incorrect? Blondein_tokyo can simply tell you to read any text-book or internet site like Wikipedia; which is a massive amount of material. Where is your mountain of evidence?

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Kevin, also, why don’t we go back to the original discussion?

        If Professor Ziegler is a professional “historian”, then he is supposed to have sound evidence. He should learn more about Comfort Women. His textbook is not based on evidence.

      • Kevin

        Okay, now you’re just being silly. Of course he has evidence – nothing is written about history without evidence unless you made it all up. My advice; accept that everyone’s forefathers did terrible things in the past; god knows mine did. Sure I’m angry they did that, but it’s nothing personal about me. You could try thinking the same way maybe about the behavior of Japanese soldiers and leaders during WWII.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        BTW Kevin, you seem to be living in Japan, can you read or write Japanese language? Do not tell me that you criticise Japanese people even without knowing the language and without reading Japanese documents and textbooks.

      • Kevin

        I have never criticized Japanese people. Why do you think that?

      • Taira Matsuoka

        You groundlessly stated that “There is nothing unique about this (Ziegler’s) text-book…these are the ACCEPTED FACTS…”

        You clearly said it, didn’t you? Whether you admit it as criticism or not, let’s just see. Let’s leave it to Japanese people and students.

        Now kindly answer my question. Can you read or write Japanese language while living in Japan? Do not tell me that you make comments on Japanese atrocities/comfort women even without knowing
        the language and without reading Japanese documents and textbooks.

      • Kevin

        ?? It’s not groundless, I know from experience they are the known facts – it was in my text-book at school. I don’t understand how you come to think of talking about history of a country ‘criticism’ of that country. E.g. if I say Americans killed many native Americans; is that criticism of Americans?! No, of course not. It’s just a historical fact. If I say, “the Japanese military set up sex slave camps where thousands of women aged 10 to 40 were gang raped on a daily basis” – how is that ‘criticism’ of Japan? I love Japan and its people; that’s why I have lived here for nearly 20 years. I think you seem to be confusing history with being critical of country – not the same at all.

        (No, I can only speak Japanese)

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Thank you for loving my country and people and for your sincere reply.

        Still, calling Ziegler’s textbook’s descriptions “accepted facts” is taken as offensive, groundless and maybe false accusation here and maybe anywhere else in the world. If you are not sure, why don’t you ask your Japanese students? Just ask. At least I take your assertions as a sort of false accusation and offensive.

        You are a professional, so you know if you say “facts”, it must be true.

        200,000 CW taken by force mainly from Korea.
        CW were gifts by the Emperor.
        CW were repeatedly raped.
        CW were massacred.

        All false. This is what Ziegler’s textbook educates American youths. If you have doubts, just ask your students. They will tell you how they feel. Having lived in Japan for 20 years, you are supposed to know more. You’d better learn and know more about CW rather than making comments here and give me an advice.

        Are you really sure that you believe there really were 200,000 “sex slaves” kidnapped and taken by force from Korea and they were raped repeatedly and killed? False. The truth is, there were military brothels called comfort stations and there were paid prostitutes including Japanese women (majority) working there, period.

        Also, if you claim to have any ground, not your personal experience or rumour, please show me. Which school textbook are you talking about? As you rightfully said, “you have to prove it with cold hard facts.” I do research on this topic.

        Lastly, you have read the other comment of mine in which I made many points, and told me “Ridiculousness”, please think over and read at least POW report 49 (it takes just 10 minutes).

        You said I am confused ‘history’ with ‘being critical of country’, well, I am not, because Ziegler’s version of “history” is not true at all. Not facts. This is not something we trying to deny what really/actually happened. I do not mind if people teach just true history.

        And please get back to me, as you have insulted me several times.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        One more question, Kevin.

        You saying “the Japanese military set up sex
        slave camps where thousands of women aged 10 to 40 were gang raped on a
        daily basis.” is just a historical fact, thus it is not at all criticism of Japan?

        Please just answer my question, if you really love Japan and its people.

      • Kevin

        I think anyone who believes you cannot love someone or a people because of their relatives past actions probably has a psychological problem.

      • CrimsonTears

        You do realize how ludicrous you sound don’t you? Whether someone does or does not like a country does not somehow negate facts (I dunno about his exact quote). The sad FACT is that Japan committed war crimes during WWII, does this mire my opinion of the current Japan? No.

        It is not a criticism of the Japanese people, he’s simply stating facts about historical happenings, whether you want them erased or not will not change the fact of the past. I’m also curious what him being able to speak or read Japanese has to do with historical facts? That’s ignorance plain and simple. By the way, I can’t speak or read Japanese either, and I’m not criticizing ALL Japanese, just you for your poor line of questioning and arguments.

        I really like Japanese culture and what Japan has to offer, so I will enjoy my trips to Japan. I also happen to love my home here in America, but that doesn’t change the fact that this country has done bad things too.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Hi, thank you. I get your points.

        But, what do you mean by “facts”?

        What Kevin said “”the Japanese military set up sex slave camps where thousands of women aged 10 to 40 were gang raped on a daily basis.”

        or what Professor Ziegler teaches in textbooks are not facts at all.

        I am not denying the fact that there were brothels and there were paid women working there.

        If you are asked by other people to accept untrue stories as “facts”, do you just accept it?

      • CrimsonTears

        I think you know full well what I mean by facts, as it’s fairly self-evident. If you’d turn your attention to my post: I do not know about his post.

        The facts: The Japanese DID, in fact, possess multiple comfort women stations. Soldiers and civilians affiliated with the military DID pay for services from comfort women. SOME of the comfort women were paid employees who did so of their own will; however, not ALL of the comfort women were. There are accounts and testimony from hundreds of people and documented evidence which supports that the Japanese during WWII did commit war crimes with their comfort women. Some of the comfort women were lured in by brokers who worked for the military. Some comfort women were coerced by the military into their positions. Some were forcibly taken and abducted. Some were raped. These are undeniable facts which are written in history books worldwide and are supported by hundreds of testimonies and written documentations.

        The truth is some of the testimony is probably false. The numbers are most likely inaccurate. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that on some scale these atrocities were committed. These have been supported facts for DECADES and simple denial of these facts does not make them false. I will agree that further investigations should be done and revisions made with accurate numbers ONLY once proper scholarly investigations have been pursued.

        Your denial of grounded and supported facts by China, Korea, Philippines, Dutch, Indonesia, America, Taiwan, Vietnam AND Japan is misplaced, wrong and outright irresponsible.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        OK, though I do not agree with everything you said, but your general perception of CWI is much better and more accurate than some other people here and much more acceptable and worth arguing. Thank you.

