International Research Institute of Controversial Histories

International Research Institute of Controversial Histories (国際歴史論戦研究所, iRICH) is a pseudo-academic association of conservative Japanese scholars dedicated to the glorification of Japanese imperial history, including the denial of the history of “comfort women.” Its members mostly overlap with those of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform (JSHTR) and the Alliance for Truth About Comfort Women (ATACW).

In April 2021, iRICH hosted a symposium in defense of the “comfort women” denial paper written by Harvard Law professor J. Mark Ramseyer which was streamed live on JSHTR’s YouTube channel. Speakers included Yumiko Yamamoto, Tsutomu Nishioka, Nobukatsu Fujioka, Shiro Takahashi, among others, as well as Mark Ramseyer by pre-recorded video.

Leadership of the iRICH according to its website include:

Seishiro Sugihara (杉原誠四郎), JSHTR

Vice Chairperson:
Yumiko Yamamoto (山本優美子), ATACW, Nadeshiko Action

Eiji Yamashita (山下英次), ATACW, Academics’ Alliance for Correcting Groundless Criticisms of Japan

Senior Research Fellows:
Nobukatsu Fujioka (藤岡信勝), JSHTR, ATACW
Hiromichi Moteki (茂木弘道), JSHTR, ATACW
Shunichi Fujiki (藤木俊一), ATACW, Texas Daddy Japan Secretariat
Kunitoshi Matsuki (松木國俊), JSHTR, ATACW, Japan National History Society
Tomoko Hifumi (一二三朋子)
Yoshiaki Yano (矢野義昭)

Toshiaki Okano (岡野俊昭), JSHTR, ATACW

Research Fellows:
Jun Juno (久野潤)
Haruka Ikeda (池田悠)

Research Fellow and Deputy Secretary General:
Takahiro Nonoda (野々田峰寛), ATACW

Guest Fellows:
Hidemichi Tanaka (田中英道), Japan National History Society
Shiro Takahashi (高橋史朗), Historical Awareness Research Committee
Genki Fujii (藤井厳喜),

Inspector: Osamu Arakida (荒木田修), JSHTR

Takashi Ito (伊藤隆), Japan Institute for National Fundamentals
Keiichiro Kobori (小堀桂一郎), Japan National History Society
Toshio Watanabe (渡辺利夫)

Secretary General:
Shuntaro Echigo (越後俊太郎), JSHTR

Website: iRICH

“Japanese Civilization” Research Forum

“Japanese Civilization” Research Forum (「日本文明」研究フォーラム) is an association of conservative scholars on Japan founded in 2019 at Reitaku University. The forum claims to be inclusive of full range of political and philosophical perspectives, but its board and speakers are comprised of predictably conservative to far-right individuals including Jason Morgan, J. Mark Ramseyer, Tetsuhide Yamaoka, and others.

CPAC Japan

CPAC Japan is the Japanese affiliate of Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), one of the largest conferences of American conservatives held annually by American Conservative Union (ACU). Jikido Aeba, formerly the head of Happiness Realization Party, launched Japanese Conservative Union (JCU) and put on the first J-CPAC in partnership with the ACU in 2017, which was renamed CPAC Japan since 2020.

In 2019, Andy Chan Ho-tin of the Hong Kong National Party, the group being outlawed by the Chinese government for its advocacy of independence of Hong Kong, was arrested at the airport as he was about to travel to Japan to speak at J-CPAC 2019.

Speakers for the inaugural 2017 J-CPAC include:

  • Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist and Breitbart executive
  • Matt Schlapp, President, American Conservative Union
  • Robert Eldridge, retired Marin Corps civilian staff
  • Genki Fujii (藤井厳喜)
  • Kohyu Nishimura (西村幸祐)
  • Masahisa Sato (佐藤正久), LDP member of the House of Councilors
  • Eitaro Ogawa (小川榮太郎), author and commentator
  • Toshio Tamogami (田母神俊雄), Chief of Staff, Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (ret.)
  • Naoki Hyakuta (百田尚樹), author
  • Takashi Arimoto (有元隆志), Sankei Shimbun

