Tag Archives: Tony Marano

What is “comfort women” denialism? Holocaust denial and “comfort women” denial

When confronted, “comfort women” deniers like Tony Marano often attempt to deflect the label “denier” by arguing that they do not “deny the existence of comfort women.”

But like “Holocaust denial,” the phrase “comfort women denial” refers not just to the complete denial of the existence of “comfort women” altogether, but also to the denial of important aspects of the historical events that are established as facts. A casual look at the claims made by known Holocaust deniers reveal eerie similarities between Holocaust denial and “comfort women” denial (and this comparison between denialisms stands even if, as some contend, two atrocities themselves should not be compared to each other).

Mark Weber, the long-time director of the Holocaust denial organization Institute for Historical Review has said in a 1992 interview:

If by “holocaust” you mean the political persecution of Jews, some scattered killings, if yo mean a cruel thing that happened, no one denies that. But if one says that the “holocaust” means the systematic extermination of six to eight million Jews in concentration camps, that’s what we think there’s no evidence for.”

The IHR also posted on its website the following until at least 2009:

The Institute does not “deny the Holocaust.” Every responsible scholar of twentieth century history acknowledges the great catastrophe that befell European Jewry during World War II. All the same, the IHR has published detailed books and numerous probing essays that call into question aspects of the orthodox Holocaust extermination story, and highlight specific Holocaust exaggerations and falsehoods. IHR publications have devoted considerable attention to this issue because it plays an enormously significant role in the cultural and political life of America and much of the world. As a number of Jewish scholars have acknowledged, the “Holocaust” campaign is a major weapon in the Jewish-Zionist arsenal. It is used to justify otherwise unjustifiable Israeli policies, and to extort enormous sums of money, especially from European countries and companies.

Another denier, Christian pastor Herman Otten wrote in an IHR publication:

There is no dispute over the fact that large numbers of Jews were deported to concentration camps and ghettos, or that many Jews died or were killed during World War II. Revisionist scholars have presented evidence, which “exterminationists” have not been able to refute, showing that there was no German program to exterminate Europe’s Jews, and that the estimate of six million Jewish wartime dead is an irresponsible exaggeration.

“Comfort women” deniers frequently make similar arguments denying important aspects of the historical consensus.

The author does not deny the occurrence of isolated cases such as the Semarang Incident in the Dutch East Indies in which Ms. Jan Ruff O’Herne was involved. It was an apparent “war crime” in Indonesia committed by military personnel. […] However, this was an isolated case and should not be used to characterize or to generalize the state-managed Comfort Women System.
Hiromichi Moteki, Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact (Source)

It is more than funny how some strident activists in the US are depicting me as “Comfort girls denier”. That’s hilarious. Nobody in Japan denies them OMG! (((o(*゚▽゚*)o))) Neither do I.
Yujiro Taniyama, film producer of Scottsboro Girls (Source)

These guys on the photo are saying “there was no “military” comfort women forced by Japanese army but not denying the existence of the comfort women.
Shunichi Fujiki, Texas Daddy Japan Secretariat (using pseudonym, Source)

I am labeled “comfort women denier,” but it should be “comfort women = sex slaves” denier to be accurate. Language must be used precisely. False premises lead to confused arguments.
Kiyoshi Hosoya, Japan Family Values Society (translated from Japanese, Source)

Similarities between Holocaust denial and “comfort women” denial do not end here. For example, they both often promote conspiracy theories that those who are preserving historical memory are operating under nefarious geopolitical or financial motives:

As a number of Jewish scholars have acknowledged, the “Holocaust” campaign is a major weapon in the Jewish-Zionist arsenal. It is used to justify otherwise unjustifiable Israeli policies, and to extort enormous sums of money, especially from European countries and companies.
– Institute for Historical Review (Source)

It’s important to note that the countries that are making a big fuss over this are China and South Korea […] This is not about human rights or sex-slavery. This is about politics, money, and racism towards Japanese. In other words, this issue is a geopolitical tool that China uses to attack Japan.
Michael Yon, “journalist” (Source)

The Comfort Women Mafia has been successful in placing plaques and a statue memorializing their version of the Comfort Women story in communities all across the United States. Why? […] Very simple: The Comfort Women Mafia’s one area of motivation is to bash Japan. Their goal is to tarnish the image of Japan among the populace in the USA.
Tony Marano, video blogger (Source)

There are many other similarities, but that is not really the point here. The point we are trying to make is that “comfort women” deniers are those who deny important aspects of established historical facts about the Japanese military “comfort women” system, just like Holocaust deniers are those who deny important aspects of established historical facts about the Holocaust, whether or not they concede that the Holocaust may have taen place in some form.

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.

