December 12, 1932 |
Hofu, Yamaguchi Prefecture
|Institutions||Japanese Ministry of Finance
|Alma mater||University of Tokyo|
|Notable awards||Kikuchi Kan Prize|
|Spouse||Kazuko (m. 1973)|
Education and career
Hata was born on 12 December 1932 in the city of Hofu in Yamaguchi Prefecture. He graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1956 and received his PhD from the same institution in 1974. He worked as chief historian of the Japanese Ministry of Finance between 1956 and 1976 and during this period from 1963 to 1965 he was also a research assistant at Harvard University. After resigning his post at the Finance Ministry Hata served as a visiting professor at Princeton University from 1977 to 1978 and then was a history professor at Takushoku University from 1980 to 1993, at Chiba University from 1994 to 1997, and at Nihon University from 1997 to 2002.
Hata's scholarship has been widely praised. Historian Edward Drea, for instance, has written that Hata's "published works are models of scholarship, research, accuracy, and judicious interpretation", and Joshua A. Fogel, a historian of China at York University, concurs that Hata "is an eminent scholar who has for over forty years been writing numerous excellent studies of Japan at war."
Hata's first published history book was Nicchū Sensōshi ("A History of the Second Sino-Japanese War"), released in 1961, which he had begun researching while doing his bachelor's degree at the University of Tokyo. The work was well-received, described by Chalmers Johnson as "the most thorough study of Japanese policies in China during the 1930's" and by James TC Liu as "a welcome and pioneering contribution". Fifty years after its publication Edward Drea and Tobe Ryoichi called it "a classic account" of the war. Hata's second book, the 1962 work Gun fashizumu undō shi ("A History of the Military Fascist Movement"), was promoted by the historian Shuhei Domon as "a first-rate narrative interpretation based on extensive use of documentary evidence."
Hata then joined a team of "young, objective diplomatic and military historians" who were assembled by the Japan Association of International Relations and given unprecedented access to primary source records to write the history of the origins of World War II in Asia. The result of this project was Taiheiyō sensō e no michi ("The Road to the Pacific War"), published between 1962 and 1963 and then translated into English in the 1980s. Hata contributed three essays to the series. The first one, "The Japanese-Soviet Confrontation, 1935-1939", was described as "a wealth of new data" by Roger Dingman, who likewise praised Hata's next essay in the series "The Army's Move into Northern Indochina", for demonstrating "brilliantly how peaceful passage through northern Indochina became forceful occupation." Hata's third essay, "The Marco Polo Bridge Incident 1937", was described by Mark Peattie as, "the best overview we now have in English" of the event, and Hata would later expand it into a full-length book which Edward Drea and Tobe Ryoichi called "The single best source on the incident."
Starting in 1968 Hata headed a team of scholars with a task from the Ministry of Education to analyze all available sources and documents on the workings of the wartime and prewar armed forces of Japan. The fruit of their research was Nihon Rikukaigun no Seido, Soshiki, Jinji ("Institutions, Organization, and Personnel of the Japanese Army and Navy"), released in 1971, which Mark Peattie called "the authoritative reference work in the field." Soon after this Hata was tasked with coordinating another collaborative research project, this one for the Finance Ministry on the subject of the occupation of Japan by the United States after World War II. Hata was credited by John W. Dower, Sadao Asada, and Roger Dingman for the key role he played in producing the multivolume project, which began to be published in 1975, deeming it the best work of scholarship on the occupation produced up to that point.
In 1993 Hata wrote a two-volume work on controversial incidents in modern Japanese history, entitled Shōwashi no nazo wo ou ("Chasing the Riddles of Showa History"), which was awarded the Kikuchi Kan Prize.
A work Hata had written in 1984, Hirohito Tennō Itsutsu no Ketsudan ("Emperor Hirohito's Five Decisions"), attracted the attention of Marius Jansen, who arranged to have it translated into English as "Hirohito: The Showa Emperor in War and Peace". On the question of "whether the emperor was really Japan's ruler and power-holder or merely a puppet and robot... [Hata] concludes that the answer to this complex question lies somewhere in between, although Hata credits Hirohito with considerable political savvy." The book garnered highly positive reviews from Edward Drea, Stephen S. Large, and Hugh Cortazzi.
