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S Korea's 1st novel on 'comfort women' history appears in English

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By Justin Maki

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"She respects the wishes of the comfort women she interviewed and worked with: they seek a 'sincere apology' (from the Japanese government) and wish to 'regain human dignity'" while also relating to and supporting other victims of sexual violence," he said. "The surviving comfort women don't live in the past."

So long as the anti-Japan nationalist groups and individuals in South Korea continue to have sway over Comfort Women and the country, and continue to spout lies about Japan and negate very effort by the Japanese government to apologize and compensate for the past (with excuses that past apologies were 'not sincere'), this issue will never have a proper resolution.

Grow up!

June 23, 1996: Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said in a press conference: "Hashimoto mentioned the aspects of Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula such as the forced Japanization of Korean people's name and commented "It is beyond imagination how this injured the hearts of Korean people". Hashimoto also touched on the issue of Korean comfort women and said "Nothing injured the honor and dignity of women more than this and I would like to extend words of deep remorse and the heartfelt apology"

October 8, 1998: Prime Minister Keizō Obuchi said in a declaration: "Looking back on the relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea during this century, Prime Minister Obuchi regarded in a spirit of humility the fact of history that Japan caused, during a certain period in the past, tremendous damage and suffering to the people of the Republic of Korea through its colonial rule, and expressed his deep remorse and heartfelt apology for this fact. President Kim accepted with sincerity this statement of Prime Minister Obuchi's recognition of history and expressed his appreciation for it. He also expressed his view that the present calls upon both countries to overcome their unfortunate history and to build a future-oriented relationship based on reconciliation as well as good-neighborly and friendly cooperation" 

2001: Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (Also signed by all the prime ministers since 1995, including Ryutaro Hashimoto, Keizō Obuchi, Yoshirō Mori) said in a letter: "As Prime Minister of Japan, I thus extend anew my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women. We must not evade the weight of the past, nor should we evade our responsibilities for the future. I believe that our country, painfully aware of its moral responsibilities, with feelings of apology and remorse, should face up squarely to its past history and accurately convey it to future generations"

> The Year of 2001

Dear Madam,

 On the occasion that the Asian Women's Fund, in cooperation with the Government and the people of Japan, offers atonement from the Japanese people to the former wartime comfort women, I wish to express my feelings as well.

 The issue of comfort women, with an involvement of the Japanese military authorities at that time, was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of large numbers of women.

 As Prime Minister of Japan, I thus extend anew my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.

 We must not evade the weight of the past, nor should we evade our responsibilities for the future.

 I believe that our country, painfully aware of its moral responsibilities, with feelings of apology and remorse, should face up squarely to its past history and accurately convey it to future generations.

 Furthermore, Japan also should take an active part in dealing with violence and other forms of injustice to the honor and dignity of women.

 Finally, I pray from the bottom of my heart that each of you will find peace for the rest of your lives.

Respectfully yours,

Junichiro Koizumi

Prime Minister of Japan

September 17, 2002: Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said: "The Japanese side regards, in a spirit of humility, the facts of history that Japan caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of Korea through its colonial rule in the past, and expressed deep remorse and heartfelt apology"

December 7, 2010: Prime Minister Naoto Kan apologized for Korea's suffering under colonization as part of a statement marking the 100th anniversary of the annexation in 1910. "I express a renewed feeling of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology for the tremendous damage and suffering caused by colonial rule," Kan said. Kan said Japan colonized Korea "against the will of the Korean people" who suffered great damage to their national pride and loss of culture and sovereignty as a result and added that he wants to take an honest look at his country's past with the courage and humility to address its history.

