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450 mostly Western scholars press Abe on war history

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By Linda Sieg

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"The scholars, including two Pulitzer Prize-winning historians, called in a letter for Abe to address Japan’s “history of colonial rule and wartime aggression”, including the issue of “comfort women”, as those forced to work in wartime military brothels are euphemistically known in Japan."

Whaaaaaattt?? But just yesterday wingers were on here saying it was only "Chinese and South Koreans" that keep bringing this up!!

22 ( +41 / -20 )

You ain't gonna get any real acknowledgement out of Abe beyond an " eternal condolences" crap of an expression.

14 ( +23 / -9 )

I don't like where Abe is coming from. He should acknowledge his country's past and move on.

15 ( +25 / -10 )

This issue will go on and until the right-wing imperialists that pulling Bae's strings are weeded out of politics, which will more than likely never happen, so there is no end in sight for this issue.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

All his right steps are in the wrong direction....He doesn't want to face history nor does he want to offer a genuine apology....All he has done is to visit the notorious shrine repeatedly...claimed the comfort women case false....and re-militarize his nation to go into war with others... Apologies without remorse will not convince anybody.

11 ( +21 / -11 )

There are a few who will be apoplectic about this.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Unfortunately,many records concerned with the war were destroyed by Japan's Imperial Army thus there is some inability for the Japanese to acknowledge human experimentation,rape,chemical and biological weapons and of course forced prostitution. This is why Japanese politicians can never really acknowledge that there were not only Japanese victims of war but also foreign ones. This skewed view also persists with regard to present day events such as natural disasters.

13 ( +23 / -10 )

Japan’s “history of colonial rule

Japan has not colonalized any country.

-46 ( +5 / -51 )

Japan has not colonalized any country. Lol Im guessing your just trolling or have NFI of truthful history

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I've always thought Japan should go all out and completely apologize because it would steal all ( or at least most ) of the thunder from China and South Korea's constant apology demands. The anti-Japan right wingers in those countries would lose substantial support domestically and abroad.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Yes, Abe is as dangerous as his ancestors. But, to be fair, all belligerents committed atrocities, including USA.

5 ( +16 / -11 )

Abe can't acknowledge Japan's pass since that would be that his grandfather was a war criminal. Probably the same goes to many conservatives, skeletons in the close....

9 ( +17 / -8 )

And, gokai_wo_maneku, I am sure you will agree with me in calling for Abe to apologise on behalf of humanity for numerous genocides and specicides. Let's get the context in context, eh? Perhaps, in the end, it will all look like some big misunderstanding. Perhaps we can even pin the blame on the first bacteria.

-3 ( +6 / -10 )

Poor apple polishing in America caused more critical attitude. Next time bow much more intensively, mumbling words of apology, mr. Abe !

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

These articles always talk about "apologies". I think people are less interested in hearing an "I'm sorry", and are more interested in seeing some long-lasting honesty and transparency about history. By politicians and just as importantly by the population at large.

What upsets people about Japan is the general attitude of "we didn't do anything wrong/we were the victims/ stop bringing up our bad behavior". When you combine that with a general increase in xenophobia and militarism, is it no surprise that everyone is concerned about a possible repeat of the crimes of the past?

16 ( +23 / -7 )

Dear Scholars; you're smashing your heads against the wall, They will never listen you, you will never able to convince them.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

This is a an example of cultural clash. The Western Professors see actions and seek recognition and responsibility. Abe, beyond his right wing nature, sees a war and actions that are rooted in the event only, not having consequences or a need for acknowledging responsibility. So all we get from Abe is it was a terrible thing that happened (but no one is responsible, especially not my grandfather).

10 ( +14 / -4 )

“As scholars of Japan and of Japan’s place in the world, our collective responsibility rests on fostering open discussions ... and in leaving an honest record of its past for current and future generations,”

Brilliantly stated. Too bad Abe won't even give it any consideration, just as he will ignore what Murakami-san is saying, as well as the other former PM's calling on him to not leave any wiggle room in his statement. He is too set on paying respects to his grand dad, rather than focusing on the big picture.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

Does Abe know something more than all of them put together? So it is not just Asian historians. Education is key here and Japan is doing its current and future generations a major disservice, if it is omitting so much of the truth. Let fair learning continue.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Alexis Dudden ran away from the questions from 19 Japanese historians unanswered.such as " why only about 200 women out of 200000 to clam?".the Korean comfort women argue "the rest of the women got killed by Japanese army to keep the secret and fed to dogs".if Japan killed 200000 women,its such a huge war crime! how could it be done secretly? NO eyewitness report at all.after WW2,many Japanese solders got executed by the Allied Powers only to abuse the POW(most of them were Korean solders in JP army). but noone was judged for the murder of Korean women.and NO family of the VICTIMS of 200000 WOMEN claim or protest to the Japanese goverment, despite their daughters or wives got killed.this is a simple question but Alexis Dudden and none of American historians who accuse Japan cant answer.

-11 ( +6 / -18 )

Wait a second, are these the same guys as this? http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/academics-call-on-japan-to-face-up-to-its-history

Except for the claimed numbers, even the wording is exactly the same!

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Unfortunately Western and other scholars won't be voting in the next election. That will be Japanese right wingers voting, since only they have the right to vote in Japan's elections. A politician pleases his constituents obviously, and the constituents of Abe's party are Japanese right wingers. So get ready for more rigamarole, hocus pokus, smokescreens and denials.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

@Frederic Bastiat

Yes, Abe is as dangerous as his ancestors. But, to be fair, all belligerents committed atrocities, including USA.

I'm sorry but you simply cannot compare anything to what the IA did. Nazi Germany's attrocities were on a much larger scale, but the nature of the IA's attrocities puts them on a level of anything beyond human. Add the fact that Japan is shifting heavily to the right with a leader who has no problem with visiting the likes of Yasukuni, and we're basically back to square one. Unlike Germany & even the USA, the insincere approach & lack of accountability displayed by he Japanese politicians of today (not just Abe) are the problem.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Tony Blair said about British history "I value and honour our history enormously", and he included Empire. Abe should just say the same.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

But, to be fair, all belligerents committed atrocities, including USA.

This is fair view which I agree. Western countries that colonalized Asian and African countries should apologize and compensate. The countries which took part in WW2 should do too as Japan did. Wasn't atomic bombing atorocities?

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

Abe is just a politician, He is not a historian. These historians should write what they know in their language and compile, then use japanese translators to create a Japanese book. Use Japanese who grew in Japan. For instance, in English writing, don;t use Japanese American whose first language is American English. As for comfort women,IanuFu sound Massage specialist. Write Sex Slave.

Then find a large Publishing House. Text books in schools are not only books read by Japanese.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Kazuaki ShimazakiMay. 20, 2015 - 09:10AM JST

Wait a second, are these the same guys as this? http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/academics-call-on-japan-to-face-up-to-its-history

You are most probablly correct.

What the news writer need to do is to report the title of the letter signed by 450 academics.

https://networks.h-net.org/system/files/contributed-files/japan-scholars-statement-2015.5.4-eng_0.pdf

OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF HISTORIANS IN JAPAN

Like our colleagues in Japan, we believe that only careful weighing and contextual evaluation of every trace of the past can produce a just history. Such work must resist national and gender bias, and be free from government manipulation, censorship, and private intimidation. We defend the freedom of historical inquiry, and we call upon all governments to do the same.

The most of the 450 academics may have underwritten the letter because of the title and this call for academic freedom.

The article by Linda Sieg does not report such points. I bet she had not read the letter itself when she wrote the article.

What is contradicting is the call for government involvement into the issue to make it a political matter. Open discussion based on academic freedom will change into a political debate in the process and Professor Dudden is inviting such situation.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

smithinjapan

Whaaaaaattt?? But just yesterday wingers were on here saying it was only "Chinese and South Koreans" that keep bringing this up!!

These academics are all on the payroll of the Chinese and Korean governments.... that's the MOF view.....NHK news will air this view and 120,000,000 people, in unison, will believe that God has spoken..... problem resolved, now what's that talent shoving in his mouth?

10 ( +16 / -6 )

@Sunrise 777 Western countries DON'T bristle or bridle at every mention of their past atrocities, neither do they discourage vibrant discussions about the subject, UNLIKE the Japanese, who would rather shift Mt. Everest to the moon just to hide the fact that it even once existed. Some Western countries are compensating victims, recently, Britain paid Kenyan victims of their atrocities over the table. That's the difference. @ smithinjapan , the wingers are conveniently ORIENTED to the RIGHT.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It is confirmed the open letter signed by 450 academics is the same letter that was signed by 187 academics a couple of days ago.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/20/national/history/scholars-signing-statement-urging-japan-address-wartime-past-doubles/

As to the reason so many signed the letter,

Alexis Dudden of the University of Connecticut, another scholar leading the campaign, said of the rise in signatures, “I think it is pretty straightforward and goes back to the heart of the Open Letter about the need to support open discussion in Japan to leave an honest record of its past for current and future generations.”

Compare with the title of the article by Linda Sieg. "450 mostly Western scholars press Abe on war history"

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Japan has not colonalized any country.

What is this nonsense? Did you forget about Korea, Taiwan, Manchuria, etc... etc...

15 ( +17 / -2 )

I think everyone in the international community is in agreement that Japan committed some atrocious crimes before and during WWII. But I am getting sick of the pressure being put on the Japanese today who just want to be getting on with things and move on. So that said...why doesn't Abe just do the right thing and give a full and frank apology for the actions of Japans militaristic past? The Japanese of today have nothing to apologise for!! Let's not mince words and say sorry and mean it. Then countries like China will stop this insistant pressure for an apology. And if they don't, then we will all know that this constant demand for apologies was just a smokescreen for their deep hatred for Japan. And the international community will know it too!! Because as things stand right now...we can't be sure can we?

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

@Sunrise: The countries which took part in WW2 should do too as Japan did. Wasn't atomic bombing atorocities?

The difference is, if you asked an American they might reply "Yeah the bombs were terrible terrible weapons" or something along the lines of a "necessary evil to end the war". All in all the memory of the war, bombings and so on are honored tastefully and respectfully at places like Pearl Harbor, etc.

This is a stark difference to Japan where it flip flips between "Yeah we're sorry...no wait, they worked voluntarily..I mean it was a private business, not operated by the Gov't..I mean..wait..what?.

You can't tell one front "We're so sorry, we regret and mourn past actions" and then scream and cry when a Korean group wants to build a statue in an American park. The fact that the Gov't is not united on this is what makes the world pressure for a unified, official statement.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

kaynideMay. 20, 2015 - 11:01AM JST

This is a stark difference to Japan where it flip flips between "Yeah we're sorry...no wait, they worked voluntarily..I mean it was a private business, not operated by the Gov't..I mean..wait..what?.

Have you read the letter signed by the 450 academics?

https://networks.h-net.org/system/files/contributed-files/japan-scholars-statement-2015.5.4-eng_0.pdf

The Letter gives, as examples, two specific questions that the historians still cannot agree on.

