Three Myths about the Japanese Red Army: What you Think you Know is Probably Wrong!

29.05.2014, Vortrag, DIJ Tokyo

Public understandings about the Japanese Red Army (Nihon Sekigun) are based largely on information promulgated by the Japanese government and circulated widely by mass media during the nearly three decades that its members were beyond reach in the Middle East. The participants have contributed to the myth-making, both by their public writings and by what they did not reveal. Some pieces of contradictory information have been available for a long time, but many blanks were filled in with widely circulated myths. Even scholars who studied the group have perpetuated mistaken views based on the limited information available.

The formal dissolution of Nihon Sekigun and a set of new trials of returnees from 2000 to 2010 have now made it possible to construct a rather different picture of the group. The dissolution freed members and former members to talk about internal aspects of the organization that they had kept secret for decades. In a new book in progress, Dr. Steinhoff is examining the recent material in light of her four decades of research on the various branches of the original Sekigunha. Her research includes prison interviews, participant observation of trial sessions and the activities of trial support groups, and extensive reading of the group’s writings in Japanese. Her talk will debunk several widely believed myths about the Japanese Red Army and analyze the origins and implications of these myths.

Lecture by Patricia G. Steinhoff (University of Hawaii). It will be given in English and take place on Thursday, May 29th 2014 at 6.30 the DIJ.
Admission is free but please register by email with: forum(at)