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S Korean academic denies defaming 'comfort women'

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So Korea is much like Japan, say anything to increase debate about a heated subject and get your head handed to you on a plate.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

A hallmark of true liberalism and a society based on liberalism is free speech. It is the ability to express your views, however controversial, and then defend those ideas in the marketplace of ideas.

That this academic is facing charges for what she published is an affront to this ideal and should be rejected. Alas, governments are prone to pandering to populist sentiment and/or penalising speech and ideas with which they disagree and one fears that this could happen with this academic in South Korea.

Make no mistake, this threat to liberal ideals is not unique to South Korea. It is true around the world. It is true in Japan, it is true in the U.S. and Europe and it is true in the rest of the world.

If one believes in the concept of liberalism, one should cherish the right of people to express their views, even if one vehemently disagrees with the views being expressed.

I hope reason and liberalism wins out in this case in South Korea.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

More evidence there is not freedom of speech in South Korea.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

@kaiyoukougakusei,

More evidence there is not freedom of speech in South Korea.

If this statement is true, it is not unique to South Korea. Japan has the very same issue. And, indeed, South Korea and Japan are not unique either. This issue exists globally.

I really hope this does not turn into another South Korea bashing comment thread.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Park challenged the established narrative—regularly cited by the South Korean media—that all the comfort women were dragged from their homes by Japanese soldiers

I'm surprised anyone suggested none of the women did it willingly (at least at the start). Not every prostitute is coerced, even if they'd rather have an alternative means of income. I can imagine many Korean women signed up because they were misled or felt they had to do it to get money to support themselves/their families.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

"Mainstream historians say up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea but also from China, Indonesia and other Asian nations, were forced into sexual slavery in Japanese military brothels during World War II."

These "mainstream" historians continue to repeat this fallacy despite the Asahi Shinbun having finally admitted to their false story in the 1990s that created this "200,000" number and that they were "all forced" into service. Not only is south Korea's prosecution of anyone who dares to speak the truth abhorrent to democratic ideals, but the global mass media's complete disregard for the Asahi Shinbun's admission and it's role in the Comfort Women issue is a display of complete bias and an affront to journalism.

5 ( +15 / -10 )

Mainstream historians say up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea but also from China, Indonesia and other Asian nations, were forced into sexual slavery in Japanese military brothels during World War II.

Name two.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

When you see coercive actions like this and the recent indictment of the Japanese reporter who merely cited a prior Korean article critical of President Park, it just highlights how immature democracy is in South Korea, and that the country still has a strong bias towards government authoritarianism. Mature democracies know what constitutes a criminal issue that is prosecuted by the state, and a civil issue that is adjudicated in a court between two parties. These “slander” cases clearly fall into the later - and by making them criminal, the country just shows the world that while it may make world-class electronics and cars, as a modern democracy where individual rights and free speech are protected, it still has a long way to go.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

If you do some research on the founding of SK you'll find the root of the problem where Syngman Rhee trying to show legitimacy of his power, he created a phony urban legend which was written in within the forewords of the SK Constitution stating how the Koreans suffered during the Japan annexation and the struggle the underground resistance government he headed had endured, which is a complete fiction. That story stuck and became the basis of all anti-Japan sediments and is escalating because the people who actually lived through the annexation period is dying off while being gagged of not being able to tell their story and the young is completely indoctrinated to this false tale.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

A hallmark of true liberalism and a society based on liberalism is free speech.

you have a right to free speech but there are limits. most countries have defamation laws to prevent speech that are lies and slander someone. i'm not saying that this is the case here, but not all speech is protected. that being said, the SK prosecutor is just playing up to nationalistic fervor, which is really strong there.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I have been saying what she has all along. But I would go a bit further and say that many of the women knowingly went along for survival of self and family. War is devistating and survival mode comes into being.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

zones2surfDEC. 03, 2015 - 07:35AM JST

@kaiyoukougakusei,

More evidence there is not freedom of speech in South Korea.

If this statement is true, it is not unique to South Korea. Japan has the very same issue.

I cannot remember the last time when an academic was criminally prosecuted by the government for his/her academic work in Japan.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

CH3CHO

You took the words right out of my mouth. LoL

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Whats abundantly clear is NEITHER Japan nor SKorea really have free speech, they just pretend they do!

This author should not be charged, her ideas should be discussed, debated is all, but even real DEBATE doesn't exist in either Japan or SKorea either, both are very lame in these regards & its clearly on show for all the world to see day in day out

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I've organized an event with more than 3000 attendees, and we set it up so we had 1 managing staff per 50-60, and we had to organize things for a period of 6 days 7 nights. It was total chaos making sure everyone was accounted for with transportation, accommodations, food/drink, etc.