Historians disagree over the precise number of "comfort women," which will probably never be known for certain.

Some historians also dispute how directly the Japanese military was involved, and whether women were coerced to become "comfort women."

And the "heart" of the letter is this.

Like our colleagues in Japan, we believe that only careful weighing and contextual evaluation of every trace of the past can produce a just history. Such work must resist national and gender bias, and be free from government manipulation, censorship, and private intimidation. We defend the freedom of historical inquiry, and we call upon all governments to do the same.

So, the letter is asking Japanese Government not to take its position as to whether women were coerced, and let historians from both sides discuss openly without intimidation. The letter is also asking all governments, thus including US, China and Korea, not to pressure the discussion one way or the other.

The fact that the Gov't is not united on this is what makes the world pressure for a unified, official statement.

This is exactly what the 450 academics are against.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

This particular issue just won't go away until Japan issues a direct apology for the atrocities that went on in and before WWII. Who is Abe trying to please by refusing to go the whole way? Is it a bunch of conservative old timers? I certainly don't think that Japanese young people wish this poor relationship with Sth. Korea and China to continue.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Why don't the politicians that started the war apologize...or the soldiers that followed orders?

Oh yeah, there aren't any.

Get over it.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

That's the funniest thing. Everyone else know Japan colonized these countries, but only Japan believes they didn't colonize, they sacrificed themselves to 'help' these savages. That's what Japan teaches to their young. Japan, is just an impossible country to deal with.

TriumvereMAY. 20, 2015 - 10:30AM JST Japan has not colonalized any country.

What is this nonsense? Did you forget about Korea, Taiwan, Manchuria, etc... etc...

9 ( +13 / -4 )

just as he will ignore what Murakami-san is saying,

Sorry for the obvious typo. I meant Murayama-san.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Who really cares? I am rather sick of the East vs. West dichotomy that is being used to address this issue. If the press in Japan really wants to use this as a stick to beat Abe (who deserves to be beaten), instead of parroting on about the views of historians half a world away, what about highlighting the fact that more than a few Japanese academics at the top-end of town (the old imperial universities) have been trying to counter this revisionist agenda. Their only problem, however, is that their complaints about Abe, Aso, Ishihara, Hashimoto, Ishiba, etc. haven't been picked up by the media, either within or outside of Japan.

Indeed, as somebody who has been exposed to a wide range of opinions within Japanese academia (they aren't all fascist revisionists), I am disgusted that certain academics haven't seized the moment and attempted to lead the debate on this. I am also pretty disgusted that the media and other groups have soft-peddled the whole debate within Japan. A really sad state of affairs.

Finally, before people start criticizing Abe and his grandparents, you might want to do some research. Sure, one of Abe's grandfathers was a former Sugamo resident (the prison not the suburb), but his other grandfather (Kan Abe) was one of the few Japanese politicians in World War 2 who had the guts to take on the military.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Reading some of the comments here, I am astounded as to how many people still deny or don't even know the history of their own country. And for KUISUPISI to say that "Unfortunately,many records concerned with the war were destroyed by Japan's Imperial Army thus there is some inability for the Japanese to acknowledge human experimentation,rape,chemical and biological weapons and of course forced prostitution. This is why Japanese politicians can never really acknowledge that there were not only Japanese victims of war but also foreign ones. This skewed view also persists with regard to present day events such as natural disasters." You don't need too much documentation to jump on a plane and go to Korea to speak to the thousands of women that were transported to Japan and forced into prostitution. Next you'll be trying to tell us that 6m people weren't gased to death in the concentration camps in Germany because the documentation wasn't available for that. Time to get real folks and confess .... and it's more than time to forget all the mythical face-saving waffle. After all how much face-saving was there for the hundereds of thousands of innocent men, women, children and babies slaughtered by the bayonet and bullet in what was called then Nanking?

5 ( +11 / -6 )

450 mostly Western scholars press Abe on war history

The number is rising. A month or so ago, it was aroudn 200. By next month it'll likely be near a thousand. Still, the best way to get Japan's attention is by applying gaiatsu, or outside pressure

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Knocking on a piece of dead wood I am afraid. The best you could ever hope for from Abe and his ilk is to ensure history is taught correctly but that will not happen in any of our lifetimes...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

in a country where there are lots of sensitive issues that you have to be careful to talk about, freedom of expression and also human potential is really hindered and stifled with such limited way of thinking, which thus also result in a mostly sheepish populace.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Whaaaaaattt?? But just yesterday wingers were on here saying it was only "Chinese and South Koreans" that keep bringing this up!!

Obviously it's not just Chinese and south Koreans concern about Japan white washing. History should never be distorted. Japanese lies and revisionist only embarrassed itself.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

@Ch3" Are you suggesting Linda hack the letters from Abe's pffoce tp wrote ip artic;e Summery is enough. majority of don;t read Chinese, Korean, Indian, Thai or whatever scholors weote in their letters beside mpre than 400 ;etter

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But I am getting sick of the pressure being put on the Japanese today who just want to be getting on with things and move on.

We all can move on as long as Japan stop deny it.

Japanese PM denies wartime 'comfort women' were forced http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1544471/Japanese-PM-denies-wartime-comfort-women-were-forced.html

Shinzo Abe’s inability to face history http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/shinzo-abes-inability-to-face-history/2013/04/26/90f5549c-ae87-11e2-a986-eec837b1888b_story.html

Hashimoto denies "comfort women" were sex slaves http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/kyodo-news-international/130519/hashimoto-denies-comfort-women-were-sex-slaves

Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara: There was no Nanking Massacre http://shanghaiist.com/2012/03/03/tokyogovernorshintaroishiharath.php

Nagoya mayor sticks to 'Nanking Massacre' denial http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201202280033

NHK Governor: Nanjing Massacre ‘Never Happened’ http://thediplomat.com/2014/02/nhk-governor-nanjing-massacre-never-happened/

This decision comes after a group of 37 local assembly members complained that passages from “Kuni ga Moeru” (“The Country is Burning”) printed in the magazine’s Sept. 16 and 22 editions “distorted history” by describing Japanese soldiers massacring civilians in the Nanjing Massacre of 1937.

The politicians claim no such massacre took place.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2004/11/12/national/manga-account-of-nanjing-massacre-axed-amid-protests/#.VVwIWrmqqkp

37 politicians here claim Nanking massacre did not happen.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

450 mostly Western scholars press Abe on war history

The trick will be to get Japanese scholars on board. That will force the issue into the open, as NHK can't spread their usual propaganda about Chinese and Korean paymasters

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@sunrise let be clear Japan like Germany were the main agressors during WW2, there also the ones that slaughtered the most civilian casualties by far. America, Russia UK and there allies only responded and stopped this aggression. Japan and Germany have no right to dictate what the victors should do. It would have saved 60million lives if Japan and Germany hadnt started there deluded world domination in the first place.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japan and Germany have no right to dictate what the victors should do. It would have saved 60million lives if Japan and Germany hadnt started there deluded world domination in the first place.

Last I checked, Germany hasn't been dictating anything. Rather, they have been sincerely remorseful, going out of their way to ban revisionism, visiting memorials, compensating all their victims - and apologising. Japan as we know has done some of this, but it's been very half-hearted. Let's hope gaiatsu pays off

4 ( +8 / -5 )

Nicholas TeeMay. 20, 2015 - 12:24PM JST

You don't need too much documentation to jump on a plane and go to Korea to speak to the thousands of women that were transported to Japan and forced into prostitution.

How? So far, Korean government has recognized only 207 former Korean Ianfu. http://www.awf.or.jp/e3/korea.html

After the comfort women issue became a matter of contention in the 1990s, the Government of the Republic of Korea established a committee to authenticate former comfort women, and had authenticated 207 as of November 2002. The Government provides these women with a fixed monthly sum to subsidize their living expenses. Of the 207 authenticated people, 72 had died, 135 were still alive, with 2 of them residing outside the country, as of November 2002.

This is what you said.

I am astounded as to how many people still deny or don't even know the history of their own country.

So, Japanese do not know history, therefore whatever they say is wrong, and whatever Koreans say is correct. If a Japanese say "I have never heard of it", it is because Japanese do not know history (yes, you are proven correct again) and not because what is said is bogus. It is self fulfilling prophecy. Whatever Japanese say, it proves you are correct.

Japanese know quite a lot about history, probably a lot better than Koreans. I advise you to get out of the blind fold.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

Another day, another article about WW2, Japan's actions, apologies, etc. etc. My hats off to all of you who are passionate on this topic and who continue to contribute comments, many of which are thoughtful and supported, every time one of these articles is posted by JT.

I would just say that all of you will be busy in the coming months, as I anticipate many more articles around this topic in the days leading up to the 70th anniversary of events around the end of the war. I look forward to continuing to read the comments.

As for me, to borrow a quote from an old movie: "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play."

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

@CH3CHO:

While I agree that the academic community must do the research and debate to find truth without coercion, I'm not interested in this case about what the academics believe. As we all know, many records were destroyed... therefore a lot of what we have is based simply on testimony.

Therefore, if there is at least one report or survivor claiming that they were forced into prostitution, then it is enough to say it happened. The correct decision should simply be to acknowledge that bad things happened and that women were forced into prostitution... to the scale and degree can be up for debate and should be uncovered.

The root of the problem is simply when the government issues a statement it is severely undermined when another screams that it was the opposite.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Good post. Nice quote too, but I prefer Michelle Pfeiffer's: "Nothing exceeds like excess."

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

last I checked, Germany hasn't been dictating anything. Rather, they have been sincerely remorseful,** yes for that they have a lot of respect, i was juts comparing both Japan and Germany, with Germany overshadowing Japan on the sincerely & remorseful side by far.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Respect to Germany

6 ( +10 / -4 )

kaynideMay. 20, 2015 - 02:32PM JST

As we all know, many records were destroyed... therefore a lot of what we have is based simply on testimony.

The fact is there are a lot of documents left in Japan, US, the Netherlands, China and so on.

You can read the documents left in Japan and the US here. http://www.awf.or.jp/e6/document.html The serries contains more than 1000 pages of documents during WW2. The volume 5 is a collection of documents relating to Ianfu in the US Archives with Japanese summary. Reading them will give you perspective.

The problem with testimonies is that Korean government has not disclosed them. There are testimonies organized by private groups here and there. But the number is not many, and most of them are inconsistent.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

Japan has apologize enough for past war crimes. There is no nation on earth past or present that is not guilty of war crimes. China and Korea need to move on about these comfort women. Many not all but many we're paid for this work. Yes the oldest profession on earth. So nations of world knock it off.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

Any good progress would be made as long as people care about wording. The only thing which should be paid attention to here is whether the statement is apology-oriented or not. If Abe showed no remorse over the past in question, that would be a problem.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Joe Duncan: "China and Korea need to move on about these comfort women."