Research on the Nanking Massacre
Hata's major contribution to Nanking Massacre studies is his book Nankin jiken ("The Nanking Incident"), published in 1986, which is a detailed study of the event based on Japanese, Chinese, and English sources that was later noted by historian Daqing Yang to be one of the few impartial works of scholarship written on the massacre during the period. The book is known for its relatively low estimate of the death toll of the atrocity, which Hata put at between 38,000 and 40,000 partly because, unlike most historians of the time, he excluded Chinese soldiers killed in action from his definition of the massacre. Hata's book is also acknowledged to be the first book to discuss what might have caused the massacre, whereas previous books had focused only on describing the event itself. Hata argued that the Japanese Army's lack of military police and facilities to detain POWs, its ignorance of international laws, its excessive mopping-up operations, and the Chinese General Tang Shengzhi's decision to flee the city without formally surrendering were among the factors which led to the slaughter.
Some contemporary researchers including the historian Tomio Hora and the journalist Katsuichi Honda expressed strong disagreement with Hata's death toll estimate, though the both of them still expressed admiration for Hata's scholarship and sincerity. Hata is today recognized as the major scholar of the so-called "centrist" school of thought on the Nanking Massacre, which in terms of the death toll believes that tens of thousands were killed and thus stands between the "great massacre" school on the one hand which believes that hundreds of thousands were killed, and the "illusion" school of Nanking Massacre deniers on the other hand. By contrast, Takuji Kimura has criticized Hata as a "minimizer" of the atrocity, while still acknowledging that his book on the massacre was "an excellent study" and Herbert Bix has described him as "the most notorious" of the "partial deniers" of the Nanking Massacre.
Decades after its publication, Hata's Nankin jiken has continued to receive plaudits from some scholars. In the year 2000 Marius Jansen endorsed it as "the most reasonable of many Japanese studies" on the massacre and in 2001 prominent Nanking Massacre scholar Yutaka Yoshida deemed it one of the top five books he recommends that people read on the Nanking Massacre, despite disagreeing with its death toll estimate. In 2003 the book was said by Joshua Fogel to be "still an authority in the field" and was designated "the best introductory work on the Nanjing Incident in any language" by Ritsumeikan University Professor David Askew.
In November 1997 at a conference in Princeton University Hata was confronted by Iris Chang, author of the book The Rape of Nanking, who asked him why he doubted the testimony of Japanese POWs who had stated that hundreds of thousands of Chinese were killed in the atrocity. When Hata replied that torture and coercion of Japanese POWs made their testimony unreliable Chang walked out and the audience became unruly, shouting Hata down and yelling insults at him. The situation was barely kept under control by the moderator Perry Link. In the wake of this incident, Hata was prevented from speaking at a number of universities that he visited due to similar disruptions caused by Chinese students who disagreed with his death toll estimate. Bob Wakabayashi of York University argues that Hata became more strident in his tone following these attacks, once comparing the so-called "Nanking industry" with Norman Finkelstein's "Holocaust industry". In the 1980s Hata had stated that the death toll was 38,000 to 40,000 while holding out the possibility that it might have been as high as 60,000, but when he wrote the second edition of Nankin Jiken in 2007 he indicated that 40,000 massacred was the maximum possible and that the true number might have been lower than that.
Research on the comfort women
Ikuhiko Hata is a leading historian on the subject of the comfort women who served alongside the Japanese Army in the 1930s and 1940s and is credited with being the first individual to expose as fraudulent the testimony of Seiji Yoshida, who claimed to have kidnapped Korean women for the Japanese military. Hata, who argues that the comfort women were not sex slaves but largely willing prostitutes, summed up his views on the issue with,
"There were at most 20,000 comfort women. None of them were forcibly recruited. 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."
Historian Chunghee Sarah Soh notes that Hata had put the total number of comfort women at 90,000 in 1993 but he later revised the number downward because of "his political alignment with the conservative anti-redress camp in Japan that emerged in the latter half of the 1990s".
Hata would expand his research into the 1999 book Ianfu to senjō no sei ("Comfort women and sex on the battlefield"), described by Sarah Soh as "a 444-page treatise on the comfort women issue". Ianfu to senjō no sei was noted for its extensive compilation of information, being praised by historian Haruo Tohmatsu as "probably the most well documented study on the question" and by Mainichi Shimbun reporter Takao Yamada as "an encyclopedia-like collection of facts on comfort women". In The International History Review, A. Hamish Ion stated that with this work Hata has succeeded in creating "a measured evaluation in the face of sensational and supposedly ill-researched studies by George Hicks and others." The book was also favorably reviewed by political scientist Itaru Shimazu and the journalist Takaaki Ishii. By contrast, historian Hirofumi Hayashi criticized the work for faulty use of documents, such as one occasion where Hata cites a document listing 650 comfort women allocated in five prefectures, when in fact the document said 400 comfort women.
