Academics’ Alliance for Correcting Groundless Criticisms of Japan

Academics’ Alliance for Correcting Groundless Criticisms of Japan (不当な日本批判を正す学者の会, AACGCJ) is a group of conservative scholars founded in May 2017 to refute criticisms of Japan’s human rights records and historical responsibilities at United Nations and beyond, including U.N. special rapporteur David Kaye’s report on the suppression of freedom of press in Japan as well as various U.N. committees’ finding on the comfort women issue. Academics’ Alliance is a member of Japan NGO Coalition against Racial Discrimination (JNCRD), a fake human rights coalition of far-right groups.

Alliance board member and secretary general Eiji Yamashita (山下英次) frequently accompanies overseas delegations of the Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women.

Officers include:

  • Hidemichi Tanaka (田中英道), president
  • Eiji Yamashita (山下英次), board member and secretary general
  • Takashi Ito (伊藤隆), board member
  • Keiichiro Kobori (小堀桂一郎), board member
  • Kanji Nishio (西尾幹二), board member
  • Toshio Watanabe (渡辺利夫), board member
  • Terumasa Nakanishi (中西輝政), board member

Jason Morgan

Jason Morgan is a graduate of University of Wisconsin with Ph.D in modern Japanese legal history and a comfort women denier. While he was a research assistant at University of Wisconsin, Morgan made news by refusing to participate in diversity trainings required for all teaching assistants, arguing that they were discriminatory toward white people. He nonetheless received a Fulbright scholarship to study in Japan.

In Japanese right-wing publications, Morgan not just denies the history of comfort women, but goes so far as to claim that Japan was the righteous side in the WWII, which he characterizes as a war against the “communist” regime of President Franklin Roosevelt. He criticizes U.S. academia as far-left and unobjective, arguing that the Japanese academy is superior in its objectivity and respect for academic freedom.

Morgan is a 2016 fellow at Mises Institute, which “encourage[s] critical historical research, and stand[s] against political correctness.” He is also a fellow at the nationalist think tank Japan Forum for Strategic Studies (日本戦略研究フォーラム), which funded his effort to translate conservative historian Ikuhiko Hata’s book on comfort women for publication in the U.S.

In 2016 Morgan published a book in Japan titled “America ha naze nihon wo mikudasu noka? (Why does America look down on Japan?)” (アメリカはなぜ日本を見下すのか?間違いだらけの「対日歴史観」を正す) which challenges American historians’ view of Japan’s past. Soon after, he was appointed as an assistant professor of foreign languages at Reitaku University, which also boasts other conservative big names including Shiro Takahashi, Hidetsugu Yagi (Japan Education Rebirth Institute), Yoshihisa Komori (Sankei Shimbun), and others among its faculty.

In his ongoing campaign against American historians and other scholars, Morgan is known to file Freedom of Information Act requests to public universities that employ academics he dislikes in wild fishing expedition in search of incriminating emails.

In addition to supporting historical revisionism and bashing U.S. academics, Morgan writes prolifically on “pro-life” (anti-abortion) politics.

Jason Morgan 2016 Talk

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

Shiro Takahashi

Shiro Takahashi (高橋史朗) is a conservative education scholar and one of the most prominent intellectual leaders of Japan Conference, a powerful conservative establishment group. Despite the fact Takahashi has been a lifelong critic of policies aimed at promoting gender equality, which he views as a threat against traditional families, he was appointed to the Council on Gender Equality by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2013 shortly after Abe’s return to power.

In the past few years, Takahashi has focused his efforts on challenging historical orthodoxies regarding crimes committed by the Japanese military during the WWII, especially the comfort women system and the Nanking atrocities. He is also actively working to stop the establishment of comfort women memorials in the U.S. and elsewhere, traveling abroad frequently and organizing conservative Japanese expats.

As an operative of Japan’s conservative establishment (that supports LDP and Abe), Takahashi tends to keep himself at a distance from the more extremist elements of the conservative movements (which view LDP and Abe as too soft), but he sometimes shares the stage with members of the latter group including Koichi Mera, Yumiko Yamamoto, and Mio Sugita.

Takahashi is the founder and president of Historical Awareness Research Committee, a founder of Channel Sakura, and a board member of Japan Education Rebirth Institute.

Tsutomu Nishioka

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.