chapter  4
36 Pages

How do you make your voice heard? Clarifying historical records and reaching out to the public

The previous chapter introduced the groups at the centre of our discussion. The remainder of the book focuses on demonstrating how these actors advocated their cause among various audiences, answering questions about how they disseminated and promoted their particular viewpoints and to what ends, what opportunities and limitations they encountered, and what they have managed to achieve so far. This chapter investigates in particular instruments which have been used to circulate information gathered by the activists among members of the groups and to disseminate it to wider audiences. These include preparation of printed materials (referred to by Groth (1996) as minimedia) by the chosen actors, information provision/educational events organised by them, and the promotion of alternative sites of memory. The findings from the chapter elucidate methods adopted from the repertoire of social advocacy employed by the groups. First, however, the chapter describes the research activities that were car-

ried out by the JWRC, VAWW NET and POWRNJ for the purpose of clarifying historical records. It is necessary to account for the actors’ research activities, as their efforts contributed to the uncovering of historical evidence concerning Japan’s wartime past and, subsequently, the outcome of their work fed into domestic discourses and were used to promote progressive narratives about war memory and responsibility in Japan. The case of CTJN21 is different in that the group has not been involved in any strictly ‘historical’ research initiatives. Since its inception, the group has performed the function of a progressive educational ‘watchdog’, which over the years has closely monitored the content of Japanese textbooks (mainly history and civic education textbooks), movements of the ‘historical revisionist’ camp and the situation in local areas with regard to the selection/adoption process, subsequently passing on this information to its members and the wider public. This group is discussed in greater detail later in the chapter.