politics

Pope urges Koreans to forge peace; greets ex-comfort women

28 Comments
By NICOLE WINFIELD and JUNG-YOON CHOI

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28 Comments
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"Francis said in his homily that reconciliation can be brought about only by forgiveness, even if it seems “impossible, impractical and even at times repugnant.”

The Pontiff is right on. But will South Korea listen?

1 ( +15 / -14 )

How about preaching that same message in regards to South Koreans towards Japan, pontiff.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

"Francis said in his homily that reconciliation can be brought about only by forgiveness, even if it seems “impossible, impractical and even at times repugnant.” The Pontiff is right on. But will South Korea listen?

But according to you, there's nothing to forgive since Japan didn't do anything wrong. Just saying.

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

Papi2013Aug. 18, 2014 - 12:11PM JST "Francis said in his homily that reconciliation can be brought about only by forgiveness, even if it seems “impossible, impractical and even at times repugnant.” The Pontiff is right on. But will South Korea listen? But according to you, there's nothing to forgive since Japan didn't do anything wrong. Just saying.

Nope. Japan has apologized and settled all WII matters in 1965. Koreans just don't know how to forgive,

-5 ( +17 / -22 )

Nope. Japan has apologized and settled all WII matters in 1965. Koreans just don't know how to forgive,

Forgive what? Isn't your position (as well as Japan's) that comfort women were prostitutes?

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

@OssanAmerica Nope. Japan has apologized and settled all WII matters in 1965. Koreans just don't know how to forgive,

This is the way not to be the "bigger" person. A more mature approach would be, "we continue to feel sorry and continue to ask for forgiveness as we also ask you to move into the future with us in a new mutually beneficial partnership." With the still recent departure of Mandela Is it too much to ask someone to follow in his footsteps and step out of circular hostility to ask for better future? The past is important but so is the future. If some SKs are being brought up to hate than a kiss on the cheek (see ":The Grand Inquisitor") will do more than returning slaps. I think hostility is a kind of politicians business/sham in both countries.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Ossan: better question is why won't YOU listen? The Pope was talking about reconciliation between SK, NK, and China, and yet you ask only if SK will listen due to your irrational hatred towards and jealousy of them.

Oldman: why not towards Japan? Meeting the former sex slaves is enough to get you guys all miffed and upset. My guess is he was trying to avoid inflaming that further, and relations between Japan and the nations it has wronged and still denies wrong-doing towards will be addressed (ie. "strive for peace with neighbors") if he comes here. And needless to say, China and especially NK are more of a pressing threat, and in particular there needs to be resolution and forgiveness with NK, as they are still 'brothers'.

-7 ( +11 / -18 )

Pope says turn the other cheek. Full stop.

My guess is he was trying to avoid inflaming that further, and relations between Japan and the nations it has wronged and still denies wrong-doing towards will be addressed (ie. "strive for peace with neighbors") if he comes here.

Maybe he was just following WWJD rather than WWSIJD. He's a pope, not a politican.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

You've heard the pope! Forge peace now!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The idea of South Korea is to shame Japan by bringing out the issue of comfort women but being a Pope, he sidestepped the issue and went straight to the core of the matter...He said learn to forgive and you can have peace.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Korean attitude to try to use even Pope for their politics or propaganda has just disgusted Japanese people. It is too apparent. They will not be able to get any reaction they are expecting from Japan, but indifference.

It is good for them though that there has been a certain economic effect of this visit.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Religion and politics are strange bedfellows! They do not mix!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Papi2013Aug. 18, 2014 - 12:36PM JST "Nope. Japan has apologized and settled all WII matters in 1965. Koreans just don't know how to forgive," Forgive what? Isn't your position (as well as Japan's) that comfort women were prostitutes?

Nope. Maybe you should actually read my posts before deciding what my position actually is. I have repeated frequently that the Comfort Women were mostly girls and women who were deceived into thinking they would be working in factories or elsewhere, those who were sold off by their families to settle dents (a common practice in East Asia at the time), those who were working in kisaengs, and those who were practicing prostitutes, a legal occupation at the time, and some who "may" have been victims of forced abduction. And that a good portion of of the recruiting was done by Korean Agents working for the Japanese military. But the fact is your statement, "all comfort women were prostitutes" is correct, they were all recruited military prostitutes under employment. The debate is about HOW they were recruited. I strongly suggest you read "The Comfort Women" by C Sarah Soh to gain a greater insight into the issue. I tend to think the Pope is learned and has a wider picture of the issue than the kind you project.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Unfortunately the fact is people try to rationalize away the need to take action. With seeking forgiveness, our pride can get in the way, because asking for forgiveness requires us to be humble. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself. The only way to move forward in life is to make the choice to forgive your loved ones, friends, yourself, or even strangers who have wronged you, consciously or unintentionally. Hanging on to anger, bitterness, and resentment doesn't just hurt the heart, it can significantly and negatively impact your life. In the end forgiveness allows the wounds to be healed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Francis said in his homily that reconciliation can be brought about only by forgiveness, even if it seems “impossible, impractical and even at times repugnant.”

The Pontiff is right on. But will South Korea listen?

Ossan -- just what I expected. Personally, I would wager that given the Pope's message, the South Korean's could not just listen, but also act in this regard. But it would take Japenese leaders to stop saying "but" every time issues like this are raised to finally put the issue to bed. But will Japan?

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

If only the Pope could get Kim Jong Un to forge peace instead of killing his own family members and launching missiles.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

He challenged them to “firmly reject a mindset shaped by suspicion, confrontation and competition, and instead to shape a culture formed by the teaching of the Gospel and the noblest traditional values of the Korean people.”