Hata, who supports the retraction of the Kono Statement on comfort women, was the only historian appointed to the committee established by the government of Shinzo Abe to "re-examine" the statement.
Some sources have described Hata has being a right-leaning scholar, such as Thomas U. Berger who has called him, "a highly respected conservative Japanese historian". Others, however, find characterizing Hata in these terms to be inaccurate, such as military historian Masahiro Yamamoto who notes that in the historical debate on the Nanking Massacre Hata was a centrist who actually leaned closer to the "traditionalist" scholars than the conservative "revisionists". Takao Yamada likewise points out that Hata has criticized all sides in historical controversies and he argues that Hata can be better described as a "positivist".
Hata is known as a strong opponent of the attempts by some Japanese nationalists to revise Japan's wartime history in a way that he deems ideologically biased. Hata, who is described by the Wall Street Journal as an advocate of the "we-did-wrong view" of Japanese history, has expressed grave concern about the advent of new historical revisionists seeking to apologize for Japan's wartime aggressions and absolve former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo. In 1995 Hata stepped down from a government commission on the construction of a new war museum near Yasukuni Shrine in fear that the project would be used to glorify Japan's wartime actions. He favors the de-enshrinement of war criminals from Yasukuni Shrine and is also a critic of Yushukan, a museum near the shrine, for its nationalist-inspired portrayal of Japanese history. While he has been strongly critical of efforts by Japanese nationalist groups to alter history textbooks, Hata also agreed to testify for the Ministry of Education against left-wing historian Saburo Ienaga who believed that his textbook was being censored by the Japanese government.
In 2007 Hata was vocal in his denunciation of an essay written by Toshio Tamogami, a former general in the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, which sought to justify Japanese imperialism. Hata found Tamogami's essay to be "of extremely low quality" and full of "old conspiracy theories". Because of his scholarship on the Nanking Massacre Hata has been attacked by Nanking Massacre deniers such as Masaaki Tanaka, who said that Hata was infected with "IMTFE syndrome", and Shoichi Watanabe.
In 1990 Hata argued that the recently released monologue of Emperor Hirohito, the former Emperor's recollection of wartime Japan which he recorded shortly after World War II, had likely been created to prove to the United States that he was not involved in war crimes and consequently Hata theorized that an English language translation must have also been drawn up at the same time, a theory which was openly mocked and derided by right-wing scholars who felt the monologue was created as a simple historical record without ulterior motives. In 1997 the English language draft was discovered.
Works in English
- Reality and Illusion: The Hidden Crisis between Japan and the USSR 1932–1934. New York: Columbia University Press, 1967.
- With Yasuho Izawa. Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units in World War II. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1989.
- With Yasuho Izawa and Christopher Shores. Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units and Their Aces 1931-1945. London: Grub Street, 2002.
- Hirohito: The Showa Emperor in War and Peace. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2007.
Chapters of books
- "Japanese Historical Writing on the Origins of the Pacific War" (in Papers on Modern Japan. Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968.)
- "The Battle of Midway" (in Purnell's History of the 20th Century Volume Seven. New York: Purnell, 1971.)
- "The Japanese-Soviet Confrontation, 1935-1939" (in Deterrent Diplomacy: Japan, Germany, and the USSR 1935-1940. New York: Columbia University Press, 1976.)
- "The Army's Move into Northern Indochina" (in The Fateful Choice: Japan's Advance into Southeast Asia, 1939–1941. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980.)
- "The Occupation of Japan, 1945–1952" (in The American Military and the Far East: Proceedings of the Ninth Military History Symposium. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1980.)
- "From Mukden to Pearl Harbor" (in Japan Examined: Perspectives on Modern Japanese History. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983.)
- "The Marco Polo Bridge Incident 1937" (in The China Quagmire. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983.)
- "Continental Expansion 1905–1941" (in The Cambridge History of Japan Volume Six. London: Cambridge University Press, 1988.)
- "The Road to the Pacific War" (in Pearl Harbor Reexamined. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1990.)
- "Admiral Yamamoto's Surprise Attack and the Japanese Navy's War Strategy" (in From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima. London: Macmillan, 1994.)
