politics

Spat over WWII brothels shows Japan's trouble in facing past

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By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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In his war memoirs, ex-Prime Minister of Japan, Nakasone writes, "I took great pains to set up a comfort station for them.”

He wrote this in “Owarinaki Kaigun” (“The Navy Without End”), a collection of memoirs written by navy veterans, published in 1978. “Comfort station” is the government’s euphemism for frontline brothel.

In 1993, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono publicly stated that an investigation by the government confirmed that Japan did in fact force women into the brothels.

Nobuo Ishihara, who was deputy chief Cabinet secretary in 1993, has said the statement was largely based on interviews with 16 former comfort women, not government documents.

6 ( +26 / -20 )

Some of the women went willingly, no doubt, but the Japanese right wing always wants to paint all women like this.

Actually appetite of an army is far greater, and once that sees others as being racially inferior would have no problem with using them for sexual purposes. The testament of numerous women makes it clear what happened.

The nationalistic right never wants to face up to the shame if the past.

10 ( +31 / -21 )

Liberals say evidence, including court documents and accounts of the women, shows many people were forced into sexual slavery.

US Army interrogation Report No.49 from 1944 during the war, as well as a 7 year multi agency investigation carried out by the US Government showed no evidence of abduction or "sex slavery". A number of South Korean scholars have concluded that the vast majority of the women were recruited by Korean middlemen, with some Koreans actually running the Comfort Stations. The same South Korean scholars found the conflicting testimonies of the survivors "net credible".

No one denies that the Comfort Women System existed, a military brothel system that both the Germans and French had. Japan has recognized the suffering of the women regardless of the South Korean revisionism and made efforts to resolve the issue with South Korea with both signing an agreement in 2015 that resolves this issue permanently. Except the word "permanently" doesn't exist in South Korea where the issue is a political and diplomatic tool, rather than an honest effort to help the survivors.

https://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/report-49-USA-orig.html

https://www.archives.gov/files/iwg/reports/final-report-2007.pdf

https://docs.google.com/document/d/171fHdHD-xFU1g7-XAuuYVhR4wMwZ9VBwKVXPCu78riE/edit

The Asahi Shimbun has already admitted to publishing false articles which fueled the Comfort Women issue in particular a revisionist view that added "kidnapping" and "200,000 victims". These articles were directly responsible for the issue as it stands today and Uemura is a contributor the problems which exist in Japan-South Korea relations.

2 ( +28 / -26 )

Why is this even being discussed? This happened and can be added to the long list of horrible things Japan did during the lead up to the war and during the war itself. The right wing nuts might as well say Pearl Harbor was an attack by the USA on Japan.

-5 ( +24 / -29 )

If Japan politicians would stop thinking they are still Imperial Japan then this can all be resolved with a yes that was the past but not relevant to today. As long as Japan does not join in the condemnation of the past events forever will it be bound by them

3 ( +24 / -21 )

"I still think the Asahi and Mr Uemura should be held accountable" for hurting Japan's image.

The people who are "hurting Japan's image" are Sakurai and her right-wing mafia. How obvious is that?

The Dutch government has extensively researched this issue and determined coersion among Dutch and Indonesian women. When the conservatives say there is no evidence, they mean there is no Japanese evidence, which was energetically destroyed after the war ended.

6 ( +30 / -24 )

In his war memoirs, ex-Prime Minister of Japan, Nakasone writes, "I took great pains to set up a comfort station for them.”

He wrote this in “Owarinaki Kaigun” (“The Navy Without End”), a collection of memoirs written by navy veterans, published in 1978. “Comfort station” is the government’s euphemism for frontline brothel.

Not only Nakasone but Nobutaka Shikanai, the founder of media conglomerate Fuji Sankei, learned how to manage "comfort stations" in his accountancy classes. The idea of fascists like Sakurai attempting to whitewash the documented past, and make money from it, is both inconceivable and nauseating. What happened, happened. Sakurai and her ilk live in an alternative reality and bring eternal shame on Japan with their denial of the truth.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/15/opinion/comfort-women-and-japans-war-on-truth.html

5 ( +26 / -21 )

No justice No peace.

-1 ( +15 / -16 )

If nothing else, Japan paints a great example of how brainwashing an entire nation can be done:

Re-write texts to constantly paint Japan as the victim. Remove any condemnation of the IJA from media and textbooks. Raise an army of cyber-soldiers whose job is to attack any page which speaks ill the IJA's atrocities.

Bam! A populace that is too busy and tired to do their own research start drinking the kool-aid and repeating buying into the victim narrative.

Of course, threatening to void the media licenses of anyone who speaks against the government helps.

As of this post, we have seen sensible and accurate viewpoints in these comments. All have been duly upvoted.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Sadly the same same ole denials, Japan hasn't even remotely acknowledged what it did in the 1930-1945 period, not only to non-Japanese but to Japanese as well!!

It is utterly INSANE to think that women during wars in LARGE numbers rush to become prostitutes for invading armies...…….UTTERLY INSANE!! Anyone who thinks this is clearly NOT thinking at all!!