Very powerful message. Wish he would have the opportunity to say the same thing to the folks in Japan and China as well, because it is just as relevant to all three. All three have "the noblest tradional values" as he says, with proud histories. But, as he also says, the three countries have fallen into a pattern of "suspicion, confrontation, and competition".

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Having looked into this issue just a little bit over the last few years I've evolved the the point of view that there is a lot of misinformation and exaggeration on some of these issues coming from Japan's former colonies and enemies. However, I also think they have real reasons to have grudges vis a vis history. As I said in earlier comments, Japan has an opportunity to be "bigger." And it might be smart to focus some "bigness" on SK first and especially. How about: "people argue over details and these arguments can cause hurt and bitterness. But what is clear is that Japan has to atone for it's past and the way it treated your country. People can disagree over various points but there is no disagreement that Japan acted dishonorably and brutally in the past and needs to display an attitude of regret and apology. Having said that, we ask you to be our friend and to work with us towards a new future. We see you as a friend and we think the only way forward is together." Words are not going to do it all but it's a start. But are there any politicians in Japan who can see past the next election? It might be necessary.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Seems like the pope is right. I doubt NK will listen though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I thought this thread was about Pope Francis advising fellow Koreans from north and south to ponder about forgiveness and peace between them. Not the old Japan blablabla you people love to put on track for any reason. Pitiful that the holy father can't visit the north side where people needs the most for a good preacher.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Kato_KoshiroAug. 19, 2014 - 01:40AM JST I thought this thread was about Pope Francis advising fellow Koreans from north and south to ponder about >forgiveness and peace between them

It was. But South Korea just couldn't pass up the opportunity to milk the Comfort Women issue with an international audience.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I believe the comfort woman issue would have turned out very differently if the Korean and Japanese movements to compensate the former comfort women (back in the 1990's) hadn't been hijacked by a group of doctrinaire activists (Chongdaehyop) who basically pressured the SK government not to cooperate with the Japanese government's efforts to atone for the comfort women system.. And by extension that move effectively denied or at least delayed the comfort women closure to the matter. Chongdaehyop pressured the ex- comfort women to reject the apology from the Japanese prime minister(s) and also to reject the proposed atonement money (2 million yen plus healthcare support) gathered from citizen donations. They even got the SK government to provide some lodging funds for the comfort women, but only to those women who refused the Japanese offer -- thereby creating an exclusionary atmosphere among the victims. Some comfort women did in fact openly accept Japan's apology and money and others accepted under the table, not wanting the other comfort women and the activists to know.

Chongdaehyop objected to the atonement money coming from donations from the public and objected to the effort being coordinated by a "private" organization, and they insisted any money must come directly from the government. THEREIN LAY THE PROBLEM. When the comfort woman issue was brought to the JPN government's attention in early 1990's there was strong support within the Japanese government and citizenry to compensate the women, but the sticking point was HOW to compensate given that Japan had already provided reparation money to SK back in 1964 -- and SK government had said that out of the reparations it would compensate all Koreans who had been conscripted to work for Imperial Japan. To solve this dilemma the Japanese government created a so-called "private" but in-effect government-sponsored arm called the Asian Women's Fund. This was the solution the JPN government found to enable them to compensate the women while not compromising the terms of the 1964 Korea-Japan Treaty.. The idea being the government would provide operating and staffing expenses, and the AWF would act as the government's private arm to locate and interview the comfort women, gather donations, arrange for MOU (memoranda of understanding) with affected countries, and organize ceremonies to offer the apology and funds. The AWF was in existence from 1995 to 2007 (twelve years). AWF staff (many of whom had dedicated 12 years of their lives to the cause) were so disappointed by those Korean comfort women who rejected the apology and funds. I believe if the Korean comfort women had accepted then that would not have been the end of Japan's efforts to help them. I believe the Japanese people, many of whom had donated to their cause and written personal notes would have continued to look out for the welfare of the comfort women, would have been their friend and protector and lobbier for life, would have visited them, would have raised more money as needed, and would have continued to organize against the victimization of all women during war and peace time. That is the transformational power of the acceptance of apology.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Whirled Peas

Thanks for the post. Very informative. You summarized them very well.

To note, more detailed information can be found on the Asian Women Fund site (which includes post interviews from key individuals who were involved in the formation and distribution of funds) as well as the recent Kono Statement review by the committee.

It really highlights the failure of the Korean government to honor their agreement and their need to keep this issue alive.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Many indifferent japanese like Mr Abe and others alike will never understand the sorrow and hardship under a brutal regime for half a century. For many Koreans religion was the only salvation that saved from the ruthless invaders.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@jerseyboy I can't help but laugh at your comment regarding the commonalities "shared" by Japan, China, and Korea. You complain about Japan all of the time on here, not one positive comment ever.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan should build a monument right in Tokyo that lists all projects ,all financial helps, all apologies which Japan offered to Korea after WW2. Words engraved in stone , last forever.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hating Japan is SK's way of life. They live it and breath it. No amount of apology would be enough to change their mindset. They're Koreans afterall.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Too bad Papa Pope didn't visit Nagasaki. The story of the resilience, loyalty, and grit of the Japanese Christians (Catholics) of Nagasaki through the Edo period of sakoku is a tale which in length of time (generations) dwarfs even the story of WWII vet Hiroo Onada hiding out in the Philippines for 30 years. After the Black Ships opened Japan the Nagasaki christians came out of the wordwork where they had been praying and breeding for 250 years, and built the Urakami Cathedral to service their growing numbers. Later, in an ironic twist of fate, the Urakami Cathedral ended up as the visually identifiable landmark target used for the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki. I only pray that political considerations did not influence his decision not to visit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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