Tag Archives: Nadeshiko Action

Critic of Comfort Women memorial praises Confederate memorial in Georgia

In March 2018, far-right activist Yumiko Yamamoto of Nadeshiko Action traveled to Brookhaven, Georgia to stage a protest against the “comfort women” memorial installed in the City’s Blackburn Park, joined by another Nadeshiko Action member Shizuko Culpepper from Minnesota. They apparently took particular offense to the fact that the City celebrated annual cherry blossom festival in the same park that week, as the two felt that cherry blossoms was “the symbol of Japan” and should not be juxtaposed along the comfort women memorial.

During the same trip, Yamamoto visited the infamous Confederate memorial in Stone Mountain, Georgia and gave a speech to a conservative group after she returned to Japan, on April 19th (YouTube). The speech is in Japanese, but she repeats much of the same thing in an English advertisement published on the June 2, 2018 edition of Weekly NY Seikatsu, a mostly Japanese language publication for Japanese residents in the New York area (PDF version here).

In the opinion ad, Yamamoto praises the Stone Mountain Confederate Carving, one of the largest stone reliefs in the world depicting Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Quoting Davis, Yamamoto writes: “In 1886, 21 years after the defeat of the Civil War in Mississippi [Jefferson Davis] stated, ‘the Southerners would not have to get revenge on the Yankees but would never tell their children that the South was wrong in the War Between the States: the South lost the battle, but the cause was right.'” In her Japanese speech, she adds: “likewise, Japan lost the battle, but our cause was right.”

Yamamoto further writes, “Although the Confederates lost the Civil War, they praise the courage and honor of those who fought and died for the confederacy. I thought Japanese should pass down our history just like their words to the next generation.” She contrasts the memorial praising Confederate soldiers with memorials dedicated to the victims and survivors of Japanese military comfort women system, arguing that comfort women memorials are “totally wrong and not facts.” “What a big difference from the Confederate Memorial!” exclaims Yamamoto.

Stone Mountain is the exact site of the 20th century revival of the Ku Klux Klan, who climbed up to the summit of the mountain on Thanksgiving Day, 1915 to give birth to a new generation of the Klan after the original Klan from the 19th century went dormant. The KKK held enormous annual cross burnings at the site for decades since then.

The Confederate carving was proposed by C. Helen Plane, a charter member of the United Daughters of Confederacy. The construction was delayed repeatedly until the segregationist Governor Marvin Griffin pushed the state to purchase Stone Mountain and complete the project. Even today, Stone Mountain continues to serve as a sacred spot for white supremacists, for example as the campaign launch location for former KKK leader and frequent political candidate David Duke, even as the criticisms toward memorials glorifying the Confederacy spread across the American South. It is for this symbolism Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. declared “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia” in his famous “I have a dream” speech in 1963.

Yamamoto’s adoration for Confederate leaders and memorials is perhaps not an accident: until late 2011 she was the vice president and secretary-general of Zaitokukai, an extremist anti-Korean hate group that target Korean children, families, and businesses. She has never renounced or denounced Zaitokukai even after exiting the organization, explaining in her 2014 book that she only left the organization to focus on the comfort women issue. In fact, Nadeshiko Action continues to spread anti-Korean extremist rhetoric, for example by submitting a letter to the United Nations Commission on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) titled “Hate speech masquerading as Anti-Hate speech by privileged Korean Residents in Japan,” alleging that Koreans living in Japan enjoy special privileges over Japanese nationals, which is the core (and unfounded) talking point of Zaitokukai.

The 2018 short documentary Graven Image by Sierra Pettengill uses archival footages to tell the history of the Stone Mountain and its place in the continuation of white supremacy in America. Graven Image can be viewed online thanks to PBS’ POV series.

Alert: Right-wing groups use Japanese-language publications to “educate” Japanese residents in the U.S.

As Japanese right-wing groups accelerate their efforts to mobilize Japanese communities in the U.S. against what they perceive as “anti-Japan” historical awareness campaigns (especially on the topic of Japanese military “comfort women” system), Japanese-language free newspapers became a vehicle for their “educational” outreach. We have obtained recent copies of two such publications from New York, New York Biz and Weekly NY Seikatsu, both of which publish large opinion advertisements from far-right Japanese historical revisionist organizations including Nadeshiko Action, Global Alliance for Historical Truth, Himawari Japan, and New York Historical Issues Study Group as well as news articles detailing their activities.

