Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

August 16 2018


May 19 2015


Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan

For introduction and the names of signatories, see the JapanForcus webpage.

The undersigned scholars of Japanese studies express our unity with the many courageous historians in Japan seeking an accurate and just history of World War II in Asia. Because Japan is a second home as well as a field of research for many of us, we write with a shared concern for the way that the history of Japan and East Asia is studied and commemorated.

In this important commemorative year, we also write to celebrate seventy years of peace between Japan and its neighbors. Postwar Japan’s history of democracy, civilian control of the military, police restraint, and political tolerance, together with contributions to science and generous aid to other countries, are all things to celebrate as well.

Yet problems of historical interpretation pose an impediment to celebrating these achievements. One of the most divisive historical issues is the so-called “comfort women” system. This issue has become so distorted by nationalist invective in Japan as well as in Korea and China that many scholars, along with journalists and politicians, have lost sight of the fundamental goal of historical inquiry, which should be to understand the human condition and aspire to improve it.

Exploitation of the suffering of former “comfort women” for nationalist ends in the countries of the victims makes an international resolution more difficult and further insults the dignity of the women themselves. Yet denying or trivializing what happened to them is equally unacceptable. Among the many instances of wartime sexual violence and military prostitution in the twentieth century, the “comfort women” system was distinguished by its large scale and systematic management under the military, and by its exploitation of young, poor, and vulnerable women in areas colonized or occupied by Japan.

There is no easy path to a “correct history.” Much of the archive of the Japanese imperial military was destroyed. The actions of local procurers who provided women to the military may never have been recorded. But historians have unearthed numerous documents demonstrating the military’s involvement in the transfer of women and oversight of brothels. Important evidence also comes from the testimony of victims. Although their stories are diverse and affected by the inconsistencies of memory, the aggregate record they offer is compelling and supported by official documents as well as by the accounts of soldiers and others.

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.

Some historians also dispute how directly the Japanese military was involved, and whether women were coerced to become “comfort women.” Yet the evidence makes clear that large numbers of women were held against their will and subjected to horrific brutality. Employing legalistic arguments focused on particular terms or isolated documents to challenge the victims’ testimony both misses the fundamental issue of their brutalization and ignores the larger context of the inhumane system that exploited them.

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.

Many countries still struggle to acknowledge past injustices. It took over forty years for the United States government to compensate Japanese-Americans for their internment during World War II. The promise of equality for African Americans was not realized in US law until a century after the abolition of slavery, and the reality of racism remains ingrained in American society. None of the imperial powers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including the United States, the European nations, and Japan, can claim to have sufficiently reckoned with their histories of racism, colonialism, and war, or with the suffering they inflicted on countless civilians around the world.

Japan today values the life and rights of every individual, including the most vulnerable. The Japanese government would not tolerate the exploitation of women in a system like the military “comfort stations” now, either overseas or at home. Even at the time, some officials protested on moral grounds. But the wartime regime compelled absolute sacrifice of the individual to serve the state, causing great suffering to the Japanese people themselves as well as to other Asians. No one should have to suffer such conditions again.

This year presents an opportunity for the government of Japan to show leadership by addressing Japan’s history of colonial rule and wartime aggression in both words and action. In his April address to the US Congress, Prime Minister Abe spoke of the universal value of human rights, of the importance of human security, and of facing the suffering that Japan caused other countries. We applaud these sentiments and urge the Prime Minister to act boldly on all of them.

The process of acknowledging past wrongs strengthens a democratic society and fosters cooperation among nations. Since the equal rights and dignity of women lie at the core of the “comfort women” issue, its resolution would be a historic step toward the equality of women and men in Japan, East Asia and the world.

In our classrooms, students from Japan, Korea, China and elsewhere discuss these difficult issues with mutual respect and probity. Their generation will live with the record of the past that we bequeath them. To help them build a world free of sexual violence and human trafficking, and to promote peace and friendship in Asia, we must leave as full and unbiased an accounting of past wrongs as possible.

