picture of the day

Pope meets ex-comfort women

30 Comments

Pope Francis greets women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II prior to the start of a Mass of reconciliation at Seoul's main cathedral, in South Korea, on Monday.

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Korea is analamous in havig such a large Christian population in the region. Maybe meeting the Pope will give them some solace.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

There's no denying that Japan did some of the worst crimes during the war. But let it be history to learn from, not bring up every month as news (china, korea). I myself am not JP.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Saiaku What Japan did was not the worst. Study history.

1 ( +14 / -13 )

It seems to happen all over again every time a distinguished foreign dignitary of one kind or another stops through S. Korea, these foreign dignitaries (hostages, really) are paraded around on their national bandwagon which always takes a sharp jab at Japan. It's rather shameless on the S. Koreans part, but they seem to relish in it. It's rather ironic to me that South Korea is more interested in improving relations with China than Japan, yet Japan is vital for S. Korea's national security and preventing the Chinese and North Koreans from crossing over the 38th parallel.

Furthermore, the past few generations of Japanese born after WWII had absolutely nothing to do with the atrocities committed during those awful years. It is history now and should be regarded as such, not like something that's still going on today.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

stormcrow: "It is history now and should be regarded as such, not like something that's still going on today."

So are the atomic bombings, so she we stop the ceremonies and talking/reading about the issue? You're absolutely right that those born after WWII had nothing to do with the sins of their fathers or grandfathers or what have you, but the problem is, many of those same people born well after the fact were taught and/or are teaching others that the things of the past never occurred, or "weren't that bad". You have politicians in Japan at this very moment who deny massacres occurred, claim the Baton Death March was a walk in the park, sexual slavery never happened -- errr... Imperial troops never engaged in their services -- errr... they did, but all the women were well-paid prostitutes who had better lives as a result, etc. etc. When that's the kind of thing you hand down to the next generation, much like China and South Korea do with their versions of history, then why should the victims who are still alive, or relatives, or countrymen and women in general not voice opposition? It seems that while many on here gripe about South Koreans griping (yep, hypocrisy!), they have no trouble bringing up situations in which Japan was the victim, or worse yet try and spin Japanese aggressions into Japan being victim. Abe has bragged about having removed references to sex slaves in texts back in 2002, and tried to rescind the apology being quitting the job in his first go, and now so far he has called for a 'review' of the apology, and still denies other things.

Sorry, but until the Japanese government shows true remorse and stops fanning the embers itself, you can't expect the fires to calm down or burn out. Before people stop complaining about South Koreans or others complaining about Japan, they ought to step back and seriously ask why said nations are complaining. And no, not just say lame things like, "Because everyone picks on Japan! sniff sniff!" or suggest the other nations are in the wrong for complaining, and/or just want money, etc., but seriously look at the reasons.

-9 ( +10 / -19 )

The past does not equal the present. Forgiveness is ultimately a gift to yourself. It allows the wounds to be healed. It is the key to peace, health, happiness.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Oh and by the way if these Korean so called christen really were then they would have forgiven by now wouldn't they, the whole thing is a sham for sympathy and what ever else they can get.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

tinawatanabe:

What Japan did was not the worst. Study history.

You're right. There are lots worse than forcing women into prostitution, men into slavery, bayonetting live people, doing autopsies on people still fully conscious, subjecting people to chemical and biological toxins, beheading people, raping women and children, etc. Maybe you'd like to share some examples of all things worse than that.

stormcrow:

If the pope were visiting Nagasaki or Hiroshima and comforting the people there, you'd be totally silent, I bet.

Furthermore, the past few generations of Japanese born after WWII had absolutely nothing to do with the atrocities committed during those awful years. It is history now and should be regarded as such, not like something that's still going on today.

As long as you get people like Ishihara, Tamogami, Abe and Hashimoto trying to worm their way out of one big nasty episode in East Asian history, it will always be in the news. The more they try to deny what happened, the more it stays with us. And yes, I do feel sorry for most Japanese - they deserve better than these lying politicians.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

It seems to happen all over again every time a distinguished foreign dignitary of one kind or another stops through S. Korea, these foreign dignitaries (hostages, really) are paraded around on their national bandwagon which always takes a sharp jab at Japan. It's rather shameless on the S. Koreans part, but they seem to relish in it. It's rather ironic to me that South Korea is more interested in improving relations with China than Japan, yet Japan is vital for S. Korea's national security and preventing the Chinese and North Koreans from crossing over the 38th parallel

stormcrow -- actually, if I substitute the words "abductee families" for comfort women, and Japan for South Korea in your post, it would basically be 100% true. Why can't folks like you just wake up and recognize that there is blame on all sides of all these Asian conflicts and just allow these women to find some peace in the comfort only the Pope can give them? Why is every occassion an opportunity to spew anti-SK rhetoric. It is so tiring and making JT just a rag for people looking to re-hash the same closed-minded hatred day after day after day.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Pukey2, well said.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