For Mr. Marano: Proof that your “good friend” hid behind a pseudonym to propagate hate

In our last post, we exposed that Shunichi Fujiki a.k.a. “Shun Ferguson” (Japanese representative of “comfort women” denier “Texas Daddy” a.k.a. Tony Marano) had used the pseudonym “Comfort women trying to get second big money” and the fake email address “comfortwomenistotallieofgreedykorean@givememoney.co.kr” to post a comment on our blog, which is completely unacceptable. He was caught because the post originated from the same exact IP address as the one he had posted from previously.

Mr. Fujiki has not responded to the allegation, but “Texas Daddy” himself responded, demanding that we “prove” that Mr. Fujiki was indeed responsible for the offending comment.

We suggested that he check with Mr. Fujiki himself, but Mr. Marano refused, stating that he would “not insult my good friend by asking him to comment on slander.”

Fine then, here is the proof.

fujiki_hatecomment

This is a screen shot of WordPress administration page. I entered the IP address 125.194.221.32 to search all comments to our blog, which returned three comments: two by Mr. Fujiki (“Shun Ferguson”) and one by “Ugly Comfort women trying to get second big money,” thereby proving “Shun Ferguson” is “Ugly Comfort women trying to get second big money.”

“But you could have doctored the image!” you say, Mr. Marano? Okay, here’s the screen recording showing how I log into WordPress and list comments originating from 125.194.221.32.

Of course, even that could be fabricated, theoretically, so Mr. Marano could continue to believe that his good friend would not do such a despicable thing if he so chooses. But most readers would understand that we have no reason to go out of our way to fabricate an evidence “proving” how despicable Mr. Fujiki is; we believe that his “comfort women” denialism is already damaging enough.

If that’s not good enough, though, we have a proposition for you, Mr. Marano. We are willing to enter into a binding legal contract whereby you front the money to hire a reputable forensic computer expert to verify our claim. If it turns out that we had fabricated any of the above evidences, we will pay you double the money you fronted. It’s up to you.

“Texas Daddy”‘s Japanese Representative “Shun Ferguson” Caught Using Pseudonym to Propagate Hate

We welcome ernest conversations and debates, but we believe that there is no room for hate speech. We certainly don’t tolerate hate speech on our blog, even though sometimes things slip through (and please do let us know when you notice something).

So we almost did not approve a comment posted by someone using the pseudonym “Ugly Comfort women trying to get second big money” with an obvious fake email address “comfortwomenistotallieofgreedykorean@givememoney.co.kr“: it’s just not something we allow on our blog.

But when we went to the admin page to remove the comment, we noticed something interesting: the offending post originates from the same exact IP address as two previous comments posted by “Shun Ferguson” did.

As we discussed previously , Shunichi Fujiki a.k.a. “Shun Ferguson” is the Japanese representative for Tony Marano a.k.a. “Texas Daddy.”

Mr. Fujiki coordinates Mr. Marano’s speaking tours in Japan, maintains website and social media presence for Mr. Marano in Japanese, and probably does heavy editing for Mr. Marano’s articles in Japanese–we note that Mr. Marano’s columns sometimes invoke puns and word-plays (oyaji gag) in Japanese, which would be improbable for someone with little understanding of language to come up with on his own.

Below is the full text of Mr. Fujiki’s comment (under the pseudonym “Comfort women trying to get second big money” and fake email address “comfortwomenistotallieofgreedykorean@givememoney.co.kr”), in response to another commenter Ruud Thea Bisenberger.

Ruud Thea Bisenberger,

Would you please provide the proof of your claim?
I saw the documents issued by Dutch government in 1994 but the figure you stated is totally different from what was written on the document or Japanese issued document.

What I know from PropagandaBuster’s videos, he was explaining that “Those Korean comfort women were not attractive” = ugly.
He did not mention anything about Dutch women but just illustrated what is written on the US Army report No.49. which is all about Korean prostitutes.

If there is a police officer violated their law and murdered a man, are you going to say entire police officers are murders?
This is exactly what the case is. Your claim is totally bankrupted.

These guys on the photo are saying “there was no “military” comfort women forced by Japanese army but not denying the existence of the comfort women.

Mr. Fujiki’s rhetoric especially around his analogy re “if there is a police officer…” exactly matches his argument in a recent facebook post in Japanese, further affirming that this poster is indeed the real “Shun Ferguson.”

Mr. Fujiki, you are not only a historical denier, but also an additionally despicable individual for using a particularly hate-filled fake name and email address to attack people from around the world who question your fake history. If you are so ashamed of your own bigotry to disguise yourself, perhaps you should stop propagating it.

Does 1944 U.S. Military Report Prove “Comfort Women” Were “Just Prostitutes”?