Sponsored post
Nanking Massacre is hoax. It’s a just fabricated propaganda story. ... Koreans are shameless liars. They tell lies as they breathe.
— A Japanese reader’s comment on American Historical Association: Standing with Historians of Japan (justiceforcomfortwomen.org, Mar. 26 2015)

April 30 2015


Democrats: Japanese PM speech at Congress ‘shocking, shameful’

“‘It is shocking and shameful that Prime Minister Abe continues to evade his government’s responsibility for the systematic atrocity that was perpetrated by the Japanese Imperial Army against the so-called “comfort women” during World War II,’ Rep. Mike Honda, a Japanese-American, said following the speech.

‘Today’s refusal to squarely face history is an insult to the spirit of the 200,000 girls and women from the Asia-Pacific who suffered during World War II,’ he added. ‘This is unacceptable.’

Abe, however, mentioned that ‘our actions brought suffering to the peoples in Asian countries. We must not avert our eyes from that.’ The remark did not satisfy many of his critics, including victims of the ordeal who are still alive today.

Yong Soo-lee, 87, was present during the speech and she was waiting for the Japanese premier to apologize.

Representative Judy Chu, a Democrat from California, accused Abe of ignoring ‘Japan’s responsibility for this particularly troubling and painful chapter.’

Several Korean-Americans revealed a banner in front of the US Capitol, reading ‘never again’ in disapproval of Japan’s treatment of what Tokyo calls ‘comfort women’ during World War II.

‘Armed conflicts have always made women suffer the most. In our age, we must realize the kind of world where finally women are free from human-rights abuses,’ Abe emphasized, obviously trying to soothe his critics in Washington.

Many victims of the sex slaves used by Japan’s soldiers at the time were from the Korean Peninsula.”



“… 安倍首相はアジア諸国の女性に対する戦時中の日本軍の犯罪については謝罪しませんでした。

【解説】 アメリカ議会での安倍首相の演説

April 25 2015



«S. Korea president demands to PM Abe: face the historical fact sincerely»


«One of the big problems lying on the relations between Japan and South Korea is the issue of the comfort women at the times of World War II. At present Japan cannot find measures to solve the problem.»


«Regarding this problem, President Park Geun-hye has been repeatedly denouncing Japan, saying they don’t have courage to recognize the historical fact; for Japan hasn’t formally apologized about it. Since her inauguration in 2013, the president has been declining direct talks with Prime Minister Abe.»

April 24 2015


In US, ‘comfort woman’ demands apology from Japan

  • “... with nationalist-leaning Shinzo Abe scheduled next Wednesday to become Japan’s first prime minister to address a joint meeting of Congress, protest groups are demanding he seek broader atonement for government and military crimes of the past.

    ‘The House chamber is a sacred ground in American history,’ said Jungsil Lee, president of the Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues (WCCW).

    ‘There is no place better than the US Capitol for Mr Abe to accept the Japanese imperial government’s role in crimes against humanity during World War II and offer a direct and sincere apology from the modern government to all victims of the war crimes.’

    Abe has been ‘denying the truth’ about Japan’s ‘shameful’ past, added Lee.

    Twenty-five House lawmakers, led by Democrat Mike Honda, wrote to Japan’s ambassador to Washington on Thursday urging Abe in his speech to lay the foundation for healing and humble reconciliation by addressing the historical issues.’

    The bipartisan letter, which was signed by House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce, made no mention of comfort women, but dovetails with the calls for an apology.”

  • “Lee Yong-Soo, activists said, is one of just 53 known surviving comfort women victims out of an estimated 200,000 or more, many from Korea.

    ‘The victims are passing away one by one,’ Jungsil Lee said.

    Lee Yong-Soo recalled being snatched from her home by Japanese soldiers in 1944 at age 16.

    She survived a harrowing boat journey to Taiwan, only to be held at a Japanese military brothel for two years, where she was raped, beaten and tortured by electric shock.

    ‘I was almost dead,’ she said.

    Her aim was to ‘stand before Abe as a living witness of history,’ she added defiantly.