@StormR

Oh and by the way if these Korean so called christen really were then they would have forgiven by now wouldn't they, the whole thing is a sham for sympathy and what ever else they can get.

where does it say the comfort women (sex slaves) are Christian? Just because they met the Pope doesn't mean they have to be, many non-Christian people meet him. Also, usually a (genuine) apology is necessary in order to forgive ;)

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

So are the atomic bombings, so she we stop the ceremonies and talking/reading about the issue?

Do the Japanese make a point of hating on America? And bringing up the atomic bombings at every (flimsy) opportunity? Do they attempt to hinge current relations on receiving (another) apology and (more) money from America? Do the Japanese teach their children false versions of history wherein the USA is a gigantic boogeyman and the source of all the problems facing Japan?

As soon as you can answer yes to those questions then you may actually have an analogy worth listening to.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Do the Japanese teach their children false versions of history wherein the USA is a gigantic boogeyman and the source of all the problems facing Japan?

hidingout -- Ah, yea! Have you ever been to the museum at Yasakuni? Please don't try to pretend that Japan does not have a huge "victim" chip on its soldier, as plays that card whenever it feels it is advantageous.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

Have you ever been to the museum at Yasakuni?

Been there many times and will certainly go again. What does that have to do with anything I posted?

Anyway, I'm glad the Pope found time to visit a minor country like ROK. Hopefully they heed his words about forgiveness being the basis of Christian thought.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

@Jimizo: such a stupid comment. In the next months, the Pope will visit also other Asian countries: Sri Lanka, Philippines and Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

hidingout

Do the Japanese make a point of hating on America? And bringing up the atomic bombings at every (flimsy) opportunity? Do they attempt to hinge current relations on receiving (another) apology and (more) money from America?

The survivors of the atomic bombing want what happened to them to serve a noble cause, that of a world free of nuclear weapons.

This below is just passing down hatred from one generation to the next.

"Koreans, women and men, were dragged away by the Japanese military. I want the pope to amplify this message for future generations.”

http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/former-korean-sex-slaves-to-meet-pope-in-seoul

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's Mr Abe living in the past denying Japan invaded and colonized Korea & China. In recent Press Club interview Abe refused to acknowledge Japan invaded our neighbors... This is an extreme far-right Nationalistic view that is causing the ruckus and instability in the region. Mr Abe should act as a representative leader of Japan and refrain from personally rehashing the atrocities with denial and cover up...

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

This below is just passing down hatred from one generation to the next.

"Koreans, women and men, were dragged away by the Japanese military. I want the pope to amplify this message for future generations.”

This is an article regarding Korea's Gwangbokjeol festival in Seoul on 8/15 where Korean children had fun shooting men in Japanese officers' costume with their water guns in their little hands. President Park was present there, too, I think. I don't like to judge but I am not sure if it is most appropriate and healthy way to educate history and patriotism to young children.

http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=102&oid=032&aid=0002511901&viewType=pc

7 ( +7 / -0 )

the problem is, many of those same people born well after the fact were taught and/or are teaching others that the things of the past never occurred, or "weren't that bad".

I would agree with you but.... the PRC engages in poisoning the minds of its children against Japan and this is far more destabilizing than what is happening visa versa because of the lack of information available to the Chinese. There needs to be uniform de-propagandization of education, not just "Japan first".

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It seems like we can't go a day without seeing a story about Japan's actions during WW2 , but news stories about the Nazis are far less frequent. I wonder if it's due to Japan's reluctance to properly address and formally apologize , or if something that is kept alive and tapped into by the Chinese politicians as a nationalistic rallying point? The anti Japanese sentiment in the rest Asia seems way more intense that any anti German views that you see in European or North American media.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Patriotism is love of your country. It is not "hating" another country for any reason.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Taketomo: I wonder if it's due to Japan's reluctance to properly address and formally apologize , or if something that is kept alive and tapped into by the Chinese politicians as a nationalistic rallying point?

I vote for "Both"!

But Japan should go ahead and capitulate, and take the wind out of Beijing's sails. It's not like they (Japan) are going to give up much. Even if conservatives/nationalists get mad at Abe for a full turnaround on WWII apologies, are they going to jump to whatever liberal parties are available to them, in response?