2 ( +24 / -22 )

OssanAmericaToday 08:01 am JST

"Liberals say evidence, including court documents and accounts of the women, shows many people were forced into sexual slavery."

US Army interrogation Report No.49 from 1944...

Pffft. The US Army was instrumental in rehabilitating war criminals like Nobusuke Kishi and the CIA gave heaps of cash to the LDP in the 50s and 60s. Any US Army reports on any matter pertaining to what their ultranationalist Japanese chums did in the War is therefore highly suspect as far as I'm concerned.

-7 ( +16 / -23 )

If speaking the truth is met with threats, violence and nonsense arguments. Then the truth obviously hurts. And unlike paper trails you can't burn the truth.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

Simon FostonToday  09:34 am JST

OssanAmericaToday 08:01 am JST

"Liberals say evidence, including court documents and accounts of the women, shows many people were forced into sexual slavery."

US Army interrogation Report No.49 from 1944...

Pffft. The US Army was instrumental in rehabilitating war criminals like Nobusuke Kishi and the CIA gave heaps of cash to the LDP in the 50s and 60s. Any US Army reports on any matter pertaining to what their ultranationalist Japanese chums did in the War is therefore highly suspect as far as I'm concerned.

The report is from 1944 in the midst of fighting the Japanese Empire, a time when we were gathering as much evidence we could to use against them in the future war crimes trials. It is completely different from US political goals immediately following Japan's surrender. A rather poor excuse to dismiss crucial evidence.

17 ( +26 / -9 )

Better not to post without knowing what the topic is really about or at least read the news at least once.

This is about a defamation suit made by a Japanese journalist against another journalist and some publishers wrt the plaintiff's articles. The articles in question contained misinformation (which Asahi newspaper took as long as 20yrs to admit and correct ), and those were only about some Koreans.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

Picking that report and using it as a basis for an argument is flawed. It's akin to reading a report of an accident written as the accident is unfolding rather than being written after the accident and investigations have been concluded. Love the foreseen mass down votes appearing in a 5 minute window.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

At issue are two articles Uemura wrote for the Asahi 27 years ago, including one based on the account of the first South Korean comfort woman to come forward, Kim Hak-soon.

Regaring Kim Hak-soon, guess not many posters may not know.

「I learned from Yun Chō ng-ok, the founding corepresentative of the Korean Council(=Chong Dae Hyup=Teitaikyo) , that Kim’s original unpublished story given to Yun......her foster father apparently worked as the manager of the comfort station until he disappeared one day

pp.127-130, The Comfort Women, C. Sarah Soh, University of Chicago Press2009

15 ( +20 / -5 )

Deflect, Dodge, deny, the tried and tested tactics of all renowned despotic regimes. Thank the gods for free and available information.

3 ( +19 / -16 )

CrickyToday  10:42 am JST

Picking that report and using it as a basis for an argument is flawed. It's akin to reading a report of an accident written as the accident is unfolding rather than being written after the accident and investigations have been concluded

So you find a military intelligence report documented and compiled on site at the time of occurrence to be less credible than statements made 70 years after the fact based on "recollections" ?

South Korean scholars have found the survivors "testimonies" to be not credible.

5 ( +21 / -16 )

A journalist close to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has defended her view that Korean women who were sent to Japanese wartime military brothels were not sex slaves, and accused a newspaper of fabrication

The first paragraph is enough to understand the whole problem. It is far more serious than a ‘spat’. It is an outright denial of proven historic events. Most people think Korea is being petty to keep harping on about the comfort women issue, but it’s idiots like this journalist that keep the flames burning.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

Japan has been unfairly criticized for a practice they say is common in any country at war.

No!

Japan's military set up brothels, rounded up girls and women and ran these brothels as "Comfort Stations" during the war.

Other countries at war use any local civilian run brothels. Soldiers were and are issued with condoms and told to be careful as some of these ladies carry sexual diseases. German soldiers in Paris used the local brothels and were told never to go alone. Some did go alone and some of them never made it back to barracks.

There are cases of rape in pretty much all wars but not state sanctioned in Military run brothels. That was a Japanese habit during WWII as has been documented.

-4 ( +17 / -21 )

Some of the women went willingly, no doubt, but the Japanese right wing always wants to paint all women like this.

And, in the other direction, the Koreans want to claim that they were all dragged off kicking and screaming although no one, not even Korean researchers, have ever been able to find anyone who recalls seeing that happen.

It is utterly INSANE to think that women during wars in LARGE numbers rush to become prostitutes for invading armie

Not insane at all. France and Norway, to cite just two examples, have had a major historical issue with local women consorting with the German invaders.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45893490

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/jun/05/women-victims-d-day-landings-second-world-war

The Diary of John Rebe and Chinese Christian accounts written in 1937 contain several references to Chinese women volunteering to serve as prostitutes to the Japanese army. They thought it was a good thing because it would keep the Japanese away from "respectable women."

And, of course, the American GIs who occupied Japan in 1945 were well supplied with prostitutes.

