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Japan Times changes reference to 'comfort women' after backlash

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But it faced a backlash after announcing in November 2018 that it would begin referring to comfort women as "women who worked in wartime brothels -- including those who did so against their will -- to provide sex to Japanese soldiers" because their experiences "varied widely."

What exactly is the outrage. I guess we can't have an honest and open account of the 'comfort women' issue now, can we, without someone always whining. The historical records show that some women willingly became 'comfort women.' In no way does that justify or minimize the horrible experiences these women went through.

-7 ( +13 / -20 )

In hindsight, the newspaper said the earlier revision was "flawed" because it suggests the paper intended to downplay the suffering of the comfort women and that the majority worked willingly in wartime brothels.

The profiles of comfort women are highly diverse. Any simple definition can hardly give the entire picture.

I suggest putting this case into perspective by referring to other "comfort women" issues across countries. There must be both similarity and uniqueness.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Why not call a spade a spade and use "women forced into slavery to provide sex".

13 ( +22 / -9 )

Everybody’s outraged over everything these days.

-7 ( +15 / -22 )

Women forced to leave their homes,go to an unknown foreign country and provide sex for multiple men a day!

It is pretty obvious what it is....

13 ( +21 / -8 )

“worked in brothels...” , “to provide sex...” , “women who were forced or coerced into Japan's wartime brothel system...” ... they,re very gentle in their words... how about “slaves that were raped ( constantly ) and abused ( physically, mentally and psychologically ), under disgusting conditions...” ... that,s more like it ...

11 ( +18 / -7 )

Yeah right.

Like it would make a difference what you call it.

The Korean will always be angry at the end of the day no matter what you call it, how many times you apologies, how many times you paid compesation, it will never be enough unless you stand up.

-14 ( +10 / -24 )

Why not just “sex slave”?

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Let's not forget there was a Japanese historian just a few years ago who claimed these women all volunteered to become sex slaves for the imperial army. Then, there was another one who claimed the women were paid and well cared for. And, there was another one who flatly denied women were enslaved for sex at all. It doesn't matter what they call it. No more gilding of the lily, thousands of women throughout Asia were kidnapped and were used as sex slaves plain and simple. They should not be called 'comfort women' either because the comfort only went one way.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

What went wrong? Number of readers and subscribers plummeted?

Bugle:

Yes, simply two short words. I mean, why say 'The artist formerly known as Prince and who was short and made funky music' when you can simply say 'Prince'.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Pretty simple fix here. Define the group as "Wartime Sex Workers". If you want to put the use descriptive words like "forced" "volunteer" "government supported" "government coerced" in front of WSW that is up to the publisher or writer.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

isoducky - Pretty simple fix here. Define the group as "Wartime Sex Workers". 

Workers get paid. Slaves do not.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Having a clear understanding about Abe's class A war criminal maternal grandfather's role in and view of the situation may help us understand why Abe has been so persistent in trying to airbrush this issue-

[ Nobusuke Kishi (岸 信介, Kishi Nobusuke, 13 November 1896 – 7 August 1987) was a Japanese politician who was Prime Minister of Japan from 1957 to 1960. He is the maternal grandfather of Shinzō Abe, twice prime minister in 2006–2007 and 2012–present.

Known for his brutal rule of the Japanese puppet state Manchukuo in Northeast China, Kishi was called Shōwa no yōkai (昭和の妖怪; "Devil of Shōwa").[1] After World War II, Kishi was imprisoned for three years as a Class A war crime suspect. However, the U.S. government released him as they considered Kishi to be the best man to lead a post-war Japan in a pro-American direction.

Kishi's racist and sexist views of Chinese and Korean women as simply ‘disposable bodies’ to be used by Japanese men meant he had no qualms about rounding up women and girls to serve in the ‘comfort women corps.' ]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobusuke_Kishi

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Burning BushToday 07:19 am JST

Everybody’s outraged over everything these days.

