Henry 2013 Memory

Title Information

Author: Nicola Henry

Title: Memory of an Injustice

Subtitle: The "Comfort Women" and the Legacy of the Tokyo Trial

Journal: Asian Studies Review

Volume: 37

Issue: 3

Year: 2013

Pages: 362-380

ISSN: 1035-7823 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1467-8403 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | Japanese History | Prosecution: Trials / International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Types: "Comfort Women", Wartime Rape / Asia-Pacific War

Full Text

Link: Taylor & Francis Online [Restricted Access]

Additional Information

Author: Nicola Henry, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University


»International criminal prosecutions for serious violations of human rights are not only connected to a collective consciousness about the past; they also shape contemporary memory contestation. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE or Tokyo Tribunal) was established in 1946 to try Japanese defendants for war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace. Part of the legacy of the Tokyo Trial is the debate that has ensued over the collective memory of injustice, including critiques of "victor’s justice", as well as the failure of the Tribunal to adequately prosecute crimes such as the vivisection of prisoners, biological warfare and the systematic sexual enslavement of the so-called "comfort women".
In this article, I argue that the proceedings and judgment of the Tokyo Trial have been frequently deployed to both confirm and deny the plight of the comfort women, particularly among revisionists and victim advocates The article illustrates not only the power of law to dictate how and what past events will be remembered, but also the transformative power of law as a site of memory contestation. As such, I argue that the "selective memory" of historical war crimes trials can be both an injustice and a collective memory of the past. Such legal memory is not stable and settled, but shifts and changes shape over the passage of time.« [Source: Asian Studies Review]

Wikipedia: Comfort women, International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Pacific War, War rape

Added: August 10, 2013 | Last updated: August 10, 2013