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S Korean scholar acquitted of defaming sex slavery victims during Japan colonial rule

30 Comments
By HYUNG-JIN KIM

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they were proud of their jobs and had comrade-like relationships with Japanese soldiers

Seems so unlikely.

-4 ( +13 / -17 )

I admire professor Park’s academic sincerity and courage. It seems like fact-based study of history has finally arrived in Korea. Hope to see all the mindless civil lawsuits against her dismissed or dropped.

14 ( +25 / -11 )

It does seem like the court made the correct decision: her views are her views and it's not defamation to express them.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

There exists a mountain of evidence that counters the SK narrative on the CW issue, most of it fanned by activists like the Chong Dae-hyup. They propagated the story that all CWs were kidnapped, some 200,000 of them and they were all kept as slaves and raped. These claims defied both historiocal evidence and common sense. Proffessor Park of Sejong Univ was one of the few South Korean scholars who tried to examine the issue from both sides based on factual evidence. Prof Sarah Soh of Univ of San Fransico was another one.

The anti-J sentiment in South Korea had reached a crescendo to the extent that scholars who did not tow the line on the narrative were prosecuted. As long as SK silenced any opposing views, no progress could ever be made to examine historical evidence objectovely, and therefore, the issue would remain contested perpetually. This is manifested in thge previous SK Pres Moon unilaterally ripping up the "Permanent and Irreversible" Comfort Womem Agreement of 2015 signed by boh South Korea and Japan.

Seems that under the Yoon administration the light at the end of the tunnel may finally become visible.

12 ( +23 / -11 )

Why she was sued and had to go to court is oppressive censorship.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

So one of my father's tasks as a US soldier on the occupation of Italy at the close of WWII was to check to see if the US Army medical cards carried by the local prostitutes were up to date. If their last check up was more than a year ago, they were put on a US Army train and sent to the US Army hospital in Naples for a physical exam, blood tests and any remedial health care the tests indicated were necessary O_O Once they received the Army Medical Corps stamp of approval they were issued a new medical card and put on another US Army train back to where they came from.

"Camp followers" are a centuries old feature of armies. Not a nice thing perhaps but life is messy that way.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Desert TortoiseToday  09:21 am JST

So one of my father's tasks as a US soldier on the occupation of Italy at the close of WWII was to check to see if the US Army medical cards carried by the local prostitutes were up to date.

"What did you do in the War, Grandad?"

5 ( +7 / -2 )

This is not a judgement on the truth or veracity of the book LOL

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Professor Paku is very brave and honest. She will be seen as a hero in Japan - and absolutely hated by Koreans.

If the left-wing, Japan hating previous government was in place, they would never have allowed this court decision.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Anyone who thinks that women would be OK with having sex with more than 1 guy, everyday, during the war is clearly deluded.

Yes they were forced because anyway, what other choice would there be for them? Having meals and a roof would be what everyone wants during war time.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Hmm, no women commenting on this? Forced prostitution? No problem! Well, at least if you are a man.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Sadly many Japanese love to deflect and shift the dialogue from sex slaves to prostitutes. They think if some of the sex slaves were actually prostitutes, then surely all of them must have been prostitutes. Logic is not their strength.

Similarly, that some were kidnapped does not mean all were. Some were camp followers while others were dragged to the brothels kicking and screaming. Some were proud to service the military while others were tricked into the Japanese military’s system of slavery.

The sex slave issue pertains to those who were forced against their will to be sex slaves. Others, especially those who were willing to make such a living, aren’t really within the scope of the discussion of sex slaves, are they.

Trying to whitewash the past to say all of them were prostitutes ignores the many testimonies given by the actual women who were forced like slaves to have sex, sometimes a hundred men or more per testimonies.

And to say all of them were kidnapped and dragged from villages to be slaves also ignores the ones who willingly participated in the trade and such evidence as provided by the emeritus professor at Seoul’s Sejong University.

-12 ( +8 / -20 )

FredrikToday  12:31 pm JST

Hmm, no women commenting on this? Forced prostitution? No problem! Well, at least if you are a man...............................Any kind of forced prostitution, trafficking, child sex abuse is abhorrent. As a young woman, I cannot even imagine what these poor Korean women had to suffer, yet this still happens the world over to this very day.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

quercetum - balanced points.

The fact exists that sex slaves / prostitutes were also in many of the Japanese occupied countries including Thailand, Vietnam, Malayasia, China, Indonesia, New Guinea, Burma, Taiwan etc. Local women were the main people pressed into the brothel trade with also a fair number of Europeans and Australians.