Yeah, why get worked up over this issue? Women being kidnapped and raped during war times is nothing new. After all, it's not as though wartime rape is an important issue that needs to be kept in the public eye so that awareness of the issue is widespread. You get over it. Eventually.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

"Where's the - er - geography?"

"Which one, dear, Number One or Number Two?"

These are euphemisms. For most Americans, the toilet is called the bathroom, even when there is no bath in the room at all and "toilet" comes from a French word meaning "to wash the hands." The French, incidentally, use an English term, "W.C." (water closet). Euphemisms are used when people are too embarrassed to say what it is.

These girls were "volunteered" to provide sexual services for the Japanese military. Let's call it what it was. "Sex workers," "Sex slaves," and please, let's stop the ridiculous "comfort women."

In any case, comfort women is a poor translation. A closer one is "relief women," but that is a bit too descriptive for those ultra right wing nutjobs who want to pretend that it never happened.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Why not simply refer to them as "sex slaves"?

12 ( +15 / -3 )

I am wondering if Japan Today here has own thoughts or editorial policy on the comfort women terminology. It's highly debatable or disputed; pretty hard to gain broader agreement.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Disillusioned

thousands of women throughout Asia were kidnapped and were used as sex slaves plain and simple. 

This massive kidnap allegation is disproved by serious historians and even liberal groups supporting campaigns for former comfort women. Unlike to common (mis) perceptions, a large majority of comfort women were Japanese nationals, not ethnic Koreans or other Asians.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

This massive kidnap allegation is disproved by serious historians and even liberal groups supporting campaigns for former comfort women. Unlike to common (mis) perceptions, a large majority of comfort women were Japanese nationals, not ethnic Koreans or other Asians.

Yeah, their parents sold them fair and square. Nothing to complain about there!

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Looking at the gist of the comments, it appears that Japan is still a male chauvinist society. Equally disturbing is the predominance of racial prejudice among Japanese males. This national deficiency explains the Japanese ethos motivating the barbarism committed during the second world war and the failings of international relations in the current era

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Just call them "sex slaves" and leave it at that. Don't need a damn description every time I read an article about WWII or relations between SK and J.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Oh, it is good to see the JT investigated this issue further. However, the most common term used worldwide is indeed, 'comfort women'. That is all that is needed to raise awareness of the issues.

If you are interested in learning more about discussions outside of Korea and Japan on the topic please refer to this link https://apjjf.org/2020/6/Norimatsu.html

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan Times is dead in the water and has been since the takeover by PR company News2u Holdings

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2019-01-24/fear-and-favor-chill-newsroom-at-storied-japanese-paper

Dead in the water:

http://shingetsunewsagency.com/2018/12/17/yoshito-hori-and-the-rightwing-turn-of-the-japan-times/

Dead in the water:

https://twitter.com/ShingetsuNews/status/1068721155467468800

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Is this what it was really like, then?

"Come on in, dearie. Sit down, have a cup of ocha and tell auntie Keiko all about it."

"Um. I don't really want to cup of tea. I was hoping for a bit of . . . "

"Rumpy pumpy?"

"Well, I was hoping . . . It's been a very tough war and . . . well . . ."

"Naughty boy! What would your mother say? There will be no rumpy pumpy here. We are comfort women. Not sex slaves!"

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In the early days before the big internet bought the Japan Times everyday but it's a ling time since I read it and online reading need a registration thingy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good for JT! They should refer to it as forced labour too, even the Japanese government doesn't deny that happened

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They must've received a charitable donation to hasten their decision.

This new title description does after all, use more ink.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Disillusioned -thousands of women throughout Asia were kidnapped and were used as sex slaves plain and simple. 

noriahojanen - This massive kidnap allegation is disproved by serious historians and even liberal groups supporting campaigns for former comfort women. Unlike to common (mis) perceptions, a large majority of comfort women were Japanese nationals, not ethnic Koreans or other Asians.