6 ( +20 / -14 )

Peter14Today  11:21 am JST

Japan has been unfairly criticized for a practice they say is common in any country at war.

No!

Japan's military set up brothels, rounded up girls and women and ran these brothels as "Comfort Stations" during the war.

Other countries at war use any local civilian run brothels. Soldiers were and are issued with condoms and told to be careful as some of these ladies carry sexual diseases. German soldiers in Paris used the local brothels and were told never to go alone. Some did go alone and some of them never made it back to barracks.

Sorry but you are dead wrong.

"German military brothels were set up by Nazi Germany during World War II throughout much of occupied Europe for the use of Wehrmacht and SS soldiers. According to records, at least 34,140 European women were forced to serve as prostitutes during the German occupation of their own countries along with female prisoners of concentration camp brothels.[1] In many cases in Eastern Europe, the women involved were kidnapped on the streets of occupied cities during German military and police round ups called łapanka or rafle."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_military_brothels_in_World_War_II

"Bordels Mobiles de Campagne or Bordel Militaire de Campagne (both abbreviated to BMC) is a French term for the mobile brothels which were used during World War I, Second World War, and First Indochina War to supply prostitution services to French soldiers who were facing combat in areas where brothels were unusual, such as at the front line or in isolated garrisons.[1][2] The BMCs gradually generated regulation of prostitution within the French army. These mobile brothels were in some cases officially organized by the army. "

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bordel_militaire_de_campagne

12 ( +22 / -10 )

It is about protecting the Imperial legacy, nothing more. Anything that remotely threatens to implicate the Japanese government of the period, which was led by the Showa Emperor, is never going to find purchase while the revisionists who are in power - and, other than a very brief period under PM Murayama back in the '90's, the revisionists have been in power since the end of the war. They're known as the LDP. Immune to the principles of democracy, the LDP, sees itself as playing the role of a latter-day ruler. This is why the people of the country are treated as subjects, not citizens. The word 国民 hasn't changed in centuries, and is reflective of LDP views - blood and soil.

5 ( +16 / -11 )

What happened in Europe is irrelevant to this article. This is about the Japanese troops setting up brothels and how Japanese historians keep downplaying and denying the events.

4 ( +16 / -12 )

Didn't Asahi Shimbun that ran the original article made a public apology for running FALSE news that started this whole thing in motion sometime ago?

Why is the author of that article trying to spin it as if he had authenticated his claim in which he never did?

I know that the Koreans want to keep it up or they have no leg to stand to keep their argument alive but geez it is getting really stale with all the evidence mounting against him and the Koreans.

4 ( +16 / -12 )

The conservatives hold the Asahi, where Uemura used to work, responsible for spreading the impression that all so-called "comfort women" were coerced. Liberals say evidence, including court documents and accounts of the women, shows many people were forced into sexual slavery.

Sakurai told a news conference on Friday that she sympathizes with comfort women despite their being "prostitutes" but that "I still think the Asahi and Mr Uemura should be held accountable" for hurting Japan's image. She said Japan can't have a unified view of its wartime history because of what she called media bias.

Reactionary knuckledragger vs. someone representing the overwhelming consensus of world opinion and academic study, but here presented as liberal vs. conservative or he said/she said.

He said, she said is nowhere near enough, and every time things are left that way the press loses influence. Advertising that you’re unbiased is also not enough. The press should go further. It should draw defensible conclusions, and make its way forward by defending, explaining—publicly justifying—those conclusions.

-Jay Rosen, NYU Journalism professor

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Sometimes the truth is not what the “overwhelming consensus” wants it to be. Everyone loves a good victim story. Especially if it furthers the good vs evil mantra of social justice. If you’re worried about he said/ she said, then look at the only real third party “evidence” there is, which points in the opposite direction of the “overwhelming consensus.” In reality, there’s no black and white for this issue, just shades of grey. And that’s just not what everyone wants to hear.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

OssanAmericaToday  10:25 am JST

The report is from 1944 in the midst of fighting the Japanese Empire, a time when we were gathering as much evidence we could to use against them in the future war crimes trials.

Do you suppose that absolutely everything they turned up would be damning?

It is completely different from US political goals immediately following Japan's surrender.

And whose advantage did the US Army use it to after the war? The ultranationalists and historical revisionists keep trying to capitalise on it so it's been rather useful for you.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

Frankly speaking I am ashamed of the Foreign Correspondent Club giving him the space to speak.

His article has been proven false so why does a shrine that is sworn to report the truth give this poor excuse of a former reporter a chance to speak is beyond me.

3 ( +13 / -10 )

What young girl ever wants to be a prostitute?

I’ve yet to meet one that does!

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Simon FostonToday 01:44 pm JST

And whose advantage did the US Army use it to after the war?

Does that lessen the value of the document as evidence?

The fact is the US Army wrote it in 1944 which shows that they were not biased at what they seen and recorded.

If it was reported otherwise the Koreans and yourself would be parading it high on the pedestal saying I told you so.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

kurisupisuToday 02:26 pm JST

What young girl ever wants to be a prostitute?