New York Biz, published by Weekly Business News Corp. began featuring a regular column by New York Historical Issues Study Group in September 2016. The first installment was a report about the Study Group’s most recent meeting in which Tsutomu Nishioka, Shiro Takahashi, and Tetsuhide Yamaoka gave lectures. Himawari Japan began publishing ads a year later, in September 2017.

Himawari Japan and other groups including Nadeshiko Action frequently publish ads on New York Biz. For example, the latest (September 22, 2018) issue contains a full-page ad from Himawari Japan seeking readers to submit information about anti-Japanese bullying motivated by “historical issues” as well as “anti-Japanese” education at schools and any community activities about the “comfort women” issue or other topics on Japan’s history. The same issue also publishes the number 26 of New York Historical Issues Study Group’s regular column and a midwifery ad by Yoko Nagato, the leader of Himawari Japan.

Similarly, Weekly NY Seikatsu began publishing a series of opinion ads by Japanese right-wing groups every week since January 2017, starting with a column by Koichi Mera of the Global Alliance for Historical Truth published alongside a news story about the decision by the City of Fort Lee, New Jersey to enact a comfort women memorial (which cites oppositions from comfort women deniers including Himawari Japan’s Nagato and Kent Gilbert) and an opinion piece by Masaki Shirota, a dietary supplements company president who is identified as a “music producer” (whose musical experiences appear to consist of his glee days in college), on how the “comfort women issue is a blatant lie.”

While New York Biz is an all-Japanese publication, Weekly NY Seikatsu devotes one page from each issue to English-language news and opinions, many of which are English translations of articles from Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s leading conservative daily. Global Alliance for Historical Truth, Nadeshiko Action, and other right-wing Japanese organizations publish ads on each issue of Weekly NY Seikatsu, alternating between Japanese-language ads and their English translations. Contents of these ads mostly consists of recycled right-wing talking points that have been thoroughly debunked years ago, but there are some new commentaries including Nadeshiko Action president Yumiko Yamamoto’s glorification of Confederacy leaders and monuments in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Weekly NY Seikatsu even has a section on its website dedicated to archiving these right-wing opinion ads.

These advertisements threaten to blur the line between (highly dishonest) paid advertisements and news. For example, an opinion piece by the aforementioned self-identified “musical producer” Masaki Shirota was published as a Japanese commentary on the May 12, 2018 issue of Weekly NY Seikatsu, but when it was re-published in English in the June 16, 2018 issue it was labeled as “opinion advertisement.” The paper also regularly includes comments from members of Nadeshiko Action and Himawari Japan when reporting about anything related to the comfort women issue, even though the newspaper does not appear to be politically slanted to the hard right on any other subject.

As newspapers continue to lose revenue due to the shift of advertising dollars to the internet, regular advertisements may give well-funded far-right groups disproportionate influence on the content of Japanese-language publications that many Japanese people in New York and in the rest of the U.S. rely on. Propaganda ads that falsely portray Japan as the victim of massive anti-Japanese historical campaigns by Chinese and Korean communities may even lead Japanese people living in ethnic enclaves to feel fearful of their Asian and Asian American neighbors and further isolate themselves from the American mainstream. We need to increase outreach to Japanese-speaking communities to break their isolation and share our experiences of allyship with larger Asian American communities to help them integrate more fully with the surrounding communities.

NYC: Urgent Protest Against Japanese Far-Right Historical Revisionists

Update: VICTORY! Japanese American Association of New York canceled the right-wing historical revisionist event planned for March 9th. If you were planning to join the protest, please still show up to celebrate with the community! Also, please don’t miss the legitimate panel about “comfort women” hosted by Human Rights Now in the afternoon (see below for info).


Protest Against Japanese Far-Right Historical Revisionists!

