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Ex-comfort woman in S Korea criticizes protest rallies against Japan

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At Thursday's press conference in the southeastern city of Daegu, the nonagenarian accused the group, the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, of not using in a transparent manner donations collected from the public.

Lee also said she will no longer attend the weekly rallies, which draw many students from middle school through university, among other participants, and that the gatherings should end.

"The rallies only teach young students hatred," she said, adding that young generations of South Koreans and Japanese should interact more and become friendly to each other.

My hats off to this brave woman, one of the very few who actually possesses integrity and decency. Why can't more Koreans as well as others around the world be as enlightened as this woman?

28 ( +33 / -5 )

Olman_13 Because the world should never forget what happen in terms of the relationship between the Japanese people and the Korean people ~ historically? Because we should never let what happen in the past to happen again in the future? Because if we forget what happen in the past, it may happen again in the future?

-31 ( +9 / -40 )

I agree that this 91 old woman is correct. She actually went through this and realizes that at some point in time these protests need to stop. History cannot be changed but the future can.

@Michael - while I understand what you write but at what point this stop? Should it go on another 200 years?

What Japan did was terrible but at this point in time this should be taught, honestly discussed and that is it. The rallies do not to much to make for a better future.

30 ( +36 / -6 )

So when the protests continue regardless (and surely they will), this actually means they are protesting against one of the few remaining comfort women.

2+2=5

13 ( +19 / -6 )

My hats off to this brave woman, one of the very few who actually possesses integrity and decency. Why can't more Koreans as well as others around the world be as enlightened as this woman?

Why is it okay for you to make generalizations about Koreans while you constantly rail against generalizations about Japan?

-18 ( +8 / -26 )

From the JoongAng Daily:

"Lee declared that she won’t attend the Wednesday demonstration starting next week, although she will never stop demanding an apology from the Japanese government. 'The organizer just exploits the students and takes away their pocket money, while giving them no proper education.'  "

So it seems like her primary concern here is more regarding the lack of financial oversight and questionable methods of recruiting young Koreans, than any fundamental disagreement with the group's long-term goals. Otherwise it would be a complete 180 for a former comfort woman to suddenly change course and give up on what has essentially been her life's purpose.

Unfortunately I expect that the right-wing media in Japan will sensationalize this news to its fullest potential, and use her words to their advantage by delegitimizing the idea of raising awareness for the concerns of wartime abuse victims as nonsensical.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

Chip Star

He is right! When we see news regarding it we see several young Koreans taking Korean politics side. Of course not all single Korean think like those guys, but most who make comment in blogs do what Old-man said.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@Tokyo-Engr I don't think you do! Giving notice to this tragic historical event by protest is a great way to keep the Comfort Women's cause alive. Brushing it under the carpet is not a great way to honor the women. Nothing in life is given to you freely. While I think your thoughts are cute, they are not effective in the real world.

-20 ( +5 / -25 )

Olman_13 Because the world should never forget what happen in terms of the relationship between the Japanese people and the Korean people ~ historically? Because we should never let what happen in the past to happen again in the future? Because if we forget what happen in the past, it may happen again in the future?

Your point has nothing to do with the article or the motivations of this brave woman, nor with anything I stated. There's absolutely nothing in the article that mentions forgetting the past or ignoring the comfort women issue. And I said absolutely noting about never discussing the comfort woman issue.

So it seems like her primary concern here is more regarding the lack of financial oversight and questionable methods of recruiting young Koreans, than any fundamental disagreement with the group's long-term goals. Otherwise it would be a complete 180 for a former comfort woman to suddenly change course and give up on what has essentially been her life's purpose.

It's interesting you follow up this post by insinuating that the Japanese right-wing elements will use this story to further their agendas, when you yourself engage in the very same behavior you accuse others of doing (distorting the public truth).