When Japanese politicians visited Glendale and tried to “convert” Japanese American leaders who had supported the city’s peace memorial dedicated to the victims of Japanese “comfort women” system of enforced military prostitution, the politicians presented a copy of a U.S. military report from 1944 that they believed would “prove” their position that “comfort women” were simply prostitutes who followed Japanese military for business. Their American apologists Tony Marano (a.k.a. “Texas Daddy”) and Michael Yon both cited the same document when they descended on our facebook page to argue the same thing. Clearly, they view this U.S. report as their strongest evidence absolving Japanese military of wrongdoings.

The report is based on interviews with 20 Korean “comfort women” as well as two Japanese civilian “house masters” held by the U.S. military as prisoners of war in Burma. Because it was written by the U.S. Army that was still fighting against the Japanese Empire at the time, right-wing nationalists argue, it cannot be challenged as being biased in favor of Japan. Unfortunately, however, both Japanese and American military can still be biased against Koreans or women, and especially against Korean “comfort women.”

POW Report No. 49 (1st page)

Indeed, the report does contain passages that seem to uphold right-wing nationalists’ view that “comfort women” were prostitutes making good money doing business with the Japanese military. The right-wing nationalists selectively quote passages such as “a comfort girl is nothing more than a prostitute or ‘professional camp follower’ attached to the Japanese Army for the benefit of the soldiers,” or “they lived in near luxury… they had plenty of money.”

The right-wing nationalists cannot help also quoting parts of the document that do not actually help their argument that the author was an objective third party, but are too pleasurable for them to ignore. For example, they like to quote the report’s description of Korean “comfort women” as “uneducated, childish, whimsical, and selfish” and “not pretty either by Japanese or Caucasian standards” (this is why Marano decided to place a paper bag over the Glendale memorial, according to his own article published in Japan). While Japanese nationalists may be quoting these passages to amuse their racist and sexist selves, they clearly show that the author’s prejudice toward Korean “comfort women.”

Some of the Japanese right-wing nationalists cite this report as if it is a newly uncovered historical evidence, but it has been known among scholars of “comfort women” for more than 20 years. In fact, it was part of the supporting documents compiled by the Japanese government when then-Cabinet Minister Yohei Kono released the famous statement in 1993 in which Japanese government acknowledged responsibility for its direct involvement in the trafficking and exploitation of “comfort women” for the first time. While right-wing nationalists believe the report to be the “silver bullet” proving their case, scholars actually consider it one of many documents that prove Japan’s culpability.

Right-wing nationalists are correct that the U.S. military report describes a “comfort woman (girl)” as “nothing more than a prostitute.” But in the next paragraph, the report details how “comfort women” were taken from Korea under false pretense (offer of a good job) and placed in a situation that they could not escape from due to debt. Also according to the report, most “comfort women” were never involved in prostitution prior to arriving at Japanese military “comfort stations,” and many were considered “underage” under the International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children of 1921, which Japan had signed.

“House masters” took 50-60% of the fees paid by Japanese soldiers, depending on the amount of money the women owed. Women also had to purchase food and other necessities from the house masters, which “made life very difficult for the girls” because house masters often charged excessively high prices for these necessities. We find these descriptions believable because they are very similar to how contemporary human trafficking cases look like.

The report also states that women had the freedom to refuse customers, for example when a soldier was extremely drunk. But even if it were true, they obviously did not have the freedom to refuse the “job” altogether and leave because they were taken far away from home in a foreign land and had to repay their debt, which was made difficult by the fact that they had to pay excessive prices for food and other necessities in order to survive.

To understand why the report seems to contain such contradictory information (did “comfort women” lived in near luxury, or had difficult life due to economic exploitation?), we need to understand the context and purpose of the report itself. The report’s author is Alex Yorichi, a Japanese American soldier working for the U.S. Army’s Office of War Information, Psychological Warfare Team. Yorichi was tasked with finding out the effectiveness of Japanese-language leaflets that the Psychological Warfare Team had distributed in Japanese-occupied territories in Burma, and interrogated “comfort women” and their “house masters” as part of that investigation.

In other words, it was never Yorichi’s intention to investigate the “comfort women” system itself. As such, he simply recorded testimonies of the “comfort women” and their “house masters” without verifying any particular claim about the “comfort women” system. Because the interview was likely conducted in Japanese (after all, the unit was interviewing Japanese prisoners of war), and many Korean “comfort women” did not receive Japanese education (most “comfort women” could not read the propaganda leaflets distributed by Yorichi’s colleagues), it would be natural to assume that the voices of the two Japanese “house masters” are disproportionately represented over the voices of Korean “comfort women” in the final report. Even then, the report details policies, structures, prices, and schedules at “comfort stations” that clearly prove the active involvement of Japanese military in managing or administering the everyday operation of “comfort stations.”

A copy of the U.S. military report is available for download here.

Tony Marano a.k.a. “Texas Daddy” has his propaganda busted

Last week, we posted a group photo representing “the faces of Japanese ‘comfort women’ denialism” with names and affiliations of the historical deniers.