    Her message: ‘Please open your eyes big, and look at me.’”

April 06 2015


【解説】 IRIB Japanese Radio

  • アメリカ議会代表団と、韓国と日本の歴史問題 (2015年4月1日)


  • 移設問題をめぐる日本政府と沖縄県知事の対立 (2015年4月5日)


April 04 2015



from IRIB Japanese Radio (2015年4月3日):



December 01 2014


November 27 2014


November 22 2014


June 20 2014


February 08 2014

  • 日本がフランスの国際漫画祭に関して韓国を批判 (IRIB Japanese Radio 2014年2月2日)





  • 北朝鮮、日本の安倍首相を「アジアのヒトラー」 (IRIB Japanese Radio 2014年2月4日)





Collapse of NHK. So beautiful.

  • Japan public broadcasting head regrets defending use of wartime sex slaves (theguardian.com, Jan. 27 2014)

    [NHK chairman Katsuto] Momii said brothels were "common in any country at war" at the time, and described as "puzzling" criticism of Japan's enslavement of up to 200,000 mainly Korean, Chinese and Filipino women – euphemistically known as "comfort women" – in frontline brothels across Asia between 1932 and 1945.

    "Can we say there were none in Germany or France? It was everywhere in Europe," he said. "In the current moral climate the use of comfort women would be wrong. But it was a reality of those times.

    "Korea's statement that Japan was the only nation [that used sex slaves] is puzzling. Give us money, compensate us, they say, but since all of this was resolved by the Japan-Korea peace treaty, why are they reviving this issue? It's strange."

    Momii, the former vice-chairman of a trading house, with no previous broadcasting experience, acknowledged on Monday that his remarks had been "extremely inappropriate".

    He repeated his stance that he had been speaking in a private capacity, but said: "Even as an individual opinion, it is not something I should have said. It was my first time [speaking] at such an occasion and I did not know the rules."

    Momii had earlier attempted to withdraw the remarks after journalists pointed out that they were made during a press conference in his role as chairman of NHK, a hugely influential, publicly funded broadcaster.

    The ruling party in South Korea called on Momii to resign and apologise to the country's people. Lee Hye-hoon, a senior figure in the Saenuri party, described the comments as "heartbreaking" at a party meeting, according to a Saenuri statement quoted by Kyodo News.

    Lee said: "If there is a group of people with a conscience in Japan, how could a person like Momii, with such an unethical perception and who made such an absurd remark, become the head of the public broadcaster?"

  • U.S. Rejects Japanese Broadcaster’s Claim It Used ‘Comfort Women’ in World War II (time.com, Jan. 29 2014)

    In the latest in a string of revisionist statements by conservative leaders in Japan, Katsuto Momii said the “comfort women” system, in which women were coerced into serving in brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II, “could be found in any nation that was at war.”

    “The comfort women system is considered wrong under today’s moral values. But the military comfort women system existed as a reality at that time,” said Momii. “Can we say there were none in Germany or France? It was everywhere in Europe.”

    On Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy in Japan denied that U.S forces operated a system of comfort women during or after that war. “We are not aware of anything that would indicate the U.S. engaged in any such kind of activity,” says an embassy official authorized to speak on the subject. “We would prefer not to comment any further on Mr. Momii’s statements. I would simply reiterate that his apparent belief regarding U.S. practices is incorrect.” The official asked not to be named, in line with State Department policy.

    Jeff Kingston, professor of Asian Studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, says Momii’s views reflect a comforting delusion among some Japanese conservatives and nationalists. “There is no evidence that any other nation recruited tens of thousands of teenagers to serve as sex slaves for their troops at the specific request of military and government authorities,” Kingston says. “U.S. troops have frequented brothels in war and occupation like troops everywhere, but the comfort women system can hardly be compared to these brothels.”

    Momii was appointed last month to a three-year term as chairman of the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, also known as NHK. The agency provides news, public service and entertainment programming throughout Japan, and operates news bureaus worldwide. It is funded primarily by viewer license fees and is overseen by a 12-member board of governors appointed by the national Diet.

