Time passed. On March 27, 2019 I headed for a small theater in Shibuya where I had heard a preview of the film would be screened.
By then I had also heard that all of the above-mentioned interview subjects regretted cooperating with Dezaki on the film which, contrary to their expectations, turned out to be just another propaganda film about the comfort women.
I wondered what had gone wrong. The film was supposed to present a fair debate between advocates of the comfort women as sex slaves theory and those who believe comfort women were not sex slaves.
Information indicated that advocates of the "sex slaves" point of view who appeared in the film included Yoshiaki Yoshimi, Etsuro Totsuka, Hirofumi Hayashi, Koichi Nakano and Takashi Uemura.
Two prominent South Koreans were also said to appear in the film. The first was Mihyang Yun, a representative of The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan. The second was Park Yu-ha, a professor at Sejong University in Seoul and author of the book, The Comfort Women of the Empire (published 2013 in South Korea, now banned) who was prosecuted in South Korea for publishing her book.
All of those mentioned were influential people.The title of the film, Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of The Comfort Women Issue, (Independent, 2019) was provocative, and I wanted to see what the film was like.
Strange Catchphrases on the Flyer
The flyer for the film included some very strange catchphrases. It said:
"Surprisingly thrilling!!!! This is the most aggressive documentary film today."
"You probably you don't know Miki Dezaki, a Japanese American YouTuber, unless you are one of the Japanese online right-wingers who was made very angry by him. Dezaki was all the more curious to know about Japanese online right-wingers and their repetitive threats against him. So he threw himself into the comfort women issue, which most Japanese people don't want to discuss anymore."
The catchphrases clearly showed Dezaki had no intention of making a fair and neutral documentary film.
The flyer added that he was a YouTuber and that his movies (plural) had made many people angry.
It made me wonder what in his movies has provoked anger, and beyond that, what his movies are like. I felt compelled to check his previous work. Two of his films are introduced here.