Call to Deny Inscription of the “Comfort Women” and the “Nanjing Massacre” to the UNESCO Memory of the World Program


Ms. Shaku at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris

Ms. Shaku at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris

Last year, China nominated the “Nanjing Massacre” and the “Comfort Women” for inscription at the UNESCO Memory of the World Program (MOW). Ms. Ryoko Shaku, the leader of the Happiness Realization Party (HRP), visited the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on May 26 to submit a report (downloadable PDF report) rebutting these nominations. She called on UNESCO to deny inscription of both nominations.

During her meeting with the UNESCO MOW staff, Ms. Shaku explained her views together with the general thrust of the report.

This was the second time such a report was submitted to UNESCO by HRP. The first submission was in response to the “Nanjing Massacre”, while the “Comfort Women” was the main issue in the current iteration. The report includes signatures by 45 Japanese and foreign intellectuals, including Professor Shoichi Watanabe from Sophia University, Economist Keitaro Hasegawa, Commentator Bunyu Ko, and Social Critic Tony Marano, to name a few.


When History Becomes a Political Weapon

The report presents a rebuttal for each document/material that China submitted to the UNESCO MOW as evidence of the “forced prostitution of comfort women”.

For example, one of the photographs submitted by China as evidence was in fact taken by a man by the name of Tetsuo Aso. His daughter, Kuni Amako, currently living in Fukuoka, insists that “the photograph taken by my father does not prove that the comfort women were sex slaves. I must object to the unsanctioned use of my father’s photograph”. In its nomination form submitted to UNESCO, China claims copyright to the photograph despite the fact that the original negatives and copyright resides with Ms. Amako.

In addition, the report points out that documents submitted by China, claiming to show Japanese soldiers abusing the comfort women were, in fact, examples of how the legal rights of the comfort women were being protected in the face of such abuse.

Furthermore, there are letters that Japanese soldiers wrote to their families at home that purport to prove that women were being coerced into prostitution. However, a careful perusal of the letters show that the Japanese soldier and the comfort woman in question had eloped, and that the woman followed the soldier when he was reassigned to a new location. The report points out that this clearly shows how the comfort women retained the freedom to leave and relocate according to their own will.

Ms. Shaku warned in an interview with the Liberty Magazine that “at a time when China is rapidly augmenting its defense budget while encroaching on the sovereign territories of surrounding nations in the East and South China Seas, allowing the inscription of the ‘Nanjing Massacre’ and the ‘Comfort Women’ will enable China to vilify Japan while legitimizing their own actions”.

In the July issue of The Liberty, we will continue to look at the Chinese nomination of both issues to the UNESCO MOW, while calling on Prime Minister Abe to recant the Kono and Murayama Statements such that a new statement can be issued based on a narrative of history that is more conducive to reality.

Prime Minister Abe seems to prefer remaining silent on historical issues in order to focus his energy on revising the Japanese Constitution. However, a revision to the Constitution that takes Japan beyond the post-war era will require a re-examination of history that brings about a narrative that reflects what truly happened during the War.


Report Signatories

SHAKU, Ryoko
Leader of the Happiness Realization Party

Obstetrician and Author
ARA, Kenichi
Researcher of Modern History
BANDOU, Tadanobu
Lecturer for the Prevention of Crime by Foreign Nationals, Former Officer of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department
FUJII, Mitsuhiko
Spokesperson of Rom-Pa Project
FUJIKI, Shunichi
Social Critic, and Commentator on Modern History
FUJITA, Hiroyuki
Social Critic, and Commentator on Modern History
Professor at the Toin University of Yokohama
HANADA, Kazuyoshi
Editor in Chief of Monthly Magazine “WiLL”
Commentator on Economics, Director of the Japan Association for Individual Investors
Expert on the Chinese Military
KASE, Hideaki
Foreign Policy Commentator
Meisei University Center for the Study of the History of Post-War Education
KAWAMURA, Sumihiko
Former Vice Principle of the Japanese Self Defense Force Joint Staff College, Former Rear Admiral of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force
Journalist and Author
KITANO, Yoshinori
International Relations Analyst
Education Commentator, Former member of the Upper House of the Japanese Parliament
Critic and Author
KOU, Bunyu
Historical Commentator
MEGUMI, Ryunosuke
Former member of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force
Journalist, former member of the Chinese Communist Party
MINO, Masahiro
MIYAZAKI, Masahiro
Historical Commentator, Journalist, and Author
MIZUMA, Masanori
Researcher of Modern History
Social Critic, and Commentator on Modern History
Education Commentator
MORIYA, Hiroshi
Expert on Chinese Literature, and Professor at the SBI
Graduate School
MOTEKI, Hiromichi
Secretary General of the “Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact”
Author, Management Consultant
OH, Seon-hwa
Historical Commentator
OKADA, Hidehiro
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
Secretary General of the Mongolian Liberal Union Party
SASA, Atsuyuki
First Head of the Cabinet Office of Security Affairs
SOMA, Masaru
Journalist and Author
STOKES, Henry Scott
Former Tokyo Bureau Chief for The Financial Times
Emeritus Professor of Meikai University
SUZUKI, Mamiya
Dean of Successful Management at the Happy Science University
Professor at Sapporo Medical Universtiy, Physicist
UDAGAWA, Keisuke
Journalist and Author
USHIO, Masato
Visiting Professor of Takushoku University
Professor Emeritus of Sophia University
Confucian Ethicist and Historian of International Law
Journalist and Author
Member of the Japan Society for International Development
*In Alphabetical Order by Family Name
Call to Deny Inscription of the “Comfort Women” and the “Nanjing Massacre” to the UNESCO Memory of the World Program
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