Just imagine the logistics... No wonder the IJN lost the war, they were busy not fighting lol.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Whats abundantly clear is NEITHER Japan nor SKorea really have free speech, they just pretend they do!

Japan is much better than S.Korea and both much better than China which is stillbetter than N.Korea. Don't forget both China and S.Korea all depend on Japanese academia, leftists NGO most heavily to denounce Japan

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Feedom of speech is the most important of all freedoms. Any society that's lacking in it cannot call itself a free society. I admire your courage, Professor Park. All free loving people in the world are behind you.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@CH3

I cannot remember the last time when an academic was criminally prosecuted by the government for his/her academic work in Japan.

What about that cute woman with her PhD in genetics and her stem cell work?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

"What about that cute woman with her PhD in genetics and her stem cell work?"

Academic and scientific fraud. I'd say this is a little different.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I do not remember her being criminally charged either.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A South Korean academic facing trial on charges of defaming wartime sex slaves—or “comfort women”

There is no "or" about it. A spade is a spade.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Whats abundantly clear is NEITHER Japan nor SKorea really have free speech, they just pretend they do!

US criticizes Japan If PM went to Yasukuni to pray, is it free speech country? They went to Iraq war and Americans were not so free to speak, is it free speech? What speech is not free in Japan except criticizing Koreans.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

She is the best of South Korea. Brave and truthful. I hope the nation treasures her and never allows hysteria to distort history.

And yes, the same for other countries.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I hope the lady will be able to substantiate her allegations although I equally doubt whether it had reached judicial standards. Notwithstanding, the 11 women also had a right to have their grievances listened.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@CH3CHO & @Triring,

I cannot remember the last time when an academic was criminally prosecuted by the government for his/her academic work in Japan.

That what is happening in Korea does not happen specifically in Japan does not mean that free speech is not under threat in Japan. As per my original post, free speech is under threat around the world. It always has been and it will likely always will be, because, inevitably, there are those that say things that offend or threaten others. The form that threats to free speech can and does take varies from country to country.

In the case of Japan, that there is not direct government prosecution of speech by an academic to date does not mean that freedom of speech is not under threat in Japan. We can talk about the government calling in executives of NHK and other broadcasters to "discuss" certain programs, with resulting changes to some programs as a result in some cases. We can talk about museums and galleries pulling certain exhibits because of the threat from unnamed parties. We can talk about certain movies being pulled from release because of threats to the theaters and movie companies. We can talk about the Japanese media's self censorship when it comes to the royal family. We can talk about the translation/publication of controversial foreign books being cancelled or not even contracted because of self censorship or outside pressure.

The point is that the threats to free speech can take a variety of forms and most certainly is not uniform across the globe.

And make no mistake, when I speak of Japan's issues with free speech, I am not saying Japan or Korea are unique. Indeed, the threats to free speech in the U.S. have never been greater. The same is true for Europe.

Anyone who is an advocate for liberal thinking should stand in opposition to those that would limit speech because they do not agree with the content of that speech. That is the path to tyranny.

The point of my posts is not to argue one way or the other with regards to the comfort women issue, although I know many have strong views on this topic itself. The purpose of my posts is to defend free speech. This lawsuit in Korea should offend all liberal thinkers, regardless of what they think of the comfort women issue.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

OssanAmericaDEC. 03, 2015 - 07:53AM JST "Mainstream historians say up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea but also from China, Indonesia and other Asian nations, were forced into sexual slavery in Japanese military brothels during World War II." These "mainstream" historians continue to repeat this fallacy despite the Asahi Shinbun having finally admitted to their false story in the 1990s that created this "200,000" number and that they were "all forced" into service.

Where do people get the odd idea that the world's historians base their understanding of comfort women on Asahi newspaper articles. Who told you this? Right-wing websites?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The whole story started from the Asahi article.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

TriringDEC. 03, 2015 - 04:05PM JST

The whole story started from the Asahi article.

You do realise this is what right-wing groups only claim, don't you? Do you really believe the whole idea, witness accounts and documents were all made up in a few Asahi newspaper reports. Not Japanese are you? Academia doesn't work like that in western countries - it's far more rigorous and thorough than you are led to believe.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The western Academia was aware of the US Army reports taking interviews of these prostitutes and documented accordingly before the war ended. That was the whole story in English as much as they were concerned. Western academia doesn't have time to do follow up research on prostitutes.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Mainstream historians say up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea but also from China, Indonesia and other Asian nations, were forced into sexual slavery in Japanese military brothels during World War II.

Actually, "mainstream historians" do not say so. AFP should be specific in quoting.

This is what mainstream historians say.

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

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.

Also,

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.