December 28, 2015: Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se made an announcement at a joint press conference, which consisted of their respective statements on behalf of Japan and South Korea. Kishida stated, "The issue of comfort women, with an involvement of the Japanese military authorities at that time, was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of large numbers of women, and the Government of Japan is painfully aware of responsibilities from this perspective. As Prime Minister of Japan, Prime Minister Abe expresses anew his most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women." The statement went on to explain that "the Government of Japan will now take measures to heal psychological wounds of all former comfort women through its budget" and that it had been decided that the South Korean government would "establish a foundation for the purpose of providing support for the former comfort women". In return, Yun stated that his government "acknowledges the fact that the Government of Japan is concerned about the statue built in front of the Embassy of Japan in Seoul from the viewpoint of preventing any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity, and will strive to solve this issue in an appropriate manner". Both stated that this agreement will "finally and irreversibly" resolve the contentious issue and that "on the premise that the Government of Japan will steadily implement the measures it announced", both countries "will refrain from accusing or criticizing each other regarding this issue in the international community, including at the United Nations"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan#2010s

0 ( +27 / -27 )

Unfortunately, today’s Japanese politicians will at times, deny and attempt to whitewash the actions of the previous Imperial Army.

The previous Imperial Army, held captive and allowed the continual rape of thousands of women, many of whom were initially virgins.

When I see memorials to war victims, as I can see in Germany today, then I will be convinced (partly) of the establishment’s attempt at contrition...

1 ( +27 / -26 )

Sick SK “Get well soon” as ur lies dont have a bed to lye on anymore

-1 ( +23 / -24 )

Sex slaves. Not 'comfort women'.

1 ( +23 / -22 )

Another day, another anti-Japan protest from South Korea. Despicable. The truth is this so called "comfort women" issue does not even exist. It has been settled in finality. This is just more South Korean government propaganda to try and fool the world.

The shops selling this gov't propoganda should be picketed and boycotted. PM Suga should not try and improve relations with SK.

3 ( +28 / -25 )

@oldman_13

So long as the anti-Japan nationalist groups and individuals in South Korea continue to have sway over Comfort Women and the country, and continue to spout lies about Japan and negate very effort by the Japanese government to apologize and compensate for the past (with excuses that past apologies were 'not sincere'), this issue will never have a proper resolution.

Your reply shows well that Japanese government and political leaders have consistently and successfully brainwashed their people to believe that Japan was a victim rather than an aggressor during the WWII, on the contrary to people in the other countries. Unless Japanese government and their people accept that Japan was the cause and an aggressor of the WWII, all related issues will never go away. Denial, fabrication and obfuscation have been the major features of Japanese diplomacy: https://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/21/world/japan-admits-it-bungled-notice-of-war-in-41.html

1 ( +25 / -24 )

They were sex slaves NOT comfort women.

They were procured for sex and the Japanese may have compensated the Korean government but they have NOT properly recognized their disgraceful past and come to terms with it.

Denying it won't make it go away.

4 ( +26 / -22 )

im not even sure if oldman and fighto has read the article. Whatever south korea does is viewed as anti-japan...

oldman, read the controversy section on the link you posted.

plus, read this post from John Menadue (Former Australian ambassador in Japan).

https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/09/11/why-germany-and-japan-are-so-different-after-world-war-ii/

-5 ( +16 / -21 )

The funny thing is though, most English speakers are fully aware of the history and have a good knowledge of the propaganda from both sides. I have no doubt this book will be a right-wing attack on Japan and not an accurate account of the history.

6 ( +23 / -17 )

SJ simply has laid down all the tactics SK plays in its country so its the reason y the world isn't buying their lies any more n those crimes were committed during war long before UN was established

2 ( +18 / -16 )

Sex slaves. Not 'comfort women'.

The book may be talking all about the sex slaves, but there were also comfort women. Its not always easy to distinguish between the two, but consider the Japanese women who volunteered and were for officers only.

Unfortunately this subject is now so polarized that both sides will condemn my whole statement just for not wanting to accept half of it. Neither side is willing to look at the actual truth. The truth may be too complex for most people. But that said, its the ones who deny that there were sex slaves that are abhorrent. Those who deny that there were comfort women are just confused. Perhaps that confusing is derived from the disgust all us decent people feel about those who deny there were sex slaves.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Remembrance is good,humans tend to forget the past so we should keep the memory alive in order to don’t repeat the same mistakes.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

omg, when this will stop? sk just need to live in present and future.