Speakers for the 2018 J-CPAC include:

  • Mick Mulvaney, Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget
  • Tomomi Inada (稲田朋美), LDP member of the House of Representatives
  • Akira Amari (甘利明), LDP member of the House of Representatives
  • Shigeharu Aoyama (青山繁晴)
  • Takashi Arimoto (有元隆志)
  • Eitaro Ogawa (小川榮太郎)
  • Genki Fujii (藤井厳喜)
  • Tsutomu Nishioka (西岡力)
  • Matt Schlapp

Speakers for the 2019 J-CPAC include:

  • Takashi Arimoto (有元隆志), Sankei Shimbun
  • Eitaro Ogawa (小川榮太郎)
  • Genki Fujii (藤井厳喜)
  • Sara A. Carter, FOX News contributor
  • Matt Schlapp

Speakers for CPAC Japan 2020 include:

  • U.S. Senator Ted Cruz
  • U.S. Senator Mike Lee
  • Dan Brouillette, U.S. Secretary of Energy
  • K.T. McFarland, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor
  • Andrew Wheeler, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Gen Nakatani (中谷元), LDP member of the House of Representatives and former Minister of Defense
  • Takashi Nagao (長尾敬), LDP member of the House of Representatives
  • Matt Schlapp
  • Eitaro Ogawa (小川榮太郎)
  • Hiroaki Aeba (あえば浩明)
  • Shigeharu Aoyama (青山繁晴)

Mark Ramseyer

John Mark Ramseyer, often written as J. Mark Ramseyer or simply Mark Ramseyer, is a renowned scholar of Japanese law and Law and Economics movement at Harvard Law School, where he is the Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese Legal Studies.

While his earlier works have been influential in the field of Japanese Legal Studies, Ramseyer has written a series of polemical papers echoing positions held by far-right Japanese nationalists, historical revisionists, and racists, often citing questionable statements by Makoto Sakurai, Tony Marano, and others like them as if they are legitimate sources of historical and sociological knowledge. He also appears on Japanese far-right publications such as Japan Forward, the English language propaganda arm of Sankei Shimbun, where he was interviewed by Jason Morgan. Ramseyer is also a board member of “Japanese Civilization” Research Forum, which is housed at Reitaku University where Morgan teaches.

In early 2021, Ramseyer’s paper “Contracting for sex in the Pacific War” pre-published on the website of International Review of Law and Economic was widely condemned by historians, Japan scholars, Harvard colleagues and students, activists, and others for his selective and deceptive use of primary and secondary sources in support of the Japanese far-right revisionist claim that “comfort women” were willing and well-compensated prostitutes.

UCLA Economist Michael Chwe has compiled statements responding to Ramseyer’s paper from scholars, students, activists, and others on his website, including “‘Contracting for sex in the Pacific War’: The Case for Retraction on Grounds of Academic Misconduct” by historians Amy Stanley, Hannah Shepherd, Sayaka Chatani, David Ambaras, and Chelsea Szendi Schieder and another statement by Harvard historians Andrew Gordon and Carter Eckert. For more responses to Ramseyer’s paper, see Chwe’s page or a feature on the Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.

The IRLE paper was not the first time Ramseyer stepped far outside of his expertise to publish outrageous claims in support of far-right Japanese extremism, or as Rutgers historian Nick Kapur put it, “Ramseyer finally went too far, but he has been a right-wing academic troll for decades.”

For example, in his 2018 papers “On the Invention of Identity Politics: The Buraku Outcasts in Japan” and “Outcast Politics and Organized Crime in Japan: The Effect of Terminating Ethnic Subsidies” (co-authored with Eric B. Rasmusen, who is currently under investigation by and on unpaid leave from his institution for misconduct), Ramseyer claimed that Japan’s discriminated underclass of Burakumin people faked their origin story under the influence of Marx’ “The Germany Ideology,” ignoring the fact that “The Germany Ideology” had not yet been published at the time, and that the discrimination they faced was a result of their criminal and extortionist tendencies, calling them “criminal syndicate” and accusing them of using unfounded “discrimination claims to shake down” local governments and other entities. To make such an argument, Ramseyer relies heavily on written records of officials who persecuted the liberatory movement of Burakumin and other contemporary sources reflecting biases of the era without taking into account their historical and political context or established scholarship on Burakumin history.

