Tony Marano, a.k.a. “Texas Daddy,” is a retired salesperson, American YouTuber, and a comfort women denier. After posting videos criticizing environmental group Sea Shepherd’s campaign against Japanese whaling, Marano was recruited by Japanese businessman Shunichi Fujiki (a.k.a. “Shun Ferguson”) to be the American mouthpiece for Japanese ultra-nationalism, even though he does not speak Japanese. Marano has several books published in Japan (he does not seem to know some of what is being published under his name over there) and tours Japan regularly. Reuters describes Marano as a “right-wing darling in Japan.”
Fujiki operates publicity for Marano as the “Texas Daddy Japan Secretariat.”
Toronto Seiron (トロント正論の会) is a group made up of Japanese nationalists and comfort women deniers in Toronto, Canada. Leaders include Sharon Isac and Toshie Marinov, both Japanese women married to Canadian citizens.
In August 2016, Toronto Seiron hosted Shiro Takahashi and Shinichi Tokunaga, who also spoke at Himawari Japan Lectures (2016) in New York City, to present about the comfort women issue and “preserving Japanese spirit” while living outside of Japan.
Earlier in the same month, members of Toronto Seiron also infiltrated a memorial tribute to the victims of Hiroshima atomic bomb attack with offensive signs calling for Japan’s re-armament and denying Nanking atrocities.
On August 25, 2016, Japanese nationalist group Toronto Seiron hosted presentations by Shiro Takahashi and Shinichi Tokunaga who also spoke at Himawari Japan Lectures (2016) two days earlier. Takahashi spoke about preserving Japanese pride while living outside Japan, while Tokunaga discussed his lawsuit against Asahi Shimbun over its coverage of comfort women issues.
Toru Hashimoto (橋下徹) is a former Mayor of the City of Osaka, Governor of the Prefecture of Osaka, and the leader of Osaka Ishin movement (Japan Innovation Party, Innovation from Osaka, etc.). Hashimoto announced retirement from politics in December 2015 after his term as the Osaka Mayor expired, but continues to serve as the legal and policy advisor to the Nippon Ishin no Kai (日本維新の会).
In May 2013, while he was the Osaka Mayor, Hashimoto argued that “in the circumstances in which bullets are flying like rain and wind, the soldiers are running around at the risk of losing their lives… if you want them to have a rest in such a situation, a comfort women system is necessary: anyone can understand that.” He further suggested that the U.S. military should utilize legalized sexual services to reduce sexual violence committed by members of the U.S. Armed Forces in Okinawa. In response, U.S. Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki immediately criticized Hashimoto’s statement “outrageous and offensive,” and the City and County of San Francisco asked Hashimoto to cancel his planned sister city visit.
Two weeks later, Hashimoto retracts his comment about U.S. service members while insisting that the comfort women system was similar to legalized prostitution at the time and that the Japanese military was not involved at all in the trafficking of comfort women during the WWII. The City and County of San Francisco adapted a resolution condemning Hashimoto’s statement in June.
In July 2015, as the City and County of San Francisco considered a resolution establishing a comfort women memorial in a city’s public park, Mayor Hashimoto criticized the resolution as “unfair” and sent a letter opposing the memorial.
Toshie Marinov (マリノフ利江) is a Japanese woman from Ibaraki living in Toronto, Canada and a comfort women denier. Along with her husband Miroslav Marinov and fellow Toronto Seiron member Sharon Isac, she spearheads Japanese war crime denial in Toronto.
Marinov has been active in Japanese right-wing circles for a long time, with online commentaries dating back to at least 2011 and published articles in right-wing publications in more recent time. In addition, she translated her husband Miroslav’s article to Japanese, and Japanese right-wing activists’ speech at the United Nations to English.
Toshiko Hasumi (蓮見都志子) is an illustrator/cartoonist and a comfort women denier. She has drawn cartoons for the Texas Daddy Japan Secretariat and the right-wing magazine JAPANISM founded by Kohyu Nishimura.
In September 2015 her illustration depicting Syrian refugees as “fake” refugees seeking economic opportunities was met with international condemnation. In response, Hasumi stated that the cartoon was intended to criticize only the “fake” refugees and not the real ones, arguing that Japan has received far too many “fake” Korean refugees during the Korean War resulting in the persecution of Japanese nationals by the Koreans in Japan. Her message echoes those from Zaitokukai and other anti-Korean hate groups.
The collection of her political cartoons was published in December 2015 by Seirindo, the publisher of JAPANISM and other far-right publications. Texas Daddy Japan Secretariat and its director Shunichi Fujiki are credited with editorial assistance.
Hasumi accompanied Fujiki in September 2016 to Geneva, Switzerland as part of the Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women Geneva Delegation (September 2016) to attend the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Hasumi is identified as the President of the Society of Japanese Nationals in Canada to Protect Japan’s Honour (日本の名誉を護る在カナダ邦人の会) in petitions protesting various events or public acknowledgement of comfort women across Canada, although her connection to Canada is unclear.
Tsutomu Nishioka (西岡力) is a professor of Korean language at Tokyo Christian University and a comfort women denier. Nishioka is the author of many articles and booklets distributed by the Society for Dissemination of Historical Fact and appears in Yujiro Taniyama’s denier film, Scottsboro Girls. He is also the president of the National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea (NARKN).
Nishioka is the chair of the Historical Research Laboratory at the right-wing Reitaku University and Vice President and Secretary General of the Historical Awareness Research Committee.