top
Peninsula
Peninsula
Indybay
Indybay
Indybay
Regions
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
Topics
Newswire
Calendar
Features
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature

Comfort Women or Sex Slaves? In Redwood City, Two Sides Express Views

by SF Peninsula Report
Leaders of Nadeshiko Action spoke in Redwood City to an audience of San Francisco Area based Japanese reporters last evening. One of their objectives was to get the word out to Japanese living in the US that the building of Comfort Woman memorial statues in Palisades Park, New Jersey and Glendale, California serves only to hurt US/Japan relations and paint Japanese in an unfair light. Outside the event, protesters said the goal of Nadeshiko Action is to whitewash the real history of 200,000 sex slaves in wartime Japan.

Top photo: "Two sides of the issue". Supporters of Nadeshiko Action explain their views to demonstrators.


800_combest.jpg
Leaders of Nadeshiko Action spoke in Redwood City to an audience of San Francisco Area based Japanese reporters last evening. One of their objectives was to get the word out to Japanese living in the US that the building of Comfort Woman memorial statues in Palisades Park, New Jersey and Glendale, California serves only to hurt US/Japan relations and paint Japanese in an unfair light. Outside the event, protesters said the goal of Nadeshiko Action is to whitewash the real history of 200,000 sex slaves in wartime Japan.

To their credit, one of the leaders and several supporters of Nadeshiko Action engaged in conversation with the protesters, who stood with signs outside the the Redwood Community Center where the press event was held. The surprised visitors from Japan asked, "How did you know we were here?" and "Why do you call us racists when we have Korean and Chinese friends?"

It would come as a surprise to most Americans to hear that in Japan, Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans are not considered by many to be of the same race (人種). While most academics state that race is socially constructed and not based on scientific fact, unfortunately race is intimately bound with the distribution of rights and resources, and ideas of "race" are manifest in social inequalities both in the US and, as the demonstrators said, in Japan. They said that prejudice against ethnic Koreans and their descendants living in Japan is blatant.

In regards to the comfort women v. sex slave issue, the Nadeshiko members are of the same sentiment as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who was interviewed by The Economist recently. In that interview he stated, "With regard to the comfort-women system which used to be in existence where people from the Korean peninsula were working: my heart always aches when I think about these people who were undergoing a very miserable time, a time of bad suffering. But the second thing is that if Japan is defamed or Japan’s honor is hurt based on these false grounds, then of course Japan needs to try to regain her honor." Nadeshiko Action speakers said that accusations of sex slavery are unfounded and that the vast majority of what they prefer to call "comfort women" were prostitutes, some of whom, they say, were very well paid.






Add Your Comments

Comments (Hide Comments)
Dear Sir or Madame,

I write this in order to save democracy, in order to save freedom of speech and fair and fact based discussions,
I write this in order to make people can self-reflect whether what they heard and believed have been totally free from biases or ethnocentrism.
As for myself I just can’t let harmful lies spread over the world to make everyone including Koreans unhappy and make the world worse.
I believe America as a nation which put great value on justice and fairness.
I hope you never give hand to propaganda or thoughtless fabrications again so that cause and deepen hatred between neighboring two nations, Japan and Korea also in the future.

Second Sino-Japanese War started in early 1930’s.
Even though I don’t discount a few people’s wish to liberalize Asia from European Imperial powers, I believe majority of Japanese wanted to make China their colony like Indian Empire was for the British Empire then.
And because Japanese were familiar with Chinese literature and history they might easily regard themselves same as historical barbarian empire which rose from China’s margins and eventually became foreign dynasty in China.
But if they believe that way they didn’t understand Chinese people’s hope for self- determination and ambition for better life and democracy.

Japanese Imperial Army occupying China faced guerilla type warfare and resentments from local Chinese population.
Chinese people despised Japanese Imperial Army all the more because of guerilla hunt which was same as casual murder of citizens, scorched earth campaign and rapes.
Then Japanese Imperial Army decided to introduce and accompany brothels to battle field in order to prevent sexual crimes by Japanese soldiers which had stirred up angers towards occupying foreign force.

Regarding composition of ‘Comfort Women’ or prostitutes accompanied to battlefield, around 60% were Japanese from Japanese archipelago, about 30% were Korean Japanese from Korean peninsula and 10% were Taiwanese Japanese.
Japanese and Koreans and Taiwanese were Japanese Imperial subjects then. Portion of comfort women roughly reflected the population of Japanese Empire’s ethnic groups.
Small portion of comfort women also came from local population like Chinese, Filipina, Indonesian, Burmese and Dutch from East Indies colonist families.

Regarding 35 Dutch women in Indonesia it was a breach of military discipline and when Japanese Imperial Army’s headquarter in Indonesia noticed the fact, they closed the comfort station immediately and the persons in charge was executed after WW2 as war criminals.

From 1980’s story about abductions of Korean girls by Japanese Imperial Army were told and spread by couples of Japanese.
In 1983 former Japanese soldier Seiji Yoshida wrote a book ‘My Wartime Crime’ and he addressed that he had kidnapped 200 girls from Jeju, a Korean island and brought them to battlefield. Local Jeju historian instantly denied the story and later in 1996 Yoshida admitted that the book was a fiction.
But before he confessed that his story was a fabrication, in 1991 a female Japanese human rights lawyer, Mizuho Fukushima former leader of Japanese Social Democrats took up this story to sue Japanese Government for damage and Asahi Shinbun, leading liberal Japanese quality paper spread this fabrication.
At first Korean researchers together with Japanese researchers identified abduction story is not truth. Meanwhile Korean newspaper erroneously reported number of Korean ‘Comfort Women’ was 200,000 which equals to one tenth of Japanese Army troops stationed in hostile foreign soil at peak. Everybody can understand it just can’t be possible.
From 1990’s on, democratized South Korea’s presidents have been pushed by public opinion and repeatedly take up the story together with other Japanese colonization issues once he came close to the end of his tenure and became lame duck to salvage his popularity.

From 1993 on Japanese Government has formally apologized for the suffering caused and Japanese public raised compensation funds for the victims. Consolatory payment is about 30,000USD per person and letter attached from Japanese Premier describes sincere apology.
One nation which rejected to accept the goodwill from Japan was and still is South Korea. South Korean activists said they can’t accept apology nor money unless Japanese Government admits Japanese Imperial Army directly kidnaped girls from peaceful Korean villages.
We know it is a fabrication invented by certain persons.
And finally in August 2014 Asahi Shinbun admitted that their report was based on false story.

It’s pity to learn that indentured labor was illegal but did exist in Japan before WW2.
Many of Korean prostitute girls were sold by their parents. Few might have been cheated by pimps.
I personally feel sorry for their sufferings but it is not correct to modify history in order to denounce neighboring country and harm mutual friendship in the future.

Even I am aware of Korean resentments towards Japan because of colonization in 20th century and invasions in 16th and in 7th century I like Korean culture and cuisine and had some Korean friends.
I studied Korean history and when Korean economy took off towards industrialized country in late 80’s, I expected now new era had come for Koreans to forgive the past and two nations to understand equally.
But that was just a dream and I accuse Japanese left activists who try to gain fame and profit by fabricating story in 80’s and planting seeds of current troubles and also short sighted Korean nationalists who are just the prisoners of hatreds.

I believe that American people cherish and enthusiastically defend fairness, justice and the truth. I hope that you will make a truthful, fair and objective judgment in regards to so called ‘Comfort Women’ issue.

Kind regards,

Ruewarwick
Tokyo
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!

Donate

$ 20.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.

Publish

Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network