I’ve yet to meet one that does!

Unfortunately I have in many countries in this present day.

People should lose their blinkers and see the world as it is.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Unfortunately I have in many countries in this present day.

People should lose their blinkers and see the world as it is.

Myth of the happy hooker alert. And the last time my insipid senpai dragged me to a caberet, where I was told how handsome and smart and ultimately sugee I was by women being paid to do so. Naturally I believed all of that as well. Blinkers being so essential to one wholly without conscience.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

https://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/report-49-USA-orig.html

Yeah this really sounds like legit work

Early in May of 1942 Japanese agents arrived in Korea for the purpose of enlisting Korean girls for "comfort service" in newly conquered Japanese territories in Southeast Asia. The nature of this "service" was not specified but it was assumed to be work connected with visiting the wounded in hospitals, rolling bandages, and generally making the soldiers happy. The inducement used by these agents was plenty of money, an opportunity to pay off the family debts, easy work, and the prospect of a new life in a new land, Singapore. On the basis of these false representations many girls enlisted for overseas duty and were rewarded with an advance of a few hundred yen.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

@OssanAmerica

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/5256504/French-brothels-flourished-during-the-Nazi-occupation.html

Guess the Germans used both military and free brothels in WWII. Gives Japan Comfort stations some company.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Unfortunately I have in many countries in this present day.

You may have met girls who were willingly prostituting themselves. I doubt you found (m)any who wanted to be prostitutes. How many girls say “I want to grow up to accept money to have sex with men who may or may not be totally disgusting”?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

macvToday 03:34 pm JST

https://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/report-49-USA-orig.html

Yeah this really sounds like legit work

Early in May of 1942 Japanese agents arrived in Korea for the purpose of enlisting Korean girls for "comfort service" in newly conquered Japanese territories in Southeast Asia. The nature of this "service" was not specified but it was assumed to be work connected with visiting the wounded in hospitals, rolling bandages, and generally making the soldiers happy. The inducement used by these agents was plenty of money, an opportunity to pay off the family debts, easy work, and the prospect of a new life in a new land

Key word in this report is "AGENT" meaning they were not part of the army and through record they were most probably Koreans since most Japanese did not speak Korean which you had not posted;

The majority of the girls were ignorant and uneducated, although a few had been connected with "oldest profession on earth" before.

"AGENTS" work on a success fee which is usually a percentage of the first year salary of the hired girls so they probably not disclosed the full truth as well.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

jcapanToday 03:12 pm JST

Myth of the happy hooker alert

Who said anything about being happy?

They chose because they had little choice and prostitution provided them with the highest monetary compensation out of the little choice they had.

The world is not made out of whip cream and Chocolate sauce which some would like to believe.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

StrangerlandToday 04:16 pm JST

You may have met girls who were willingly prostituting themselves.

Talk about playing with words, isn't willingly the clear definition of choice?

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Talk about playing with words, isn't willingly the clear definition of choice?

Sure, but choice wasn’t the topic of conversation. The comment to which you replied that you’ve met many such girls was:

*What young girl ever wants to be a prostitute?*

The comment wasn’t about girls who make the choice to be a prostitute, it was about girls wanting to be prostitutes. Many willingly make the choice, but I bet you’d be extremely hard pressed to find many girls who want to do it. Given an alternative that would allow them to make the same money for the same level of work, at their same skill/education level, I’d wager nearly every one of them would take it.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

They sure did not want to stand at MacDonanld's that is for sure or we will not have the labor shortage at these fast food joints we see around the world.

They wanted more money choosing prostitute instead. You can spin words all you want but they became one through their free will with other options meaning they wanted to be one over the other.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

If nothing else, Japan paints a great example of how brainwashing an entire nation can be done:

AgentX. A book published in the late 1980's, "The Enigma of Japanese Power" by Karel Van Wolferen, cites exactly this.

But in dumbing down the population, I think that this has contributed to the decline of a once great nation.

I'm very lucky at the moment. My Japanese friends are well educated, self motivated, well travelled rational people, and fully understand Japans past.

That is why, despite all my years involvement with Japan, I have many Japanese acquaintance but few Japanese friends.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

They wanted more money choosing prostitute instead. You can spin words all you want but they became one through their free will with other options meaning they wanted to be one over the other.

Really? You think they wanted to have sex wirh unknown men repeatedly daily, where some said men are likely to be disgusting?

I don’t think you understand women that well if you think women want to do that. Some are willing to do it for the opportunity it provides, but given that same opportunity without having to prostitute themselves is going to be infinitely more appealing to nearly every woman on the planet.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

She said Japan can't have a unified view of its wartime history because of what she called media bias.

I hope that lost something in translation. Shades of 1984 - Japan has always been at war with the Asahi Shimbun.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

StrangerlandToday 05:28 pm JST

I don’t think you understand women that well if you think women want to do that. Some are willing to do it for the opportunity it provides, but given that same opportunity without having to prostitute themselves is going to be infinitely more appealing to nearly every woman on the planet.