-1 ( +19 / -20 )

Giving South Korea everything they wanted, we gave in on their demands, they signed the Agreement the 2015 Comfort women Deal As Final. In the year 2017 - that's 2 years later, new Moon administration cancelled, ripped apart the Agreement.

More than 70% of comfort women supported the deal, yet it was destroyed 2 years later!

In year 2020, few months ago, Comfort Woman spoke out against S. Korea government anti-Japan propaganda narrative, fueling the hate to a new generation of S. Korean youth.

In year 2020, month of September, Comfort Woman fund administrator was arrested for fraud, corruption, stealing funds.

All of Asia is Moving on! the Korean is being left by itself on the Anti-Japan Mountain.

No one else is Asking for Apology or Compensation - -Yet S. KOREA has received it multiple Times!

S. Korea, supported by the Korean community in America and outside of Korea is winning the narrative, fueling the fire, always writing articles, up voting each other, making sure they always Win On This Issues.

6 ( +23 / -17 )

I think "Anti-Japan Tribalism (反日種族主義)” written by some Korean professors should be also translated in English. And if possible, the truth of the comfort women should be discussed in public, because many Japanese, including me, don't know whose opinions are more accurate.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

In America, some African-Americans are thinking to to ask for compensation for their work as slaves in the past.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

The two countries reached an agreement in 2015 to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the comfort women dispute, but the South Korean government later concluded that the negotiation process was flawed amid domestic criticism that the victims' demands were not reflected in the deal.

And now Korean radical activists are trying again to seek more deals (and money from Japan) though the 2015 fund was unilaterally dissolved, no refund to Japan has been made; alas, one of the leaders are charged of embezzling it! Japan shouldn't collude with the corrupt regime and fully politicized campaigns. It's not a cash machine for Koreans. Things have nothing to do with serious inquiry or reflections of the wartime events.

14 ( +21 / -7 )

The two countries reached an agreement in 2015 to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the comfort women dispute, but the South Korean government later concluded that the negotiation process was flawed amid domestic criticism that the victims' demands were not reflected in the deal.

And now Korean radical activists are trying again to seek more deals (and money from Japan) though the 2015 fund was unilaterally dissolved, no refund to Japan has been made; alas, one of the leaders are charged of embezzling it! Japan shouldn't collude with the corrupt regime and fully politicized campaigns. It's not a cash machine for Koreans. Things have nothing to do with serious inquiry or reflections of the wartime events.

13 ( +20 / -7 )

Japan does not forget its past, why should South Korea? This is based on history and they have every right to write and print it. It is not South Korea that needs to "get over it" and live in the future. It is Japan that needs to accept it happened and allow South Korea to speak of its history any time they want to.

Japan bombed Darwin repeatedly and we remember and talk of it often. Japan executed Prisoners and treated them like animals and forced them into slave labor. Americans remember Pearl harbor every year and bring out movies of it but Japan does not seem to have problems when these things are mentioned. I think many in Japan just like to have someone they can point a finger at over WWII and it is South Korea that bears the brunt of Japanese discomfort over what they did during imperial times. Japan needs to get over it and accept they were the bad guys and countries will both remember it and discuss it. We erect monuments to various events and victims and we will keep remembering it so that we dont make similar mistakes ourselves in the future.

-7 ( +13 / -20 )

Germans:

We are so ashamed and truly sorry for WW2 and what Nazi Germany has committed

Fighto and oldman_13:

Yeah nah, Japan said sorry! Even though Abe just tweeted that he visited Yasakuni shrine just recently. Get over it. If we said sorry once (despite our actions being complete opposite), you should never bring this up again. Like EVER. How hard can it possibly be to get over being raped by hundreds and hundreds of men and being beaten if you refused? Geeez.

-9 ( +11 / -20 )

Minimize the sufferance of people is cruel and disrespectful.

