The Persistence of Japanese Empire: The Transnational Network of Historical Denialism

Minwoo Jung, Loyola University Chicago
Na-Young Lee, Chung-Ang University

Drawing on archival research, this paper suggests that Japanese historical denialism has grown in the last 30 years, crossing national borders to form a transnational right-wing network that links far-right state and non-state actors in Japan and the US. The transnational right-wing network of historical denialism has been constructed around the issue of “comfort women,” a significant case of Japanese empire’s wartime violence. This research adopts a decolonial feminist analysis to examine the connections between transnational right-wing networks, imperialism, and gender politics. First, we argue that state actors can play an important role in transnational right-wing networks. Second, we address the entanglement between contemporary right-wing mobilization and the legacies of empire. Third, we suggest that transnational right-wing mobilization is centered on gender as it targets the weakest and most vulnerable population. By recognizing the transnational construction of Japanese historical denialism and its intended effects, we call for a sociology of empire that takes seriously Japanese empire, its persistent imperialism, and gender politics as its pillar of theorization.

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 Presented in Session 159. Gender: Work in Progress