The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 41. 2014       

October 13, 2014

New Articles


Herbert Bix expands on themes from his recent New York Times op-ed on the official history of the life of the Shōwa Emperor released last month by the Imperial Household Agency. The massive biography, based on a trove of previously inaccessible documents is notable for its omissions and silences, indicative of the continued efforts of the Japanese government to shape historical consciousness in the service of its nationalistic political agenda.
An  Asia-Pacific Journal report assesses the retraction in August by the Asahi Shinbun of stories on the wartime "comfort women" published in the 1990s. It also presents a statement in defense of academic freedom by the Hokusei University Support Group, which has organized to protect the  persecuted Asahi journalist, Uemura Takashi, who reported in 1991 on a surviving comfort woman and is under attack by mainly anonymous neonationalist groups.

Tessa Morris-Suzuki continues her investigation into the threads of espionage, counter espionage, smuggling, and "special renditions" (in current usage) that linked American intelligence and key figures of Japan's wartime military, drawing on recent scholarship and her own investigation into newly declassified CIA and other documents. She follows covert politics  including smuggling and kidnapping at the dawn of the Cold War from Sakhalin and Korea to Taiwan and Indochina, finding continuity between Japan's wartime regime and that of the postwar US Occupation authorities.

Elisheva A. Perelman traces tropes of silence and seclusion present in the mytho-historical chronicle of the eighth century Kojiki at the  dawn of the Japanese imperial house down to the present. Likening women of the imperial family to contemporary hikikomori, who retreat from the world, she argues that attempts to subjugate the women of the imperial household following these tropes continue to today

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