Testimony exists from many of these women who tell quite harrowing tales of trickery, coercion, confinement and severe treatment.

Amongst these women - for sure there were professional prostitutes even Japanese - the fact that there are so many accounts contrary to the "happy well paid prostitute" narrative, one must accept that enslavement horrors did occur.

And if they did occur in these territories, there is reason to believe that they also occurred in Korea, China etc.

It would be absurd to think otherwise.

Japan's brutalization of it's own forces (and citizens) in a top down hierarchical structure, leaves little doubt as to whether they'd consider the human rights / welfare of foreign women in war time.

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

I wonder if she interviewed any of the actual victims?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Finally this means that there is freedom of speech in Korea, the truth about comfort women can be told and written in word history

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Ha Ha - gotta laugh. Suddenly - like within 1 hour 12 thumbs down after none all day.

No discussion. No comments giving contrary opinions. No voice.

I mean - who are these peeps? Bots?

I believe all my points are valid and factual. They are not wild opinions.

So why the lack of debate?

Can only mean they have nothing to say.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Yes Korean women were lining.up for these positions. Like some women enjoy the privileges that came with the lifestyle. Some Korean women even end up partnering with the Japanese officers who were misstesses. This always happen in war. Some women see sex as a top shelf commodity during hard times. But there was a minority that were force into sex work. These girl came from very poor families which for these parents selling a daughter was the norm.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Hecks. Perhaps they are all tired of your kind of same old garbage repeated.

Read the book by this author first and come back. She never denied genuine victims on the battle fields

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@Meiyouwenti

It seems like fact-based study of history has finally arrived in Korea. 

Actually the supreme court reaffirmed that most of her quotes in dispute were indeed factually incorrect.

Does that mean her personal speech get no free speech protection, that's what the court ruled on.

This was a free speech of factually incorrect statements case, not if comfort women were forced or not case.

Park still faces civil damages case from comfort women, which is harder to escape because the supreme court ruled her statements regarding comfort women were factually incorrect.

@obladi

are her views and it's not defamation to express them.

Indeed, the court found most of her views are factually incorrect but is nevertheless protected by free speech/academic freedom.

@Desert Tortoise

"Camp followers" are a centuries old feature of armies.

Except that comfort women aren't camp followers; they are kidnapped at gunpoint.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Prosecutors and Park’s critics earlier accused her of defaming ex-sex slaves by writing that they were proud of their jobs and had comrade-like relationships with Japanese soldiers while the Japanese military wasn’t officially involved in the forceful mobilization of sex slaves.

Its very obvious and simple what happened. EVERYTHING happened. ALL that is being claimed by ALL parties happened, to some degree. And anyone claiming that ONLY X or Y happened is either a fool or a liar.

But here I don't know if Park is the problem, or the writer of the article is.

Yes, some comfort women were sex slaves. But some were voluntary professionals. And even some voluntary professionals were later forced to be sex slaves. What is meant by "ex-sex slave" in the bit I quoted? Of course its far-fetched to claim that a slave was proud of their "job", but a voluntary professional prostitute darn well could and in fact, quite likely should be. But even a slave could take pride in their slave duties as a defense mechanism.

As for the Japanese military not being "officially" (

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

....seems I triggered some macro or something, so my post was cut.

Continued.....As for the Japanese military not being "officially" (key word) involved in procuring sex slaves, that's going to depend on how "officially" is being defined at any given moment.

My understanding is that the final years of the empire were pretty much chaos. And what is "official" in a sea of chaos is hard to determine.

But what is obvious is that Japanese officials and soldiers, and Korean officials, soldiers AND brokers were involved in coercing, tricking, and kidnapping Korean girls and women to be sex slaves.

Its in the DENIAL that any of these things happening where the lie is. IT pretty much ALL happened and both sides are speaking truth right past the other.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Indeed, the court found most of her views are factually incorrect but is nevertheless protected by free speech/academic freedom.

Please share a link to the actual Korean Supreme Court decision. I am in their official web site and cannot find the case among the many decisions listed. It may be that it is so new it has not yet been posted. If you know where a verbatim copy of the decision is I would like to read it.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Something else to consider is that under Korean law the truth is no protection from being found guilty of defamation. According to Article 307 of South Korea’s Criminal Act, a person who publicly reveals facts that are damaging to another person is subject to punishment. Even if the statement is true, Article 310 of the Criminal Act specifies that a person is exonerated from defamation only if these facts are true and solely for the interest of the public.

