Mariko Okada-Collins

Mariko Okada-Collins (岡田コリンズまり子) is a Japanese language lecturer at Central Washington University and comfort women denier. In published statements, Okada-Collins disclosed that she lectures about modern Japanese history “exposing the lies” of comfort women and Nanking atrocities, which have led to her being negatively reviewed by students and reprimanded by the supervisor.

In Spring 2015, Okada-Collins invited Yujiro Taniyama from Japan to screen his comfort women denier film, “The Scottsboro Girls.” The campus community put on multiple public events on the actual history of comfort women in protest, which were attended by hundreds of students and community members. See a series of articles about these events in the June 1, 2015 issue of the Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter.

In that Summer, Okada-Collins traveled to San Francisco to testify against the establishment of comfort women memorial there along with Koichi Mera, Yoshi Taguchi, and others.

As of the academic year 2018-2019 Okada-Collins is no longer employed at Central Washington University.

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.

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.

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

Masanori Kaneko

Masanori Kaneko (金子正則) is the founder and president of International Career Support Association, a non-governmental organization with the special consultative status with the United Nations. ICSA partners with the Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women, providing a platform to far-right Japanese nationalists and comfort women deniers at various United Nations meetings.

In addition to being a conservative ideologue, Kaneko is an alternative medicine advocate. His latest research (as of May 2017) on the miraculous benefits of green sap (“aojiru” in Japanese) was published in a journal considered among “potential, possible, or probable predatory” publications by the so-called Beall’s List. On social media, Kaneko posits that aojiru could “eliminate breast cancer at once.”

In 2015 Kaneko ran for the Nara Prefectural Council from the Party for New Generations, which is now known as the Party for Japanese Kokoro. He lost the election after receiving less than three hundred votes.

Memory of the World Register

Memory of the World Register is a project of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that was founded to “facilitate preservation […] of the world’s documentary heritage,” “assist universal access to documentary heritage,” and “increase awareness worldwide of the existence and significance of documentary heritage.”

In 2014, People’s Republic of China submitted “Documents of Nanjing Massacre” for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register and they were inscribed in 2015. Japanese nationalists, many of whom consider Nanking atrocities to be a hoax or vastly exaggerated, became enraged and began calling for the government of Japan to suspend its financial obligation to UNESCO or to withdraw from it altogether. Bowing to their pressure, the Shinzo Abe administration announced in October 2016 that Japan had suspended its payment to UNESCO.

The Japanese government has criticized that the Memory of the World Registry had become too politicized and strayed away from its original goal of fostering dialogue and cooperation. However, Japan has itself nominated and inscribed documents related to the internment of Japanese nationals by the Soviet Union after the WWII and their repatriation to Japan in the same year China submitted documents on Nanking atrocities.

In the 2016-2017 cycle, a coalition of 14 civic groups from Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor, and the United Kingdom submitted “voices of comfort women,” a collection of materials from private and public archives that document Japanese military comfort women system and the postwar struggles by its victims to demand justice. Predictably, Japanese right-wing nationalists protested UNESCO and coalition members, and at least one Japanese organization involved in the effort have received a bomb threat.

Anticipating the submission of “voices of comfort women,” a coalition of right-wing comfort women denier organizations also submitted their own set of documents, “Documentation on ‘Comfort Women’ and Japanese Army discipline.” Members of the right-wing coalition are the Alliance for Truth About Comfort Women, the Study Group for Japan’s Rebirth (Koichi Mera), and Nadeshiko Action (a.k.a. Japanese Women for Justice and Peace). In the submission, they claim (as they always do): “[C]omfort women enjoyed a certain amount of freedom, even in battle zones, and were paid handsomely. They were decidedly not sex slaves.”

Each country is allowed up to two submission per cycle, but this restriction is waived for joint submissions involving groups from multiple countries. The right-wing submission was permitted because one of the sponsors, the Study Group for Japan’s Rebirth, is technically located in the United States, even though all of its businesses are conducted in Japanese by and for Japanese residents in Los Angeles. Both parties’ submissions are pending review.

Michael Yon

Michael Yon is a former member of the U.S. Special Forces, military writer, and comfort women denier who has written extensively about U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2014, Yon received or was promised large payments from Japanese conservative leader Yoshiko Sakurai to speak at her Japan Conference-affiliated think tank and to publish articles in English media that challenge the history of comfort women, according to the right-wing magazine editor Kazuyoshi Hanada. Yon disputed some details of Hanada’s claim (e.g. whether or not Yon and his wife were flown first-class by the Japanese right-wing) but not the financial arrangement itself.

While his relationship with Sakurai has since deteriorated over his criticism of Yujiro Taniyama and some other members of the Japanese nationalist movements since then, Yon continues to publish many posts on his blog and social media characterizing the comfort women story as “lies” designed to divide important U.S. allies in East Asia (Japan and South Korea) and is working on a full-length book on the topic.