Her primary motivation isn't the lack of financial oversight. Her primary motivation is a variety of factors, not only the lack of accountability in regards to the comfort women funding from Japan (showing deep corruption within the whole movement in South Korea), but also the senseless hatred perpetrated by many South Koreans to keep funding this corruption, and that which leads to no meaningful resolution between Koreans and Japanese.

It's right here in the article:

"The rallies only teach young students hatred," she said, adding that young generations of South Koreans and Japanese should interact more and become friendly to each other."

Here is a 91-year old Korean movement, who suffered terribly before and during World War 2, who has more dignity and integrity that all of the anti-Japan crowd the world over combined. She isn't saying to forget about what she and other women endured, she's saying this blind hatred preached by anti-Japan Korean fanatics doe nothing towards fostering understanding and forgiveness.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

Here is a 91-year old Korean movement, who suffered terribly before and during World War 2, who has more dignity and integrity that all of the anti-Japan crowd the world over combined.

Another generalization from you. I get it now, it’s okay to generalize about anything except Japan.

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

*The dispute over comfort women -- a euphemism used in referring to those recruited mostly from Asian countries to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II*

Recruited is a very strange way to say “forced into.” Oh, it’s Kyodo. Now it makes sense.

I do recognize that not all comfort women were forced into prostitution, but the vast majority were.

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

Finally one of the victims are coming around. If one can can't motivate the youth without hate, one simply has a weak argument.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

A person born in 1921 and was an actual Comfort Woman says:

"The rallies only teach young students hatred," she said, adding that young generations of South Koreans and Japanese should interact more and become friendly to each other."

And a person born in 1965 believes:

She also emphasized the importance of the weekly rallies.

Let's think about this for a minute....

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Those women are letting this bad experience define them.

Move on, or it's going to be "once a comfort woman, always a comfort woman."

5 ( +10 / -5 )

"91-year-old South Korean woman, Lee Yong Soo who was forced to work in the Japanese military's wartime brothels .........."

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

We have a pandemic and we are still talking about war comfort women lol

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Hats off to her.

No, history should be studied and never forgotten. However ensuring that it never happens again will only come through building connections, not trying to divide people.

Have a look at Europe. In 1951 several major Western European powers signed the Treaty of Paris, founding the European Coal and Steel Community, and ushering in co-operation on two of the key resources which have caused countless wars of the years. This Treaty was the pre-cursor to to many more, which eventually became the European Union, with a shared parliamentary, economic and defence structure across 20+ nations.

Result?

Western Europe is now enjoying the longest period of peace in the last 1600 years since the decline of the Roman Empire.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

According to an article that I read today, Lee Yong Soo, a 91-year- old woman, told Yoon Mi Hyang, former head of the group, in the telephone conversation 30 years ago that Lee was not a comfort woman actually. If it is correct, both women have cheated many people for 30 years. I am not sure whether it is fake news or not.

http://blog.livedoor.jp/kaikaihanno/archives/56734112.html

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Speaking as a Kenyan - now American - I've had the opportunity to visit and attend university in both South Korea and Japan.

The hatred I observed in SKorea is on a scale that makes you take notice: I've only observed that type of hate in some anachronistic hate-filled tribal countries I've visited in my African backyard, or in certain parts of the American South. Sad, really.

Kudos to this old lady, Ms. Lee, for letting bygones be!

An apt lesson for the rest of Hangook folks.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

Because if we forget what happen in the past, it may happen again in the future?

If you obsess over what happened in the past, you guarantee it will happen again in the future. Every genocide has been rationalized by past grievances.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

"'The rallies only teach young students hatred,' she said"

If that's what she actually said in the original Korean, this woman is not wrong. For evidence, look no further than the Twitter accounts of ethnic Koreans who write in English and were born literally decades after the end of Japanese rule in Korea.

