Monday, February 25, 2013


Gavan Gray of Ritsumeikan University has a new long essay out on the Comfort Women Problem (jugun ianfu mondai). (Link)

Gray seems to be attempting to demonstrate that those advocating a greater awareness of the comfort women issue are peddlers of unsound, unscientific evidence and anti-Japanese propaganda. However, he fails his readers early and often at this task, making the reading of his work a slog through a morass of oblivious prejudice.

Some basic rules Gray disregards:

- Do not refer to countries using third person female possessives ("her accusers")

- Do not refer to the partisans of one side as being an epithet in quotation marks and the other side as an epithet without quotation marks ("revisionist academics")

- Do not be snide ("public 'awareness' of the issue")

- Do not pair serial prevaricators with historians based upon similarity of names ("Between them Yoshida and Yoshimi thus established a theme...")

- Do not disregard inconvenient detail in documents used as references [For a voyage into the banality of evil, read the document referred to in footnote 26 (here at After you have stopped shivering, reread the paragraph in Gray's work which references the document]

- Do not use a history written by the most internationally famous Japanese revisionist as the source for the internal politics of the Korean redress movement (Footnote 44)

- Do not use a 2009 interpretation where it cannot go, namely to pass final sentence an act that was not to take place until 2012 (Footnote 257)

One could spend hours on the work -- hours I do not have.

The length of the piece is one of the major indicators of its weakness. The "throw everything you have at the problem and see what sticks" method of argument shows that the writer himself is unsure of the effectiveness of his presentation.

There is an essay disinterring the story of the Imperial military's brothel system from out of the mountains of nonsense that has been disseminated and redisseminated about it, mostly by persons of South Korean descent, to counter walls of denial, built mostly by persons of Japanese descent.

This ain't it.


Toyotsu said...


The Editorial Board of the electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies has decided temporarily to remove the text of this article pending a review of the material it contains, as well as the peer-referee process which accepted it for publication. The Editorial Board in no way intends to court controversy for its own sake, but instead aims at providing a free and fair forum for academic discussion. We apologise to readers and the academic community for the inconvenience caused.

Anonymous said...

I was kind of surprised by the first comment. I don't personally use "she" to refer to countries, but I fail to understand why that has anything to do with the issue.

almost said...

You can read his article(an unfinished version) here: