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In addition to the books and papers produced by academic researchers, here are some other key actors conducting research about war in Japan.
Museums: Museums often have in-house researchers who supervise exhibit content and publish research results in museum bulletins.
History teachers: Teachers at Japan’s junior and senior high schools have something of a reputation for also getting involved in local history activism – usually left-leaning in nature, according to a common complaint by nationalists. They can attend conferences on historical issues on weekends and during holidays. I attended a number of these and met many such teachers while doing the research for my book Local History and War Memories in Hokkaido. Teachers’ long experience is also drawn upon by textbook companies who employ teachers to write textbooks.
Hyoronka (commentators): There is a career path for some as a freelance writer and television pundit. They publish books aimed at a mass/general readership, research articles for the monthly magazines, and appear as commentators on television. Most tend to be conservative or nationalist, where there seems to be a greater commercial market for such writings. Hyoronka often start out as journalists or academics before shifting into full-time punditry.
Activist groups / Think tanks: These often have a clear ideological colour, whether on the conservative/nationalist or progressive sides of war history. They conduct campaigns for history to be seen in a particular way, and produce publications as part of their activities.
Testimony collection / oral history: Particularly during the 1970s and 1980s there was an active period of testimony collection. The results of much of this activism came to be displayed in the museums created during the museum boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Most cities that experienced air raids had survivor testimony collection projects. Other cities, particularly in mining and manufacturing areas, focused on issues such as forced labour.
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