Maybe it's not exceptional or an anomaly. Maybe if I look hard enough on Twitter I'll find just as many Indians (and Indian-Americans and British Indians) born in the 1980s and afterwards expressing hatred towards the United Kingdom. But somehow I doubt that.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

A 91-year-old South Korean woman who was forced to work in the Japanese military's wartime brothels has criticized weekly protest rallies in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, saying they preach hatred to young participants.

With age comes wisdom.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@oldman_13

She isn't saying to forget about what she and other women endured, she's saying this blind hatred preached by anti-Japan Korean fanatics doe nothing towards fostering understanding and forgiveness.

I agree that she isn't saying that. There are a few bad apples in any country and in any group. I also do not like the tactic of the civic group, and some of the group members may be more interested in earning money by marketing the comfort women issue. That civic group in S. Korea is comparable to Japanese various right wing groups. They tend to appeal emotionally to young people who are mostly indifferent to politics and history. Nowadays demagogues are more popular around world together with fans and cult-like zealots. Look at the U.S. You do not need to single out Korea or comfort women issue.

I thought the civic group would eventually disappear by lack of supporting from S. Koreans. But, miraculously, it has survived, and I guess the best supporter of the civic group has been actually Abe san and the Netto-uyoku.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Wow, well when this 91-year-old former comfort woman says it’s time to move on, then you know that it’s time to move on. And for the most part, I agree with that general sentiment. I mean yes teach history, and allow for discussions of it, but don’t hold a grudge and get carried away like what these protests are doing.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I agree 100% with this lady. The perpetual hatred these groups keep alive isn't helpful.

There have been countless atrocities against groups/nations all over the world and if every group were to behave as these Korean redress groups have, there would be upheaval all over this planet - endlessly.

Let them continue their push for redress, but quit brainwashing the youth to hate Japan.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Until Japan addresses its war crimes in history educa

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

Until Japan addresses its war crimes in history education it deserves no respite from attempts to hold it to account.

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

@Michael Machida

Thank you for calling my comment cute. As an old man it is nice to be called cute sometime.

Since it seems I do not understand your comment I have a question;

When should these protests stop? The lady (an actual victim of this) says, ""The rallies only teach young students hatred,""

Is she wrong? I do not need to be called "cute" in your reply. Once a day is enough.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

zichiToday  08:53 am JST

"91-year-old South Korean woman, Leeand Yong Soo who was forced to work in the Japanese military's wartime brothels .........."

....Is saying "The rallies only teach young students hatred" and "Young generations of South Koreans and Japanese should interact more and become friendly to each other".

6 ( +8 / -2 )

As others said - she disagrees with the method of protest and it's affect on young people.

But she remains steadfast on her principle goal - that of achieving a direct apology from the Japanese govt.

I doubt if both - the ceasing of protests & govt apology - are coming soon. Unfortunately.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

@Browny -

"But she remains steadfast on her principle goal - that of achieving a direct apology from the Japanese govt."

This I agree with. She, personally, should receive this apology.

I feel the same as you do....I doubt both are coming soon either. It is a shame as if Korea and Japan worked closely together it would certainly be an extremely great alliance.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

My hats off to this brave woman, one of the very few who actually possesses integrity and decency.

What? So you believe that very few women in the world possess intergity and decency? Weird comment.

Why can't more Koreans as well as others around the world be as enlightened as this woman?

You mean, why cant more Koreans just accept the Japanese version of their history?

"The rallies only teach young students hatred," she said, adding that young generations of South Koreans and Japanese should interact more and become friendly to each other."