I guess you missed the whole article, including the headline, where it clearly states that most of the 450 scholars -- including to Pulitzer Prize winning scholars (not the self-declared, nationalist historians in Japan) -- are WESTERNERS. And it's not just the issue of sex-slaves they demand Abe properly address, but the fact that Abe is watering down any previous apologies and denies a lot of other atrocities took place. As such, any apologies that have taken place (which have always met with criticism in Japan as it is) are completely meaningless in the face of denial by current politicians. And it will NEVER STOP until Japan properly addresses it, so it's in Abe's best interests to do so. Watering down previous apologies or not repeating them altogether to create a 'more positive message of the past' for Japan is doing it a major disservice.

I just hope people like you aren't surprised when, come speech time, the entire world expresses disgust and anger over what Abe says.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

move on.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

So many of these women are/ were traumatized...something that wouldn't happen if this were "merely" prostitution.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Japan has never apologised or demonstrated genuine remorse. Many deny the Rape of Nanking, even more deny the existence of women forced into sexual slavery. Most Japanese choose to ignore the atrocities, aggression and colonisaton perpetrated by their country. No one can't move on, and that includes the Japanese, until Japan makes a sincere and fulsome apology, instead of continually playing the victim.

2 ( +10 / -7 )

Elizabeth HeathMay. 20, 2015 - 04:26PM JST

Japan has never apologised or demonstrated genuine remorse.

There are people who just keep denying. Even if they are presented undeniable facts, they bury their head in the sand and keep denying.

-12 ( +2 / -15 )

There are people who just keep denying. Even if they are presented undeniable facts, they bury their head in the sand and keep denying

Indeed there are; that is in fact the problem in a nutshell. If the likes of Abe, Hashimoto, Ishihara et al would stop making their denials and once and for all acknowledge what happened regarding Nanjing, comfort women, unit 731, the death railway, etc etc, we might finally see an end to all this back and forth.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

in the statement,the sholars of various thoughts singned up.Bruce Cumings says "Korean women were mobilized by Korean men".John Dower(pulitzer winner) says " US solders raped 300 Japanese women a day on average during the occupation".Joshua Fogel criticized the book "The Rape Of Nanking"by Iris Chang such as "seriously flawed" and "full of misinformation and harebrained explanations".and many more..so do you agree with them? or you call only them "history denier" or "revisionist" for your convinience? its full of a ideological dispute and porpuse. to know the political back ground more.. http://scholarsinenglish.blogspot.jp/2014/10/what-is-behind-south-koreas-criticism.html

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Exactly. Of course we all want everyone to move on.......but the ball is in Japan's court

6 ( +8 / -2 )

There are people who just keep denying. Even if they are presented undeniable facts, they bury their head in the sand and keep denying.

The fact is Japan invaded its neighbors, starting a war that resulted in the brutal rape and killing of countless people. That alone warrants acknowledgement and sincere remorse. Squabbling about actual death tolls and numbers of women raped should be left to historians and academics. When politicians do it, it makes them look defensive and makes their country seem not remorseful about the past in a true sense. It also comes very close to accusing rape victims of being liars, so unless they're absolutely certain, they should stay far away from it. Until then, they should stick to the current view of history accepted by historians around the world and sincerely acknowledge that they f'd up.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

It is just that no other country in history has been asked to apologize for their wartime past, and every country has a wartime past. Many much worse than Japan. So why is Japan singled out? That is what moves the rightists. Why only Japan?

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

@MrBumMAY. 20, 2015 - 05:22PM JST

I agree with your argument to an extent, except to point out that Japan tried this strategy (or at least the best rendition it can make of it) in the 90s. It didn't work.

The problem with such a strategy is that you are giving your opponent a blank cheque, in which he can write nearly any amount he wants. Such ideas worked for Germany because the world needed Germany against the Soviet Union, so they had to keep one eye on what they wrote on the cheque. Further, Western powers are more respectful of contracts and promises and fair dealing - they know once a cheque is written, they can't write it again.

Such pressures are entirely absent with China and South Korea, and they know Japan is too nice and/or business minded to actually punish them for their demands like a quiet tariff or two (and of course as Japan hesitated to take tough measures, China and Korea grew stronger so it is harder to take such measures). So they wound up writing absolutely humongous numbers. At least they are somewhat limited to keeping to old numbers for well-established things like Nanking but for new "popups" like comfort women this does not apply.

The value quickly exceeded what the Japanese were willing to swallow and very likely even more than what was actually justified. However, as you said no one likes to accuse a "rape victim" of lying, and the whole story fit in well with American preconceptions. Further, it gives their atom bombs a justification that "mere" POW abuses can't match. America's national character also plays a role here as they tend to be debaters rather than harmonizers - if they are accused of such a thing, they will investigate, generate their own solution, and freely agree to that but no more (if relations suffer a bit so be it). To such a people, Japan's rapid folding seems to suggest that Korea's case is very strong whether it is or not.

So China and Korea got a backer very fast in America, and since America with its domination of all media is often perceived as "neutral"...

So now Abe and anyone that's not willing to let China and Korea keep writing (and rewriting) blank cheques now face a very hard road. Yet it seems the apology route has exhausted its potential.

This is hindsight, but I think Japan would have been better off if they had Abe in the 1990s and Kono and Maruyama in 2015. Abe will contest China and Korea for every point, and all Kono and Maruyama would have to do is look like a good guy and apologize for something with much better defined and agreed-on boundaries. Sadly in 1990 I suspect no one in Japan (not having learnt the lesson the hard way) would let Abe get in the way of business.

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

gokai_wo_manekuMay. 20, 2015 - 06:05PM JST

Why only Japan?

I do not think the letter signed by 450 historians single out Japan, though the article by Linda Sieg may.

https://networks.h-net.org/system/files/contributed-files/japan-scholars-statement-2015.5.4-eng_0.pdf

None of the imperial powers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including the United States, the European nations, and Japan, can claim to have sufficiently reckoned with their histories of racism, colonialism, and war, or with the suffering they inflicted on countless civilians around the world.

This year presents an opportunity for the government of Japan to show leadership by addressing Japan’s history of colonial rule and wartime aggression in both words and action.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

every country has a wartime past. Many much worse than Japan

You state that as if it is a given, but it is a highly debatable statement. Few countries, if any, have inflicted more (international) war casualties on their enemies than Japan. More people died in WWII than any other conflict in history, and Japan inflicted more of those casualties than any other belligerent.

why is Japan singled out? That is what moves the rightists. Why only Japan?

I would argue that it is precisely because of those rightists. It's a case of cause and effect. They say they are motivated by being singled out, but it looks the other way around to me. They are singled out because they keep obfuscating, denying, backtracking, mis-educating and misinforming.

no other country in history has been asked to apologize for their wartime past

Germany has, and has done so in a manner which is irrefutable and without reservation. The same unfortunately cannot really be said for Japan.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Why only Japan?

If you need to ask the question, you haven't paid much attention to any of the previous threads

7 ( +10 / -3 )

The problem with such a strategy is that you are giving your opponent a blank cheque

The problem with such an attitude is that apologising to someone is not a strategy; you apologise to them because you have wronged them. Furthermore they are not your opponent, they are your victim!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Furthermore they are not your opponent, they are your victim!

Precisely

5 ( +7 / -2 )

YoshitsuneMay. 20, 2015 - 06:23PM JST

I think you need to read the letter first before commenting on the said letter.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

gokai_wo_manekuMay. 20, 2015 - 06:05PM JST

It is just that no other country in history has been asked to apologize for their wartime past, and every country has a wartime past. Many much worse than Japan. So why is Japan singled out? That is what moves the rightists. Why only Japan?

Not true. Many countries have apologised for previous human rights violations. "Why only Japan" is a good example of the persistent victim mindset that many Japanese have.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Elizabeth HeathMay. 20, 2015 - 06:54PM JST

Many countries have apologised for previous human rights violations.

It seems the 450 historians have different view from yours.

https://networks.h-net.org/system/files/contributed-files/japan-scholars-statement-2015.5.4-eng_0.pdf

None of the imperial powers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including the United States, the European nations, and Japan, can claim to have sufficiently reckoned with their histories of racism, colonialism, and war, or with the suffering they inflicted on countless civilians around the world.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

@CH3CHO

I think you need to read the letter first before commenting on the said letter

I didn't comment on the letter at all and you don't know that I haven't read it. I commented on your post, and you are now deflecting to avoid making a proper response.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

YoshitsuneMay. 20, 2015 - 07:31PM JST

I commented on your post, and you are now deflecting to avoid making a proper response.

Which post of mine? Did you ask any response from me?

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

450 mostly Western scholars press Abe on war history

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

They are not demanding Abe to apologize. They are talking about history that Abe, as a politician. is ignorant.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@CH3CHO

Hello again, the post of yours to which I was responding:

There are people who just keep denying. Even if they are presented undeniable facts, they bury their head in the sand and keep denying

and my response:

Indeed there are; that is in fact the problem in a nutshell. If the likes of Abe, Hashimoto, Ishihara et al would stop making their denials and once and for all acknowledge what happened regarding Nanjing, comfort women, unit 731, the death railway, etc etc, we might finally see an end to all this back and forth

Did you ask any response from me?

No I did not, and I do not require one. Feel free to make one of course, and if it contains reasonable points politely made then I'll be happy to discuss them - but if it consists of nothing but deflection you can expect a withering response!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

YoshitsuneMay. 20, 2015 - 08:36PM JST

I think you need some common courtesy. You said,

YoshitsuneMay. 20, 2015 - 07:31PM JST

@CH3CHO I commented on your post, and you are now deflecting to avoid making a proper response.

Now you say,

YoshitsuneMay. 20, 2015 - 08:36PM JST

if it consists of nothing but deflection you can expect a withering response!

IF?

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

To my complete lack of surprise your post is empty.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

From the Guardian, Oct 19, 2011:

None of this has been, during the 60-year post-colonial period since 1947, the generally accepted view of the empire in Britain. The British understandably try to forget that their empire was the fruit of military conquest and of brutal wars involving physical and cultural extermination.

So Japan again follows in the foot steps of its inspiration for modernization. Why is only Japan supposed to apologize. The rest of the article is pretty graphic about what the British did in the name of Empire. You could substitute "Japan" and get the same story. I am no denier. I just don't think it is fair to be singled out. It just energizes the right.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

CH3CHO: "There are people who just keep denying. Even if they are presented undeniable facts, they bury their head in the sand and keep denying."