      • CrimsonTears

        One thing I would like to say on a personal level between you, Kevin and I. You seem quick to deny and act as though you’re the victim, however you seem to have no issue with throwing accusations at others, and there are A LOT of unreasonable accusations thrown at Kevin in your posts. Unfortunately these same “victimized” comments you make can be spun the other way: It greatly offends me that you deny such issues; it offends me that you claim facts are ungrounded; it offends me that you treat a foreign born citizen of Japan as unequal, blah blah (don’t take this personally, just making a point). If anything I believe Kevin were the one insulted, but he’s a big boy and I’m sure he can fight his own arguments.

        I think you should be fair in your judgments as you’ve shown a great deal of hypocrisy in your above comments. I am curious why you seem to have treated Kevin as though he is a second-class citizen and so inhospitably? –This is a personal question I would never use it as a means of generalization.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        I do not agree with your points though you can have your opinion.

        As for him, just read what he has said so far.

      • CrimsonTears

        I have read the entirety of your discussion. He has treated you with respect, has harbored no ill-intentions, has not spread falsities, has not attacked you as a person. The same cannot be said for you though.

        You do not need to agree with my points, I’ve simply observed your argument and made an objective statement about your comments: If you’d like I can pull the exact quotes from your statements which can be used as supporting evidence to bolster my claims.. Or you can go back and read your own posts and see for yourself. (The top paragraph was objective; the bottom largely subjective).

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Thank you, but I do not see any point spending any more time continue
        discussing with you. I’ve got things to do. Nice talking to you.

      • Hendrix

        this Matsuoka guy is like a 10 year old kid, very immature and quick to play the victim..

      • Kevin

        I think anyone who believes you cannot love someone or a people because of their relatives past actions probably has a psychological problem. Are there any peoples/race on the Earth that have perfect and pure ancestors? I think you should stop taking the actions of some of your ancestors so personally. My ancestors did horrible things too but I don’t feel offended if people talk about it.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Hi, I agree with you saying “Are there any peoples/race on the Earth that have perfect and pure ancestors? …My ancestors did horrible things too”

        But, what you and Ziegler claim about CW are not at all true.

        “the Japanese military set up sex slave camps where thousands of women aged 10 to 40 were gang raped on a daily basis.”

        -Are you serious this is a fact?

        I am not denying the fact that there were brothels and there were paid women working there.

        If you are asked by other people to accept untrue stories as “facts”, do you just accept it?

        Please also give me a reply to the longer comment of mine which had more points which ends with a paragraph “And please get back to me, as you have insulted me several times.”

      • Kevin

        I’m sorry if I insulted you, I had no intention to.

        “If you are asked by other people to accept untrue stories as “facts”, do you just accept it?”

        Like most people in the world I do accept what is written in text-books. Don’t you?
        Do you not believe in the ‘Holocaust’? Do you not believe that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor? Why do you believe it? Because that’s what the historians tell us and we generally trust them because we don’t have the time or money to do such research ourselves. DO historians make mistakes? Yes, but they do check their studies thoroughly. In their research all Asian region historians discovered Japan set up sex salve camps. If you or other historians disagree and have convincing evidence you could change the version of history.

        If you are so adamant and so passionate that the world’s historians are wrong about the comfort omen then why not travel around the world meeting them and presenting your evidence. If they agree, then text books will change. Simple. Just shouting ‘it’s lies!’ only makes Japan look more and more guilty.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        OK, I accept your apology if you really mean it. But if you made those insulting statements unintentionally, you should try to talk nicer.

        “Like most people in the world I do accept what is written in text-books. Don’t you?”

        That is WHY it is a serious issue and there are 200 comments made for this single article. If American students accept and doubtlessly believe what Ziegler claims which contains full of misunderstandings, it is a problem.

        Your advice “me travelling around the world” does not sound realistic and sound, but I do what I can do.

      • Kevin

        But Zaigar is only copying from established history of the comfort women issue, he isn’t saying anything different from 99% of all other historians. If you want to challenge Zaigar you’ll have to challenge the entire historian community.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Maybe you are right. – Ziegler may be just copying what some other people say.

        But as a professional historian, if you are wrong, that cannot be an excuse.

        Why don’t you read POW report 49? (have you read?) Then make a comparison.

      • Kevin

        Why would he think he is wrong? He would need convincing evidence to think that.

        I know many CW deniers like yourself always talk about the report 49.ive read it, it’s not that convincing and their are many many more reports stating that the CW were sex slaves including many Japanese soldiers. Have you read the testament from the Japanese soldiers? You don’t believe them? Why not? Are you just believing what you want to believe?

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Yes, I have read many things including Japanese soldiers’ and many others. If you want, I can show yo some links.

        Do you even know what Ziegler’s textbook says? Ziegler’s textbook is quite contradictory to 49.

        And this is no sarcasm, but can you show me the links to “many more reports stating that the CW were sex slaves”?

        As you can see, I do research on this and I am happy to know what those reports you mentioned are saying, even if they are not supportive of my position.

      • Kevin

        Just Google ‘comfort women’ they all say the same thing, or go to the library and look at history books, they all agree that Japan conducted sex slave camps. The only disagreement is with the numbers of CW.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Thanks for your reply, but you have nothing more particular than google or library.

        BTW I have changed some of my comments for you. My apologies for that and nice talking to you.

      • Steve Jackman

        I am so sick of this argument by many Japanese and non-Japanese apologists that anyone who is not fluent in the Japanese language cannot criticise Japan. Saying something like this is just dumb and hypocritical. Japanese people often have strong opinions and preconceptions about foreigners, without having the ability to speak a foreign language themselves.

        Abe routinely criticises China and Korea, yet he does not speak Chinese or Korean. Obama makes policy and military decisions about Middle East without speaking a word of Arabic. Does it mean they have no right to do so? If people were to stop forming opinions or making judgments based on their language ability only, global interaction between people, commerce, politics and diplomacy would come to a standstill.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Fine.

        I am not saying all the points you make. Yes, you may have an opinion, even if you cannot speak the language, or read Japanese language after spending 20 years here. But do you have respect for the culture and the nation?

        Also, while saying “Japanese people often have strong opinions and preconceptions about foreigners, without having the ability to speak a foreign language themselves”, you yourself are making comments on very sensitive issues of Japan and offending me in some other comments without having the ability to read Japanese books, papers, literatures, news articles and so on.

        The reason why I asked you about the language is, if you cannot read Japanese, and thus not being able to read books, papers, reports, literatures and news articles or whatever, obviously you are not able to understand issues at a higher level. Many books and reports on Comfort Women are available in Japanese language. And sometimes, they are available in Japanese language only. If you are interested, I can show you the links for those.

      • Steve Jackman

        I was not commenting on my own Japanese language ability, but rather disputing your assertion that somehow a person’s comments about Japan are not valid unless that person is fluent in reading and writing Japanese.

      • CrimsonTears

        Again, somehow you tie someone’s language ability into their self-worth. If these texts which accurately dispute the comfort women issue were legitimate and peer-reviewed why would they not be adopted into other languages or open for translation? Japan isn’t the only one with texts on the matter, there are literally hundreds of sources with supported evidence that Japan committed heinous acts with their comfort women (during WWII.. 70 years ago).

