Prof. HAYASHI Hirofumi (Kanto Gakuin University) to give public seminar/lecture on 14 April

6 Apr 2016
Prof. HAYASHI Hirofumi public seminar/lecture

The School of Asian Studies is happy to invite you to a public seminar/lecture on 14 April with our guest Prof. HAYASHI Hirofumi from Kanto Gakuin University on the issue of the Japanese Military's "Comfort Woman" during the Second World War. Everyone interested is welcome to attend.

Prof. HAYASHI Hirofumi (Kanto Gakuin University)

The Politically Strained Legacy of the Japanese Military’s “Comfort Women” and the Achievements of Contemporary Research

Time: 14 April, 4pm
Venue: Cavanagh Pharmacy Building, Room LG51

In December 2015, Japan and South Korea reached an agreement to resolve the issue of the Korean “comfort women,” a term that euphemistically refers to the victims of sexual slavery under the rule of the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War. Since the 1990s, the painful legacy of the “comfort women” has become a subject of diplomatic sensitivity and has significantly strained political relationships between Japan and many other East Asian countries.
While the 2015 agreement went some way towards restoring diplomatic ties in the region, it was criticised for ignoring the needs and feelings of the former “comfort women”. The political situation in Japan remains complex: A backlash can be witnessed under the government of Prime Minister Abe. In addition to continually downplaying the issues on the political and international stage, at times, high ranked officials have questioned the credibility of the existing evidence and the accuracy of the historical facts, placing significant pressure on historians working on the history of war crimes both in and outside Japan. This talk will discuss the political sensitivities surrounding the issue of the “comfort women” and will provide an insider’s view into the work of critical Japanese historiographers.

Prof. HAYASHI Hirofumi teaches peace studies and politics at Kanto Gakuin University in Yokohama. He first started conducting research into war crimes and the issues related to the Japanese military “comfort women” in the 1990s, and he has progressed to become one of the most prominent historians in Japan. His research has provided documented proof of the Japanese military’s active involvement in the organisation of forced sexual slavery throughout Asia during World War II. Prof. HAYASHI actively campaigns for the rights of the survivors of Japanese war crimes. He is currently a visiting senior fellow at LSE, London.

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