And you are one of them, as is Abe and all the right wingers who DENY atrocities occurred. Or do you deny it? :)

4 ( +10 / -6 )

@gokai_wo_maneku I'm British, and I can assure you there is much national contrition and awareness of what happened during the colonial years. The difference between the UK and Japan is that we recognise what happened, we even teach it in school. You should try it.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Why on earth does this issue come up year after year after year, and the Chinese and Korean governments wouldn't accept it even if Japan apologised on mass. It is part of the cultural norm in East Asia to do something, and never apologise for it and then hope it goes away or people forgive you, What concerns me more, and America should put pressure on the Chinese who are at loggerheads with half their neighbors with the island desputes. China is becoming a major partner for the USA economically and they fail to push China on these island issue because they don't want an economic war with China. Until China toes the line internationally and stops bullying smaller neighbors the world should ignore their pathetic annual cry for Japan's apology.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

And around and around we go. Tomorrow or the next day, there will be another article related to this in some way and everyone will be back with the same arguments and "facts". And the back and forth will commence once again.

Does anyone here that regularly posts on this topic think someone else is going to change your mind? I appreciate all of the information that has been and will continued to be shared, and I have learned a lot, but at some point, we should all accept that certain topics will never be agreed.

Don't get me wrong, the whole point of the comment section is to engage in this back & forth. But, in the end, there are certain topics where it just becomes an exercise in futility. No matter how right you believe you may be.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Nothing exceeds like excess."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

gokai_wo_manekuMAY. 20, 2015 - 09:26PM JST From the Guardian, Oct 19, 2011: None of this has been, during the 60-year post-colonial period since 1947, the generally accepted view of the empire in Britain. The British understandably try to forget that their empire was the fruit of military conquest and of brutal wars involving physical and cultural extermination. So Japan again follows in the foot steps of its inspiration for modernization. Why is only Japan supposed to apologize. The rest of the article is pretty graphic about what the British did in the name of Empire. You could substitute "Japan" and get the same story. I am no denier. I just don't think it is fair to be singled out. It just energizes the right.

How did you get the idea the UK isn't regularly criticized for their colonial rule? They are. We are not children here. It's not playground fighting we are talking about here. You commit a crime you face the consequences - you don't cry "but HE is a criminal too!!".

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Has anyone actually found out who is behind this?

Or will someone involved ask who is behind it?

Why is it anonymous? Being so undercuts its credibility.

smithinjapan, you write "only Chinese and South Koreans that keep bringing this up!!" but I'll lay down a bet there is a Chinese- or more likely Korean-American group behind this misleading and using the names of Western academics.

And where does the 450 figure come from? (Exaggerating numbers is the norm in this game).

AFP has distinct bias in these issues, Thomson Reuters are not much better. I'd suspect they are just recycling the AFP release.

@zones2surf

Yup. It's time for the Japan Hate Mob to jump out of their seats and do their 'Brazilian ... or rather Beijing/Pyongyang ... Wave'.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

@Elizabeth; pm ito did not tell Japan;s cololu as colony (Shokuminchi meaning Send Japanese citizens to live there pernabebtky(. Later, Japanese Govt had different method to convince Japanese people. For Korea, Govt presented a Royal Princess Masako Nashimoto no Miya to Korean Crown Prince. After WW II she came back to Japan but she returned to her husband and worked with her husband for rehabilitation of crippled Korean children. When Japan created Manchuria. Japan presented a noble lady to the brother of Manchu Emperor/ China's Chu En Rai PM apologized he was too late to bring her back before older daughter had doulbe suicide with her boy friend and she went back to her husband, Never returned to Japan. Eisei Aishin Kakura. UK in Asia never presented high society ladies to colonize.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@toshiko.

It's true. Japan's colonies were quite unique for the equalities they offered the native born. Many Koreans rose amongst the ranks of the Imperial Army, including Koreas later leaders.

Which makes the accusation of forced abductions even more unlikely, unless Korean soldiers and officers were either involved or standing by doing nothing about it ... which is unlikely.

Michael Yon made the reasonable point that the population of Korea at the time was slightly less than that of Texas today.

Image if someone tried to abduct 250,000 Texan women ... would Texans stand aside and let it happen?

DId the Koreans in the Imperial Army?

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

@gokaiwomaneku I'm British, and I can assure you there is much national contrition and awareness of what happened during the colonial years. The difference between the UK and Japan is that we recognise what happened, we even teach it in school. You should try it.

I'm British too but I don't see "much" national contrition in British society. Of course, that doesn't mean the British want to start an empire again (nor do the Japanese) but thoughts of the days when Britain was "great" still bring a rosy glow to many. Look at the leap in support for UKIP, which has made great strides with a highly sanitized Britain was better when it was white message, never once acknowledging that the success and Britishness they wish to recreate was based on an Empire economy and free movement of peoples just as long as they were the colonial masters. Oh no, we don't want all those foreigners getting uppity, do we? Contrition? I don't think so.

I don't think Japan needs to take lessons from the British.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Before Pearl Harbor, Korean families were shipped to Japan. Husband to labor in Military Industry. Wives and children went door to door "Kuzu Kudasai" (trash please) and changed at trash pile business. Wives worked as trash separaters. Equality? Never knew until American came to Japan

Sales of girls in Northern farmers, until Gen Mac asked Japan to stop, it was legal.

Protesting to Govt? There are some and they all had death sentence.

To use girls to negotiate was tradition of Japan more than 400 years.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Majority of the public in each country have a negative opinion of the other. In the 1980s, under Deng Xiaoping’s leadership, it appeared that Japan and China could build a harmonious relationship for the future. When he visited Japan in 1978, Deng said that in the 2500 year history of relations between China and Japan, there was only a period of 50 years when relations were bad and he vowed to revive the good relations that existed before. In return, Japan provided far more aid ($6 billion ODA) to China than any other country during the 1980s, and Japanese companies helped set up modern factories in China. However, in the 1990s, Chinese leaders increased education programs to teach patriotism and in China nothing stirred patriotism more than a discussion of Japanese cruelties in WWII. Few Chinese people today are aware of Japanese apologies given by their leaders and their citizens who met Chinese, and also unaware of the extent of Japanese aid and contributions to China in the 1980s.

Abe is convinced that showing weakness to China would only lead to escalating demands and further military advances, are determined to make it clear that they cannot be intimidated. But as difficult as it is to improve Sino-Japanese relations, there may be no better time than the present for beginning that process. Japan’s top leaders should not again visit Yasukuni Shrine and should reaffirm Japan’s apologies for tragedies caused by their invasions. China should reduce the cultural presentations that increased hostility to Japan in its movies, books and TV, increase the public recognition of Japan’s contribution to China’s development since 1978, and publicise the Japanese commitment to peace since 1945. China should return to the policies of the 1980s under Deng Xiaoping.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Luce-AMay. 21, 2015 - 01:10AM JST

Has anyone actually found out who is behind this?

Professor Alexis Dudden of the University of Connecticut, and Professor Jordan Sand of Georgetown University

You can read their interview article by Peter Ennis (in English) here. http://toyokeizai.net/articles/-/69928

And where does the 450 figure come from? (Exaggerating numbers is the norm in this game).

You can see the name list of the 450 academics here.

https://networks.h-net.org/more-450-scholars-japan-support-worldwide-open-letter-war-and-historical-memory

You can also read the open letter from the link there. By reading the letter, I think, you would have quite a different view from Linda Sieg's article.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

@sfjp330" Abe is convinced that showing weakness to China would only lead to escalating demands and further military advances, are determined to make it clear that they cannot be intimidated

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Source please. Did you talk to Abe?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@sighclops, perhaps you misread my comment. My point is that all belligerents committed atrocities, and not to compare which was worse or less bad.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is a history book "PACIFIC WAR' published in 1960. it was best seller as it had details without hiding. Japanese love none fiction than fiction.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They are talking about history that Abe, as a politician. is ignorant.

Something we agree on

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Andy Green: "Until China toes the line internationally and stops bullying smaller neighbors the world should ignore their pathetic annual cry for Japan's apology."

And yet ANOTHER poster who is to blind to read the article! Step back, read the article, and then tell us how many of the 450 MOSTLY WESTERN scholars are "Chinese or Koreans", my friend. Then go back and read your post. THEN tell us about what constitutes a 'pathetic cry', if you will.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Japanese historians also say that they will release their own statement on 25th of this month. Let's wait and see it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Am I the only person who have read the letter signed by the 450 academics?

https://networks.h-net.org/node/22055/discussions/69206/open-letter-support-historians-japan#replies

The discussion here is so far away from what the 450 agreed. It is a victory of Japanese historians and all who support fact based history.

Historians disagree over the precise number of “comfort women,” which will probably never be known for certain. Establishing sound estimates of victims is important. But ultimately, whether the numbers are judged to have been in the tens of thousands or the hundreds of thousands will not alter the fact of the exploitation carried out throughout the Japanese empire and its war zones.

No more BS like "Main stream historians agree there were about 200,000 comfort women."

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Sad that some will live in ignorance and even die in ignorance...Let's hope that many are aware of the truth and can move on.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@gokai_wo_menaku

I understand the point you want to make, but the behaviour of other colonial powers is not relevant to whether Japan should apologise for its own behaviour. Britain should apologise for its own behaviour regardless of what Japan does, and Japan should apologise for its behaviour regardless of what Britain (or anyone else) does.

That said, if you consider China, they probably would like an apology from various countries for e.g. the Boxer Rebellion and the Opium Wars. But the casualties they suffered at the hands of the Japanese Empire in the 30s and 40s are several orders of magnitude greater than they suffered at European hands, so it is perhaps not surprising that they single Japan out (and before someone points it out, yes I am aware that the Chinese nationalism promoted by the CCP uses Japan as a bogeyman, and yes I do think that this is also part of the problem - but it doesn't mean Abe et al can ignore the past or deny that Nanjing etc really happened)

Thank you for mentioning that Guardian article - I recall reading it at the time. Don't you think that the very existence of that article, the very fact it was published in one of the main British newspapers, indicates a key difference between Japan and the UK regarding stance on history? The British media does acknowledge and discuss the nation's dark history, and it is openly discussed by British people (and unfortunately some of them do have totally one-sided revisionist views, a bit like Abe & friends do, and I can be found arguing against them too - I'm a regular poster on the Guardian, for example). However, this is not the case in Japan - perhaps, if the Japanese papers did actually carry this kind of frank and damning article on Japan's own history and discussion of such events wasn't taboo, there wouldn't be such problems with historical issues between Japan and her neighbours. (If I'm wrong and there are mainstream Japanese news articles criticising Japan's colonial behaviour, please do point me towards them because I would be keen to read them)

Another point re Britain & Japan. The Guardian article mentions the Amritsar massacre. That was the killing by British troops of a thousand Indians in the northern Indian city of Amritsar. British textbooks acknowledge that as a massacre - there is no attempting to downplay it as an 'incident'. British politicians don't deny that it happened, or quibble about the number of casualties. The British head of state (i.e. the Queen) has visited the site where it happened and laid a wreath. The British prime minister has done likewise, and both gave apologies. Perhaps if Shinzo Abe and the Emperor were both to visit the memorial in Nanjing, lay wreaths, and give apologies in situ, we wouldn't be having this discussion. However, far from that, we instead have to listen to high profile Japanese politicians and establishment figures repeatedly denying that Nanjing ever happened and questioning the numbers of dead, while Japanese textbooks are re-written to call it an 'incident' rather than a massacre. Herein lies the problem, and the answer to your question. Why is Japan hounded to acknowledge what happened but Britain is not? Because the British establishment, while not having done enough IMO to apologise, does at least acknowledge what happened, whereas the Japanese establishment is waging a concerted campaign to whitewash the past.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@CH3CHO

Thanks for the links, I'll read the interview later.