Those world renowned scholars should have included "government intimidation" in the list.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

South Korea's export to Japan of November plunged whopping 25.7% from year earlier. Why does SK want to hurt the Japan SK relation?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

UN Human Rights Committee's report on South Korea, adopted on November 3, 2015.

http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/KOR/CCPR_C_KOR_CO_4_22217_E.doc

Concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of the Republic of Korea

(page 9) Criminal defamation laws

46 The Committee is concerned about the increasing use of criminal defamation laws to prosecute persons who criticize government action and obstruct business interests, and of the harsh sentences, including lengthy prison sentences, attached to such legal provisions.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

CH3CHO

Denial is easy. What takes courage and intelligence is to face up to realities no matter how painful they may be.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Denial is easy.

but Denial is more difficult to prove.

What takes courage and intelligence is to face up to realities no matter how painful they may be.

Indeed. South Korea and Chung Dae Hyup and many others here should take this into consideration

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Denial is easy.

It is South Korea that's denying Park Yu-Ha.

What takes courage and intelligence is to face up to realities no matter how painful they may be.

Indeed, but instead prosecuting her?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

DieRealityCheckDEC. 03, 2015 - 08:11PM JST Denial is easy. but Denial is more difficult to prove. What takes courage and intelligence is to face up to realities no matter how painful they may be.

Indeed. South Korea and Chung Dae Hyup and many others here should take this into consideration

.. and not seek blame for what others are doing but focus on your own behavior and that of your own country. Ask not what other countries (Korea or China) should be doing, but what should your own nation (Japan) be doing to become a more mature, compassionate and responsible member of the international community.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

not seek blame for what others are doing but focus on your own behavior and that of your own country.

Indeed, not seek blame or apology or compensation many many times but focus on your own behavior.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

letsberealistic

With my balanced view with no particular bias, Japan has done it's part. Now It's time for the counterpart to face the realities no matter how painful they may be.

Let's be more realistic

Quote *letsberealistic says

I'm a masters student myself (not of history mind) and I know all too well that NOTHING is one-sided and NO issues are entirely caused by one 'side'. Good research ALWAYS involves a balanced view unless there is a particular bias or agenda.

what should your own nation (Japan) be doing to become a more mature, compassionate and responsible member of the international community.

BS lol. Seeking Justice does not keep a country from becoming a more mature, compassionate and blah blah blah

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is barely about freedom of speech. It is about how twisted the S. Korea is regarding this issue. It is about how blind they are to the real truth. Japan settled the comfort women issue with S. Korea in 1965 giving them $800 million USD. The S, Korean Govt used that massive amount of money on infrastructure and did not compensate those that they represented. Basically the S. Korean Govt used the issue to wrestle $800 million from Japan. I'd love to see a full accounting on how that money was spent... a lot of people probably got rich somewhere.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I cannot remember the last time when an academic was criminally prosecuted by the government for his/her academic work in Japan.

What about that cute woman with her PhD in genetics and her stem cell work?

Was she arrested and prosecuted for that?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

igloobuyerDec. 03, 2015 - 03:46PM JST "OssanAmericaDEC. 03, 2015 - 07:53AM JST "Mainstream historians say up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea but also from China, Indonesia and other Asian nations, were forced into sexual slavery in Japanese military brothels during World War II." These "mainstream" historians continue to repeat this fallacy despite the Asahi Shinbun having finally admitted to their false story in the 1990s that created this "200,000" number and that they were "all forced" into service."

Where do people get the odd idea that the world's historians base their understanding of comfort women on Asahi >newspaper articles. Who told you this? Right-wing websites?

Where do YOU think this 200,000 number came from? There weren't enough soldiers in the Imperial Japanese armed forces to make use of "200,000" comfort women.

Here's some reading that isn't Japanese or "right-wing".

http://eng.the-liberty.com/2014/5641/

Better yet:

http://www.eagerexec.com/intro.html

People really need to educate themselves on the topic.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Typical egoist seeking fame by fanning controversial issues but this lady went too far and stabbed the nerve that runs deep in Korean psyche.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Typical egoist seeking fame by fanning controversial issues but this lady went too far and stabbed the nerve that runs deep in Korean psyche.

I think you have it backwards. It's the S.K. government fanning the controversial issue. She was just trying to bring some facts into the discussion.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@OjissanAmerica Here's some reading that isn't Japanese or "right-wing". http://eng.the-liberty.com/2014/5641/ Better yet: http://www.eagerexec.com/intro.html People really need to educate themselves on the topic.

That's it - that's all you could come up with as evidence?! An obviously right-wing Japanese website in English designed to 'teach' foreigners about the 'truth' (seen a few of those around). And a dubious looking single webpage that looks likes it's from 1995 with no academic references whatsoever (despite it's claim there is a lot of evidence there!!). Now I'm even more convinced.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's funny to hear people of accusing Japan of being right-wing when the acts of the South Korean government, to supress free academics, the position and work of Professor Park Yu-Ha which contradicts their position, is about as "right-wing" as you can get.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

this lady went too far and stabbed the nerve that runs deep in Korean psyche.

