Japanese Historians Complain About U.S. Textbook

      December 09, 2015 11:11

      A group of rightwing Japanese historians on Monday complained of "factual errors" in a U.S. history textbook about the Japanese army's sexual enslavement of women in World War II.

      Prof. Takashi Ito of Tokyo University and 49 others complain in the December issue of Perspectives on History, the journal of the American Historical Association, that a textbook published by McGraw-Hill contains “eight apparent factual errors within 26 lines in merely two paragraphs."

      They claimed that there is no evidence that the Imperial Army forced women, mostly Korean, to serve as sex slaves for troops during World War II and the accounts are "completely without supporting historical evidence."

      The historians said U.S. academics would also complain if they spotted errors about American history in foreign textbooks.

      McGraw-Hill has repeatedly said it "unequivocally" stands by the textbook.

      The statement is only the latest move in a long campaign of denial by Japanese rightwingers close to the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which has blighted Tokyo's relations with its neighbors.

      Alexis Dudden, a professor at the University of Connecticut who has been active in denouncing Japan's attempts to whitewash its wartime atrocities, said the historians were clearly wrong and accused them of being mouthpieces for the Abe administration.

      "It's not natural that a government intervenes in academic publication," she said in a letter to the journal. "Imagine if Ambassador Caroline Kennedy sent three people from the American Embassy in Tokyo to various publishers of school textbooks to examine how Japanese textbooks portray the attack on Pearl Harbor."

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