Yes, I read original letter right at the beginning. I'm generally disgusted by the AFP inaccruate tabloid take on these matters that you rightly flag up, e.g. "most academics agree ..." etc. They are really not helping resolve matters by enflaming the Japan Hate mob ... but I suppose it sells newspapers/websites and that is why they do it. Thomson Reuters are not quite as bad but seem to follow suit.

As I said in another reply, what the activists are attempting to do with all their vigor is obstruct the real history from being done - in Korea this has actually even included violent physical assault of Korean academics - and create such a prejudiced consensus within the public's mind that the damage has been done long before the history is.

This is what people must start to realise, 'the history has not been done yet'.

We are drowning in outright lies, politically and economically motivated propaganda, and exaggerations and anyone truly attempting to understand these issues must start by throwing all of it in the trash can where it belongs and going back to the solid original evidence.

Unfortunately, this precludes most of the historians on that list, never mind the general public, because it is mainly written in Japanese, and an older form of Japanese that even Japanese have a hard time with.

I find it hysterical when the ideologues that raise their hands and exclaim when faced with the lack of evidence to support their claims, "but the Japanese destroyed it all!".

That betrays such a vast ignorance about the workings of the Imperial Army that should exclude them, the Hate mobs, from any serious discussions.

Abe and the DIet and doing the right thing by sitting it out and refusing to pander to the hysteria. They know fine what it is all about ... and it is not about achieving justice or morality.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

When Mr. Abe was asked by the Communist party leader yesterday at the Diet whether or not he would admit what Potsdam Declaration including Cairo Declaration says about Japanese invasion, he said that he would not make a comment because he does not know much about it. Someone, who was staggered, tweeted; if he knows nothing about it, he does not even realize he is a revisionist.

YouTube is available at; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hpe_lmEULcU

Likewise, Mr. Abe may not understand why those scholars press him so much. I am so proud of you, Mr. Abe.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Luce-A: "We are drowning in outright lies, politically and economically motivated propaganda, and exaggerations and anyone truly attempting to understand these issues must start by throwing all of it in the trash can where it belongs and going back to the solid original evidence."

You have solid evidence; indisputable evidence given by victims of the IJA from around the world. But it's THAT that you choose to burn and throw away, and newly created and fabricated 'history' that is STILL being rewritten that you choose to call 'solid original evidence'. And that is why you will always be called out for the BS you spew and stick to, and always be called on to apologize, and rightfully so.

But let's take a look at how far you are going to deny the truth and claim that this is just China and South Korea complaining:

"I'll lay down a bet there is a Chinese- or more likely Korean-American group behind this misleading and using the names of Western academics."

Where's your 'solid proof', bud? So far you've only given us solid proof of your irrational hatred and bias, and how it undermines your argument. Well done!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

indisputable evidence given by victims of the IJA from around the world

Can we start by explaining since when is testimony by "victims" indisputable? What happened to the legal process?

BTW, I'm on the side that Americans are "sincere" rather than bribed, but most of them haven't really done a lot of research and just went down the path of least opposition (don't oppose people yelling they were raped, go with a version that fits your preconceptions and makes your country look just that little bit better).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yoshitsune,

Excellent post.

Thank you.

Perhaps if Shinzo Abe and the Emperor were both to visit the memorial in Nanjing, lay wreaths, and give apologies in situ, we wouldn't be having this discussion. However, far from that, we instead have to listen to high profile Japanese politicians and establishment figures repeatedly denying that Nanjing ever happened and questioning the numbers of dead, while Japanese textbooks are re-written to call it an 'incident' rather than a massacre.

A most sensible plan!

The Emperor might do it if Kunaicho let him, which they wouldn't, and Abe would would turn into a gibbering wreck at the mere suggestion.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Its funny seeing Japanese right wingers squirm at the thought that most historians outside their little island refuses to accept Japans historical dishonesty.

200 scholars 1 month ago. 450 today. Expect it to grow to 1000 soon.

People like CH3CHO think they know more about history than actual academics (some even with pulitzers or tenured at ivy leagues). Its really funny.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

WatchingStuffMay. 22, 2015 - 02:41AM JST

Have you read the letter signed by the 450 scholars? I am just quoting from what they signed.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Have you read the letter signed by the 450 scholars? I am just quoting from what they signed.

Yes I have. Here it is:

https://networks.h-net.org/system/files/contributed-files/japan-scholars-statement-2015.5.4-eng_0.pdf

Please don't distort what is written in the letter. 99% of the letter is dedicated towards telling Japan to accept responsibility and quit distorting history. For instance:

Some historians(Japanese nationalists) also dispute how directly the Japanese military was involved, and whether women were coerced to become “comfort women.” Yet the evidence makes clear that large numbers of women were held against their will and subjected to horrific brutality. Employing legalistic arguments focused on particular terms or isolated documents to challenge the victims’ testimony both misses the fundamental issue of their brutalization and ignores the larger context of the inhumane system that exploited them.

-signed by over 450 international academics.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

WatchingStuffMay. 22, 2015 - 10:42AM JST

I am glad you have read the letter.

99% of the letter is dedicated towards telling Japan to accept responsibility and quit distorting history.

The coordinater of the letter has different idea from you where the heart of the letter is. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/20/national/history/scholars-signing-statement-urging-japan-address-wartime-past-doubles/

Alexis Dudden of the University of Connecticut, another scholar leading the campaign, said of the rise in signatures: “goes back to the heart of the open letter about the need to support open discussion in Japan to leave an honest record of its past for current and future generations.”

The letter says,

Like our colleagues in Japan, we believe that only careful weighing and contextual evaluation of every trace of the past can produce a just history. Such work must resist national and gender bias, and be free from government manipulation, censorship, and private intimidation. We defend the freedom of historical inquiry, and we call upon all governments to do the same.

So, the government of Japan, the US, China and Korea should stay away from the history, and let historians have open discussion. This news this February proves there is no "academic freedom" in Korea as long as ianfu is concerned. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/korean_peninsula/AJ201502180058

The Seoul Eastern District Court on Feb. 17 said sales and publication of “Comfort Women of the Empire,” written by Park Yu-ha, a professor of Japanese literature at Sejong University, can resume only after the passages are deleted.

I am with the 450 historians, support open discussion, and am against government involvement.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Smith: And yet ANOTHER poster who is to blind to read the article!

And yet you are here calling on other posters to read the article while you yourself are commenting on a letter which you have obviously not made the effort to read despite the links provided by some of the posters above.

Love it when the kettle calls the pot black.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@CH3CHO

Scholars typically are not very confrontational and tend to offer up general ideals when faced with brick walls... Eg "we can agree that everyone should tell the truth most of the time, right?"

Therefore, have you considered the lines "free from government manipulation...intimidation" and/or the need for "open discussion" is really just a polite way for scholars to call out Japan on lying without bring too direct?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@WatchingStuff

"... most historians"?

How many historians in the world do you think there are?

That's like the usual AFP spin, "most historians agree 200,000" etc.

Any historian worth their salt would refuse to take a position until the history is done and it's really hardly started.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Western and not western scholars are half idiots if it comes to politics. Fact finding is their mission putting pressure they should live to politicians.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@CH3CHO

Am I the only person who have read the letter signed by the 450 academics?

No, you are not. But if you think that anyone else who reads it will automatically come to the same conclusion you have then your logic is deeply flawed. You post a lot on this site, almost always to cast doubt on the issue of the comfort women. You claim this letter is a complete victory for Japanese historians, and you seem to presume that that equates to a complete victory for your view that the comfort women are liars and common prostitutes. However as others have pointed out, the key contents of the letter are not to say "no more BS about 200,000 women being coerced" as you interpret it, but to say that the evidence makes clear that large numbers of women were held against their will and subjected to horrific brutality. Employing legalistic arguments focused on particular terms or isolated documents to challenge the victims’ testimony both misses the fundamental issue of their brutalization and ignores the larger context of the inhumane system that exploited them. (As this second sentence describes exactly what you do on this website week in week out, I really don't think you can claim these scholars are backing you up at all)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What's more telling is the first think the coordinator did with this anonymous petition was forward it to Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

What I don't understand is, why all the fixation with an issue where the alleged perpetrators and victims are all dead, when the same crimes have and are being carried out by others, UN troops included, today.

Unless, of course, there is just some kind of political or racist agenda behind it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sunrise777 said, "Japan has not colonalized [sic] any country." Sunrise 777 should be a Japanese politician or write a new dictionary (or textbook). If the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (大東亞共榮圏 Dai-tō-a Kyōeiken) and it's application in the Korean Peninsula and Manchuria were not colonization then I am a teapot. The twisting of terms and concepts to suit a watered down version of fact is part of the historical cleansing that has been happening since the 1980s. It has brainwashed so many Japanese in that time and Abe now is applying the final rinse. He is also hanging Japan out to dry in the global community and this letter is evidence. Japan cannot continue to hide it's dirty laundry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_East_Asia_Co-Prosperity_Sphere

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Precisely, and Mrs Abe has just backed him up

2 ( +2 / -0 )

CH3CHO

You do realize that everyone here knows how to read English? Even a fourth grader can tell whos side the scholars are on (and its not the Japanese government). Your tactic of distorting whats written in the document might work on native Japanese people but it fails miserably here.

Furthermore, the buzz words in the document that you mentioned:

"open discussion"

"free from government manipulation"

"censorship"

"and private intimidation"

Were for the most part targeted towards the Japanese government and historical revisionists such as yourself.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

YoshitsuneMay. 22, 2015 - 10:15PM JST

I really don't think you can claim these scholars are backing you up at all

The title of the letter is "OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF HISTORIANS IN JAPAN".

the evidence makes clear that large numbers of women were held against their will and subjected to horrific brutality.

By whom? Who did it is one of the actively discussed issues in history studies. Many countries in Europe license prostitution. Is licensing authority more responsible or less responsible than brothel owners? Studies show Japanese military "licensed" comfort women run by Koreans and Chinese.

The letter calls for "freedom of history studies" and "political leadership". But there is potential trade off between them. Political leadership can easily run over freedom of history studies. Also, as long as political leadership is called for, "legalistic argument" is inevitable.

The job of historians is to find facts. The letter admits historians cannot agree on facts. Do your jobs, historians. Calling for political leadership without establishing facts is only dangerous. The letter should be interpreted to support academic freedom as its title says.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Luce-A

Oh look, a typical poor revisionist argument. Arguing about the the number of victims is nothing more than a red herring. It doesn't matter if its 100,000 or 300,000. The fact of the matter is, Japan employed sexual slavery on a mass scale. The letter signed by those 450 scholars said it best:

"Historians disagree over the precise number of “comfort women,” which will probably never be known for certain. Establishing sound estimates of victims is important. But ultimately, whether the numbers are judged to have been in the tens of thousands or the hundreds of thousands will not alter the fact of the exploitation carried out throughout the Japanese empire and its war zones."