Go to a brothel in Australia or ask a high class call girl who talks about their experience riding private jets and visiting exotic land not possible if they took the normal route.

These girls all have high education, graduating Uni with flying colors.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Back on topic please.

Sakurai spearheads the view of Japanese nationalists that comfort women were voluntary prostitutes

Sakurai and other fascists may have a "view", but their "view" is contrary to the facts. There are still women alive who confirm they were forced into sexual slavery by Japan. There are Japanese people who admit to setting up the brothels in which they were forced to work. To deny that any of this happened is as ridiculous as denying Hiroshima was hit by an atomic bomb.

Meanwhile, anyone who makes the slightest remark or comment that can be construed as "hurting the feelings" of atomic bomb victims is immediately and relentlessly hounded, forced to apologise and to promise never to repeat whatever it was they said. But what is the response to Sakurai and her fascist friends' lies and slander? Complete silence. It's a disgrace.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

You don't see Germany having a controversy over their role in the Holocaust and during WW II every other week. Japan just seems to never want to come to grips with the common truth. This controversy and some of the others will never end.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

They chose because they had little choice and prostitution provided them with the highest monetary compensation out of the little choice they had.

And WHO pray tell CREATED these WONDEFUL conditions for personal growth & success the locals dreamed of I wonder??

Starting yet to see how people were NOT FREE to decide much of anything once the IJA landed!!

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

If speaking the truth is met with threats, violence and nonsense arguments. Then the truth obviously hurts. 

Apparently, Uemura's articles were not truth. He's cowardly kept evading without official correction on his articles admitting his misunderstanding.

Look how he is trying to evade hi,self off the core of this lawsuit.

"The point is not whether the comfort women involved forced recruitment or human trafficking. Let's just squarely face the damage done, overcome it and join hands in promoting understanding among Asian countries," Uemura told a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday.

Sounds like some cheap maxim. He probably forgot how all these started happening, more than anything, who is the plaintiff who has caused this spat. This very statement itself proves he himself knows he screwed up

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Apparently Uemura's article was based on true testimony, but he was then subjected to a campaign denouncing it as 'fabrication'.

https://apjjf.org/2015/13/1/Tomomi-Yamaguchi/4249.html

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

And more background on Takeshi Uemura for those wishing to get past the smoke and mirrors.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/tag/takashi-uemura/

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Apparently Uemura's article was based on true testimony, but he was then subjected to a campaign denouncing it as 'fabrication'.

The article might be based on her testimonies but failed to report precisely, which he has admitted already.

Kim Hak-soon's testimonies themselves vary. Which one is the true testimony and how do you judge it's true?

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Apparently Uemura's article was based on true testimony, but he was then subjected to a campaign denouncing it as 'fabrication'.

The article might be based on her testimonies but failed to report precisely, which he has admitted already.

Kim Hak-soon's testimonies themselves vary. Which one is the true testimony and how do you judge it's true?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

OssanAmerica: "No one denies that the Comfort Women System existed,"

You do, by calling them "Comfort Women" and using the Japanese-selected euphemism instead of admitting it was sexual slavery, that women were raped repeatedly, that they were duped (unless it was 'SK middlemen', and then you admit they existed and were duped, but somehow they were still not raped). You have repeatedly said that they were willing prostitutes, and well-paid at that.

"...a military brothel system that both the Germans and French had."

See? You call them prostitutes.

"Japan has recognized the suffering of the women regardless of the South Korean revisionism..."

And yet still deny they did anything wrong, AND many say it NEVER happened and is mere propaganda.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

DieRealityCheck: "Apparently, Uemura's articles were not truth. He's cowardly kept evading without official correction on his articles admitting his misunderstanding."

I like how you have to start off all your comments with "apparently" and "sounds like" and then judging conclusively that the victims were the perpetrators and the perpetrators victims. Reminds me of people who say women shouldn't dress the way they do if they don't want to be raped and saying men are the victims of harassment, etc.

If Japanese laws had any teeth, Sakurai -- a known bigot and nationalist -- would be arrested for hate speech, but like other Abe cronies, some of whom have raped women themselves, they get off Scott-free while the women are given death threats and told their speaking up, or the newspapers that print it, are threatening security and embarrassing the nation. I wonder if he's any relation to the Osaka hate group head, Sakurai, who drives around literally telling Koreans to die, including children, that they are cockroaches, and Zainichi to "go home" (despite this being their home), then getting in a near fist-fight with the Osaka Mayor after rightly being told off.

Japan is an embarrassment on this issue.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

How cheap.

You keep this post;

GWToday 08:30 pm JST

They chose because they had little choice and prostitution provided them with the highest monetary compensation out of the little choice they had.

And WHO pray tell CREATED these WONDEFUL conditions for personal growth & success the locals dreamed of I wonder??

Starting yet to see how people were NOT FREE to decide much of anything once the IJA landed!!

And yet remove the post stating that Prostitution had been in existence way before Japan had set foot on Korea, had lived long after Japan had left until this day which is still practiced on the streets of Korean and the rest of the world.