Young Japanese and Koreans seem to get on fine. Japan was full of Korean tourists before coronavirus. The problem seems to be elderly ultra-nationalists in Japan who refuse to accept the true history of Korea. Of course, there are conservatives in Korea too, but they are actually closer to their Japanese counterparts, hence the traditional links between the LDP and the Unification Church.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

On my opinion, young people should enjoy friendship with those who share moral values as sincerity, love and honesty. My grandma suffered a lot during the war, but I feel that young people should move on and make the future brilliant. I feel sorry for her sufferings, but I should be responsible to make the world a peaceful world.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Not just the Koreans, the far right groups of Japan also exacerbate the hatred as well. The infamous anti-Korean books, written by them, always become top selling in Japan. The anti-Korean hatred became a genre in Japan, while I scratch my head on how these groups give little attention towards Chinese (Mainland). They can't bite the hands that feed theme aka the Chinese who have tremendous economic influence in Japan. Of course, they can't also bite their own boss (THE USA) despite of the WWII defeat and Plaza Accord.

Nationalism is the political tool to manipulate the fools. Both Korean and Japanese politicians have become masters of it.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

You mean, why cant more Koreans just accept the Japanese version of their history?

There is a word called "common sense". Regardless of your ideology, you as a adult should understand the meaning of "move on". Brazilians and Mexicans were explored by their former colonies Spain and Portugal, yet you don't see them complaining and demanding Spain and Portugal to apologize to Brazilian and Mexican government.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Not just the Koreans, the far right groups of Japan also exacerbate the hatred as well

Well...During this whole life I never have seen Japanese groups killing animals that are symbol of Korean pride, cutting their finger, burning Korean flags, throwing rocks at Korean Embassy or something like that. I don't deny there are people who has hatred feeling towards them(Koreans), but this number is very low. In addition to that, people are free to buy any kind of books, magazines, movie, etc...

6 ( +11 / -5 )

The problem here is mainly money. They have received many apologies from several different Japanese PMs. Compensation money was paid and yet there is always a call for more. Sorry Korea, you were a colony. At that time its what powerful countries did to weaker ones. Time to move on and drop your inferiority complex to big brother Japan.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Armies which invade other countries have, historically speaking, do a lot of raping, and the Japanese army invaded many countries during world war 2. Then you have countries which will rape out of a sense of revenge, like the Russians in Berlin during world war 2. Looking back in time, there are many other similar examples. Today Japanese, Germans and Russians cannot believe that their own previous generations were capable of such cruelty and barbarity, but this is, sadly, the way it’s always been with invading armies.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

they are not effective in the real world.

Spreading hate and fear is what's effective.

And it's that she was against precisely.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I have both Korean and Chinese friends. I am elderly too.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Finally a woman with credibility exposes this anti-Japanese rant by these money-grubbing Korean scalawags for the frauds that they really are.

Their only goal is to extort money from gullible Koreans. They could care less about the gals who actually experienced this. Anti-Japanese sentiment sells easily in Korea and many make a lot of money off of it.

Many of the so called, "comfort women" were young women who were sold to brothels by their families, also many of them willingly participated for pecuniary motives.

American bases in Korea now have the 2020 version of "comfort women" who work the bars and earn a living off of the American troops there.

Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day and these greedy con men and women are still trying to make money off of the Japanese occupation.

I think a reasonable person would agree that enough is enough.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

All my respect to this woman !

The comments and downvotes on common sense points just show Japan is far from ready to deserve protests to stop. Denial, fake excuses, sophism, incapacity to debate, down look on Koreans, generalization on foreigners all that is still normal here.

Why not growing up, that will help stopping pointing fingers to others for being smarter.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

For all the right wing fans on here claiming victory, the other part that wasn't mentioned was how she said compensation for the slavery must be given even if it takes a thousand years and education on both sides for young people and not hatred will resolve this matter.

Google translate will assist here:

https://n.news.naver.com/article/023/0003529365

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Wellington said -

"...American bases in Korea now have the 2020 version of "comfort women" who work the bars and earn a living off of the American troops there..."

Sorry, but for the life of me I can't grasp the sense of such a comment in relation to the topic.

