Anthony Fensom’s Feb. 23 review (“Japanese social issues await ‘new dawn’“) of the volume “Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan,” which I edited, is disturbing as he unfairly impugns my colleagues’ professional integrity and insights. Fensom writes: “International affairs is one section where the work would have particularly benefited from Japanese analysts. Unsurprisingly perhaps, Japan comes in for heavy criticism from the Western authors over its alleged failure to ‘come to terms with its past’ concerning World War II and its relationships with China and South Korea.”
His assertion raises troubling questions. Does Fensom really believe that nationality endows Japanese analysts with superior insights about Japan? Why does he assume they would uniformly disagree with our analysis about Japan’s history problem?
The historical views presented in our volume are in line with mainstream Japanese historians’ views. The contributors are accomplished scholars and were chosen on that basis. Suggesting that they are biased because they are not Japanese is an unprofessional cheap shot.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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