Global Alliance for Historical Truth

Global Alliance for Historical Truth (GAHT, 歴史の真実を求める歴史連合会) is a Japanese comfort women denier group founded by Koichi Mera. There are branches in Japan and in the U.S.; Mera has stated that another branch in Brazil is being formed.

In 2014, GAHT filed a lawsuit (Gingery et al. v. City of Glendale) seeking the removal of a Comfort Women Memorial in Glendale in the federal court and then in the California state court, alleging that the City infringed on the federal government’s exclusive authority to conduct foreign affairs by enacting the memorial.

GAHT established the Princeton Institute for Asian Studies, a misleadingly named website in 2019 offering its far-right nationalist 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).

GAHT leader Koichi Mera passed away in late 2019.

Board Members of GAHT-US (as of 2016)

  • Koichi Mera (目良浩一), President and Chair
  • Genki Fujii (藤井厳喜), Deputy Chair
  • Ichiro Mizushima (水島一郎), Treasurer
  • Mistsuo Takahashi (高橋光郎), Secretary
  • Kiyoshi Hosoya (細谷清), Public Relations / Newsletter Editor

Board Members of GAHT-Japan (as of 2020)

  • Kazumi Koba (木庭一三), President
  • Genki Fujii (藤井厳喜), Co-Chair
  • Kiyoshi Hosoya (細谷清), Vice Chair
  • Kumiko Mera (目良久美子)
  • Yumiko Yamamoto (山本優美子)
  • Miyuki Noguchi (野口深雪)
  • Hiroshi Horino (堀野浩史), Auditor

Board Members of GAHT-US (as of 2016)

  • Koichi Mera (目良浩一), President and Chair
  • Genki Fujii (藤井厳喜), Deputy Chair
  • Ichiro Mizushima (水島一郎), Treasurer
  • Mistsuo Takahashi (高橋光郎), Secretary
  • Kiyoshi Hosoya (細谷清), Public Relations / Newsletter Editor

Website: https://gahtjp.org (Japanese)
Website: http://gaht.jp (English)

Himawari Japan

Himawari Japan (ひまわりJapan) is a comfort women denier group made up of Japanese women living in New York/New Jersey area, many of whom are followers of Happy Science. It was founded by Yoko Nagato in June 2016 and held a first lecture event featuring Mio Sugita, Shiro Takahashi, Yasuhiro Takasaki, and Shinichi Tokunaga.

In 2018, Himawari Japan was awarded a contract by the Japanese Consulate General in New York to set up a “help line” for Japanese residents in the area whose children are “bullied” due to “historical issues.” In addition, Himawari Japan solicits information about any use of “anti-Japanese” materials at schools including the film Unbroken or any events in the community related to the “comfort women” issue and any other topic connected to Japan’s history. The contract, which runs from May 2018 to March 2019 at $1,000 per month, is widely criticized because of the group’s political slant and lack of expertise on addressing bullying.

Himwari Japan Event 2016-08-23

Website: http://himawarijapan.org/

Japan Mahoroba Station

Japan Mahoroba Station (JMS, 日本まほろば支援局), also known as Japan Mahoroba Support Agency is an online group founded in 2014 by New York-based Kaoli Koyasu to foster “better understanding of Japanese society and culture” starting among Japanese people. It promotes nationalistic views on Japan’s history and culture, including comfort women denial.

Mahoroba Station has co-sponsored various right-wing and comfort women denier events in the U.S., including Texas Night in NYC (2015), Texas Night in NYC (2016), and the Nadeshiko Action panel at the UN Commission on the Status of Women NGO Parallel Events (2016).

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jpnmahorobasupport/

Jikido Aeba

Jikido “Jay” Aeba (饗庭直道、あえば直道), also known as Hiroaki Aeba (饗庭浩明), is a political activist and comfort women denier. A follower of Happy Science, Aeba was the founding president of Happiness Realization Party, the political wing of the religious organization.

In 2010 Aeba migrated to the U.S. and began cultivating connections with conservative movements in the U.S. He claims to be the only Asian to become an advisor to the Republican National Committee, but media have questioned his actual title. Aeba also claims close ties with President Donald Trump, whom Happy Science openly supported in the 2016 campaign.

In 2015, Aeba resigned from the board of Happy Science and founded Japanese Conservative Union, which he views as a Japanese counterpart to the American Conservative Union, with Shun Eguchi (江口峻), a former editor and board member of the Sankei Shimbun company. JCU holds annual J-CPAC (later renamed to CPAC Japan) conferences.

In Japanese media, Aeba claims to be “the only Asian advisor” to the Republican National Committee, and uses this title prominently in his biography, even though such claim is missing from his English language biographies or at his appearances at American conservative events such as the annual CPAC conference. The 2016 investigation by BuzzFeed revealed that he has never held any official position with the Republican Party. At most, Aeba may have been an unpaid personal advisor to RNC co-chair (which is equivalent to vice chair) Sharon Day, according to BuzzFeed.

Aeba - Happiness Realization Party

Koichi Mera

Koichi Mera (目良浩一) is a comfort women denier and the founder and president of Global Alliance for Historical Truth (GAHT).

Mera was born in 1933 in Seoul, Korea, which was under Japanese rule at the time. He received his bachelor’s degree in engineering/architecture from University of Tokyo and Ph.D from Harvard University (urban planning) which he attended as a Fulbright scholar. He has since worked for the World Bank, University of Tsukuba, Tokyo International University, and University of Southern California. He retired from USC in 2008.

In 2006 Mera founded the Study Group for Japan’s Rebirth (日本再生研究会), a monthly Japanese-language study group on modern Japanese history for Japanese residents in Southern California. Members of the study group protested the 2013 establishment of a comfort women memorial in Glendale, California. In 2014 Mera founded GAHT to sue the City of Glendale in federal district court.

After moving to the East Coast, Mera founded “Princeton Institute for Asian Studies” to promote revisionist historical views about comfort women, Nanking massacre, as well as Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The “institute” was immediately rebuked by Princeton University, which it has no affiliation with, and renamed “Pacific Institute for Asian Studies.”

Mera passed away in December 2019.

Selected Publications

  • マッカーサーの呪いから目覚めよ日本人! (Wake up from MacArthur’s Curse, Japanese People!). 2012. Co-authored with Yasuo Inoue (井上雍雄) and Sadao Imamori (今森貞夫)
  • Comfort Women not “Sex Slaves” (2015). Self-published.

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. 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

New York Historical Issues Study Group

New York Historical Issues Study Group (ニューヨーク歴史研究会) is a group of Japanese nationalists living in New York area who were inspired by the 2011 visit of retired Japanese Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff Toshio Tamogami (田母神俊雄), a darling of hard right nationalists. Since then, the Study Group has been holding meetings and events on a regular basis, covering such issues as comfort women, territorial disputes, Imperial Family, national defense, Constitution, etc.

The Study Group has co-sponsored nationalist events with Himawari Japan and Global Alliance for Historical Truth, including Himawari Japan lectures (2016) and Himawari Japan lectures (2017).

The president of the Study Group is Yasuhiro Takasaki (高崎康裕), a New York-based business consultant with an extensive background in real estate and construction industries.