Comfort Women Denialists

One of the “faces” featured, Tony Marano a.k.a. “Texas Daddy” a.k.a. “Propaganda Buster” commented on our blog, as well as on our facebook page, calling the caption “dishonarable and pathetic.” We responded to him, and here is the conversation that followed:

marano-fb

Here’s the text of the exchange, in case the screen capture does not work for you:

Tony Marano The title to the photograph is a total lie. Please point out which one(s) in that photograph deny the existence of Comfort Women.
Your scandalous lie is dishonorable and pathetic.

Japan-U.S. Feminist Network for Decolonization Nobody is accusing you of denying the mere existence of “comfort women.” Historical denialism is the denial of historical crimes, such as the Holocaust or the genocide of Native Americans or the crime Japanese military perpetrated against Korean and other women known as “comfort women” during the WWII. You deny the existence of the system of military enforced prostitution by the Japanese military, which means you, sir, are a “comfort women” denier.

Tony Marano You sir or ma’am are the denier between the two of us. In 1944 the United States Army captured, not rescued some Comfort Women and reported they were well paid prostitutes. That report place doubt in the version offered by many. That report may not reflect all the Comfort Women during that period throughout Asia, however it places doubt in the version that all were forced. By you and your colleagues refusing to acknowledge that report, it makes you the denier here. Also in the photograph where all are accused as deniers, do you know that for a fact about each individual? Or is that just another blanket inaccurate accusation?

Japan-U.S. Feminist Network for Decolonization The U.S. military report says that the women were deceived by the offer of good job and held in debt bondage, which is considered a form of slavery under the United Nations definition. The report also makes it clear that Japanese military managed the system of military prostitution by implementing policies, prices, schedules, etc. Finally, the report is contradictory in terms of the economic reality of the women: in some part it states that they “lived in near luxury” and in another they struggled financially because they had to purchase food and other necessities from “house maters” at an excessive cost. Most likely, the “luxury” story reflects the interrogation of the Japanese “house masters,” and the rest of the stories came from the women themselves. Now, who is “refusing to acknowledge” the report?

Tony Marano See, once again you are proving you are a denier. You left out the part where those so-called sex-slaves were paid more than the average Japanese soldier and where they ladies enjoyed entertainment and sporting events with members of the Japanese Imperial Army. Do sex slaves do that?

Japan-U.S. Feminist Network for Decolonization As I’ve pointed out already, the report states that women were nominally paid well but their earnings were taken away by the “house masters” for debt repayment and necessities. I find that description believable because it is very similar to the economic exploitation that occurs in contemporary human trafficking. As for comfort women having access to entertainment, even slave owners in the pre-Civil War U.S. South sometimes held picnics for their slaves. So yes, slavery can co-exist with occasional “entertainment” for the enslaved.

Who is this Tony Marano anyway, and why is he, a white American, so obsessed about denying the historical crimes of the Japanese Empire?

Tony Marano is a conservative video blogger who had posted political commentaries under the pseudonym “Propaganda Buster” on YouTube for several years. One time, he posted a video criticizing environmentalist group Sea Shepherd’s anti-whaling campaign against Japanese fishers, and was embraced as a hero by the Japanese right-wing nationalists. One of the Japanese supporters, Shunichi Fujiki (also pictured), approached Marano and became his official Japanese representative, supplying him with more pro-Japan resources and coordinating his books and lectures in Japan.

Marano is behind the whitehouse.gov petition calling for the removal of the Glendale, California memorial dedicated to the victims of Japanese “comfort women” system. Fujiki brags about a “strategy” he devised in order to attract attention to the petition, which was to send Marano to Glendale to have him take photos showing him place a paper bag over the head of the statue representing a “comfort woman.”

marano-paperbag

Pictures on the left show Marano and the statue with its head covered by a paper bag. The image on the right shows Marano visiting Mio Sugita, a far-right Japanese member of Parliament who is also protesting the memorial.

According to Fujiki, Marano was intentionally trying to provoke Korean outrage with his action, so that the media would cover the controversy, ultimately bringing more attention to the petition effort. Marano further explained that he placed the paper bag over the statue because he believed “comfort women” were ugly, citing a derisive description in the 1944 U.S. military report he mentioned in his facebook comment above.

We suspect that perhaps Morano had not engaged directly with critics of his historical revisionism, because most English speakers have never heard of him or do not know enough about historical documents about “comfort women” that he (selectively) cites, and he cannot read or understand Japanese criticisms. In addition, his messaging for the Japanese audience is carefully scripted and orchestrated by Fujiki, insulating Marano from direct confrontation. But once he exchanged opinions and facts with us on facebook, the “propaganda buster” had his propaganda busted and could not respond any further.