Maybe Abe could lame-duck the apologies in, near end of his term? Would it hit his party too much? Actually young voters might be relieved just to have the oldsters get their issues out of the way before the youngsters have to deal with it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

At some point Korea and China are going to have to learn to forgive. After reading about the US post-WW2 occupation I was a little surprised to learn that Japan decided to officially set up brothels to "relieve aggressive sexual tendencies" to the 300,000 US/Allied soldiers there during 1947-49 or so until McArthur put an end to that. And sadly enough sexual assaults against Japanese women skyrocketed right afterwards the and US unjustly decided to censor and prevent any records being kept on the amount of rapes that occurred upon their closure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_Japan#Prostitution

Just letting it be known that Japanese society back in that era believed it was prudent to have some Japanese women sacrificed up as "comfort" women as well. Only difference is that the US didn't condone the actions, and actually feels a lot of remorse and guilt from the evil deeds that were done in that time by the US soldiers.

While many folks in China and Korea want to keep sticking their fingers at Japan (with the exception of whitewashing history books) they really need to take a step back and comprehend that Japan has definitely paid in blood what was owed as far as w/e Karmic laws that rule the universe has balanced.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

HonestDictator, You have to check Japanese school textbooks by yourself before accusing Japan.

if it's due to Japan's reluctance to properly address and formally apologize

No countries apologized and compensated another countries except Japan.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

No countries apologized and compensated another countries except Japan.

guess you didn't have the history lesson on what happened after Nazi Germany lost the war and surrendered?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

zichi If you think Germany compensated any country you have to do more reading.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Mlodinow

@StormR Oh and by the way if these Korean so called christen really were then they would have forgiven by now wouldn't they, the whole thing is a sham for sympathy and what ever else they can get. where does it say the comfort women (sex slaves) are Christian?

Just because they met the Pope doesn't mean they have to be, many non-Christian people meet him. Also, usually a (genuine) apology is necessary in order to forgive ;) - See more at: http://www.japantoday.com/category/picture-of-the-day/view/pope-meets-ex-comfort-women#comment_1832653

Mlodinow, Korean people and korea as a whole are very religious christians, they need to collectively forgive if they are the christian they portray themselves to be, until they decide to forgive the whole world can see that either their religious belief or their victim mindset is nothing more than a sham to gain more sympathy and money.

Very disingenuous and glaringly obvious.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

zichi of course I know what happened. But that doesn't change the fact that Japan is the only country who paid huge compensation to the other coutries. I'm saying this because many here often say Japan never apologized.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

StormR Approximately 1/3 of Koreans claim to be Christians. So downvote all you want, but why should the remaining 2/3 also forgive Japan because of Christian tenets?

I'm not sure what you claim to be disingenuous, but the only glaringly obvious thing is the hole in your argument :)

Tinawatanabe That is simply not true, and if you really "know what happened" you wouldn't make such a false statement. Germany (both East and West) paid huge amounts of money to both countries as well as individuals, gave land as compensation, had hundreds of factories and industrial equipment plundered/seized, and effectively had half of its country annexed (as Eastern Germany). Additionally, they were simultaneously forced to continue the reparations for WWI as well (one of the very reasons behind instigating WWII), which they only finally managed to pay off in 2010 http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2010/1004/Germany-finishes-paying-WWI-reparations-ending-century-of-guilt.

Whereas Japan had a lot of its debt forgiven in the late 1940s so as to strengthen its economy, and had other obligations transferred to so-called foreign aid schemes, such as in China. Such schemes effectively meant that many individuals never received compensation for forced labour or camp internment because most such aid was received as manufacturing equipment instead of cash. To quote StormR, this was rather "disingenuous" as avoiding payments to individuals allowed personal grievances to fester into what they are today. eg: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/39145098/ns/world_news-asia_pacific/t/japan-offers-heartfelt-apology-us-pows/#.U_TeAfmSxqM

Also, paying money is not the same as apologizing. You do understand the two are completely different, don't you? Payment without admission of guilt even has a legal term: "Without prejudice offer"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Without prejudice offer"

One wonders why Japan can't just apologize. Yukio Hatoyama apologized at Nanjing AFTER resigning as Japan's PM. Why not before? Government wouldn't let him? Or worried about reelection?

Is PM in Japan relatively weak vs the Diet and/or bureaucracy? Cannot apologize while PM and have it count for the country?

Not saying the US President could make it stick either, apologizing without affirmation by Congress. Just wondering.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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