In regards to “Questions surround reporter’s revisionist take on Japan’s history”

On May 8th, Kyodo News published an article concerning former New York Times Tokyo bureau chief Henry S. Stokes and his recent best-seller 英国人記者が見た連合国戦勝史観の虚妄  (Falsehoods of the Allied Nations’ Victorious View of History, as Seen by a British Journalist).  The Kyodo News article raised questions about the veracity of the book and whether it really represented Mr. Stokes’s views or the views of the two right wing individuals, Hiroyuki Fujita, who helped “translate” the book and Hideaki Kase aka Tony Kase.

I am a journalist who is just starting her career and I was asked to do the transcripts for an English version of the book. After some time, I realized that I felt that Mr. Stokes, who is a very nice elderly journalist who I respect, was having his words taken out of context. I resigned from the job and relinquished any further payments. Here are the resignation letters I sent to Mr. Fujita and my notice and apology to Mr. Stokes.

I did speak with Kyodo News about why I resigned. I have no further comments. If you would like to know more, please speak to the publisher or the individuals involved.

The controversial book by Henry S. Stokes. Does it represent his views or those of the extremist "translators" who put it together?
The controversial book by Henry S. Stokes. Does it represent his views or those of the extremist “translators” who put it together?

 

May 2nd, 2014 

Dear Fujita-san, 
 
I hope you are doing well. I apologize for not contacting you earlier. I’ve actually been extremely busy with my full-time job with Jake Adelstein and have had to work unexpectedly through the weekend and overtime this entire week to work on a new project with him. For the time being, I am turning down all side jobs from anyone. 
 
I think that it would be best if you found someone else to finish the job, since I’ve become unable to focus on the transcripts, which take a lot of energy to accomplish. I’ve also become increasingly uncomfortable with the content of some of the recordings,which make it even more difficult. It seems that words are being put into Henry’s mouth and that the interviews don’t reflect his real opinions or thoughts–and that there are many leading questions (誘導尋問). 
 
Here are the recordings which I have finished so far. If they are included in the 50, 000 yen sum that you gave me, then that is fine. I don’t require any more payment. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Angela Kubo 

 

May 4th 2014

Dear Henry, 

This is Angela Kubo, who had been working on the transcripts for the book.
I’m very sorry to let you down, but I’ve decided to resign from the job because I had a moral issue with compiling these transcripts. I felt that what you said in the transcripts was completely different on important points from what is written in your book. Below is my resignation letter, which I sent to Fujita-san.
Henry, I have a lot of respect for you, and I pulled out of this job because of this respect. I will be at the press club tomorrow and would like to speak to you about this transcripts. Perhaps you should consider speaking to someone about this issue, because I find it very serious that your book is very different from what you say in the audio.
Sincerely,
Angela Erika Kubo

 

A note from the editor-in-chief:  The questions as to whether Henry Stokes, a long time acquaintance, was deceived and turned into a mouthpiece for the Japanese right wing is a very fascinating one. However, I’m friends with and work with Angela Kubo. I know the reporter at Kyodo News who wrote the story well and we have worked together and I know Henry. The foreign journalist community in Japan is very small.  All that being said, therefore, I’m unable to objectively write about this story at this time and will recuse myself for the time being.  –Jake Adelstein 

For reference: Kyodo News conducted a long recorded interview with Mr. Stokes. The Japanese version of the story compares the statements in the book with the statements in the interview in detail. If you can read Japanese you may find it enlightening. It follows the english text from the Kyodo News article below:

From the Kyodo News article: Over the course of multiple interviews with Kyodo News beginning on April 5, Stokes repeatedly expressed a view on Nanjing that directly contradicts the remarks attributed to him in both his own book and the articles in WiLL and Yukan Fuji.

“I don’t come within ten-thousand miles of this stuff as a position,” he said, dismissing the view that Nanjing is a fabrication as “ludicrous,” “fatuous” and “utterly, utterly asinine.”

“The stance I take is that ghastly events occurred in Nanjing,” Stokes said, adding that he does, however, disagree with Chinese assessments that 300,000 people died during the six days when the Imperial Japanese Army overran China’s then capital. He also objects to the use of the term massacre, preferring the more anodyne “Nanjing Incident.”

ご参考まで共同通信のインタービューの一部を掲載しました。

著書 南京が陥落してから人口が増え始め、翌1月には、25万人に膨れ上がった。戦闘が終わって治安が回復されて、人々が南京へと戻ってきたのだ。このことからも「南京大虐殺」などなかったことは、明白だ。歴史の事実として「南京大虐殺」は、なかった。それは、中華民国政府が 捏造 (ねつぞう) した、プロパガンダだった。
 ストークス氏 そうは言えない。(この文章は)私のものではない。後から付け加えられた。修正する必要がある。私は「MASSACRE(大虐殺)」という言葉は好まない。その表現は日本語では使えるが英語だとぞっとするほど恐ろしい。大虐殺と呼べないにせよ、南京で何か非常に恐ろしい事件が起きたかと問われれば、答えはイエスだ。中華民国政府のプロパガンダは(南京大虐殺が史実とされる)理由の一つだが唯一の理由ではない。

The interview conducted with VOICE magazine’s March issue by Mr. Stokes also has the following seeming affirmation of the Nanjing Incident and affirms the credibility of the book China’s War With Japan by Rana Mitter.

「もちろん、日本の一部の右派がいうような「南京ではレイプも殺人も何も起きなかった。証拠がないという論調にも与することもできません。現実的ではありませんし、国際社会を納得させることもできないでしょう」