- "From Consideration to Contempt: The Changing Nature of Japanese Military and Popular Perceptions of Prisoners of War Through the Ages" (in Prisoners of War and Their Captors in World War II. Oxford: Berg, 1996.)
- "The Flawed UN Report on Comfort Women" (in Women and Women's Issues in Post World War II Japan. New York: Garland, 1998.)
- "Nanjing, construction of a 'great massacre'" (in An Overview of the Nanjing Debate. Tokyo: Japan Echo, 2008.)
- "Nanking atrocities, fact and fable" (in An Overview of the Nanjing Debate. Tokyo: Japan Echo, 2008.)
- "A Japanese View of the Pacific War," Orient/West, July 1962.
- "Japan Under the Occupation," The Japan Interpreter, Winter 1976.
- "The Postwar Period in Retrospect," Japan Echo, 1984.
- "When Ideologues Rewrite History," Japan Echo, Winter 1986.
- "Going to War: Who Delayed the Final Note?," Journal of American-East Asian Relations, Fall 1994.
- Edward Drea, Japan's Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall 1853–1945 (Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2009), ix.
- Masahiro Yamamoto, Nanking: Anatomy of an Atrocity (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2000), xi.
- Profile from Marquis Who's Who
- Japan Examined: Perspectives on Modern Japanese History, edited by Harry Wray and Hilary Conroy (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983), 405.
- Ikuhiko Hata (2013). "歴史認識 をめぐる 論争 、慰安婦問題 と南京事件". New Sanmoku Group. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- Edward Drea, "Book Review: Hirohito: The Showa Emperor in War and Peace," Global War Studies 8, no. 1 (2011), 172-174.
- Joshua A. Fogel (2003). "Response to Herbert P. Bix". Japan Focus. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- Noriko Kamachi et al., Japanese Studies of Modern China Since 1953 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1975), 171, 181-82.
- Kimitada Miwa, "Book Review: Nitchu-Senso-Shi," Monumenta Nipponica 17, no. 1 (1962), 351.
- Chalmers Johnson, Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1962), 200.
- James TC Liu, "Book Review: A History of Japan's War in China," The Journal of Asian Studies, February 1963, 212.
- Edward Drea and Tobe Ryoichi, "A Selected Bibliography of Japanese-Language Sources," in The Battle for China, ed. Mark Peattie et al. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011), 584.
- Shuhei Domon, Japanese Military History: A Guide to the Literature (New York: Garland, 1984), 24.
- James William Morley, "Editor's Foreward," in The China Quagmire, ed. James William Morley (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983), xi.
- Roger Dingman, "Book Review: Deterrent Diplomacy," The Historian, February 1978, 364.
- Roger Dingman, "Book Review: The Fateful Choice," The Journal of Asian Studies, November 1981, 151.
- Mark Peattie, "Book Review: The China Quagmire," Pacific Affairs, Summer 1984, 328.
- Mark Peattie, "Book Review: Nihon Riku-Kaigun no Seido, Soshiki, Jinji," The Journal of Asian Studies, May 1, 1972, 688.
- Roger Dingman, "Book Review: Showa Zaisei Shi," The American Historical Review, April 1978, 506.
- John Dower, "Occupied Japan as History and Occupation History as Politics," The Journal of Asian Studies, February 1975, 497.
- Sadao Asada, "Recent Works on the American Occupation of Japan: The State of the Art," Japanese Journal of American Studies 1, 1981, 177-178.
- Mark D. Roehrs and William A. Renzi, World War II In The Pacific (London: ME Sharpe, 2004), 130.
- Trevor J. Constable and Raymond F. Toliver, Fighter Aces of the USA (Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers, 1979), 345.
- Jon Guttman, "Book Review: Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units and Their Aces," World War II, September 2003, 78-80.
- Hugh Cortazzi (November 4, 2007). "The Showa Emperor in modern perspective". The Japan Times. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- Stephen S. Large, "Book Review: Hirohito: The Showa Emperor in War and Peace," Asian Affairs 39, no. 3 (2008), 477-478.
- Daqing Yang, "A Sino-Japanese Controversy: The Nanjing Atrocity As History," Sino-Japanese Studies, November 1990, 24.
- Takashi Yoshida, The Making of the "Rape of Nanking" (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 98-100.
- Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi, "Leftover Problems," in The Nanking Atrocity, 1937-38: Complicating the Picture, ed. Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi (New York: Berghahn Books, 2008), 389, 393.