        By YOUR very logic (and very flawed might I add): If you cannot speak and read German, Dutch, French, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, etc. then you have no dog in this fight either, as they possess accounts on the matter as well.

        It’s important that when you converse with people you do so with a degree of civility and not make such inane judgments as “You can’t read my language, therefore your argument is invalid”. For the record too, he CAN speak the language as he said so in his reply to your above comments, which you’ve failed to accurately read it would seem.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        I never said that.

        Please read my comments if you would like to.

      • CrimsonTears

        Ah well.. Here are three such examples directly pulled from you:

        -“BTW Kevin, you seem to be living in Japan, can you read or write Japanese language? Do not tell me that you criticise Japanese people even without knowing the language and without reading Japanese documents and textbooks.”
        -“Whether you admit it as criticism or not, let’s just see. Let’s leave it to Japanese people and students to decide.” (Said to Kevin who has lived in Japan for twenty years and is for all intensive purposes JAPANESE)
        -“Now kindly answer my question. Can you read or write Japanese language while living in Japan? Do not tell me that ..”

        Now the thing is you’re an adult, so you should be able to distinguish these things for yourself and should know better.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Thank you, but I do not see any point spending any more time continue discussing with you. I’ve got things to do. Nice talking to you!

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Hi, Steve.

        Thank you and sorry, because I thought the comment from you was from Kevin with whom I was making a discussion.

        However, the basic points are the same. You may have an opinion whether you can speak the language or not, but to be able to fully understand the issue like CWI, and especially in a country like Japan where English is not the language, then it makes a difference.

      • Steve Jackman

        Please try to understand that world history (which includes Japan’s actions during WW2) is not the exclusive domain of the Japanese.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Yes, because we understand world history is not the exclusive domain of the Japanese and there seem to be a serious misunderstanding like sex slaves, that’s why we discuss.

      • Hendrix

        you dont need to read japanese or speak japanese to make a criticism, you are displaying classic cultural superiority with your remarks.

      • blondein_tokyo

        First, they aren’t claims. They are facts backed with empirical evidence. Secondly, they aren’t mine. They are from research done by academics and historians, as well as statements from eye witnesses, such as the recruiters and the comfort women themselves. If you want to argue with someone, then I suggest you go argue with them. But I sincerely doubt you’ll get far, because you’ll immediately be dismissed as the crank you are.

        Calling you a “crank” and not another much nastier name is me being polite. I have zero patience for this sort of revisionist BS. I won’t be giving legitimacy to this conversation by answering further. You aren’t worth the energy it takes to type this out.

      • Frank Schirmer

        Why are you resorting to Yakuza tactics now? Is that all you Japanese can do when confronted with the truth?

      • Ian SUTTLE (サトル・イアン)

        Woah, that’s racist!
        What “yakuza tactics”? He criticizes English-speaking foreigners in Japan for not making an effort to learn the language or learn anything about the culture in which they live (read: the majority of Debito’s fans), and you call him a “yakuza”? And insist that that’s all “you Japanese” can do when confronted with “the truth”? Kevin explicitly cited Wikipedia as one of his sources, so what you are calling “the truth” is Wikipedia-sourced? It’s not clear what historical points the two are arguing about exactly, and in this case Kevin might be right (but his response to me elsewhere — to which I’ve already responded and it should be confirmed shortly — is nonsense) but there’s no justification for what you just said.

      • Taira Matsuoka

        It looks like some people feel offended or mislead by my comments on Japanese language and discussing CWI.

        My apologies for that.

        Let me make it clear and put it this way;

        1 You can of course join the discussion on Japan whether you can understand Japanese language or not.

        2 If you can understand Japanese language, then you will be able to understand the issue through papers, books, reports, literatures etc., and your understanding will be deeper and wider.

        3 If you live in Japan for a long time and love the country, then local people like me would expect you to study the language.

    • Alexis Sanchez

      Here’s a fact for you scumbag: Your Ex-PM Nakasone in 1973 bragged to the head of Sankei Shinbun that he erected a comfort house in Indonesia that could serve the sexual needs of 3000 of his men.

      Live with the truth and stand tall or die like a useless dog, just like those war criminals you are defending

      • Taira Matsuoka

        First, let’s go back to my point of Professor Ziegler’s “freedom of speech or academic freedom.”

        Yes, we know Nakasone worked hard to set up comfort stations. It’s a well-known fact.

        But I wonder why the Japan Times is approving/tolerating a comment like “DIE like a useless dog.”, “you JPs.”

      • Frank Schirmer

        You’re just a Japanese so you are brain-washed by your school system. Please get some real education and then we can discuss. Do not try to use Yakuza tactics. Thank you very much.

      • Ian SUTTLE (サトル・イアン)

        Your comment is racist. It might be a good idea to delete it.

      • CrimsonTears

        It’s probably better if people see it as it will simply discredit his future statements. Although I don’t think Japanese is a “race”, I agree his comment was wrong.

      • Hendrix

        whats with playing the racist card all the time? , nearly all your comments mention ” thats racist” etc… like a broken record

    • Raansu

      Except comfort women was a historical fact…..

    • Toolonggone

      You are missing the point in the article. This is not about the comparison between history writings of Japan and those of US or the world. This is all about the power of national government intervening into education of other country. I don’t have problem with conservative historians or activists making critical response to what he said: they are exercising their rights to speak. But, the government officials barging in with both guns blazing??? That’s completely different story. Never have I seen any country sending government officials to order academic scholars who are not subject to designated country for rewriting national history.

    • KenjiAd

      I think you might have some basic misunderstanding on the American concept of “freedom of speech, academic freedom” and why Mr Ziegler got offended.

      “Freedom of speech,” as typically understood by American professors, is that the government does not interfere with what they say/write about anything, no matter how offensive, or totally wrong, the speech/writing might be. If an academician said/wrote something factually wrong, stupid, offensive, whatever, it would be other academicians’ job to refute it.

      If, on the other hand, the US government came in and told him/her to correct the error, the vast majority of American professors would interpret it as governmental censorship or violation of academic freedom.

    • Hendrix

      You are talking complete nonsense..

  • 武 東郷

    What is a historian supposed to do? A good historian makes his best efforts to get to the historical facts and truths by getting into the primary sources, then he presents his research results to his peers for review.
    In this case, Prof.Ziegler obviously knows little about the East Asia but the publisher still asked him to write about the East Asia. How did he do it?
    He did it based on what somebody else already wrote, just copying and pasting. He claims that none of the reviewers hired by the publisher had ever made any comments. I just wonder what the qualifications of those reviewers are. Are they capable of having access to the primary sources and do they have enough knowledge and experience as researchers of the East Asia? As far as the area of his specialty is concerned, I bet that he will not take the same approach because if he does he risks his academic credentials on the line. So, such is the level of the history education in America. What a shame! I want to see the bibliography of his reference materials.

