This article deals with the pervasive and entrenched nature of Japanese denialism on wartime memories, mainly focusing on the “comfort women” issue. It argues that a lens of “negationism” is more beneficial to address entrenched denialism. The net effect of denialism has been to perpetuate binary identity constructs, the deniers and the denied, one side re-engineering social relations to dominate and continue dominating the other. Conventional approaches to counter such denialism have relied heavily on truth-seeking and justice-dispensing mechanisms, but they are inept at addressing negationist denialism. The article explores a post-atrocity model of narrative and identity to go beyond the limits of current counter-denial approaches. This novel framework suggests the “functional decoupling” of past guilt from the present responsibility. In doing so, it does not try to change negationism, let alone try to eliminate it; instead, this approach seeks to make negationism less relevant.

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I sincerely appreciate the feedback I received from anonymous reviewers of the journal. I also thank Henry Theriault, Melanie O'Brien, and Shane Barter on the previous draft of this article. Any omission or mistake is solely my responsibility.



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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License