Statement by the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies

The Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies affirms Harvard University’s motto of Veritas. We honor the pursuit of truth, a commitment that includes supporting the highest standards of academic integrity. A recent publication by Harvard Law School Professor J. Mark Ramseyer has generated serious concerns among the Harvard Japanese studies community regarding the empirical foundations of the scholarship. 

Together with Professor Carter Eckert of the Korea Institute at Harvard, Professor Andrew Gordon of the Reischauer Institute submitted a formal statement in mid-February to the journal that published Professor Ramseyer’s paper. An international group of scholars of Japan reviewed the empirical evidence upon which its claims are based and issued a public response. Harvard Law School Professor Jeannie Suk Gersen published an article outlining the international nature of the comfort women issue and responses by the academic community to Professor Ramseyer’s paper. Professor Gersen’s article has subsequently been translated into Korean and Japanese.   

The Reischauer Institute reaffirms its call to the journal editors to fully address the concerns raised by scholars in the U.S. and abroad. Moreover, we reiterate the Institute’s goal to promote intellectual exchange and discussion that is both informative and civil. In doing so, we state our unequivocal condemnation of hate speech, harassment, and intimidation in any of its forms.