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Ikuhiko Hata (秦郁彦 Hata Ikuhiko: December 12, 1932 - ) is a Japanesemarker historian. He published many textbooks and interpretive studies in both Japanese military and modern history. He is known for his collaborative research with John W. Dower and Herbert P. Bix.

Education and career

Hata was born in Yamaguchi Prefecturemarker. He graduated from University of Tokyomarker in 1956, and later studied at Columbia University. During the four-year bachelor program in Tokyo, he interviewed many former Japanese army officers, including A-class criminals in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After graduation, he joined Ministry of Financemarker and later transferred to the Defense Agencymarker, where he engaged in historiographic works of the Japanese financial and military history. His collaborative study at the Japan Association of International Relations is later published as Road to the Pacific War. Also he published some dictionaries from the University of Tokyo Press. He taught as a guest professor at Princeton Universitymarker, and served as a professor at Takushoku University, Chiba University and Nihon Universitymarker.

Political and academic activities

He is well known in Japan as a historian with a revisionist streak similar to History Wars in Australia and New Historians in Israel. He often writes for right-leaning publications but distinguishes himself from other political pundits by having substantial academic publications under his name. Some of his controversial claims include a lower death toll for the Nanking massacre (at max 40,000 civilians, based on his argument that the execution of plain clothes guerrilla soldiers is legal under international law and that both Chinese and Japanese violated Geneva convention making the applicability of the convention moot), and the claim that there was no organized effort by the Japanese military to forcibly recruit comfort women and that any abduction which took place was done either by renegade front line commander (especially in South East Asia) who violated military directive or by civilian recruiters that were not part of Japanese military or government. He first came to public prominence when he outed Seiji Yoshida, who claimed to have abducted Korean women as Japanese officer, as having forged his claims. He was one of the leading participants in the historical debate over Japanese war time atrocities, which took place mainly during 1980s and 1990s in Japan.

While admitting that some individual incidents of atrocities did indeed occurred, Hata claims that there was no organized forced recruitment of comfort women by Japanese government or military, and one of his long term goals is to revise or completely retract the Kono statement.
“There were at most 20,000 comfort women.
None of them were forcibly recruited (by Japanese military).
Forty percent of them were from Japan, the most heavily represented nation.
Many were sold to brokers by their parents.
Some responded willingly to brokers’ offers; others were deceived.” I would add that, on the average, living conditions in the comfort stations were practically identical to those in brothels set up for American troops during the Vietnam War".


Hirofumi Hayashi has made many remarks criticizing Hata. Regarding Hata's book “Comfort Women and Sex in War” (“慰安婦と戦場の性”, Hata, 1999) professor Hayashi said,
“(Hata’s) handling of documents is faulty. For example, there was a document about a 1938 request from the army to (Japan’s) Home Ministry which led to the recruiting of comfort women. In (Hata’s) book, this inquiry sent from a section chief to a bureau director in the Home Ministry is disguised as instructions to various government offices. Furthermore, it allocates the number of comfort women in five prefectures, but the number of people (in Hata’s book) is nonsense. (Hata’s) numbers show 650 (comfort women) even though the document lists the total as 400. He even arbitrarily changed the wording of quotes he used.”

Selected works

  • History of Sino-Japanese war. Tokyo: Kawade Shobo, 1961. (『日中戦争史』河出書房新社, 1961年 OCLC:20944158/増訂版, 1972年 OCLC:122728982/新装版, 原書房, 1979年)
  • History of Japanese Military Fascism. Tokyo: Kawade Shobo, 1962. (『軍ファシズム運動史――3月事件から2・26後まで』(河出書房新社, 1962年/増訂版, 1972年/新装版, 原書房, 1980年) OCLC:20811899
  • Nanking Incident, The Structure of the Massacre. Tokyo: Chuo Koron, 1986. (『南京事件 虐殺の構造』 中公新書 1986年) ISBN 4121007956, (2007 edition) ISBN 4121907957
  • Comfort Women and Sex in War. Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1999. (『慰安婦と戦場の性』新潮社 新潮選書)ISBN 4106005654
  • Yasuho Izawa, Christopher F Shores Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units and Their Aces, 1931-1945. Grub Street the Basement, 2002 ISBN 1902304896
  • Marius B Jansen Hirohito: The Showa Emperor in War and Peace. University of Hawaii Press, 2007 ISBN 1905246358


  • Road to the Pacific War, 1-7. Tokyo: Japan Association of International Relations, Asahi Shinbun, 1963

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