I myself come from one of the two other former axis countries,and we were educated in the valour and principle of anti-fascism.

It wasn’t me but I will always feel remorse for what my country did in the last war.

Japan should get it’s own responsibilities as well and stop play the victim.

Because we were the aggressors not the other way around.

Think if Germany would criticize The Netherlands for release a new book or novel about the life of Anne Frank because technically the countries settled the thing with money and a form al apologized,how hypocrite,cold and rude would be.

There are many other ways to appreciate and respect our country,but not through blind cruel nationalism.

-3 ( +13 / -16 )

@William77

This is why Germany is a trusted and well liked European country now.

Japan has a long way to go....

-4 ( +14 / -18 )

we should keep the memory alive in order to don’t repeat the same mistakes.

Its a double edged sword as there are those who wish to repeat the same evil, and books such as My New World Order by Adolf Hitler serve not only as a guidebook to averting evil but also as a guidebook to asserting evil. It totally depends on who applies the knowledge and how the knowledge is applied. It does not end with remembering. Vigilance is also vital. We must drown out the voices of those who always say "It could not happen here." or those who say "It probably won't happen again."

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Because we were the aggressors not the other way around.

@William77 Please don't take responsibility for what you did not do, assuming you had no hand in it. I appreciate your stance, but you are not responsible for what your other countrymen did. What we must do, and what you are already doing, and what is actually important, is that we today do not fail to condemn the evil actions of those who committed them, in the past or present. Ignoring, downplaying or excusing past evil is an evil committed in the present. And we are well within our rights to condemn that present evil and praise those who condemn it. And so I praise you and your recognition of the evils of the past. I wish my own countrymen were more like you. I wish the entire world were more like you!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

dont mention germany here as it has got nothing to do to it if hapan was bad the Korea was the core of badness as they were one at that time so hope SK wont start ComfortMen saying forced to fight for japan move next

3 ( +16 / -13 )

It’s a novel. Just because it’s settled doesn’t mean writing is banned.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

mtuffiziToday  10:29 am JST

omg, when this will stop? sk just need to live in present and future.

It’s a “look into a mirror”/ “the pot calling the kettle black”, as long as (now former) Prime Ministers (along with the current government members who just recently visited) of Japan continue going to Yasukuni Shrine, this will never end.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

Yes, I agree that Koreans should not be compensated anymore.

However, there is a pressing need for the Japanese government to stop tip-toeing around the teaching of its history.

In the past,Japanese tourists have visited Korea and have commented on the Japanese proficiency of the people there.As a result, they have been subject to abuse due to their ignorance of history.

Unfortunately, this ‘ignorance’ extends to the upper echelons governing the Japanese.people.

In my time here I have heard gaffe after gaffe emanating from the mouths of Japanese politicians concerning Korea.

When will it stop?

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

@Olman13

Yeah, come on South Korea, how hard can it be to get over being kidnapped from your families and gang-raped as a teenager by dozens of frustrated young military men who see you as a sub-human Korean. Japan is the victim here because 'we' have to suffer all these complaints even though we said sorry - come on!

[sarcasm]

-5 ( +12 / -17 )

But...but muh Comfort Women

Stay classy SK stay classy

8 ( +16 / -8 )

kurispisu

However, there is a pressing need for the Japanese government to stop tip-toeing around the teaching of its history.

In the past,Japanese tourists have visited Korea and have commented on the Japanese proficiency of the people there.As a result, they have been subject to abuse due to their ignorance of history.

Unfortunately, this ‘ignorance’ extends to the upper echelons governing the Japanese.people.

To my knowledge and experiences, Japan's wartime issues are far more seriously studied and openly discussed/debated involving many exerts and views across fields in educational and media scenes. You might still want to suggest that Japan do more better, but first you better drop stereotypes and update yourself.

