Aiko Otsuka was recently awarded the first Aoi Global Research Award.
Aiko joined the project on War Crimes and Empire in October 2013, and is working on her PhD thesis on war narratives of former members of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) after WWII. Her thesis focuses on infantry regiments that conducted major military operations and instigated civilian mass killings during the war and explores how former IJA members recounted the defeat and aggression during war crimes trials and in regimental histories, a source yet unexplored in scholarship. Her thesis argues that an analysis of regimental histories vis-à-vis war crimes trials records can be used as critical tools to examine how a defeated army dealt with defeat as well as Japan’s contentious past in their construction of postwar narratives.
Aiko received her BA in Liberal Arts with International Studies concentration from Soka University of America, and her MA in East Asian Studies from the University of Arizona. During her MA, she studied Modern Japanese History from a comparative approach and completed a thesis on Japanese intellectuals’ views on China in the 1930s. Whilst at Arizona, she taught Japanese language as a graduate teaching assistant and was awarded a graduate fellowship for academic excellence in her final year. She has also studied at the National University of Cuyo, Mendoza, in Argentina. She also volunteered at the “Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery” held in Tokyo in 2000.