Basically IJA or Japan did not started it as some poster would want people to believe and certainly not have ended after Japan had left amply proven by the fact that Comfort women or state runned brothels for American GIs existed during the Korean war and long after.

Trying to somehow paint it all as if it was Japan's fault fails completely. Not mentioning the fact only aggravates the situation trying to poster the comfort woman situation as if it only one during WW2 trying to paint it as if it was the only and isolated incident.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

There are Japanese people who admit to setting up the brothels in which they were forced to work.

Yes, I have met Japanese people who were around in the war.

I have even met a Japanese public prosecutor who told me that he and his translator were in charge of allied POW's in occupied China during WW2.

Perhaps this is why as one above comment points out, Japanese law has no teeth.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

nandakandamandaToday 09:28 pm JST

Apparently Uemura's article was based on true testimony, but he was then subjected to a campaign denouncing it as 'fabrication'.

https://apjjf.org/2015/13/1/Tomomi-Yamaguchi/4249.html

Testimony yes,,, true,,,,, well that is up for debate since all of them had changed their testimony from the ones taken at first which changed during the course of years in which Koreans only talks about the latest.

One thing is for sure is that the first original testimonies can be collaborated with the situation during the days BUT the latest all fails defying the situation of those days.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

They chose because they had little choice and prostitution provided them with the highest monetary compensation out of the little choice they had.

People who have "little choice" don't really have the power to "choose" to do anything. This is the general problem with trying to argue that women and girls ever "voluntarily" enter the sex trade. And of course, the myth of "voluntary" entry into the sex trade is THE basis for arguing that the Comfort Women system set up by the Japanese during World War II was not entirely coercive in nature.

And, in the other direction, the Koreans want to claim that they were all dragged off kicking and screaming although no one, not even Korean researchers, have ever been able to find anyone who recalls seeing that happen.

Point taken. But in the present day the onus is on Japanese people born in the postwar era, as the co-ethnics and/or descendants of the people who were the architects of the wartime Comfort Women system, to avoid downplaying the horrors and depredations of the system and exaggerating the so-called "non-coercive" features of the system.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I like how you have to start off all your comments with "apparently" and "sounds like" and then judging conclusively that the victims were the perpetrators and the perpetrators victims.

Uemura is the plaintiff who started this suit and Sakurai was one of defendants and Uemura lost in his case at regional court level. That's all. Other than that, it should be entirely up to anyone how you see this case and post comment. Any problem ?

Reminds me of people who say women shouldn't dress the way they do if they don't want to be raped and saying men are the victims of harassment, etc.

If Japanese laws had any teeth, Sakurai -- a known bigot and nationalist -- would be arrested for hate speech, but like other Abe cronies, some of whom have raped women themselves, they get off Scott-free while the women are given death threats and told their speaking up, or the newspapers that print it, are threatening security and embarrassing the nation. I wonder if he's any relation to the Osaka hate group head, Sakurai, who drives around literally telling Koreans to die, including children, that they are cockroaches, and Zainichi to "go home" (despite this being their home), then getting in a near fist-fight with the Osaka Mayor after rightly being told off. Japan is an embarrassment on this issue.

What the heck are you talking about? What the heck are all these got to do with the topic?? If Japanese law had any teeth, you are the one of the first groups who would be arrested for hate speech.

Donot dring and post.

Mods. I am sure you're going to delete me but if you do, delete smithinjapan all together for the sake of fairness.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

TriringNov. 18  02:32 pm JST

Simon FostonToday 01:44 pm JST

"And whose advantage did the US Army use it to after the war?"

Does that lessen the value of the document as evidence?

It doesn't prove that there was no coercion. All that it indicates is that some effort was made to behave in a semi-civilised manner.

The fact is the US Army wrote it in 1944 which shows that they were not biased at what they seen and recorded.

Not really. They might have seen a lot of other things that they didn't record or make known after the War if they didn't deem it expedient. Do you think they drew any attention all the disgusting things their dear pal Nobusuke Kishi got up to in China?

If it was reported otherwise the Koreans and yourself would be parading it high on the pedestal saying I told you so.

What, like the sex crimes deniers are doing with it at the moment.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Another point: Sakurai and other fascists are very quick to deny the testimony of those forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese armed forces during WW2. They say it's all lies, the Japanese did nothing wrong etc.

At the same time, nobody ever questions one sentence uttered by the atomic bomb victims: every word is accepted as the absolute, undeniable truth and woe betide anyone who suggests otherwise. I find the double standards quite galling: why is it that non-Japanese are denounced as liars, whilst anything a Japanese says is taken as fact (unless they are admitting being taking part in some atrocity, of course)? The only answer I can think of is that, being fascists, these people are also racists.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

"A former Korean comfort woman Sim Mi-ja who refused to be on Chong Dae Hyup's payroll said, "The Korean women, who testified before UN Special Rapporteur, lied on behalf of Chong Dae Hyup. They are swindlers"

"In an interview with Professor Park Yuha of Sejong University in South Korea, a former Korean comfort woman Bae Chun-hee said she hated her father who sold her. She said that men who recruited Korean women and operated comfort stations were all Korean, and that Korean women who testified before UN Special Rapporteur lied on behalf of Chong Dae Hyup. 

