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A Filmmaker Explored Japan’s Wartime Enslavement of Women. Now He’s Being Sued.

In addition to defamation, the lawsuit accuses Mr. Dezaki and Tofoo Films, the distributor, of breach of contract, saying the plaintiffs agreed to be interviewed only for his graduate thesis, not a commercial film. The plaintiffs are demanding compensation and a suspension of all public screenings.

All of the interviewees signed release forms giving Mr. Dezaki full editorial control and copyright, said Makoto Iwai, a lawyer who is representing Mr. Dezaki and the film’s distributor. The New York Times reviewed two versions of the release.

Koichi Nakano, a political scientist at Sophia University in Tokyo who was one of Mr. Dezaki’s professors and appears in the movie, said he believed that the plaintiffs were looking for a reason to bring a suit because the film’s “interpretation doesn’t fit entirely what they like.”

Audiences in Japan and South Korea have said the film helped them understand the comfort women controversy in a new way. At a showing in Seoul at Sogang University late last month, Chae Min-jin, 26, said she “realized that we Koreans didn’t really know the context and the logic in which the right-wingers in Japan asserted themselves after all.”

In Japan, some audience members said the movie revealed information unavailable in their history textbooks. Tsubasa Hirose, a freelance copywriter, wrote on her movie-reviewing blog that she had always thought comfort women “treated people at the hospital, like nurses.”

“I didn’t know anything,” she wrote, “and I wasn’t given any opportunity to.”

Mr. Dezaki said he did not consider the debate closed.

“My conclusion is not final,” he said. “I don’t know everything. I feel like I can defend my conclusion based off what I know.” But, he added, “I’m always aware that there’s a possibility that one of the factors in my argument might not hold.”

Source: NYT > World News

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