    Momii, the former head of a major trading company, set off a storm of protest during his first press conference as chairman on Saturday by defending the comfort women system and seeming to blame some of the victims. “Putting my chairman’s title aside, the issue becomes complicated because South Korea criticizes as if Japan was the only one that forcibly drafted women into the system,” Momii said. “And [South Korea] demands money, compensation.”

  • Japanese broadcaster's board member praised ritual suicide of rightwinger (theguardian.com, Feb. 5 2013)

    In an essay distributed in October, a month before her appointment at NHK, Michiko Hasegawa praised Shusuke Nomura, an extreme nationalist who committed ritual suicide in the offices of the liberal Asahi newspaper in 1993 in protest at its mockery of his rightwing group.

    Since at least feudal times, suicide has been seen as a way of preserving honour in Japan. Famously, the rightwing author Yukio Mishima disembowelled himself after a failed coup attempt.

    "It is only to God human beings can offer their own lives," she wrote in the document, which has been posted online and was reported in Wednesday's edition of the Mainichi Shimbun.

    "If it is devoted in the truly right way, there could be no better offering. When Mr Shusuke Nomura committed suicide at the Asahi Shimbun headquarters 20 years ago, he … offered his death to God."

    Because Nomura uttered a prayer that the emperor may prosper, immediately before shooting himself three times in the stomach, "His Imperial Highness, even if momentarily, became a living God again, no matter what the 'Humanity Declaration' says or what the Japanese constitution says," she wrote.

  • Japanese Broadcast Official: We Didn’t Commit War Crimes, the U.S. Just Made That Up (time.com, Feb. 7 2014)

    ... the U.S. embassy in Tokyo has strongly condemned charges by a top official at Japan’s national public broadcaster that Americans fabricated war crimes against Japanese leaders during World War II in order to cover up American atrocities.

    “These suggestions are preposterous. We hope that people in positions of responsibility in Japan and elsewhere would seek to avoid comments that inflame tensions in the region,” an embassy spokesman told TIME early on Friday.

    The charges were made this week by Naoki Hyakuta, a nationalist writer and close friend of Abe, who was recently appointed to the board of governors of the Japan Broadcasting Corp., commonly known as NHK.

    In campaign speeches on behalf of a far-right candidate for the governorship of Tokyo, Hyakuta claimed that the infamous Nanjing Massacre in 1937 never occurred, and that Americans staged the postwar trials of Japanese leaders to cover up U.S. war crimes. He said those crimes included the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the mass firebombings of Tokyo.


    Along with Hyakuta’s charges, it was reported this week that another NHK board member had published an essay praising the leader of a nationalist group who committed ritual suicide in the offices of a major newspaper in October 1993 to protest negative news coverage.

    Board member Michiko Hasegawa wrote that because the activist recited a brief prayer to the Emperor before shooting himself in the abdomen, “His Majesty the Emperor has again become a living god.” Hasegawa is a professor emeritus of Japanese cultural studies in Tokyo.

    Japan’s Emperors were once worshipped as living gods, but are designated under the current constitution as “the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people.” As such, they have no governing authority or official religious function.

    Hasegawa, who also has close ties to Abe, published the essay in connection with a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the activist’s death.

    The appointment of such staunch nationalists to NHK’s board is part of a concerted campaign by the Abe administration to recast Japan as the true victim of World War II and put a more benign face on the country’s often brutal colonial practices, says Jeff Kingston, professor of Asian studies at Temple University’s Tokyo campus.

    “These are Abe’s cronies, they agree with his revisionist views, and now he’s putting them in positions of power and influence,” says Kingston. “What they don’t realize is that the right-wing revisionists are not convincing many people in Japan, and they are not convincing people outside Japan. What they are doing is creating a huge diplomatic problem.”

July 28 2013

比、日本に第2次世界大戦での従軍慰安婦問題に関する謝罪を要求 (IRIB Japanese Radio 2013年7月27日)
Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.
No Soup for you

Don't be the product, buy the product!

YES, I want to SOUP ●UP for ...