His 2020 papers “A Monitoring Theory of the Underclass: With Examples from Outcastes, Koreans, and Okinawans in Japan” and “Social Capital and the Problem of Opportunistic Leadership: The Example of Koreans in Japan” similarly made outlandish claims about criminality and “dysfunction” of Burakumin and other marginalized communities within Japan, citing such questionable sources as the “Proclamation of Japan First Party” a manifesto published by Makoto Sakurai, the founder of anti-Korean hate group Zaitokukai, and others.

The Okinawa Times reported on February 28, 2021 how Ramseyer included numerous demonstrably false statements about Okinawa and its popular protest movement against U.S. bases in his “Monitoring Theory” paper, such as the claim that most residents support the establishment of the new military base in Henoko, when 70% of residents voted against it in a referendum held in 2019. In one of the particularly offensive passages, the Okinawa Times points out, Ramseyer quotes a book titled “If you love Okinawa, Stop Feeding People of Okinawa” (where the choice of the word “feeding” in Japanese implies feeding animals instead of humans) to suggest the U.S. “distributed generous amount of beef and other foodstuff to Okinawans” during early stage of its occupation over Okinawa, even though many Okinawans died of malnutrition while incarcerated by the U.S. military during that period.

In “Privatizing Police: Japanese Police, the Korean Massacre, and Private Security Firms” published in 2019, Ramseyer once again emphasized the dysfunctionality and oppositionality of the Korean minority in Japan, giving support to Japanese far-right extremists’ denial and victim-blaming of massacre of Koreans that took place in the aftermath the 1923 Kanto earthquake, using examples of anti-imperialist resistance in and out of colonized Korea as evidence of Korean criminality. Ramseyer further noted that Koreans in Japan launched “a decidedly real campaign of sabotage and terror” decades later in the post-WWII Japan, as if to prove how Koreans are inherently violent. Historians estimate that several thousands of Koreans and others mistaken for Koreans were murdered in the aftermath of the Kanto earthquake by armed Japanese militias as rumors of arsoning, looting and rioting by Koreans spread.

Ramseyer received the Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese Emperor Akihito in 2018.

Ramseyer 2018 Decoration

Princeton Institute for Asian Studies

Princeton Institute for Asian Studies is a fake “institute” set up by historical revisionist and comfort women denier Koichi Mera and Global Alliance for Historical Truth to mislead educators and students about historical issues that are important to the Japanese far-right nationalists.

The “Princeton Institute,” which (obviously) is not affiliated with the Princeton University, states “two sides of a controversy must always be analyzed,” then goes on to offer Japanese nationalist and revisionist perspectives on the attack on Pearl Harbor (it was a conspiracy by FDR), comfort women (they were willing and well-paid prostitutes), Nanking massacre (all made up by the Chinese Communist Party), and the Tokyo Tribunal (racist and unfair).

According to Mera, the “Princeton Institute” is sending its “educational” materials to over a thousand schools in California.

Mera’s new campaign to mislead and misinform California students comes in response to the new common curriculum in the state, which includes teaching about the Japanese military “comfort women” issue. Through the “Princeton Institute,” says Mera, he plans to counter “them Korean and Chinese influences.”

After protests from Princeton University, the institute changed its name to the Pacific Institute for Asian Studies.


Japan NGO Coalition against Racial Discrimination

Japan NGO Coalition against Racial Discrimination (JNCRD) is a fake human rights coalition comprised of far-right organizations that share nationalist, historical revisionist, and anti-indigenous philosophies. It was founded in 2018 to defend Japan against what they perceive as unfounded criticisms of its human rights records at the 10th and 11th periodic review of Japan by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

Members of the NGO Coalition include:

JNCRD should not be confused with the NGO Network for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Japan (ERD-Net) which is a coalition of actual human rights groups.