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Friday, October 11, 2019 | 1:00PM - 4:00PM | Leavey Library (LVL) 17*


Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue (2018, 122 min)
Followed by Q&A with Director Miki Dezaki

Co-moderated by Professor Benjamin Uchiyama, USC Department of History and Professor David Kang, USC Department of Political Science & International Relations and Director, Korean Studies Institute
Article by the New York Times

The “comfort women” issue is perhaps Japan’s most contentious present-day diplomatic quandary. Inside Japan, the issue is dividing the country across clear ideological lines. Supporters and detractors of “comfort women” are caught in a relentless battle over empirical evidence, the validity of oral testimony, the number of victims, the meaning of sexual slavery and the definition of coercive recruitment. Credibility, legitimacy and influence serve as the rallying cry for all those involved in the battle. In addition, this largely domestic battleground has been shifted to the international arena, commanding the participation of various state and non-state actors and institutions from all over the world. 

This film delves deep into the most contentious debates and uncovers the hidden intentions of the supporters and detractors of comfort women. Most importantly 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?

About the Director:

Miki Dezaki is a recent graduate of the Graduate Program in Global Studies at Sophia University in Tokyo. He worked for the Japan Exchange Teaching Program for five years in Yamanashi and Okinawa before becoming a Buddhist monk in Thailand for one year. He is also known as "Medamasensei" on Youtube, where he has made comedy videos and videos on social issues in Japan. His most notable video is “Racism in Japan,” which led to numerous online attacks by Japanese neo-nationalists who attempted to deny the existence of racism and discrimination against Zainichi Koreans (Koreans with permanent residency in Japan) and Burakumin (historical outcasts still discriminated today). "Shusenjo" is his directorial debut.

This screening is co-sponsored by the USC East Asian Studies Center and Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Cultures, with additional support from the Korean Studies Institute and Center for Advanced Genocide Research.

*You will need to show identification in order to enter Leavey Library, so please make sure to bring your USC ID card, driver’s license or other form of photo identification. Due to USC Library policy, you will not be allowed entry into the building without identification.

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