Attend the event online or in-person
The Global Studies Seminar presents “The Tokyo Trial, Shigemitsu Mamoru's Prison Diary, and Family Archives” by Denison University's Visiting Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies Anne Sokolsky.
The International Military Tribunal of the Far East (IMTFE), otherwise known as the Tokyo Trial, has received new scholarly attention in Japan since the early 2000s after previously sealed archives were made public. Twenty-eight defendants, including military leaders, diplomats, and civilians were accused of war crimes. There have been many criticisms of the trial’s lack of impartiality. One major reason is the conviction of diplomat Shigemitsu Mamoru, who was an advocate of peace. Although he received the lightest sentence of Class A War Criminals, many critics say he should not have spent a single day in prison, much less in the courtroom. Through family archives, Sokolsky has discovered attempts by her grandfather, journalist George Sokolsky, as well as other U.S. and British politicians and journalists to urge General MacArthur to reduce Shigemitsu’s seven-year sentence. Shigemitsu never took the witness stand so there is no official record of his point of view in the trial transcript. In this paper Sokolsky will discuss a current project of hers, the translation of Shigemitsu’s two volume prison diary Sugamo nikki, and the backstory of how some of his American and British friends tried to get his sentence reduced.
Sokolsky received her Doctor of Philosophy in Japanese Literature and Gender Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Her book "From New Woman Writer to Socialist: The Life and Selected Writings of Tamura Toshiko from 1936–1938" (Brill, 2015) is about one of Japan’s early modern feminist writers who spent two decades living in North America in the 1920s and 1930s, and Japanese occupied Shanghai in the 1940s. In the spring of 2023, Sokolsky held the endowed Chair of Taiwan Studies at the International Institute for Asian Studies at Leiden University. The focus of her research was on the Japanese colonial journal Taiwan fujinkai and she taught a course ""Taiwan Women's World: The Voices of Taiwanese Women in Literature, Film, and Politics."" In the fall of 2022, Sokolsky taught a revised version of this course. Other research projects include the translation of Shigemitsu Mamoru’s Sugamo prison diary. Prior to Denison University, Sokolsky taught at Ohio Wesleyan University, where she was Professor and Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature. Sokolsky is also the literature editor for the Journal of Japanese Language and Literature.