If you want to be taken seriously, quit resorting to weak red herring arguments.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@CH3CHO

The title of the letter is "OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF HISTORIANS IN JAPAN

Indeed. The mistake you seem to making is to interpret that as being an "open letter in support of historical revisionists in Japan", which it clearly is not. You've been imploring people to read the letter; I have done, and as I pointed out in my last post:

(From the letter) Employing legalistic arguments focused on particular terms or isolated documents to challenge the victims’ testimony both misses the fundamental issue of their brutalization and ignores the larger context of the inhumane system that exploited them.

This sentence describes exactly what you just gave us three paragraphs of in your last post. Again, you are struggling to paint this letter as something which supports your views but it does quite the opposite.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@ WatchingStuff

Not at all my friend. That's the nature of history versus racist propaganda. You not only don't understand the meaning of red herring, you even employ one yourself asserting an unproven 100,000 to 300,000 figures.

It very much does matter, especially as the more reliable total estimates so far vary from 20,000 to 200,000 (Yoshiaki).

Note those figures include the clearly professional paid prostitutes and those who might have been unjustly abducted.

The absolutely proven cases of abuse at present number, perhaps, in the low 100s which in the scale of the war it was, is exceptionally low.

You cannot call me a "revisionist" because I would argue a historical number has not yet been established. You can call be a rejectionist, because I reject all the propaganda swilling around the internet and mass media.

The internet and mass media might be good tools for propagandists grinding which ever axe they wish, but it's not where facts are established academically speaking.

All that is proven so far is that the Japan Hate activists are, time and time again, willing to stoop to any level to pursue their goals and invest a huge amount of effort into poisoning the well.

I'm afraid you don't understand how history works as an academic discipline.

And, yes, I did actually go to university to study it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@WatchingStuff

"open discussion"

"free from government manipulation"

"censorship"

"and private intimidation"

That's funny. If the world was asked which country do those buzz words remind them of, the majority would probably answer "China" or "North Korea" with strong dictatorship. Just sayin'.

By the way, has anyone heard of Confucius Institutes? I couldn't find names of 450 academic peeps by Googling but wonder how many of them out of 450 has been affiliated with, benefiting from, funded, and influenced by the existence of Confucius Institutes. Just sayin'.

Is This American Academe's Most Shameful Moment?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/eamonnfingleton/2014/08/31/is-this-american-academes-most-shameful-moment/

In so doing they accept Beijing’s money. They also cede control of their curriculums >and allow Beijing not only to appoint most of the teachers but impose a regimen of >self-censorship in discussing “sensitive” issues such as the Tienanmen massacre.

Confucius Institutes

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucius_Institute

Criticisms of Confucius Institutes

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticisms_of_Confucius_Institutes

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@NYtoday

For me it was the anonymity of it, and that the originator first leaked it to the Korean Yonhap Press Agency, that led me to doubt his intentions.

That's not the way academia is done.

The 'inner circle' of individuals who wrote it are still not named.

THe other primary originator was a woman and, typically throughout this issue, there is a feminist critique or angle that is fair ... but which should be targeted at patriarchal or so called "hypermasculine" Asian culture on the whole. Something that, say, Japan and Korea both have in common.

Whereas it would be incorrect to say the women were victim of Japan, it would be correct to say the women were victim of patriarchal or so called "hypermasculine" Asian cultures, just as they still are to this today.

It would be a whole lot better, and technically correct, if the entire critique was targeted at patriarchal Asian culture instead of "Japan" (which is, after all, more than 50% female and victim themselves).

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Luce-A

For me it was the anonymity of it, and that the originator first leaked it to the Korean Yonhap Press Agency, that led me to doubt his intentions.

That's not the way academia is done.

Completely agree. The first thing I wanted to find out was the list of 450 names. Even Alexis Dudden in the interview, she mostly mentions "our colleagues," "fellow scholars," "friends and family (that I forgot if she really said it, hahaha!)"

Well, she knows media strategies very well and how majority of people still lack media literacy—historians and scholars included, of course.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

That still does nothing whatsoever to discredit the testimonies of roughly 200,000 sex slaves. Mr Abe needs to brush up on his history

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan has already apologized in the past, and gave China and Korea a lot of money. After many years, they now need another douce of apology. It is easy to repeat this over and over and over.........

And that is what Chinese and Koreans are doing...

They will continue to repeat this again and again....for political and monetary purposes.

The Chinese and Koreans have no shame.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Every apology has been watered down by denial from someone else. Thus the cycle goes on and on. The Japanese goverent has no shame

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Christopher Glen

The problem being, Christopher, there aren't 200,000 testimonies and there weren't or there is no evidence that there were 200,000 sex slaves.

Which kind of sinks Alexis Dudden's credibility and plants her firmly outside of academia in her intents.

See, her 'Call a Slave a Slave' article for Huffinton.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alexis-dudden/call-a-slave-a-slave_b_5572282.html

What's her angle?

Note how she reports on how the Democrats are pandering to the Chinese- and Korean-American vote and money.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The problem being, Christopher, there aren't 200,000 testimonies and there weren't or there is no evidence that there were 200,000 sex slaves.

You'll note my use of roughly. That was pretty clear wasn't it? We all know the IJA destroyed records. The testimonial evidence of survivors from numerous countries will do nicely.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Define how wide a variance "roughly" means ... estimates currently range from 20,000 to 200,000 and that includes paid prostitutes and high class escorts (i.e. for officers).

No, we don't all "know" the IJA destroyed record.

That's the propagandists' excuse when confronted for not having evidence to base their claims.

Indeed such a statement betrays an ignorance of the extensively bureaucratic nature of the IJA and how difficult it would have been to specifically removed all records ... especially given they surrendered many of their locations to enemy forces, e.g. in Manchuria.

There may just be 100s of testimonies, a proportionate of which are suspect. That are the uncomfortable facts.

There is also a damaging lack of honesty and clarity between the variety of experiences. Politically, economically and racially motivated activists seek to make every woman as bad as the worse experience. It just wasn't so, as the equivalent record of romances, marriages, comfort women choosing to remain in Japan rather than return home and military justice applied to offenders proves.

Back to Dudden for a moment ... she studied in both Korea and Japan. It'd be interesting to know more about her past and influences. I'd tend to think she's just clambering on to the issue for egotistical reasons, caught up with the rush of it all and excited to be in the spotlight. No doubt it will raise her profile and she might get a book deal or research money out of it.

For example, The Hankyoreh report her as "calling upon Abe" and "calling for the Abe administration to also take action to clearly admit the state’s role" I mean, who is she to call on a government or a foreign Prime Minister? She's a fairly unknown historian.

Changes are it won't even cross Abe's desk. Do these people have no idea how busy Prime Minister's schedules are with more important and pressing issues?

Her journalistic pieces descend into usual hyperbole. She's wrong when she writes "proven" because neither the numbers she quotes are nor the extents. Not even all the individual cases usual used are "proven". Many are clearly ambiguous or discredited.

I also think that she's deluded by thinking that Hillary Clinton directing her staff at the State Department to use the phrase "enforced sex slaves" instead of comfort women is 'moving forward' rather than just 'cynically playing for Asian American vote'.

I guess people will have their own opinions of Hillary.

Interestingly enough, I was reading a fairly good paper on Filipino comfort women recently, entitled 'In war, and after it, a prisoner always: reading past the paradigm of redress in the life stories of the Filipino comfort women' by Katharina Ramo Mendoza.

Mendoza makes some very good points about how such excitement is merely cyclical and faddish, and fails to do anything for the actual victims it also exploits.

And I think many are just exploiting the old women again with anterior motives.

"over two decades of effort on the part of the redress movement failed to shift the discussion beyond ‘Were they prostitutes or victims?’” Political interest in and support for the comfort station survivors come and go like fashion, and I suspect that, like much that is fashionable, it is the slick, mass-marketable image of the comfort woman as the perfect victim that is at least partly responsible for these enthused but short-lived and ineffectual surges of international concern.

It is easy to be enraged, to call for justice, and to make declarations of support for someone whom everyone can agree looks like a victim. In the case of the comfort women … However, this figure of the perfect victim is extremely fragile and, as has been demonstrated time and again, easy to shatter.

The redress movement’s reliance upon a certain uniformity in the survivors’ stories is untenable in the face of the survivors’ complicated circumstances, and it only takes an anomaly here, a divergence there, for the discussion to once again devolve into a debate about the facts of the comfort system.

Mendoza

I'd underline the even greater and more disgusting futility … that such excitement, that such waste of time, energy and money fails to do anything for the young women alive who are about to be exploited tomorrow in exactly the same circumstances somewhere else in the world today ...

The futility of punishing perpetrators who are already dead.

The injustice of punishing, accusing and demanding to hold responsible other innocent individuals, women included, who were not even born when the crimes were carried out.

And the demented and immoral activity of indoctrinating children and demanding to indoctrinating foreign children, about prostitution and military sex crimes (… which in Korea actually starts in infancy!).

For God's sake, allow them to experience some innocence in their lives and learn what they need to! Surely they don't need to know about prostitution until after puberty?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's not about compensation or precise records or exact numbers of victims -- it's the exact opposite of that. It's about simply assuring the world of an understanding that treating other humans poorly -- including exploiting desperate women -- is shameful and inexcusable and admitting that this happened. When that happens we can move on as friends.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Brian FowlerMay. 26, 2015 - 08:37AM JST

It's not about compensation or precise records or exact numbers of victims -- it's the exact opposite of that

It is your idea. Foremer ianfu strongly disagree with you.

Here is a link to a US Congressional hearing on ianfu. http://archives.republicans.foreignaffairs.house.gov/110/33317.pdf

page 39

Mr. HONDA(Congressman). When you go to the (Japanese) Diet, what is it that you expected the Diet to do?

Ms. O’HERNE(Former ianfu). I know what I would like to tell the Japanese Government. I would like to give them this message. As you disband in March the Asian Women’s Fund, then start a proper government compensation fund. So when one finishes let them start the proper one of compensation from the government.

Mr. HONDA. Okay.

Ms. O’HERNE. And it is never too late.

She would not demand an apology or acknowledgement, but compensation.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@CH3CHO

She would not demand an apology or acknowledgement, but compensation

Most disingenuous. That document is 90 pages long. You've taken that quote from a conversation which spans multiple pages of said document, a conversation which is specifically about the issue of compensation. The question that O'Herne is there responding to is specifically about the Asian Women's Fund, why so few comfort women accepted the money, and what she would like the Japanese govt. to do instead. So of course her answer is about compensation and not apologies or acknowledgement; but in no way whatsoever does this mean that that is all she is interested in. Pulling that one quote out and presenting it out of context as you have done is very naughty indeed. I must say, CH3CHO, that you have a most impressive knowledge of the documentation available on the subject of comfort women, and an even more impressively detailed knowledge of which parts you can quote out of context in order to misinform people on the internet; but I assure you that I was not born yesterday, and I would say the same for my fellow JT readers. You are fooling no-one.

