The “Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace” (WAM) in Tokyo would like to exhibit my (and Hilde Janssen‘s) “Comfort Women” (till September 7, 2014, in Stadthaus Ulm, Germany, in “Gesichter des Krieges” – Faces of War -, a group exhibition with Anja Niedringhaus and Bryan Adams). It also wants to show Frank van Osch’s film documentary “Because We Were Beautiful.”
But this may well become a very complicated affair – as was explained to Hilde in a conversation with a museum staff member. Not only does the museum itself have no money, but in the present atmosphere of right-wing rewriting of WW2 history, people and institutions in Japan are afraid of negative consequences if they contribute to the exhibition of such a controversial subject; theater owners fear a backlash if they would show critical movies such as Frank van Osch’s documentary; and earlier, we saw the Nikon Gallery skipping an exhibition about Comfort Women under revisionist pressure. Even embassies and international donors seem to prefer to avoid this politically sensitive issue.
Still, we hope that some Dutch institutions will be willing to support us to bring about this exhibition and film screening in the heart of Japan. And possibly, some Korean and other Asian groups in the US are interested? If so, please contact us.
For more on the revisionist vision of Japans wartime history, read the Economist’s “No more guild-tripping, say the young”:
“Rariko, the band’s leader, calls South Korea a ‘filthy’ country and says Koreans are trying to humiliate Japan by lying about war crimes.”
- Jan Banning
May 4th 1954, Almelo
Dutch photographer and artist. Banning was born in the Netherlands from Dutch-East-Indies parents. He studied social and economic history at the Radboud University Nijmegen, and has been working as a photographer since 1981. A central theme of Banning's practice is state power, having produced series about the long-term consequences of war and the world of government bureaucracy.