Meanwhile SK has been persecuting many pro-Japan critics/scholars or Japophile people as "traitors." Its school history textbook was nationalized into the "official" version, with any differed or dissenting views being ignored or purged. Free speech and open spaces relating to its colonial past has been largely curtailed especially under the Moon administration.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

The 1997 movie, Paradise Road, based on a true story, tells the story of English, Dutch, Australian, and American women captured and imprisoned by the Japanese. A part of the movie deals with women who chose to work as "entertainers" for the IJA as a way to get better treatment. In that many of them who did not cooperate died from starvation, the incentive to cooperate was strong.

When Korea had to give tribute to Imperial China, part of the annual tribute was hundreds of beautiful young women.

History is full of stories that if they were not true, they would be considered too far-fetched to be taken seriously.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Very good intro, oldman_13 and very good summary, ReasonandWisdomNippon

William77, Germans these days don't see themselves as Nazi-Germans any more, therefore it is quite easy to distinguish Nazi-Germany from todays Germany and be sorry for that. Youth these days also don't want to be complained about it any more. Also the cold war forced other nations to accept Germany in their common work together. This is different to Japan. Germany was lucky to have forgiving neighbors! Altough even to these days reparation requests pop up here and there - which also are not pursued any more. Again something different to Japan.

The problem SK has is that its Japan-related publications is always biased, supported by the government. The voices from Korea as a victim are heard much easier around the world than correction facts brought up by other countries.

Me, I cannot judge this book since I didn't read and don't intend to buy it but I can assume the goal behind it. I prefer to stick to scientific research and unbiased historians. There is a problem with Japan not being fully open to teach about its past but it's no problem to continue research about it here. In SK anything brought up to weaken SK biased views is being brandmarked treason with consequences on possible careers. I assume many Koreans also mix up the devastating Korean War as a responsibility of Japan.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

kurisupisuToday 01:26 pm JST

@William77

This is why Germany is a trusted and well liked European country now.

Japan has a long way to go

China, North Korea, and south Korea used and still use anti-Japanese propaganda to redirect away from internal struggles and failings of their own regimes. Imagine germany, defeated and govt changed by the allies, surrounded by the Peoples Republic of France, the Democratic People's Republic of Belgium, and the Republic of Netherlands (capitalist dictatorship until 1988). Those leaders in those countries don't want the people to concentrate on terrible conditions and human rights of their own govts, they want the people to look at what the germans did to them. "Its all their fault. Dont blame us, we're the govt trying to save you from the imperial-fascist foes of germany for the past 80 years. Their fault."

And no, not trying to minimise the comfort women issue. The govts of those countries don't care, they just want to keep the scapegoat for all their failings.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

The problem with novels is that they are fiction, so you never know if there is embellishment.

When the Sun grows bigger and the only remaining life on Earth are some microbes, the microbes in the area that was Korea will be holding demonstrations and demanding more compensation.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

The curious aspect of how clumsily post-war governments have handled Japan's historical record of aggression throws up the obvious question that nobody wants to ask: Why, unlike German politicians, have they always dragged their feet and been so reluctant to condemn in no uncertain terms their own country's fascist military wartime governments? Could it be because all post-war conservative administrations have been the very opposite of antifa and still share a deep ideological identification with the "elephant in the room": their predecessors' anti-communism and authoritarianism. The regurgitation of the comfort women issue is perhaps the natural consequence of the failure to question the suspect motives of the ruling right-wing establishment who have set and control the parameters of post-war political correctness for its citizenry.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Korea just pulled a major diplomatic coup.

Sea of Japan is deleted from IHO's naming scheme, this sea will be referenced by the number from now on.

Sea of Japan is just a local name used by Japan only from now on.

https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20200921005251325

(LEAD) IHO's expected new numerical system likely to help resolve East Sea naming dispute

SEOUL, Sept. 21 (Yonhap) -- An international organization on maritime data is expected to adopt new guidelines later this year to refer to all seas by numbers, rather than specific names, officials said Monday, a move expected to affect a long-running dispute between South Korea and Japan over what to call the East Sea.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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