The historical truth has nothing to do with " the nerve that runs deep in Korean psyche"

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Koreans should be more ashamed about this than being occupied by the Japanese for 25 years. It's just not something a mature country does, and reminds us that Korea is a "new kid" among nations.

Also, the writer of the excellent Dokdo-or-Takeshima blog (http://dokdo-or-takeshima.blogspot.jp/) was employed in South Korea but lost his contract, essentially because it not acceptable to not agree 100% with the status quo on that issue.

Shame on you, South Korea.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Do you really believe the whole idea, witness accounts and documents were all made up in a few Asahi newspaper reports.

Of course they weren't. Asahi shinbun just took a shady accusation and "ran with it" because the accusation made the government of Japan look bad and Asahi had a reputation for being a thorn in the government's side. The timeline goes something like this:

In 1983, a book written by Yoshida Seiji titled "My War Crimes: Abduction of Koreans" was published. In the forward he writes:

For about three years, from 1942 until Japan lost the war, I was head of a labor mobilization group called Yamaguchi Prefecture National Labor Service Association. My job was to procure Korean laborers. I was a loyal citizen, a self-sacrificing patriot serving my country by going on “slave hunts.” (...) I hope Japanese born after the war will read my book and learn that during one chapter of history, we enslaved Koreans. By showing remorse for such behavior, we Japanese will have taken a step toward becoming civilized human beings.

Once his book became translated into Korean and published there, the "accounts" in his book are subsequently refuted by the very Korean villages he supposedly abducted the women from. One woman on Cheju island in one of his supposed targeted villages remarked, "How can he be allowed to lie like that?"

In August 1991 Asahi Shinbun came out with an edition carrying the headline, "Korean Former Comfort Woman Breaks Silence After Half A Century." In it, a comfort woman by the name of Kim Hak-sun had given an interview to a Korean umbrella group - "The Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan" (it leaves no doubt about THEIR agenda, ね?) The umbrella group had given a recording of the interview to a reporter at Asahi Shinbun.

The January 11, 1992 edition of Asahi Shinbun there was an article by Chuo University Professor of History Yoshimi Yoshiaki where he noted he uncovered sources stating that the Japanese Army was involved in the abduction of comfort women. Asahi Shinbun included an explanatory box at the bottom of the page that said:

In China in the 1930s, Japanese military personnel raped a great many women. To hold anti-Japanese sentiment at bay and prevent the spread of venereal diseases, brothels were established. According to former soldiers and army doctors, 80% of the women who worked in the first brothels were Koreans. With the outbreak of the Pacific War, women — mainly Korean women — were transported to the brothels under the pretext that they would be serving in a female volunteer corps. Their numbers are estimated to have been 80,000 or 200,000.

There's where the "200,000" number comes from, but it refers to the Female Volunteer Corps - a program separate from the comfort women program. The Female Volunteer Corps was the female half of the National Labor Service Corps which sent unmarried women aged 14-25 AND men aged 14-40 into munitions factories to work. In 1943 married women were also "urged" to join the Female Volunteer Corps. In 1944 the "Female Volunteer Labor Act" (Imperial Order No. 519) essentially removed the "Volunteer" aspect of things and women aged 12 to 39 were legally bound to join the corps.

Asahi Shinbun in their "explanation" made it appear that there was 200,000 comfort women.

Remember that first comfort woman, Kim Hak-Sun? She sued the Japanese government demanding compensation, but get this, in her lawsuit, she clearly states that she was sold into prostitution by her parents for about 40 yen and had been a prostitute for years before getting recruited into the comfort women program. From her lawsuit petition:

Kim Hak-sun’s family was poor, so she stopped going to school. To earn some money, she did babysitting and maid’s work. She was adopted by Kim Tae-won, who sent her to a school for kisaeng (entertainer-prostitutes) when she was 14, for three years. In the spring of 1939, when Kim Hak-sun was 17, her adoptive father convinced her and another girl named Emiko, who was one year her senior, to go with him to China, “where you can make a lot of money.”

She wasn't abducted into prostitution by the IJA because she already WAS a prostitute and went up to China with her adoptive father - not the military, yet she was suing the Japanese government for... what?

(Source for all this info is admittedly a single source and certainly contains a biased slant, but the facts are footnoted)

http://www.sdh-fact.com/CL02_1/39_S4.pdf

Asahi Shinbun is culpable because a lot of what the professor of my source discovered could easily have been (and probably was) discovered by the newspaper prior to going to print.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Fadamor

Thank you very much for the insightful and informative document!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Shame on you, South Korea.

No

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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