    • johnniewhite

      I want to see his bibliography too. As the figure of Nankin Massacre is 400,000 in his textbook, it could be one of Mr Xi’s recent speeches that is printed in Chaina Daily! LOL

      • Jonathan Fields

        Because all these Japanese politicians spouting “historical facts” are qualified to speak on the matter. Psssshhhh.

      • 武 東郷

        Prof.Ziegler is just saying that the Japanese military annihilated the city of Nanking two times over(Wow!). The survivors must have been terrified and so scared of the Japanese. Then, a simple question. Why did those people come back to the city if they were so terrified. Daily business activities returned to normal after the fall of the city as witnessed by the city’s Western residents and the city population actually increased (while the Japanese military was on a killing spree?).

    • Alastar

      Pretty much every historian outside of Japan who focuses on Japanese wartime history agrees with Mr. Ziegler – not to mention a lot of Japanese (country of origin) Japanese historians (discipline). I studied under several.

      • 武 東郷

        Using the books written by Yoshiaki Yoshimi, who lost the academic debate on the comfort women issue by the end of 1990s? Realizing that he is on the losing side, he suddenly shifted the focus of the issue from the rounding up of the women by force to the coerciveness. That is what Asahi is doing too.Koreans still insist that up to 200,000 women were rounded up by force and they are deliberately confusing the number of those women corps volunteers and comfort women.If you studied under Japanese teachers, I bet that you learned about the book by Kako Senda. He misquoted or misinterpreted the article in an Korean newspaper he mentioned in his book. Recent research specified the article(its date and the newspaper’s name). Do you have the info on it? I wonder how up-to-date those American historians are.

      • Toolonggone

        >Yoshiaki Yoshimi, who lost the academic debate on the comfort women issue by the end of 1990s

        Really??? That’s something new. I have never heard of anyone in denier’s camp making such claim.

      • 武 東郷

        Just ask around about what has been happening about this issue. That is why Yoshimi is changing his story. Just ask around.

      • Toolonggone

        Sorry. There is no evidence suggesting that he ‘changed’ the story. Never has he made a flip-flop like some revisionists and right-wing politicians do. His statement is consistent: deniers and right-wing politicians make an ideologically inconsistent argument of historical denial based on a very narrow definition of “coercion.”

  • Internet Terracotta Tiger

    Why are comments disabled/unallowed on this writer’s other column? Is the writer or the JT afraid of what they might hear? And if so, why do I pay the Japan Times?

  • Toolonggone

    The real issue here is the role of national government. It well explains the magnitude of narcissistic mentality smacking into the canvas of Japanese political culture.

  • meneldal

    The Japanese are being very hypocritical when it comes to accusing the US of writing their history and trying to make them look bad. The US have covered the worse (human experiments in China that doesn’t get brought often) so they’re not really in any position to complain.

    I think now in Europe, no country has a majority that hates Germany while it was actually more common before Hitler at some points (around WWI for example). Everyone agrees that Nazis were bad but in Japan not so much. Germans are fine saying “people before me did terrible things but I don’t have to feel ashamed for it, I’m not the one who did it”. Maybe Japanese people should get over protecting the honour of dead people, especially if everyone agrees they were bad.

    • Alexis Sanchez

      I think the Americans were too lenient with JP war criminals. They were lucky to get away with it. Were it not for the impending cold war and the convenient geographical location of the JP islands relative to NE Asia, I suspect the country would still be in the doldrums today.

      Harbin human experiments should conjure up feelings of opprobrium but somehow the JPs find a logic to twist the finger of blame and point it squarely at any foreign power or left-wing media.

  • Japanese Bull Fighter

    I sent Ziegler an email asking for the text of the passages that the Consultate General objected to and the sources on which he based those passages. I made no comment in my email about the accuracy or inaccuracy of those passages. I asked for this information because (1) his textbook is not readily available in Japan and (2) I wanted students to know what he had actually written rather than having to rely on vague descriptions and assertions. I used his academic address. The mail did not bounce. He has not replied. From what I have read, those who signed the letter protesting alleged censorship did so without knowing what was actually in the textbook or what the Consulate General had actually said to Ziegler. This was, I think, irresponsible. Arudou Debito is to be thanked for getting Ziegler to speak although it would have been even better had he reproduced the passages in question and the sources on which they were based.

    • Shaun O’Dwyer

      Fair call. Still, the main issue-as others have pointed out- is that this is not a job for government officials. If qualified J or Non-J historians have a problem with the textbook, it is their job to take the issue up with its writers. The Japanese government now looks like it has politicized the issue. A few more high profile missteps like this, in the 70th anniversary of the war’s end, could generate resentment- and even a reawakening of recently dormant memories of Japan’s wartime atrocities against American servicemen and civilians. And that would be very detrimental to Japan’s national interest.

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        I agree. The government protest was dumb. It would be interesting to know at what level of government the decision to make this protest was made.

      • Joce

        They seem to be following the lead of Abe.

      • Frank Schirmer

        The Japanese government will have no trouble finding Japanese historians with degrees from Japanese schools that will deny everything and anything.

        It is important that this issue will get attention from the international community of historians, and the Japanese government is currently doing its best to attract attention, but probably not in the way intended.

    • Barry Rosenfeld

      I don’t why this man who calls himself DEBITO thinks that Ziegler is “professional historian.” No one seems to have read this:
      “I’m not a specialist in East Asian history. I teach world history, meaning I know very little about many things. I’m largely a scholar of German history. Germans had to deal with their past, especially during World War II. It wasn’t easy, it took time, but by and large the Germans have acknowledged and come to terms with the ugly parts of their past. The Japanese never have.”

      Ziegler is not qualified to write on this chapter of history, especially as its extremely contentious.

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        To the extent he gets paid to teach history and has done some historical research (actually historical sociology), I have no problem calling him a professional historian. But, as you say he “is not qualified to write on this chapter of history” and his claim about Japanese not acknowledging “the ugly parts of their past” is completely bogus. Virtually all of the serious historical research on the “ugly parts of their past” has been done by Japanese and there have been numerous acknowledgements of the “ugly parts.” Indeed, one of the on going issues of late has been whether Abe would retract or modify the long-standing statement on the comfort women. If there had been no acknowledgement, there would be nothing to retract or modify. Ziegler is an historian but not a particularly competent one.

      • Toolonggone

        What is your definition of “professional historian?”

    • Toolonggone

      Were you really expecting you would receive a reply in no time from a person who has never met before or doesn’t really know who you are? That’s just so naïve.

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        Not naive at all. I get questions about articles I have written from people I have never met. If it is a polite question asking for a copy of the article or a reference, I reply. I think this is standard practice among academics.

