politics

Definitions of 'comfort women' reveal Japan-S Korea divide

13 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI and HYUNG-JIN KIM

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Japan and South Korea also used their own comfort women for American GIs after the war. Japan’s government set up brothels soon after its surrender in 1945 for U.S. servicemen pouring into the country and hired as many as 70,000 Japanese prostitutes, though Gen. Douglas MacArthur closed them in 1946. South Korea reportedly had a similar system for U.S.-led U.N. troops during the 1950-1953 Korean War and promoted sex businesses for American troops after the war

Way to dump the blame on somebody else

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

Way to dump the blame on somebody else

Way to show the problem in perspective.

Interesting Korean approach - providing sex to Japanese troops is "shame", providing sex to American troops is "business".

12 ( +17 / -5 )

"In 2016, Abe told a parliamentary session that replacing the term “ianfu” with “sex slaves” was inaccurate"

It's bang on. They were coerced, raped, and in many cases murdered. If a woman was found to be pregnant she might be bayonetted. They were used for their bodies, against their will in most if not all cases, then thrown away and spit on when the IJA was finished, if not killed. That's slavery to a T. Japan just doesn't want to own up to its deeds.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

I have been learning intently about the comfort women tragedy for several years but never knew that the Japanese and Korean governments ran brothels for American troops. From my perspective, the value in getting Japan to fully own up to it its role is because it is well documented and because if Japan, a prominant first-world nation did so, it would establish that sex based human rights abuses are indeed regularly sanctioned by even first world governments and would provide a powerful examole that such atroxities can be owned up to and condemned and stopped. It's not to shame Japan. It is to give Japan a chance to be a leader in promoting human rights going forward and do right by the past victims. Now that I know that the U.S., my country, also participated, I will have to study that and see how we can increase awareness of this. The U.S. armed forces are undoubtedly more professional now but there is atill an enormous problem with sexual assault.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

They were coerced, raped, and in many cases murdered. If a woman was found to be pregnant she might be bayonetted. They were used for their bodies, against their will in most if not all cases, then thrown away and spit on when the IJA was finished, if not killed. That's slavery to a T. Japan just doesn't want to own up to its deeds.

Not necessarily the case according to the US. <http://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/report-49-USA-orig.html

2 ( +7 / -5 )

This article fails to explain why many former Korean ianfu continue their fight for recognition.

First, official apologies admitting the Japanese government was responsible are still outstanding. Nor did the 1995 statement (more like 'sorry you suffered' than 'sorry for what we did') have any political weight, as it came from a non-LDP government. Abe could just make a policy to deny the coercive element AND the goverment's responsibility, essentially slandering the women as prostitutes (Several outside scholars at the time noted the similarity of this stance to Holocaust denial). This is in fact still his position. Unsurprisingly the 'settlement' he reached with the Korean government (over the victim's heads) did not assuage them.

Second, the 1990s fund came entirely from private sources, in line with the view that the government was not responsible. It is like all Germany did was to set up a fund where private citizens or companies could donate for Holocaust victims. I am exaggerating for effect here (the scale of the atrocities is obviously different) but the point is to show how dodgy the moral logic is here.

Third, the Korean government was for many decades complicit in silencing the victims. It eventually figuered out, however, how it could use the issue to its own advantage, both domestically and as an international bargaining chip. Many women were glad to have the government finally stand up for them, but they resent any 'settlement' only designed to make politicians look good, without having been involved.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

What a ridiculous sniveling, BS article. Saying that you regret suffering of these women but they were volunteer prostitutes and Japan didn't do it is NOT an 'apology'.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Some of the military sex slaves (I don't like the term "comfort women") who served the US military after the war also included Chinese and Korean women brought over to Japan as sex slaves during the war. So they suffered both during and after the war.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Not necessarily the case according to the US. <http://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/report-49-USA-orig.html

Interesting read. Thanks for the link.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The "comfort women" issue is specifically talking about those women (or girls) who were kidnapped and forced to become sexual slaves. People who define them as "willing prostitutes" are wrong. If that happened to women for US GIs, that's wrong too and it should be called out. It's as simple as that.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No problem Yumster, I thought it was really interesting that the US Military had documented Comfort Women being recruited paid prostitutes yet media regularly hides that fact.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As early as 1944

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Let use definition by Korea. A lot closer definition than real sex slave.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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