- David Askew (April 2002). "The Nanjing Incident: Recent Research and Trends". Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- Minoru Kitamura, The Politics of Nanjing: An Impartial Investigation (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2007), 6.
- Takuji Kimura, "Nanking: Denial and Atonement in Contemporary Japan," in The Nanking Atrocity, 1937-38: Complicating the Picture, ed. Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi (New York: Berghahn Books, 2008), 331.
- Herbert Bix (2003). "Remembering the Nanking Massacre". Japan Focus. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
- Marius Jansen, The Making of Modern Japan (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, 2000), 834.
- "永久保存版: 三派合同 大アンケート," Shokun!, February 2001, 202-203.
- David Askew (2003). "New Research on the Nanjing Incident". Japan Focus. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- Peter Hays Gries, China's New Nationalism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 81, 168.
- Daqing Yang, "Convergence or Divergence?: Recent Historical Writings on the Rape of Nanjing," American Historical Review, June 1999, 851.
- Ikuhiko Hata, 南京事件: 「虐殺」の構造 (Tokyo: Chuo Koron, 2007), 317.
- Akemi Nakamura (March 20, 2007). "Were they teen-rape slaves or paid pros?". The Japan Times. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- C. Sarah Soh, The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), 153-154.
- Ikuhiko Hata (2007). "No Organized or Forced Recruitment: Misconceptions about Comfort Women and the Japanese Military". Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- C. Sarah Soh, The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), 23-24.
- Sarah Soh, "Japan's National/Asian Women's Fund for 'Comfort Women'," Pacific Affairs, Summer 2003, 224.
- Haruo Tohmatsu, "Japanese History Textbooks in Comparative Perspective," in History Textbooks and the Wars in Asia: Divided Memories, eds. Gi-Wook Shin and Daniel C. Sneider (New York: Routledge, 2011), 135.
- Takao Yamada, "慰安婦論争史を読む," Mainichi Shimbun, September 3, 2012, 28.
- A. Hamish Ion, "Book Review: Japan's Comfort Women by Yuki Tanaka," The International History Review, June 2003, 473-474.
- Ikuhiko Hata, 慰安婦と戦場の性 (Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1999), back matter.
- Takaaki Ishii (September 3, 2012). "「慰安婦と戦場の性」秦郁彦著: 小さな嘘が全日本国民を不幸にするばかばかしさ". Agora Web. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- Hirofumi Hayashi (November 5, 1999). "秦郁彦『慰安婦と戦場の性』批判". Shukan Kinyobi. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- Tessa Morris-Suzuki (July 8, 2014). "Japan and the art of un-apologising". Australian National University News & Events. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
- Thomas U. Berger, War, Guilt, and World Politics After World War II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 126.
- Masahiro Yamamoto, Nanking: Anatomy of an Atrocity (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2000), 252-253, 262-264.
- Urban C. Lehner, "Changed History: More Japanese Deny Nation Was Aggressor During World War II," Wall Street Journal Eastern Edition, September 8, 1988, 1.
- Roger B. Jeans, "Victims or Victimizers? Museums, Textbooks, and the War Debate in Contemporary Japan," The Journal of Military History, January 2005, 158.
- Kazuhiko Togo, "Japan's Historical Memory: Overcoming Polarization Toward Synthesis," in East Asia's Haunted Present, eds. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa and Kazuhiko Togo (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Security International, 2008), 79.
- "徹底検証 昭和天皇「靖国メモ」未公開部分の核心," Bungei Shunju, September 2006, 120.
- Ikuhiko Hata, "When Ideologues Rewrite History," Japan Echo, Winter 1986, 73-78.
- Yoshiko Nozaki, War Memory, Nationalism and Education in Post-War Japan, 1945-2007 (New York: Routledge, 2008), 180-181.
- Michael Sheridan and Shota Ushio, "China outraged as Japan's sabre rattler calls for nuclear arms," The Sunday Times, August 23, 2009, 24.
- Reiji Yoshida and Jun Hongo (November 11, 2008). "Tamogami — History Again Retold". The Japan Times. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- Shoichi Watanabe, "秦郁彦氏へ南京問題の考え方," Shokun!, May 1998, 96–102.
- "「独白録」を徹底研究する," Bungei Shunju, January 1991, 141.
- Herbert Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (New York: Harper Collins, 2000), 3.
- "第６８回毎日出版文化賞に重松清さんら". Sankei Shimbun. November 3, 2014. Retrieved December 6, 2014.