      • Toolonggone

        That totally depends on 1) who is a sender; 2) if the question is worth the interest of his/her; and 3) if it is written in good faith. Many academic scholars in the US receive tons of mails–some of those a well over a hundred (both internal and external) every day, jugging correspondence with students on class work and academic projects, communications within department and university on administrative duties and service, and their own publications. Unless you have some academic affiliation or connection with professor in personal or professional terms, it’s very unlikely that you will receive a reply within a few days. They may or may not reply you in short notice–but not for the question that requires a long and thorough answer. What usually happens in such case is that 1) your message is put on hold without any assurance for quick reply at the risk of being left out or 2)being ended up into spam bucket or discarded.

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        I wrote weeks ago when the story first broke. I wrote as one academic to another. I have been an academic in the US (more than a decade in the University of California system) and have some knowledge of US academic culture.

      • Toolonggone

        Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you are in an academic. My apologies. Well, in case of that, I’m afraid that your e-mail is being put on hold or stalled for the possible reasons you mention.

      • jimbo jones

        as an academic residing in academia i find your sarcasm quite uncouth

      • Steve Jackman

        Japanese Bull Fighter, I recall that about three months ago in the comments section of another article here in The Japan Times, you accused this newspaper of not even being Japanese, just because you happen to disagree with it. I’ve copied your comment here in which you wrote, “The Japan Times is a newspaper in Japan. While it is owned by a Japanese company, it is not really a Japanese newspaper.” Your claiming that you are an “academic” means nothing, in light of some of your prior comments.

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        The relevance of this to the present thread is not obvious. The discussion is about the Japanese government protest directed at the Ziegler textbook.

      • Steve Jackman

        The relevance is that you seem to think that labeling yourself an “academic” is important to whether or not Ziegler should reply to your email. My point is that your history of comments here is a more important window into who you are, than any such label.

      • Joce

        I agree that it does not automatically cast him as a bad source simply because of non-answer. This could be a culture difference in expectation though.

      • Steve Jackman

        No offence to you, Japanese Bull Fighter, but based on your history of one-sided comments here, I would not have responded to your email either. Besides, Ziegler probably does not want additional uninvited guests showing up at his doorstep (either physical or cyber guests).

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        Ad hominem.

      • Steve Jackman

        You just wrote in your comment above, “Ziegler is an historian but not a particularly competent one.” You sure know how to make friends and influence people within your chosen profession, since it’s quite a compliment from one academic to another. Did it occur to you that this is perhaps why he never replied to your email?

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        No, because I made this comment weeks after sending a very neutral email. Now, having answered your question, let me ask you one. You have stated a concern with keeping comments focused on the JT article. How does your stream of comments on what I have written contribute to that goal?

    • Joce

      You couldn’t find the textbook on Amazon?

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        Amazon Japan lists used copies at just under 30,000 yen or roughly $250. I was not going to pay $250 to see two paragraphs of text. Further, I asked for his sources. Textbooks do not necessarily have footnotes. English language college survey textbooks are not something that are commonly held by libraries in Japan. Only one library in Japan (Doshisha University in Kyoto) is listed as having a copy. That does not do me much good in Tokyo. There is the additional problem that it is not clear from news reports which edition of the textbook is at issue. The one listed on Amazon is 2011. The one in the Doshisha library is 2014. Were I writing an academic article on the controversy, I would probably spend the money to get his text but as I started in my letter to Ziegler, I simply wanted a copy of the controversial paragraph (and references to his sources) so students in my English language Japanese political history courses could make up their own minds about what he had written without relying on journalistic commentary and bias. I would think that he would be happy to help undergraduate history students learn about historical controversies.

      • Joce

        That price sounds about accurate. Since this is a college textbook that is how much they average in price.

        I understand you wanting to just see the except in question but you shouldn’t assume he is ignoring you. There could be many reasons for the lack of response. His email filter could have easily sent you to his junk mail. He could be receiving an over abundance in emails due to this article and having no time to read anything. He could be busy with work, life issues.

        I’m not sure what you’re profession is. But I can also imagine that if you’re not a fellow historian, he may just not feel like answering your questions. And is probably thinking, ”Go buy the book if you want to read it”. He isn’t exactly obligated to provide you with excerpts just cause that is the only thing you want to read.

        Non-answer does not necessarily mean avoidance.

      • Steve Jackman

        Japanese Bull Fighter wrote, “Amazon Japan lists used copies at just under 30,000 yen or roughly $250.”

        This is absolutely wrong, since Amazon Japan has both electronic and paperback (used) copies of this book available for around 3,000 Yen (less than USD 30). I know this because I just checked Amazon’s Website. There are two volumes of this book, the first covers world history until 1500 and the second volume covers global history from 1500 onward. Japanese Bull Fighter, how can you defend your credibility when you make such false statements here?

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        It is not clear which edition (there are many) was objected to. Since the article refers to using it with high school students, I looked at the 2011 AP (advanced placement) edition. That is 29,117 yen on Amazon Japan.

      • Steve Jackman

        That’s about as good as using the excuse, “My dog ate my homework”.

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        Steve, still waiting for you to tell me the search string you used to find that 3000 yen something edition on Amazon Japan.

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        I rechecked Amazon being careful to cut and paste the reference given in the Japan Times article. The only item I that came up around your 3000 yen price point was a study guide for volume 2 at 3843 with an estimated delivery time of two to four weeks not the text itself. The 2011 AP edition of the text itself is 29,117 yen used and 30,689 yen. Amazon Japan does not list a recent two volume edition under the title given in the Japan Times article. The same search string at the American site yields the AP edition at $95 new, $85 used and volume 2 of the 2010 edition new at $143.98.”bentley ziegler traditons encounters” yields NO electronic editions on the Japanese site. Broadening the search to simply “bentley ziegler” still yields NO electronic editions. If you would be so kind as to post the search string you used, I will be happy to have another go at Amazon Japan.

      • Steve Jackman

        The article does NOT reference an AP edition of the book, so I suggest you read it again carefully. In fact, in the article Ziegler clearly states that his book is targeted at college students, not high school students (did you miss this point in the above article?). You also seem to have missed Ziegler’s point in the article that no one had objected to the two paragraphs on Japan in the book in the 15 years since it was first published. So, it is safe to assume that these two paragraphs have not changed, especially in the last several years for the editions of the book available cheaply on Amazon and ebay. In fact, ebay has the 4th edition of the book (2008) for just USD 25 and they ship to Japan. For someone who claims to be an “academic”, I would have thought that you would be more resourceful in finding material when researching things.

      • Joce

        I think it should be understood that there are probably different cultural expectations. You might expect him to answer you. But as I mentioned before he might be thinking, why don’t you just purchase the book in question. As a writer, would it also be irresponsible to just provide the passage instead of you looking at the whole book. Maybe by looking at the whole book you can see what he wrote concerning other historical controversies. It’s may be misleading to only look at two paragraphs and infer from that. Maybe you should look at multiple history books and see how they mention the issue. It just seems like two paragraphs is not enough to make an informed opinion.