What a load of absolute rubbish! Are you telling me tens of thousands of Korean, Philippine, Taiwanese, Indonesian and Chinese woman willingly left their homes to be taken to Japan and other parts of Asia to serve as sex slaves? Seriously?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

noriahojanen

This massive kidnap allegation is disproved by serious historians and even liberal groups supporting campaigns for former comfort women. Unlike to common (mis) perceptions, a large majority of comfort women were Japanese nationals, not ethnic Koreans or other Asians.

I need to ask, did you learn that in school?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Those two words (comfort & women) when put together is a bastadiation of English I REALLY hate!!

They were SEX SLAVES period!!!

>  Unlike to common (mis) perceptions, a large majority of comfort women were Japanese nationals, not ethnic Koreans or other Asians.

YES Nori, a LOT of them were JAPANESE WOMEN, they too were taken to be SEX SLAVES that is how depraved Japan was & to this day CANNOT admit what it DID DO!!!

Can you try to imagine the few if any old Japanese women who were FORCED into this HOW they must feel living in their own country, something to THINK about!

For shame!!!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Quote from above:

Meanwhile, the newspaper said it will continue to describe those mobilized from the Korean Peninsula to work in Japanese factories during the 1910-1945 period of colonial rule as "wartime laborers." It had previously referred to them as "forced laborers."

Too bad. So only half a cheer for The Japan Times.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I stopped reading the Japan Times soon after they became a puppet of the Japanese government, just like NHK.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

--Having a clear understanding about Abe's class A war criminal

Kishi was briefly held as a suspect. He was never indicted or tried. Had the US considered him an actual war criminal, he would have been hung.

The quotes in the Wikipedia article come from a book that used a pornographic novel as its primary source.

I spend a number of years reading Japanese sources covering the period when Kishi was in charge of the Manchurian economy. The most typical description of him was that he was a red (that his economic policies were heavily influenced by those of the Soviet Union under Stalin).

The book by Mark Driscoll that supplies most of the quotes about Kishi and sex is one of the silliest things I've ever read. I don't think anyone other than a small number of loony lefties takes it seriously.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This massive kidnap allegation is disproved by serious historians

== This massive kidnap allegation is disputed by some historians.

There. I fixed it for you.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Kishi was briefly held as a suspect.

Kishi was imprisoned for three years as a Class A war crime suspect

After the war Kishi was imprisoned in Tokyo, accused of enslaving thousands of Chinese people. But he was released, on the grounds of insufficient evidence. This had more to do with political expediency than with justice, according to the American historian John Dower. "The cold war had started and the US was focused on fighting communism rather than prosecuting Japanese war criminals."

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And let's not forget the rest of the war:

'Between 20,000 and 80,000 Chinese women were raped – and many soldiers went beyond rape. So brutal were the Japanese in Nanking that even the Nazis in the city were shocked.’  (Newsweek)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Fact is, Korea did not lack for sex workers prior to the Japanese occupation. Sure, there were many forced into sexual slavery in addition to the then existing group of professional sex workers.

My question is, why is this even relevant today? Koreans will not let it die despite myriad apologies, multiple rounds of financial compensation and general atonement on the part of Japan. When is enough enough?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"women who were forced or coerced into Japan's wartime brothel system under various circumstances, including abduction, deception and poverty."

In other words, though some (perhaps even most) might have joined because they are poor, Japan will be blamed for it anyway.

Whether you like it or not, sex work pays well. And the biggest reason it pays well is that forbidden fruit factor. If people sign up for such work to pay their debts or their parents ... well, what can we say? Certainly we can't fault the people who at least gave them an option.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Shhhhhhhhhhhhh! Now everybody, if you listen real hard and you sit real still, in the distant weeks or even over the next few days, you can hear S. Korean people and officials rattling their begging cup demanding that Japan Times pay for suffering and anguish their comments caused to the surviving victims.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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