Anti-nuclear activist group Sloths Against Nuclear State and others are planning to protest an upcoming panel organized by Japanese far-right historical revisionists in New York City. The event–and the protest–is held at Japanese American Association of New York (49 W 45th Street, NYC) on March 9th, 2015 at 5:30pm. The panel is apparently being held in conjunction with the meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Speakers for the far-right event include:

  • Yumiko Yamamoto, the president of “comfort women” denialist group Nadeshiko Action and formerly of notoriously racist Zaitokukai, which routinely held (and still holds) explicitly hateful anti-Korean demonstration in public spaces, including in front of a Korean elementary school.
  • Tony Marano, a.k.a. “Texas Daddy,” a video blogger and “comfort women” denier (see our exchanges with him).
  • Shiro Takahashi, a mainline conservative education scholar who have been involved with Japan Society for History Textbook Reform which has successfully lobbied to remove mentions of “comfort women” in Japanese history textbooks.
  • Mitsuhiko Fujii, the president of “comfort women” denier group Rompa Project, which is considered a front group of the far-right religious group Happy Science (Koufuku no Kagaku).
  • Shunichi Fujiki, a.k.a. “Shun Ferguson,” a businessman who recruited Marano and became his “Japanese representative,” orchestrating Marano’s books and lectures in Japan. (See how he used a pseudonym to post hate comments on our blog and got caught because he used the same IP address.)

Also at noon on March 10th, “comfort women” denier group Global Alliance for Historical Truth (GAHT) is holding a press conference at Westin Hotel Grand Central New York (212 East 42nd Street). GAHT has filed multiple lawsuits against the City of Glendale, California for enacting a memorial dedicated to victims and survivors of the “comfort women” system during the WWII. GAHT’s state case against the City was recently dismissed under the State’s anti-SLAPP statute.

GAHT’s press conference is led by Koichi Mera, the president of GAHT-US and a plaintiff in the Glendale case, and is joined by Tony Marano and other usual suspects.

But it’s not all bad: Tokyo-based international human rights group Human Rights Now is also holding a panel on the “comfort women” issue to coincide with the UN Commission meeting. HRN’s panel, titled “Truth and Justice for ‘Comfort Women’,” is scheduled on the same day (March 9th) as the right-wing panel, but it is held at noon as opposed to in the evening so you can go to the HRN panel first and then protest the right-wing panel later in the day.

For more information about the HRN panel, see their website. For more information about the protest against the right-wing panel, please see the facebook page.

Japan-U.S. Feminist Network for Decolonization (FeND) stands in solidarity with our friends and colleagues in New York City confronting the far-right historical revisionists from Japan.

Feminist Network Endorses the Protest Against Japanese “Comfort Women” Denialist Events in California

Japan-U.S. Feminist Network for Decolonization (FeND) endorses the protest against seminars in California organized by Japanese far-right nationalist groups this weekend.

The protest is organized or endorsed by a number of other peace and human rights groups, including Eclipse Rising, Veterans For Peace, No Nukes Action Committee, United Public Workers For Action, and Bay Area Code Pink.

FeND is a network of U.S.-based individuals who have roots in Japan, and those who support our goals. We are activists, teachers, researchers, and other community members who came together in order to counteract the rise of antagonistic nationalism and historical revisionism in some corners of Japan and within (mostly recent migrant) Japanese communities in the U.S.

As individuals with roots in Japan, we want to make it clear that these antagonistic nationalists and historical revisionists do not speak for us.

The main speaker for the seminars being held in Redwood City and Torrance this weekend is Yumiko Yamamoto, the president of “comfort women” denialist group Nadeshiko Action and the former vice president and secretary general of notoriously racist Zaitokukai, which has been investigated and prosecuted multiple times during her leadership for its violent anti-Korean “demonstrations.”

Yamamoto will be joined by other Japanese far-right nationalists, including (for the Torrance event) the leader of the organization that is suing to remove a memorial in Glendale, California dedicated to the victims of the enforced military prostitution known as “comfort women.”

The seminars will be held at Redwood City Community Center on December 13th, and at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Torrance on December 14th. The rally and press conference against the far-right nationalists will be held in front of Redwood City Community Center, 1400 Roosevelt Ave in Redwood City, California on the 13th at 5pm.

For more information, please see the event page on facebook or contact us.