        There also can be another factor. There could be legal reasons. That book is owned by a publisher. Maybe he is not allowed to simply give that information. Selling books is a business and if he always just provided a passage to people who requested, I bet the publisher might be angry.

        Like I said. I think there is a difference in expectation, and its not saying that what you expected is wrong but you should also understand where he might be coming from as well.

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        I am in basic agreement with you. Were I writing an academic article on the controversy, I would buy his book and read it. I would compare his treatment of the comfort women with his treatment of other controversial issues. I would look at other textbooks in the same market. But, as I stated in my letter to him, I wanted the two paragraphs in question so that undergraduates could do reports on this controversy without having to guess what he had written from incomplete journalistic accounts. I teach two courses where students take up controversies involving Japan such as whaling, comfort women, etc. I am semi-retired and while I do sometimes buy items out of pocket to help a student do an interesting project, I am not in a position to spend $200-$300 just on the off chance that an undergraduate might need Ziegler’s text.

      • Joce

        Unfortunately, it may be difficult for you to get your hands on what you are asking for the reasons I have started before. I do have to admit. I would be very interested in taking your class. It sounds like it would be interesting to hear what the current opinion of the new generation is. We hear so much from older politicians we rarely get to hear the opinions of the young. Sounds like how you conduct your class helps you’re students think critically on their own.

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        I push students to challenge everything including what I say. I repeatedly tell them, “Don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself.” One of my catch phrases is “the political history of Japan is political.” By this I mean that students need to be aware of the political bias of everyone dealing with the subject starting with me so they can make their own judgement about controversial issues.

      • Joce

        That is a very reasonable way you teach. Here in the U.S. we have our own group of individuals who want to intefer with how U.S. history is taught to students based on obvious political reasons. Every country must deal with those that want to sugar coat events.

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        There is no shortage of teaching in Japan that is driven by politics. I have strong political views and state them as such. Some students find this disconcerting. I think it is better that students know up front what my views are rather than hiding behind a mask of “objectivity” or “neutrality.” Anyone who claims that they are “objective” or “neutral” when it comes to controversial and emotion-laden issues is deluding themselves. I do, of course, make it clear that I welcome opposing views and they should feel free to disagree with me.

      • Joce

        Do you mind if I ask? What are your views concerning the comfort women?

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        Pretty close to those of PARK Yuha and C. Sarah SOH. The former is a Korean woman who has written on the comfort women. The latter is a Korean-American woman who has written on this subject. As far as I know, Park’s work is available only fully uncensored in Japanese. The Korean version, which I could not read in any event, has been censored because of a court order. Park’s work does not fit with the official, prevailing narrative in the ROK. C. Sarah Soh’s book on the comfort women was published by the University of Chicago Press and is easily obtained in a paperback edition.

      • Joce

        I just did a brief look at their books. They sound interesting When I have a bit more time later, I will look a little bit more deeper. Thank you for these recommendations. I personally am slowly trying to learn more about how Japan’s political system works. I was surprised to find out that Abe’s position is not voted for by the people. But actually by elected officials. Am I understanding that correctly? Also what is your views concerning nuclear energy in Japan? I know that the Tohoku earthquake made nuclear power a political issue.

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        Because of the comments made by Steve Jackman, I double checked my library search again cutting and pasting the title from the Japan Times article. The CiNii catalog for Japanese university libraries does not given a single exact match. The closest match aappears to be a 2011 student edition held by two libraries outside of Tokyo (Kansai and Hokuriku). Until Mr. Jackman posts the search string he used to find what he claims to be Amazon Japan copies in the 3000 yen range, I have to assume that they only copy I might be able to examine is the one held by the Doshisha Library in Kyoto. I did a more general search for possible Japanese vendors of the textbook without finding anything less expensive than the Amazon item.

      • Steve Jackman

        If I was your professor, I’d have to give you a “D” for Effort/Initiative and an “F” for results.

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        A good teacher tells the weak student how to improve themselves, how they can do better next time.

      • blondein_tokyo

        At the elementary level, maybe. Welcome to adulthood, where you are expected to do your own research and not whine when the professor calls you out for being lazy.

      • Oliver Mackie

        As much as we have disagreed on issues in the past, I have always found your comments at least sincere and well-intentioned. From my perspective, you have broken new low ground with this comment. Do you actually realize the expertise of the person you are addressing? All Japanese Bull Fighter is asking for is the search string that Mr. Jackson used, which he could have supplied even more easily than the unconstructive comments he actually used his time to post.

      • Steve Jackman

        Are you serious? BTW, there’s a bridge I’d like to sell you!!! Interested?

        p.s., who’s “Mr. Jackson”? Not a good way to make friends and influence people, if you can’t even get their name right. Nice try!

      • Oliver Mackie

        I take it that’s a ‘no’ then….

  • Ian SUTTLE (サトル・イアン)

    So the point of this article is that there was a misunderstanding. A historian wrote a textbook for university students, a single school district forced a whole bunch of high school students to use it, and the reps for the Japanese government got mad at the author because such a book should not be used in high schools? And Debito not only gives an outlet for, but actually ENCOURAGES the historian in question to criticize the Japanese government, and the school system in said country (about which he himself admits he knows very little).

    Great hard-hitting, critical, balanced and fair journalism, Debito. Keep it up!

    • Ian SUTTLE (サトル・イアン)

      The consulate accused him of poisoning the uncritical minds of K12 children who just believe everything they read not as the opinions of the author but as fact. He didn’t know what they were talking about. He later found out that a school district had used his book to poison the uncritical minds of K12 who just believe everything they read not as the opinions of the author but as fact. Debito interviews him. In Debito’s interview with him, he comes across as completely uncritical of the school district and completely critical of “the Japanese government”. I would like to see what this author actually believes in an independent piece by him: this is essentially just Debito poking a professional scholar to say things Debito wants to put in the mouths of professional scholars.

      And for the record, yes, in Japan the NATIONAL GOVERNMENT more than municipal and prefectural governments controls what is in the textbooks and is taught in schools at elementary, junior high and senior high schools (the equivalent of American K12). This is how it is in almost every other developed country. America is unique in the devolution of its education system down to the lowest possible administrative level. This is why there is such a problem with the Texas school board controlling what is in the textbooks used in other, more liberal states with regard to the history of the Civil War and slavery, evolutionary biology, and so on. America is the oddball on this point, not Japan.

      • Kevin

        There is nothing unique about this text-book, it only says what every other textbook in every other school in the world, including Japan says about the Japanese comfort women. There is no conspiracy against Japan, these are the accepted facts based on years of research. If there is a valid alternative where are the convincing academic papers? If America and the world has it wrong about Japanese war atrocities then they are going to have to prove it with cold hard facts.

      • Frank Schirmer

        There are plenty of government-paid Japanese scholars who will make up or obscure facts to fit the narrative. It is important for the Japanese to either present peer-reviewed, internationally approved evidence or just shut up.