In countries like the United States and Canada, the truth alone is accepted as a complete defense against the defamation suit. Furthermore, in the United States, there must be clear evidence of malicious intent for the defamation claim to stand in court. Such clauses do not exist in the Korean law. As a result, the defamation law remains susceptible to abuse by people in positions of power.

Last, while defamation in the US, Canada and most other western nations is a civil offense, in South Korea it can be a criminal offense punishable by a prison sentence, as some South Korean reporters have discovered when reporting on the malfeasance of high public officials.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

She was indicted as guilty by court during the administration of Moon Jae-in, a staunch anti-Japan president.

Now, she was acquitted by the same court, as being not guilty.

Are or aren't judges influenced by the current power that be? If yes, can the separation of power work without any hitch anywhere in the world?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Hey - Gang of -12 ....embrace the discussion.

Hah! Challenge my words. Ay?

Put forward your arguments.

Debate.

Let's look at the nitty gritties of the article and assumptions and denials and facts.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

She was indicted as guilty by court during the administration of Moon Jae-in, a staunch anti-Japan president.

Now, she was acquitted by the same court, as being not guilty.

Are or aren't judges influenced by the current power that be? If yes, can the separation of power work without any hitch anywhere in the world?

It is more a matter of the inclinations of the judges in the different courts than any interference by the Executive or Legislative branches of the Korean government. One sees this in the differences between the more liberal tendencies of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vs the highly conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in the US.

She was convicted by a lower court that has a history of issuing opinions against Japanese interests on matters regarding WWII and Japan's colonial rule. She appealed to the Korean Supreme Court who is less inclined to issue opinions against Japanese interests.

What the article doesn't mention is that the Supreme Court sent the matter back to the original court to issue an acquittal. Weird aspect of the Korean legal system. The lower court has to acquit unless there is new evidence presented.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

According to the South Korean government, 200,000 women were abducted and massacred by the Japanese military, but there is no list of the women. Even though women were being dragged away by the Japanese military, no one, let alone Korean men, ever tried to help them. It's never even been on the news. There is nothing to back it up, just the testimonies of self-proclaimed victims. There aren't even any eyewitness testimonies. After World War II, the American military interviewed Korean prostitutes in preparation for the Tokyo Trials, but there were no particular problems.

After the war, if their families, siblings, and relatives were really taken by the Japanese military, Koreans would have called for their families to be returned, but no one has ever sued Japan.

When the Japan-Korea Basic Treaty was signed in 1965, the South Korean government was investigating, but no facts such as genocide were confirmed. Around 1990, someone suddenly started complaining that I had been turned into a prostitute. The first person to come forward as a comfort woman and sue the Japanese government was a woman named Kim Hak-sun, who became a prostitute herself due to a disagreement with her family. However, her testimony has been distorted by the current Korean Federation, and her testimony has changed again and again to show that she was a poor woman who was abducted by the Japanese military.
5 ( +10 / -5 )

What the article doesn't mention is that the Supreme Court sent the matter back to the original court to issue an acquittal. 

Remand

I believe all my points are valid and factual. They are not wild opinions.

All valid points. It was not an isolated incident but took place all over Asia. There are too many testimonies and accounts. The Japanese can’t really debate you on this. They have no argument. They just downvote with a white flag.

So they deny the existence, like Agent_Neo, deflect, like Ossian American and try to change the topic away from Sex Slaves, and at the end, resort to what aboutism, i.e. what about Germany? affirming the atrocity. It saying they’re not the only ones.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Sexual crimes( Sex slaves issues ) on the battle fields are universal issues past and present, east and west.

Historical debates wrt The Korean comfort women issue under Japan rulings during WW2 is, in essence, different from those Sexual crimes( Sex slaves issues ) on the battle fields ,which exist past and present, east and west, not to mention, Japan is THE ONLY COUNTRY which had officially apologized to these so-called victims.

These morons are simply ignoring the very fact that North-Korean flavored lefties have been long instigated anti-Japan hatred within South Korea , based on completely fake narratives, which have finally been exposed by genuine Korean Academics with good wills.

NO ONE believes  Yoon Mee-hyang, ex-president of Chong Dae Hyup, nor Lee Yong-Soo, the ad-tower of so-called " I am the evidence !" weird cult.

Unless, intentionally posting as such, STOP and try to find out if you and the entire world have been fooled by this historically and world-widely the biggest fraud show.

What happened in Samarang, Indonesia is not equal to this SK vs Japan comfort women issue.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

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