If you are to believe blindly what all self-appointed victims' testimonies, you should also believe the ones like above. FYI, there is official medical(scientific) process to certify atomic bomb victims

7 ( +8 / -1 )

And these for me are the valuable ones, those who speak regardless of what their own country's general narrative might be. One woman like Bae Chun-hee can expose the Korean role in the system, and one reporter like Uemura can find evidence to point to the Japanese role. Both might be considered traitors by their own countryfolk.

A professor at my university described to me in detail from his experience as a Japanese soldier in Manchuria how the women at the comfort station were treated. I can imagine that they must all have dreamed of escaping from such a situation, regardless of their ethnicity or nationality.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I just believe those women did it to survive then and now in their twilight yrs still reliving it to survive again. Iam not demeaning nor downplaying the things that they've gone thru but to think that there were multitudes of women who were not able to see the end of the war much less enjoy the things that they had living inside the military camps(food, clothing and a bit shield from death, otherwise they won't be where they are now) and roaming the world for free by crying out sex slaves. Enough for comfort women issue!! They had their grand times before and grandier now! We simply can't judged something that happened before with the present measure stick we have now. The JGovt has time and again offered apology and some financial remuneration. Do they really sincerely ant an apology or a slice of Japan?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The investigation found no written proof in official documents, and conservatives have cited that in arguing the women were not coerced.

It doesn't mean much. Many records were destroyed when surrender was announced. Even now we can observe in "black companies," that what is put down on paper is one thing while a totally different reality, governed by "kuuki" is allowed to go on leaving no paper trail. Thinking of this vibe that is still very strong in Japanese organizational culture, add to it the wartime fervor and deep prejudice towards non-Japanese Asians of the time, and you have a recipe for all kinds of human rights violations. The U.S. investigations were never free from bias either. The Americans' utmost concern was making Japan a bastion against the Soviets in Asia. To that end they picked and chose what to report and who to put on war crimes trials. Everything the Occupation did was run through that filter.

The problem is there is no clear way to know now what actually happened. The gray areas make these stories useful now for drumming up nationalism in both countries long after the fact. Money, apologies, the truth--not the real goals of these claims and investigations. So I don't think these sore points will ever be "laid to rest" until it becomes politically expedient for both countries to do so.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Were any records of STDs within the Japanese Imperial forces kept ? If so, how were they in comparison to other Armed forces around the world ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

DieRealityCheckToday 09:48 am JST

If you are to believe blindly what all self-appointed victims' testimonies, you should also believe the ones like above. FYI, there is official medical(scientific) process to certify atomic bomb victims

I do, but those are TWO people you have cited. The truth of the whole matter cannot be determined simply by taking into account the experiences of a few individuals. I'm not surprised that Koreans would be involved, there are collaborators in every occupation. These two testimonies do not prove that the Japanese were not directly involved in sex slavery themselves.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

mmwkdwToday 11:41 am JST

Were any records of STDs within the Japanese Imperial forces kept ? If so, how were they in comparison to other Armed forces around the world ?

The fanatics in the IJA high command thought nothing of brutalising the rank and file to turn them into barely human fiends and committing them to pointless banzai charges against heavily defended Allied positions. I doubt the generals cared very much about what STDs they had.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

None of this makesd for easy history and no doubt serious organized cruelty and abuse was the order of the day.  but war is hell.  many other armies has this type of arrangement (Joy Division?) and mass rape of innocent t civilians occurred all over the world in WW2.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Simon FostonToday 09:09 am JST

TriringNov. 18  02:32 pm JST

Simon FostonToday 01:44 pm JST

"And whose advantage did the US Army use it to after the war?"

Does that lessen the value of the document as evidence?

It doesn't prove that there was no coercion. All that it indicates is that some effort was made to behave in a semi-civilised manner.

So show me the evidence that proves otherwise give us the proof that there are ghosts in the closet.

SK has been scouring all over to prove otherwise and have not provided any to dismiss the documents at hand to prove otherwise.

Basically stating "It doesn't prove" doesn't mean anything unless you are ABLE to PROVIDE EVIDENCE that there was coercion.

In court it's called the burden of proof, without it your words means NOTHING.

By the way the testimonies provided had already been ridiculed to show it is shaky at best so you better dig deeper to prove otherwise.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

ScroteNov. 19  09:11 am JST

Another point: Sakurai and other fascists are very quick to deny the testimony of those forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese armed forces during WW2. They say it's all lies, the Japanese did nothing wrong etc.

At the same time, nobody ever questions one sentence uttered by the atomic bomb victims: every word is accepted as the absolute, undeniable truth and woe betide anyone who suggests otherwise. I find the double standards quite galling: why is it that non-Japanese are denounced as liars, whilst anything a Japanese says is taken as fact (unless they are admitting being taking part in some atrocity, of course)? The only answer I can think of is that, being fascists, these people are also racists.

