Publication Date

Winter 2011

Document Type


First Page



This article begins by first focusing on the Tokyo IMT's heritage of collective forgetting in relation to instances of systematized violence against women, especially the establishment of comfort stations in territories formerly occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army. In specific, after the Introduction, it describes the international political, legal and military factors that led to the formation of the Tokyo IMT; a brief overview of the trial; the political and pedagogical functions of the Tokyo IMT; and legal and extra-legal devices of the Tokyo IMT. Subsequently, it points out key differences between the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials, in terms of their legal and political strategies and aims. From there, it analyzes the Tokyo IMT's legacy of forgetting crimes of violence against women, especially the crimes against the comfort women, which included a collusion of amnesia imposed by the Allied powers with the Japanese Imperial government, through the exploitation of various legal loopholes in international law. From there, it moves from the Tokyo IMT's specific history to a broader analysis of the functions of crimes of violence against women during wartime conditions in the twentieth century and why such crimes, for the most part, have been invisible. To close, the article assesses the strengths and weaknesses of various ways in which women suffering such wartime crimes of violence, inclusive of the comfort women, may seek redress for such crimes.

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