      • Ian SUTTLE (サトル・イアン)

        What do you mean by “government-paid” scholars? Ones who are tenured at kokuritsu-daigaku? Should scholars with jobs in public institutions be treated with greater skepticism than those in private universities? Or are privately-funded think-tanks and “independent researchers” the only way to go? Now who’s trying to crack down on academic freedom?

    • Alexis Sanchez

      Debito always comes correct. He’s an inspiration to all gaijin and the arch-nemesis of NetoUyo! hahahaha

  • Alastar

    I dunno, having just read it again, Report 49 still seems to describe what we would now consider to be human trafficking.

    The actions against Asahi have not yet succeeded, so as of right now they are meaningless. Plus Asahi has issued retractions for stories based on a small amount of evidence which turned out to be untrue. If you have 5,000 things, and two of them turn out to be not true, the remaining 4,998 things do not vicariously become false.

    What motivation do these women and all of the historians have to lie? Someone said this above, but the only time people in the West think poorly of the Japanese today is when they start denying these things. Our relationship with Germany today has demonstrated that we are more than capable of forgiving a people for waging an imperialist war of aggression involving unspeakable atrocities and offenses to human dignity, even when they admit it.

    What if your friend’s father were accused of rape and murder and there were literally hundreds of witnesses and physical evidence that corroborated these witnesses’ accounts, but your friend was unwavering in his insistence that his father was innocent?

    • Lennon

      In Korea, it is relatively well known that once Japan started paying reparations, the number of purported “comfort women” sky rocketed.

      I’d say the desire for monetary gains can drive humans to lie, especially in a situation where there are absolutely no way to verify the authenticity of a claim.

      The other reason would be for prostitutes to claim they’re being enslaved and forced in order to escape repercussions back home after the war ended.

      For example, in Holland, the women who serviced the Germans as prostitutes are tortured, humiliated, branded and some killed after the country had been “liberated” by the Allies

      so the desire to escape repercussions can also be reason and motive enough for them to actively lie.

      Well, to be quite honest, these days people does not like listening to objective thoughts or arguments, they prefer to merely attribute every crime and atrocities verified or unverified as being committed by the losers in war. The very moment you start offering alternative arguments on controversial topics like this, people starts branding you as an ultra-nationalist, a war crime denier and their supposed “morally superior” stance would seem to invalidate whatever objective arguments raised.

      which is why I no longer bother

      • Taira Matsuoka

        Hi Lennon, thanks for your very professional, rational and concise comment.

        Your comment is so good so do do you mind if I quote your comment for some other time?

  • Rozza

    The history thst Abe wants to control is 70 to 80 years old, most all of those directly involved will be gone soon enough yet the denial keeps giving it life. However I cannot but see an irony in not only the US but the West generally in the age of terror. Though it’s only 14 years ago, still quite fresh, good luck with doing any serious historical work on 9/11 let alone getting it into a textbook.

  • Kevin

    So you’re saying historians around the world base there research on what a newspaper in Japan once said? Are you serious? That would never be accepted by any academic publisher. Ridiculousness.

    • Taira Matsuoka

      I am not saying historians around the world base there research on what a newspaper in Japan once said.

      If you are a professional “historian”, then you are supposed to have sound evidence.

  • johnniewhite

    With that article I have a lot of issues — please read the comment section.

  • Namenomnomnom

    “due to the looming threats of the Soviet Union in the pacific” would only pull it’s weight in your argument if there weren’t a similar or larger looming threat of the Soviet Union in Europe.

    • Leos Ng

      The situation was very different :)

      In Europe, the US still had countries like the UK, France and many other allies. but in the Asia pacific region, the US had none, or you can say probably only China who was also in a bad shape and wasn’t fully trusted by the US gov (because the Chinese leaders wasn’t willing to be controlled by the US). And Australia is too far to help.

      So the obvious choice became the Japanese, who is more or less under the USA control and clear of communist influences. It did turn out to be a good choice with the defeat of the non communist chinese government, And how useful Japan was as springboard during the Korean war.

  • Japanese Bull Fighter

    For those who might be interested in what this textbook actually says about the comfort women rather than making ad hominenm attacks on other posters, the following search string should take you to an article that purports to reproduce the passages in question: ziegler bentley Traditions and Encounters hatena 1416798771. I have not posted the URL because it appears that putting a URL in a comment, even a URL such as one for Amazon in Japan, triggers JT moderation and censorship. This article is in Japanese but it also gives what it says is the contents of the textbook on this issue. I am not at the present time in a position to verify the accuracy of the reproduced text.

    • Steve Jackman

      You have either missed the point of the article, or you are intentionally trying to change the focus of the discussion from what’s really important. One can debate the accuracy of historical facts forever, but that is not what this article is about.

      This article is about the inappropriate meddling of the Japanese government into the contents of a textbook which is used for teaching students in a foreign country, i.e., the U.S. It is entirely wrong for the Japanese government to interfere in such an arrogant and forceful manner into the specific content of the material taught to students in a foreign country. Japan may be successful in using intimidation, fear, coercion and bullying to rewrite history and promote self-censorship at home, but I am furious when it tries to use the same strong-arm tactics in my home country of America. Shame on you!

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        You apparently missed my comment in which I stated that I thought the Japanese government action was dumb. Further, I would suggest that your continual ad hominem comments are a far greater diversion from the theme of this article than anything I have said. And, I’m still waiting for you to post your search string that led you to find versions of the Ziegler textbook on Amazon Japan in the 3000 yen range. When you post it, please give an explanation of why your criticism of my net searching skills is more relevant to this discussion and less of a case of “intentionally trying to to change the focus of the discussion from what’s really important” than providing a reference that lets readers find out what got the Japanese government officials wound up.

      • Frank Schirmer

        What do you mean by “dumb”? Are you saying they should be more cunning and less clumsy in their attempts to intimidate foreign people?

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        No. They should say nothing, do nothing. It’s not something any government should be getting into. If they have to say something, it should be on the order of, “We disagree but it is their right to say and write what they wish and it is not our business to intervene or comment.”

      • Frank Schirmer

        Thanks for clarifying.

      • Frank Schirmer

        Well said. When historical facts are wrong (which in this case they probably aren’t), it is the task of the scientific community to inform their members about it. When a government sends some shady characters trying to bully a scientist into changing his work, then that is an atrocity and shows what the Japanese government would do if it was allowed to have any kind of power outside of its own borders.

    • ARUDOU Debito

      Or you could just follow the link provided at the bottom of the article to Debito dot org that reproduces the targeted text of the textbook in English in its entirety, plus its workbook for students.

      By your own admission you are an academic researcher, EHK, and since research is your living, it naturally follows that you might have read all information available here before commenting. Hope you do so in future. Thorough research befits you.

      • Japanese Bull Fighter

        I have done this but as a thorough researcher, I always want to see the original text if at all possible. Further, I would like to know which sources Ziegler used. Your link does not provide that. Moreover, since I am not based in Hawaii as you are, I am not in a position to check out the University of Hawaii library item you cited.