To everyone else, please do read CH3CHO's link to the congressional hearing. O'Herne's testimony from pages 23 - 27 is extremely harrowing indeed. To CH3CHO - far from persuading me that the comfort women are only in it for personal financial gain, the document which you have quoted has only increased my support for them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

YoshitsuneMay. 26, 2015 - 04:13PM JST

To everyone else, please do read CH3CHO's link to the congressional hearing. O'Herne's testimony from pages 23 - 27 is extremely harrowing indeed.

I am glad you have read her testimony. It is always good to develop one's opinion based on facts.

What was her goal?

Here is another part of her testimony where she makes clear her goal.

(page 26) Now time is running out. After 60 years, the comfort women deserve justice. They are worthy of a formal apology from the Japanese Government, from the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe himself, and what I call an apology is an apology that is followed by action, the same what the American Government did. It was followed by action that paid compensation to the Japanese that were put in prison camps here but this is the one thing that Japan has never done. Their apology has never been followed by action.

It seems you think demanding compensation is something wrong. I do not think so.

While I respect her goal, both Netherlands and Australia waived the compensation claims of their citizens against Japan in San Francisco Peace Treaty.

By the way, it was American citizens of Japanese origin who received compensation payments from US government.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It seems you think demanding compensation is something wrong

Not at all. What is wrong is that anyone is even having to do so.

What was her goal?

The question isn't "what was her goal?", it's "what was the goal of the hearing?" You continue to take quotes out of context; the entire conversation you are quoting is about compensation and the Asian Women's Fund, and her statements are answers to other peoples' questions.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Brian Fowler

It's very much about the exact numbers and so on.

I'd say, "once the smear campaign on today's Japan and Japanese is dropped ... and this may require debunking it time and time again and exposing its proponents' intentions, we can all move on".

But it's a fullscale propaganda war into which a number of parties are literally investing millions so it is likely to trickle on until at least the last old lady dies.

One of the reason why so few comfort women accepted money from the Asian Women's Fund, was that economic and activist groups, NGOs claiming to represent their interests, told them not to accept and applied peer pressure upon them not to do, e.g. those that did were castigated.

They do so for two reason, firstly they were promising they could get more and if the women accepted what they needed now they would lose their claim; and, secondly, doing so would removing the raison d'etre for their existence. A response both financially, politically and egotistically charge.

Unfortunately, in the case of the Korean comfort women, they nation took their compensation and so it is against their nation, i.e. Korean government, that they should be claiming. Not Japan. Japan wanted to compensation individuals but Korea refused. And probably did so for the greater good. (It spent it on building up infrastructure.

Of course, the dictatorship and government then hid this from the Korean people, whilst indoctrinating children into hate and whipping up anger at Japan, for 40 years.

It's only once you start to understand the finer details that you start to understand Japan's position and why it is correct (having made the apologies, paid the compensation and being sincere).

The Dutch women's case is important as it is said to be the one specifically referred to in the Kono statement, the statement not being a blanket one covering all instances. It was poorly worded. "Too Japanese" (vague) I would say.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Luce-A

Hi Luce. I agree with you that propaganda in China and Korea is an important part of this issue. I also agree that the decision by the Park dictatorship to accept compensation from Japan and then to spend it rather than use it to compensate victims is a major issue - one that I always point out to my Korean friends and associates (who are almost never aware of it). However, I cannot agree with your conclusion:

It's only once you start to understand the finer details that you start to understand Japan's position and why it is correct (having made the apologies, paid the compensation and being sincere)

Despite the above concerns regarding Korea and China, it is still not correct for Abe to refuse to acknowledge the surviving comfort women, for Japanese textbooks to have the comfort women removed, for Japan to pressure other countries to do the same with their textbooks, for politicians to say they were common prostitutes and not coerced, for politicians to deny there was a massacre in Nanjing, etc etc

Korea and China's propaganda (especially China's, in my opinion) must be argued against, on that we agree; but so must Japan's whitewashing. The former does not justify the latter.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The former does not justify the latter.

Yet the former is empowered by the latter. The sooner Japan "cleans house" regarding history, the sooner China and South Korea will be forced to focus on their own problems. All Mr and Mrs Abe, and the rest of the LDP are doing by endorsing Yasukuni shrine is scoring own goals

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Yoshitsune

I think we have to be very careful and specific.

For example, it is not references to what happened that were asked to be removed but false exaggerations.

At what age do you think it is acceptable to teach children about prostitute or sex crimes?

The bottomline is, again and again, until the history is done, decided and accepted ... and the nationalistic or economically motivated Hate mobs drop their cases ... all reference should be off the menu.

Those who wrongly claim the history has been done don't want the whole truth to come out because it will discredit them.

The Democrats/US Government under the disingenuous influences of the likes of Honda and now Clinton should keep out of it ... and, instead, address their own nation's responsibility for sex industry record and abuses in Asia.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think we have to be more careful not to allow a potential situation where an entire generation could grow up in Japan believing that the comfort women were all nothing but common whores and money-grabbing liars. Not quite what is happening yet, but it's heading in that direction.

What age do. You think it is acceptable to teach children about prostitute or sex crimes

Good question. Sensitive issue. At what age is it presently taught, insofar as it is? (genuine question, I don't know and would like to)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

When I went to school prostitution or sex crimes were never mention. General sex education happened around 13.

Comfort women were prostitutes, the victims of sex trafficking crimes are in a different category and should not be called comfort women.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Comfort women were prostitutes, the victims of sex trafficking crimes are in a different category and should not be called comfort women.

And this is why this conversation is still going on in 2015. I would agree that sex slaves is a better term for them than comfort women, but I don't think that's what you meant.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No, we have to be clear about this ... there were comfort women and there were victims of sex traffic and crimes.

The two/three are entire separate and different case.

We know for a fact there were voluntary, paid prostitutes at a variety of levels, from the equivalent of "camp followers" to high class escorts (serving officers) in todays terms.

There is a politically motivated movement to try and rebrand all women involved into the worse class and refuse to differentiate or enumerate the various proportions.

One should ask what exactly those political motivations are; North Korean influences to weaken political and military support support in the US for todays Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sorry Luce, but is comfort women not a Japanese term, and was it not used to refer to all the women at the comfort stations regardless of their individual circumstances or how they got there? Though it might be a good idea to drop the term and use either sex slave or prostitute for each women according to the situation they were each in, the fact is that everyone involved in this debate does use the term comfort women and they do use it to mean all the women involved, so I don't see how you can either expect to change that or tell me that it means something else.

(From the letter) Employing legalistic arguments focused on particular terms or isolated documents to challenge the victims’ testimony both misses the fundamental issue of their brutalization and ignores the larger context of the inhumane system that exploited them.

There is a politically motivated movement to try and rebrand all women involved into the worse class

There is also a politically motivated movement to try and rebrand all women involved as prostitues. The political motivations are clear.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The political motivations are clear.

I think the other side who started using this as a Japan bashing tool has clearly the political motivation.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Hi Tina. I agree that the 'other side' has political motivation to use this against Japan. My point to Luce was that 'your side' also has political motivation, in this case to whitewash the past. Both sides are at fault here - I wholeheartedly agree with the wise words of the Singaporean PM that were reported on the other article recently; Korea & China should stop politicizing these historical issues and try to move on - but Japan must also acknowledge what it once did, without the semantic and legalistic quibbling. In this I also agree with the historians' letter that we are here commenting on:

Employing legalistic arguments focused on particular terms or isolated documents to challenge the victims’ testimony both misses the fundamental issue of their brutalization and ignores the larger context of the inhumane system that exploited them

I would love to not be having this debate with you. I would also love not to be having the debates that I have (elsewhere) with Chinese and Korean nationalists. As I said in an earlier post to Luce (above), Korea and China's propaganda must be argued against, on that we agree; but so must Japan's whitewashing. The former does not justify the latter

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yoshitsune, If you had been able to speak Japanese native level and lived in Japan for a long time, you would have understood.

NO Korean came to complain to Japan until Korean related man Yoshida wrote an article in Asahi about 3 decades ago. If Japan really kidnapped 200,000 women, why no Korean parents had complained? no news report till then?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Hi Tina, despite only having been in Japan for a few years and not decades, and despite not speaking native Japanese, I am well aware of the Yoshida / Asahi situation. And the thing is, despite being well aware of that, I still don't think it means that the whole comfort women issue is a fabrication. I know that's how it's being presented and argued by the revisionist lobby in Japan, but it really doesn't mean that. As the UN special rapporteur on comfort women Radhika Coomaraswamy stated when asked by Japan to change her report, Yoshida's claims were only a minor part of the evidence and the debunking of that minor part doesn't mean that the while thing never happened.

As for why it took so long for victims to come forward, victims of sex crimes the world over often never report what happened to them - through fear of stigmatization, through fear of not being believed, through not wanting to relive their experiences by having to explain them in detail in court, and so on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agreed with Tina on the Japan bashing comment.

The UN is just a game park for political football and the comfort women issue has become an appealing political football in a far bigger campaign. The result of such committees just depends on who turns up on the day.

It's really not that meaningful as far as deciding what happened, especially as none of the major plays actually speaks Japanese.

I mean ... how could you have a judge in a court who didn't speak the native language!

I wasn't impressed by the report coming, as it did

The recent exaggeration and re-branding as sex slaves is a conscious strategy amongst the Japan Hate Mob ... in which, in this context, I will include elements of the Chinese and Korean governments, and American establishment (although I would have to define which elements of the American establishment).

It's just a political propaganda campaign to discredit and damage todays Japanese, individuals who have no responsibility whatsoever for any of the events in the past, and American political and military support for Japan.

China, for example, wants a situation where it can provoke a war with Japan fairly sure that the American people will have very limited support for the agreed military support of Japan.

In a way, they are exploiting the women for a second time.

Even a post likes Yoshitsune's seeks to reinforce that the system was universally brutal and inhumane, to hold the Japanese government responsible for it, and to reinforce the stereotype of Japanese as cruel inhumane. It simply was not and they were simple not.

And the evidence is there to support that.

Now, the position of women within Asian society, whether in the 19th or early 20th century is another matter. Even to this day, it remains a problem within the "hypermasculinist" societies of Asia, Japan included.

What the Japan Hate Mob is doing is missing the target, the core problem, which was and is still patriarchy.

And patriarchy is alive, well and still abusing women today.

It would make a lot more sense to save those young women who are about to be abused tomorrow; in Korea, in Cambodia, in Nepal etc rather than individuals who are long dead."

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Please refrain from using the expression "Japan Hate Mob." It is meaningless and just reflects badly on your debating technique.

