We are pleased to announce the opening of the English & Japanese site on August 1, 2015 for the Group of 19 Japanese Historians (http://19historians.com/essay-page/). It is of our opinion that some aspects of the modern history of Japan should be bifocally studied from both sides of the Pacific, not only from ideologically leftist side but from other sides as well. We always welcome a transfusion of new blood in our discipline. In any case, history of East Asia should be examined, first of all, by linguistically gifted scholars. Preconceived ideas should be challenged with primary source materials. When scholars rely heavily on secondary materials written or translated into English, they tend to reproduce ideas and images which are clichés. We have in mind how to avoid ideological autointoxication. To maintain a language-mediated, first-hand study of primary texts requires the greatest patience. We would, however, like to respect this orthodox approach to history and would like to point out some apparent gross errors in history textbooks widely used in the Western world where freedom of speech is respected. This has nothing to do with breach of academic freedom. We believe that open-minded scholars always welcome dialogues, and we will try to offer factual data in this site for the benefit of students in history, international relations and intercultural relations. We have immensely profited by the experience of others and by Western Japanese studies. We pay great respects to their academic achievements as well. Hoping that this site, which is apolitical, gives you materials not always easy for you to approach and we will welcome your critical opinions as well. Du choc des idées jaillit la lumière.
Writing for the Group of 19 Japanese Historians, Sukehiro Hirakawa, professor emeritus, university of Tokyo, an Honorary Member, Modern Language Association of America, author of Japan’s Love-Hate Relationship with the West.