        Finally, I don’t understand the EHK reference. Like you, I am a naturalized Japanese citizen. Japanese do not have names that result in three letter initials.

  • Manfred Deutschmann

    They were clearly using Yakuza intimidation tactics.

  • Frank Schirmer

    Uhm, no. You’ll have to understand that I’ll rather base my assessment on Japanese election results rather than your group of friends’ opinions – which on top were voiced towards a foreigner (you) and therefore probably not what they really think.
    Election results are cold, hard facts. Everything else is just hearsay or anecdotal at best.
    When an outspoken racist and bigot like Ishihara can get re-elected 5 times as mayor of Japan’s economical and political centre, and a thug like Abe is re-elected thrice (for now), that is plenty of evidence that the majority of Japanese are backing his agenda.

    • Joshua Krill

      You mean the election results that had around a 50% turnout and that offered no alternative with viable solutions to the economical problems and such other than Abe? Everyone thought that the election was pointless and a power play. In Japan, not voting sends a bigger message of dissatisfaction, but the Japanese wouldn’t vote for weaker candidates just to not vote for Abe. Plenty of Japanese are vocal about Abe’s policies, which are largely unpopular. the people and the government are completely separate entities, but you seem to want to say that Abe being elected means that most Japanese people agree with him. Do most Americans agree with Obama on everything? Do most Australians agree with their PM on everything? If anything, Abe was elected based on his Abenomics, because people actually care more about their own lives than history.

      • Frank Schirmer

        You are assuming a lot of things which I am not sure I can sign off on. So when are all those “good Japanese” you assume to exist finally going to stand up for what they believe? You must realise the problem with not voting is that this itself is still a vote as it was obvious that the extreme factions, in Japan’s case, the right-wing of a society will definitely go and vote.
        Therefore, this “not going to vote” is like voting for the right-wing. In this case a protest vote would be the wise thing to do.
        As I am also free to assume things about the majority of Japanese, from what I have seen and heard living in Japan, I will assume that the majority is on board with the rightwing agenda. And I base this on election results – the people who don’t vote take an active part in choosing the government, too. Obvious to most people. You?

      • Joshua Krill

        The problem with that line of thinking, Frank, is that you are assuming those who did and did not vote were most concerned with candidates’ view of history. Ask anyone in Japan what their biggest concern is that they want politicians to address and they will say the economy. Those that didn’t vote did so because they don’t believe in Abenomics, but the other parties presented no clear or detailed plan for how they would fix the economy. Abenomics at least managed to devalue the yen and thus increase exports, but it also invited other problems. Still, people prefer to hope that a plan works than side with someone with no direction. 70% of the people in Japan oppose nuclear power and the restarting of the nuclear power plants, but Abe is pushing forward with that too. Abe’s government is engaging in scarily Nazi-esque tactics now as well, with their Secrecy Act and making reporting a number of things illegal. A lot of this happened days before the election so that it was covered up by news of a sudden election, and there is a lot of unrest about these facts here in Japan now.

        Still, my original point is that Abe was not elected for his view on history. Most Japanese people are concerned with their own daily lives and the things that impact them far more than they are about history and relationships with other countries that they see as not having very much to do with them. You may think that they should care, but no one can blame them for putting their livelihoods first and the only one that presented any sort of plan of action for their primary concern was Abe. The election was even touted as being all about Abenomics and the public’s faith in it. You really think it was about the average citizen wanting to absolve Japan of guilt for war crimes? From your commentary, you just seem very anti-Japan in general and willing to stereotype and generalize. Read all of the Japanese news sources from the time of the last two elections. You will see that most dealt exclusively with the economy.

  • jimbo jones

    from one academic to another; by uncouth i meant hilarious

  • timefox

    The one necessary to man here isn’t the fact that I had no compulsion taking. Only the delusion which can insult Japan is needed.

    • Manfred Deutschmann

      Sorry, I don’t understand what you mean?

  • KUIDAORE

    In the United States, academic freedom means freedom of the propaganda.

    • Manfred Deutschmann

      Can you give us some more facts that support your statement, please?

      • KUIDAORE

        All of US media – not only The Japan Times – are not possible to put a link because of censorship.
        So I’ll give you hint to search on your own.

      • KUIDAORE

        TITLE : Japan-Korea: Were Korean Men Cowards during World War II?
        – This is an article of Michael Yon mentioned The final IWG report to Congress.

        and, Pearl Harbor: The Japanese ‘sneak attack’ is also nice article written by Yon.

      • KUIDAORE

        Search “Chicago Tribune Archives”, and then, search following articles.
        1. December 4, 1941, head line
        2. January 4, 1938 “CHINESE DESERTERS FOUND WITH REFUGEES IN U. S. NANKING CAMP”

  • inawarminister

    Please share all the myriad bloodbathe that the Western Allies and Soviets do in WW2 too!
    I mean, why just focus onto Germany and Japan?

  • JSS00

    Sounds like the Internet right-wingers of Japan. Pitiful.

  • Hendrix

    a very good article which exposes the dark undercurrents in Abes regime and the use of yakuza style intimidation, the good thing is that the whole thing is backfiring and bringing Japans war crimes into the spotlight where they should be until the japanese can own up and stop lying.

  • Hendrix

    you are sick…

  • Toolonggone

    You are giving me a couple of links that seem to be oxymoron. The one above is written by Hata, who is a notorious right-wing denier. Are you sure you’re crediting him as a scholar for providing historical truth based on neutral account? I hardly see him as neutral because he has been criticized for throwing his male chauvinistic mentality upon female victims and those who indeed had a harsh experience in wartime. He is one of those who were behind the scene of NHK’s ETV documentary sabotage incident in 2001.

    Also, the article in the other link is written by a Japanese woman who lives in Michigan. Her position is quite antithetical to Hata and deniers.

  • tosh kino

    Prostitutes in South
    Korea for the U.S. military (Search on web)

    Please read the following.

    Park Chung-hee, who ruled South Korea during the 1960s and 1970s, and the father of incumbent president Park Geun-hye, encouraged the sex trade in order to generate revenue.
    During the 1960s, camp town prostitution and related businesses generated nearly 25 percent of the South Korean GNP.
    According to United States Forces Korea’s policy, “Hiring prostitutes is incompatible with our military core values”, but in South Korea, most women who used to live around U.S. Army camps were prostitutes. In the Allied-occupied Korea, between the 1950s and 1980s, the total number of women amounted to over one million.
    Some women chose to become prostitutes.Other women were coerced into prostitution.
    Prostitutes for U.S. soldiers were esteemed to be at the bottom of the social hierarchy by South Koreans, they were also lowest status within the hierarchy of prostitution.
    (photo) North Korean nurses captured by South Korean and US soldiers. Captured North Korean women were sometimes raped and forced to work as sex slaves.
    Is this history a secret for the U.S?