Miki Dezaki, a YouTuber who was threatened and harassed by Japan’s notorious netouyo (cyber neo-nationalists) for his video on racism in Japan, is not shying away from controversial topics with his debut feature-length documentary on the comfort women issue. The film dives deep into the most contentious dispute between Japan and Korea and finds answers to hotly debated questions, such as: Were the comfort women “sexual slaves” or prostitutes? Were they coercively recruited? Were there really 200,000 comfort women? And does Japan have a legal responsibility to apologize?
Dezaki masterfully interweaves footage from demonstrations, man-on-the-street interviews, news and archival clips with in-depth interviews with the most prominent scholars and influencers from both sides of the debate, including Yoshiko Sakurai (journalist), Kent Gilbert (lawyer/celebrity), Mina Watanabe (secretary-general of the Women's Active Museum), Koichi Nakano (political science professor) and Yoshiaki Yoshimi (historian).
Shusenjo includes surprising confessions and revelations that uncover the hidden intentions of both supporters and detractors while deconstructing the dominant narratives. That Dezaki has managed to bring nuance to a sensationalized and often oversimplified issue is just one of the many reasons that Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue is a must-see work.
Co-sponsored by the Departments of Asian Languages & Civilizations; History; Sexuality, Women’s & Gender Studies; and Film & Media Studies