Yon is credited with calling attention to the IWG Report (2007) which he claims proves Japan’s innocence in relation to the comfort women system. Historians and the authors of the report disagree with his amateur interpretation.

In January 2021, Michael Yon was among the crowd that gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol as Trump supporters broke into the legislative building to halt the certification of President-Elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Yon claims that he stayed outside of the building and witnessed that Antifa, not white nationalist militias such as Proud Boys or Oath Keepers as other media have reported, “clearly led” the insurrection, in an interview with the conspiracy theory-laden Epoch Times. Media Matters has reported that the Epoch Times actually promoted the “Stop the Steal” Capitol rally that led to the riot.

Miki Otaka

Miki Otaka (大高未貴) is a conservative journalist, Channel Sakura host, and a comfort women denier. She is a frequent contributor to conservative publications including Sankei Shimbun’s Yukan Fuji and Seiron.

In October 2013, Otaka reported in her show on Channel Sakura that Japanese children are being bullied in Glendale after the city enacted a comfort women memorial earlier that year. After Japanese residents in the area questioned the story, the video of the program was pulled from the internet. The claim has been thoroughly debunked by local authorities, schools, national media, and Japanese American groups.

Website: http://www.miki-otaka.com

Mio Sugita

Mio Sugita (杉田水脈) is a member of Japanese House of Representative and a comfort women denier.

Before joining LDP in late 2017, Sugita visited California in December 2013 as part of the three-member delegation of Japan Restoration Party (日本維新の会), which later became the Party for Japanese Kokoro (日本のこころを大切にする党). While there, Sugita and her colleagues met with local Japanese American leaders who had endorsed the comfort women memorial in Glendale. Failing to convince them that the history of comfort women was fabricated, she later dismissed the Japanese Americans as “typical left-wing extremists” in an interview with a Japanese publication.

Since losing her re-election in December 2014, Sugita traveled around the world extensively to promote comfort women denial at the United Nations level, speaking at the United Nations Human Rights Council (2015) and at the UN Commission on the Status of Women NGO Parallel Events (2016) along with people like Shunichi Fujiki, Koichi Mera, and Kiyoshi Hosoya. She also participated in Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women Geneva Delegation (June 2017).

In the book “Women Fight the History War” (Rekishisen ha onna no tatakai), co-authored with non-fiction writer Keiko Kawasoe, Sugita proposes bombing comfort women memorials in the U.S. When asked if she was encouraging terrorism, she responded that she would leave the interpretation to the readers.

Sugita joined the board of Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, a historical revisionist organization in 2017.

In the October 2017 election, Sugita ran for Shugiin (House of Representatives) from the Liberal Democratic Party at the urging of Yoshiko Sakurai and won.

Sugita threatening to bomb U.S.

Miroslav Marinov

Miroslav Marinov is the author of two self-published non-fiction books and a comfort women denier. He is married to a Japanese woman, Toshie Marinov, who is also a comfort women denier affiliated with Nadeshiko Action. Miroslav Marinov’s article on UNESCO has appeared in Seiron, a monthly conservative opinion magazine published by the Sankei Shimbun company.

In 2016 he authored a letter critical of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in general and of the proposal to introduce historical documents on comfort women to the Register in particular. The letter was sent on behalf of the Canada-Israel Friendship Association, for which Marinov is a board member, even though it is not clear if anyone other than Marinov is involved in the comfort women denial.

One of Marinov’s arguments in the letter was that comfort women cannot be “sex slaves” because some comfort women were paid for their service (before they were taken away to repay debt and pay for necessities) and therefore the Japanese military comfort women system is not comparable to the war crimes of the Nazi Germany. He however neglects the fact that the Nazi Germany introduced currency systems at many of its concentration camps, paying incarcerated laborers tokens for the work they performed in order to increase productivity and reduce riots.

Sankei Shimbun promoted Marinov’s letter as an evidence that international Jewish community agreed with Japan’s right-wing historical revisionists, but failed to mention Marinov by name or the fact that he was a contributor to its magazine while reporting about it.

In addition to Japanese war crime denial, his personal blog is filled with racist and otherwise hateful attacks on African Americans/Canadians, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and others. He crowd-funded his previous books claiming that he suffered from censorship by politically correct editors at mainstream publishing industry.

Mitsuhiko Fujii

Mitsuhiko Fujii (藤井実彦) is the founder and director of Rompa Project, a historical revisionist group supported by Happy Science. He is a regular member of overseas delegations of the Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women.

In September 2018 Fujii made international news when he was caught kicking a statue dedicated to victims of Japanese military “comfort women” system in Tainan, Taiwan. The surveillance camera footage shows Fujii raising his foot several times to kick the bronze statue while an accomplice with snaps shots of his feat.