It has nothing to do with being Japanese or non-Japanese. Nobody question the A-Bomb survivors because (1) the bombing has been fully investigated and documented by both the US and Japan, (2) There has been no contradictions in survivors' testimony. In a similar fashion, the Holocaust was fully investigated and documented so no one questions survivors' testimonies.

In contrast there is no documentation regarding the Comfort Women System, and the bulk of the "evidence" is in the form of survivors' testimonies. However a number of South Korean scholars starting with Prof Ahn in the early 1990s conducted a study and found those testimonies to be not credible due to contradictions in telling of their stories.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Well if the Japanese government says there's no evidence in it's own investigation of itself, I'm sure all the firsthand witnesses and survivors from almost every single Japanese occupied country numbering more than 15 countries are all lying??? Japan has a lot to own up to. This is despicable and atrocious.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Oh yeah (sarcasm). The WHOOOOLE world is lying about this and Japan is just a poor, tiny, tiny little wictim in all this. They weren't raping those young girls, they were trying to console them. They even gave them money afterwards.

Doesn't matter how much you try to lie about it. The evidence is there, despite Japan destroying all of theirs. The world knows. So, just... stop.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Whats most interesting is how Japan doesn't protest when Dutch, and Australian women claim they were forced into sex slavery.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

excerpt from S Army interrogation Report No.49

On the basis of these false representations many girls enlisted for overseas duty and were rewarded with an advance of a few hundred yen.

The girls were DUPED, deceived, lied to.

It is apparent some people will never change their minds no matter what irrefutable evidence is presented and some believe that 2 or more wrongs make a right.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

FouxdefaNov. 19  11:13 am JST

The investigation found no written proof in official documents, and conservatives have cited that in arguing the women were not coercedIt doesn't mean much. Many records were destroyed when surrender was announced. 

This is the frequently heard excuse from CW revisionists when confronted with the fact that there is no documented evidence supporting their view. The major fault in this argument is that while militaries facing defeat do destroy vital documents to prevent them falling into enemy hands, prostitition was not illegal at the time, and both Germany and France had similar military brothel systems in operation. In other words, there was no need to "destroy" evidence. This is the CW version of the "my dog ate my homework" excuse.Compounding this intellectually pathetic attempt to deny the reality that no evidence of the narrative exists, is the outright denial and refusal to accept the accuracy of US Army Report No.49, the results of the 7 year US Government investigation, and the findings by several South Korean scholars that the testimonies of the survivinf CWs, coached by the Chong Dae Hyup are not credible.

The CW issue is not isolated, it is an actual historical event which requires objective examination by both sides to reach any kind of resolution. But blatant bias prevents this from ever happening.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japanese neoconservatives are literally cowards trying to run away from truth

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

macvToday  04:31 pm JST

excerpt from S Army interrogation Report No.49

On the basis of these false representations many girls enlisted for overseas duty and were rewarded with an advance of a few hundred yen.

The girls were DUPED, deceived, lied to.

By Korean agents/middlemen who preyed upon these girls and their debt ridden families.

"Many women recruited from Korea were bought from their parents by Korean pimps or else were made vague promises by brokers—again, largely Korean—of employment prospects abroad. The Korean pimps and brokers simply repurposed the old yangban trafficking practice in order to deliver the Korean women to the “comfort stations” which the Japanese military used to combat sexually-transmitted diseases and prevent soldiers from revealing classified information to civilian spies posing as prostitutes in unlicensed brothels."

http://www.atimes.com/article/beijing-weaponizes-comfort-women-propaganda-tool/

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Here's the way it works - When one nation or group dominates another by brute force the conquered are ordered to do this and to do that, they are terrified to resit. If they do they / their family will be punished or killed. So, to survive they agree under duress to do all sorts of dastardly actions. For the aggressors later to say ' See how the vanquished cooperated and worked for us' is total rubbish - but former aggressors and blockheaded types don't want to hear this so it's a waste of time trying to get them to change minds.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@macv

Based on what you mentioned above, it’s now crystal clear that you either haven’t gone through the entire text of POW report No.49. or intentionally ignoring what you don’t wanna hear. In that sense, you are right about “some people will never change your minds no matter how irrefutable is presented” your words precisely.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The Korean middlemen were not under any duress, they did it for money. The practice has a long history and tradition in Korea preceding the 1910 annexation by Japan.

"Kisaeng were enslaved women who worked to entertain others, such as yangbans and kings, during the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties. They were also courtesans, providing sexual services.."

"Women entered the kisaeng class through various paths. Some were the daughters of kisaeng, who inherited their mother's status. Others were sold into the wealthy by families who could not afford to support them.[18] Most such families were of cheonmin rank, but sometimes poor families of higher status sold their children in this fashion. On occasion, even women from the yangban aristocracy were made kisaeng, usually because they had violated the strict sexual mores of the Joseon period."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kisaeng

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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