On Thursday, September 26, 2019, there was a film screening of "Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue" at the Queens College Patio Room (inside the student dining hall). The director, Miki Dezaki, talked before and after the screening about his documentary film, which uses the controversial "comfort women" issue as a case study for historical revisionism. The film is approximately 2 hours long. This event was co-sponsored by the Research Center for Korean Community (RCKC), the Asian/American Center, the Center for Jewish Studies, and the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding (CERRU), all of which are affiliated with Queens College. Approximately 100 people attended the screening.

The “comfort women” issue is one of Japan’s most contentious present-day diplomatic quandaries. In Japan, the issue has divided the country across clear ideological lines. Some of the issues in question include empirical evidence, the validity of oral testimony, the number of victims, the meaning of sexual slavery, and the definition of coercive recruitment. In addition, this largely domestic battleground has shifted to the international arena, commanding the participation of various state and non-state actors and institutions from all over the world. This film, which is based on the producer’s 30 personal interviews with Japanese neo-nationalist denialists and another 30 interviews with supporters of the redress movement, delves deep into the most contentious debates and uncovers the hidden intentions of the supporters and detractors of “comfort women.” Most important, it finds answers to some of the biggest questions for Japanese and Koreans: Were “comfort women” prostitutes or sex slaves? Were they coercively recruited? And, does Japan have a legal responsibility to apologize to the former “comfort women?”


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