The UN is just a game park for political football

I find the UN more convincing than Abe and the revisionists, and you will find that the vast majority of people in the world do too. It's far from perfect but it's the best we've got.

The recent exaggeration and re-branding as sex slaves is a conscious strategy amongst the Japan Hate Mob

As has been pointed out to you already, that is a meaningless term. You use it in almost every post you write, but it isn't going to stick. There is no such thing; if there was, I would certainly not be included in it; and if you were to imply that I were and to try to dismiss my points on that basis, that would be ad hominem

It's just a political propaganda campaign to discredit and damage todays Japanese, individuals who have no responsibility whatsoever for any of the events in the past

Nothing to do with today's Japanese (except for those like Abe who keep bringing it up). Everything to do with sympathy for the victims.

China, for example, wants a situation where it can provoke a war with Japan fairly sure that the American people will have very limited support for the agreed military support of Japan

Quite the theory. The comfort women issue is minor in the States, and Americans don't hold today's Japanese responsible for the misdeeds of 70 years ago. American support for Japan will not be influenced by this historical issue. The comfort women issue isn't even a big deal in China (I know, having lived there and discussed these matters at great length with many Chinese). They are far more concerned with Nanjing etc

Even a post likes Yoshitsune's seeks to reinforce that the system was universally brutal and inhumane, to hold the Japanese government responsible for it, and to reinforce the stereotype of Japanese as cruel inhumane. It simply was not and they were simple not. And the evidence is there to support that

The Japanese government was responsible. They created the system. If they hadn't invaded the territories in question, the comfort stations wouldn't have come into existence. The final responsibility is their's, regardless of any quibbles you may raise about local brokers etc. And if you think the system wasn't inhumane, you are using a different definition of the word than everyone else.

What the Japan Hate Mob is doing is missing the target, the core problem, which was and is still patriarchy. And patriarchy is alive, well and still abusing women today. It would make a lot more sense to save those young women who are about to be abused tomorrow; in Korea, in Cambodia, in Nepal etc rather than individuals who are long dead

Patriarchy is indeed a problem. That doesn't absolve Japan for its misdeeds of 70 years ago.

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Legally, you are being terrible vague to the point of incorrect Yoshitsune. Legal responsibility is something very narrow. In the case of the army, it went only as far as the contracts they signed with their contractees. Any actions carried out by the contractees or their agents were their responsibility.

There is nothing wrong with a well regulated prostitution industry as Japan had had for a very long time. It was a common sense solution, the intention being to stop sex crimes and abuses.

This is an important factor in law, the mens rea. The military did not start out with an intention to abuse, it start with the intention of stopping abuse and there is multifold evidence of when they did find abuses, they stopped and punished them.

If I make a contract with you to provide services, and you them exploit your workers, you are responsible, not me.

As to the legalities of the rest, e.g. the annexation of Korea etc, they are off topic for this discussion (but still legal according to international law of the time).

Patriarchy is indeed a problem. That doesn't absolve Japan

Well, that immediately absolves 53% of Japanese people (females) I hope you don't ask them to pay your compensation or apologize!

It actually absolves, perhaps, a good 99% of the population who were not part of the patriarchy, and the 99% who were not even born or were just children during the way.

You can stand and scream at the piles of old bones and crush them with hammers if you like. I don't really see the point myself.

So who are you accusing and what do you want? Please be specific.

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So who are you accusing

The japanese government / military circa 1932 -1945

and what do you want? Please be specific

Simply; the Japanese government of today to properly acknowledge what its predecessor did, not backtrack on apologies, properly educate its people, and stop implying that the victims were all common prostitues and are / were liars

Patriarchy is indeed a problem. That doesn't absolve Japan

Well, that immediately absolves 53% of Japanese people (females) I hope you don't ask them to pay your compensation or apologize! It actually absolves, perhaps, a good 99% of the population who were not part of the patriarchy, and the 99% who were not even born or were just children during the way

You're confusing (intentionally?) my using "Japan" with "Japanese people". Please don't. The Japanese of today, male or female, don't need absolution because they were of course not involved. That is not the point.

Legal responsibility is something very narrow. In the case of the army, it went only as far as the contracts they signed with their contractees. Any actions carried out by the contractees or their agents were their responsibility... This is an important factor in law, the mens rea. The military did not start out with an intention to abuse, it start with the intention of stopping abuse

First of all, I quote again from the letter we're commenting on:

Employing legalistic arguments focused on particular terms or isolated documents to challenge the victims’ testimony both misses the fundamental issue of their brutalization and ignores the larger context of the inhumane system that exploited them

Secondly, you're talking about contracts. Were there any? I'm pretty sure if it were the other way around you would demand I produce evidence of the contracts I was referring to. So, please do so. Not that I agree it would absolve Japan of blame even if you could do so.

Thirdly, and most importantly, mens rea works differently regarding war crimes by bodies like a government or a military. Furthermore, despite whatever allegedly good intentions they may have started out with in 1932, by a decade later they had lost sight of that and were committing crimes against women. In the words of Coomaraswamy:

... the Special Rapporteur is aware of the position of the Government of Japan conveyed to her during her visit to Tokyo, which states that the application of the term "slavery" defined as "the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised" in accordance with article 1 (1) of the 1926 Slavery Convention, is inaccurate in the case of "comfort women" under existing provisions of international law

The Special Rapporteur, however, holds the opinion that the practice of "comfort women" should be considered a clear case of sexual slavery and a slavery-like practice in accordance with the approach adopted by relevant international human rights bodies and mechanisms

There is nothing wrong with a well regulated prostitution industry as Japan had had for a very long time

If the women are all there voluntarily, perhaps. Are you contending that the comfort station system was well-regulated and the women were all there voluntarily?

It was a common sense solution, the intention being to stop sex crimes and abuses

...by their own army. Which was there in the first place because they had occupied those territories. The final responsibility therefore being their own.

You can stand and scream at the piles of old bones and crush them with hammers if you like. I don't really see the point myself

Given your apparent complete lack of empathy for the victims, it is unsurprising that you don't see the point.

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"Empathy" has no place in such a discussion and is a waste of time on the dead. I have zero concern for the dead. They are dead. I think is irrational to the point of obsessive mental illness to be concerned about the dead, and investing time and energy for their welfare, instead of being concerned of the living ... young girls and women who are being trafficked today.

What you are really saying about is that your argument gains no leverage in order to inflict humiliation, guilt or shame and manipulate me to whatever end you might want (which varies according to which kind of activist is involved). And you are right, I have absolutely none. I did not carry out the acts, I have never used prostitutes.

If you are looking for those with ultimate responsibility, then you must look back to America's then racists world view, for breaking its treaties, reneging on an ally, and forcing Japan to have secure the raw materials it needed to run its economy ... finally breaking the exceptionally tolerant camel's back in order to serve its Imperial ambitions within Asia.

It was a deliberate act knowingly done. Hopefully we live in a world where such men do not make such decision that crush ordinary people. They too had zero concern for the women of Asia as their actions in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and elsewhere shows.

And the 1,000,000 plus women and children who were swept into its military sex industry.

Get your own house in order.

Again and again the motivation just comes back to the same thing for me, what the activist want to achieve is the acceptability of hating today's Japanese, and reneging on them again if every it comes to a conflict with China, and trampling over their rights in the present ... human being who had absolutely nothing to do with the events of the past.

And the likes of you are just being swept up by that.

Had the Westerners kept out of Asia, none of it would have happened.

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I have zero concern for the dead. They are dead. I think is irrational to the point of obsessive mental illness to be concerned about the dead, and investing time and energy for their welfare, instead of being concerned of the living ... young girls and women who are being trafficked today

Many comfort women are still alive. Would I be right in thinking that you don't have empathy for them because they're all racist liars?

I did not carry out the acts, I have never used prostitutes

Irrelevant. And I never said you did.

forcing Japan to have secure the raw materials it needed to run its economy

Yushukan history 101. America's embargoes were enacted many years after Japan launched its aggressions against China. Oil embargo started in 1940. Nanjing massacre was in 1937. Japan brought those embargoes upon itself. There was another option available to Japan; expanding by conquering China was not a necessity in any way shape or form.

Get your own house in order

Ad hominem, tu cuoque, and I am not American anyway.

what the activist want to achieve is the acceptability of hating today's Japanese, and reneging on them again if every it comes to a conflict with China, and trampling over their rights in the present ... human being who had absolutely nothing to do with the events of the past

I already said this above, but it appears I need to repeat it. It has nothing to do with today's Japanese. It also has nothing to do with potential conflicts with China.

And the likes of you are just being swept up by that

The likes of me? Ad hominem. You're becoming rude.

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As rude as accusing an entire population of individuals of crimes, or demand that they apologize for crimes that they never commit and that they indoctrinate their children to hate themselves?

"Many"? I'd say "some" who are quickly dwindling to a "few". And many of those who are left were just common prostitutes.

Most experienced different circumstances from the mass media produced stereotype, including the famous Kim Hak-sun who started it all off (she admitted she was sold by her parents to Koreans and not abducted). Many are highly unreliable witnesses. I think we can safely assume most of those who would have been considered true victims are dead.

And so are those who victimised them.

I am sorry but, 'case closed' for everyone but the hate mob who want to keep recycling their memory for whatever purpose they seek, and nothing to do with todays Japan.

@Yoshitsune, I was not addressing you in the previous comment. Here is really not the place to argue over the entire history but two American presidents in particular had a disproportionately damaging effect on relationships with Japan, the first who chaired the League of Nations when the racial equality clause was refused (it was politically awkward in the USA because of the role the slavery/apartheid supporting Southern Democrats played), and the second, as stated, who favored China over Japan, as had the US Foreign Service as long as 100 years.

Obviously I am talking about the Delano/Roosevelt family and their circle. Only in American can you go from an international drug dealer dealing death in Asia to president of America ... dealing death in Asia.

I think most Americans are largely ignorant of the history of their own country's involvement in China and Asia and consequently cannot understand the Japanese logic and point of view when they are first confronted by it.

It all boils down to the same thing as has been going on in the second half of the 20th C and up until today ... the US military in service not of the American people but of American corporations and to hell with the natives.

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Hi Luce. We've been having two discussions on two different threads on the same topic. As you've succeeded in turning this discussion of the scholars' letter into a discussion of only comfort women, to neaten things up I've replied to both of your last posts in one single post over on the "comfort women" thread. Please see my post there for responses to your latest points. Cheers.

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Keeping on topic, I was reading Carl Bernstein on 'THE CIA AND THE MEDIA'.

I am starting to think of applying the same logic to academia, and I would not be the first to do so.

Not that I am suggesting their specific involvement but generally suggesting other political agendas operating behind the scenes.

There was something odd about the anonymous nature of this letter and the choice to leak it first to Korean and popular news agencies that took it outside of the purely academic.

In my opinion, it's not much more than an fallacious "argument from authority".

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