6 June 2018: The International Military Tribunal for the Far East and Occupation Japan with Associate Professor Beatrice Trefalt

In a ‘save the date' email we sent out in March, we pencilled in Associate Professor Trefalt's lecture for 30 May but we are going to do it on the 6th of June instead – sorry for the inconvenience.  Here are the finalised details; hope to see you there!


Date: 6 June 2018, 4 – 5:30 pm

Venue:  Auditorium, Japanese Studies Centre, Clayton Campus, Monash University



Show Trial? The International Military Tribunal for the Far East and Occupation Japan

Associate Professor Beatrice Trefalt, LLCL, Monash University

Abstract:  The 2016 historical drama mini-series ‘Tokyo Tria'l (a Japan/Dutch/Canadian co-production) portrayed for Japanese (and international audiences) the flawed nature of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East: interweaving documentary footage withdramatised sequences, it portrays the struggles for a consistent judgement amongst the various international Justices, highlights the political pressures on them by their respective governments, and focuses especially on Dutch Justice Röling and Indian Justice Pal’s struggles with ideas of justice within an inherently politicised trial. Such ideas are not new in Japan, and neither have they remained unchanged or unchallenged over time. This paper traces how the Tribunal and its outcomes were presented to the Japanese population over time, particularly focusing on how evidence about the trials became available to the public at various times. The focus is on the symbolic rather than legal dimensions of the trial for Japanese audiences: the Tokyo Trial provided the first polarised interpretations of the immediate past and of the role of wartime leaders, a polarisation which continues to divide Japanese society today. Its outcomes were also compared those of other war crimes trials, adding an element of class and social hierarchy to the debates about war guilt.