2020 bar/salon hostesses working the entertainment districts to "gather" funds from ogling men, is far far removed from girls coerced, sold, tricked into sexual servitude for masses of soldiers with miniscule recompense if at all and a screw down on any notion of freedom.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

This wise old woman has much to teach the world through her example. There are wrongs that nothing can make right. The comfort woman issue reminds me a lot about long ago slavery in the US. There is a dedicated group of activists in America that use it as a cudgel to advance themselves politically and socially all the while extending the level of animosity to succeeding generations. It is unfortunate but the same future is in store for South Korea. It is true that history should be remembered so as not to repeat past mistakes. But this rememberance should not be miss used so as to create new ones.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Brazilians and Mexicans were explored by their former colonies Spain and Portugal, yet you don't see them complaining and demanding Spain and Portugal to apologize to Brazilian and Mexican government.

Are the Spaniards and Portuguese writing anti Mexican or anti Brazilian literature to forment hate? Are they tweaking their educational curriculum to deny the atrocities they perpetrated? Do they have black vans roaming the streets shouting anti Mexican or anti Brazilian slogans? Do they make an effort to ostracize Mexican and Brazilian schools in their countries?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The article does not at all refer to Abe, Japanese "right-wing" or all the other usual Anti-J rants. It is between a former Comfort Woman and a younger woman who runs an organization that exists to continue hatred, and to live off the suffering incurred by the Comfort Women themselves. Such comments berating Japan are irrelevant to this article.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Tokyo-EngrToday  07:16 am JST

I agree that this 91 old woman is correct. She actually went through this and realizes that at some point in time these protests need to stop. History cannot be changed but the future can.

@Michael - while I understand what you write but at what point this stop? Should it go on another 200 years?

What Japan did was terrible but at this point in time this should be taught, honestly discussed and that is it. The rallies do not to much to make for a better future.

I agree with everything you wrote but I think one of the main things that gets omitted is that none of it is taught or honestly discussed in Japan. Been here over 30 years and have never heard any of my Japanese friends say one word about it.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Occasionally it is necessary to somehow forgive the unforgivable. She obviously realizes this because she knows that fomenting hatred in future generations doesn't benefit anyone.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan is undoubtably a political organisation dedicated to peruse a poisonous form of hate filled activism focused not only against the present Government, however framed to tar and feather the people of japan.

These frail old pensioners, shamefully wheeled out, are a means to cynically weaponize Yoon Mi Hyang, former head of the group toxic political agenda. In doing so ultimately, faning the flames of loathing/revulsion/hated, to then be passed to future generations. It is a despicable form of politically motivated resentment and bitterness.

Not only is there evidence of ‘misappropriation’ of funds

The Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, has also been accused of opaque auditing methodology into the sources of donations.   

‘Comfort women’ advocacy group denies ‘misappropriation’ claims by victim

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20200508000703

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If people of limited experience "can't grasp" or don't understand that a majority of these so-called "comfort women" willingly participated in the world's oldest profession, or were sold to brothels by their parent's both in Japan and Korea and are doing the same thing they did 80 years ago around the U.S. bases in Korea maybe they should study history of this so-called issue a little more.

There are almost no Korean protestors who had a relative that were forced to participate in this, and certainly no Westerners.

As someone else suggested, it is time to move on.

Hopefully this lady will get a lot of attention and shut some of these bigots up.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

WellingtonToday  06:26 am JST

If people of limited experience "can't grasp" or don't understand that a majority of these so-called "comfort women" willingly participated in the world's oldest profession, or were sold to brothels by their parent's both in Japan and Korea and are doing the same thing they did 80 years ago around the U.S. bases in Korea maybe they should study history of this so-called issue a little more.

Concerning study of history - there are enough parallel versions of this history to satisfy students of historiography for some time.

Being so absolute that your version of history is the one and only true version is what polarizes.

I've read many "authentic" versions of this sad and sorrowful affair from different perspectives and do not feel comfortable in the least trotting out a "correct" version.

More study is required.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This woman is woke from the abuses and manipulations of comfort women cult

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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