Shusenjo - The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue


Virtual event


Wednesday, 11 November, 2020 - 14:00 to 17:00

The ANU Korea Institute is proud to present an online streaming and Q&A event for the important new documentary Shusenjo - The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue (2018), featuring director Miki Dezaki and Prof. Tessa Morris-Suzuki.


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?

The strong and arguably controversial viewpoints featured in the documentary have stirred considerable debate, with five Japanese conservatives even suing the director for defamation. Following a full screening of the documentary, Prof. Morris-Suzuki will ask the director about the documentary and the responses it has stirred, and subsequently invite questions for Mr Dezaki from the audience. The Zoom link will be provided to those registered an hour before the start of the event. Please register with your name, affiliation and email address.

Registration is limited to 100, so be sure to register early!


2:00 – 2:05 Welcome (A/Prof. Roald Maliangkay)

2:05 – 4:05 Full screening Shusenjo

4:05 – 4:25 Discussion (Prof. Morris-Suzuki and Mr Dezaki)

4:25 – 4:50 Public Q&A

4:50 – 4:55 Closing remarks (Maliangkay)

Register now



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