Showing posts from March, 2007

The letter to Congressman Honda

An open letter from Hideaki Kase, quoted before, to Mike Honda, who proposed the House resolution 121.On September 28, 2006, we sent the attached letter to all members of the House of Representatives. In it, we indicated that the accusations in Resolution 759 were exceedingly unjust and based on gross distortions of historical fact. Accordingly, we find it very difficult to comprehend your reasons for submitting this resolution.. We strongly urge you to withdraw it without delay.

If you choose not to withdraw Resolution 121, you must shoulder the burden of disproving historical fact as outlined in the aforementioned letter. The persons referred to as “comfort women” were prostitutes (a legal profession at the time) working in brothels; they were indisputably not coerced to engage in such activities by the Japanese military.

Comfort station originated in govt-regulated 'civilian prostitution'

The Yomiuri Shimbun published an article about ianfu:Modern historian Ikuhiko Hata, a former professor at Nihon University, says the comfort women system should be defined as the "battleground version of civilian prostitution."

Comfort women were not treated as "paramilitary personnel," unlike jugun kangofu (military nurses) and jugun kisha (military correspondents). During the war, comfort women were not called "jugun ianfu" (prostitutes for troops). Use of such generic terminology spread after the war. The latter description is said to have been used by writer Kako Senda (1924-2000) in his book titled "Jugun Ianfu" published in 1973. Thereafter, the usage of jugun ianfu prevailed.

Were comfort women actually forcibly taken away?

An article on the website of Japan-Policy Institute, a conservative think tank. This an average summary of the story, although it has many typos.As a result of these developments, in 1997, the Asahi Shimbun, which had been pursuing the governmentfs responsibility, admitted that the gcomfort womenh had not been ones who were gforcibly taken away by the Japanese authorities.h Consequently, history textbooks one by one dropped the term gmilitary sexual slavery.h By 2006, all junior high school history textbooks had ceased to use this kind of term.

Though it is true that there were gcomfort womenh in war zones, it is definitely false that these women had been abducted by the Japanese military. In this sense, gcomfort womenh controversy has already been settled.

Don't misinterpret comfort women issue

The Yomiuri Shimbun wrote an editorial to object againt the House Resolution 121. It says:The resolution says the Japanese military commissioned the acquisition of comfort women. However, no documents have been found to support this assertion. Historians also accept that no such orchestrated action was undertaken by the Japanese military. [...]

The U.S. House resolution criticizes such moves in Japan, saying they represent their "desire to dilute or rescind the 1993 statement." But it could be a natural course of action to revise the inaccurate Kono statement. What was behind the issuance of the Kono statement was the government's misjudgment -- made under pressure from South Korea -- that its acknowledgement that the comfort women were forcibly recruited would lead to the settlement of the issue.

The use and abuse of the past

A conservative columnist, Hideaki Kase writes in NewsWeek:The fact is that the brothels were commercial establishments. U.S. Army records explicitly declare that the comfort women were prostitutes, and found no instances of "kidnapping" by the Japanese authorities. It's also worth noting that some 40 percent of these women were of Japanese origin.

House Resolution 121 about comfort women

The voting for House Resolution 121 to blame Japanese government for the comfort women was postponed (probably) after PM Abe's visit to the U.S. However, since Abe's comment increased the proponents for the resolution, it might be passed, although it has no legal enforcement. Marion Edwyn Harrison, president of Free Congress Foundation, a conservative think tank, criticized the resolution as follows:H Res 121 is ridiculous for a variety of reasons. Some of them, without limitation and not necessarily in prioritized order: (1) Our United States Government has no jurisdiction over the Japanese Government. (2) Adverse affect upon American - Japanese relations. (3) Congress is, or should be, overwhelmed with issues within its jurisdiction (e.g., spending of taxpayers’ money out of control; unlawful immigration out of control; no effective missile defense system; Social Security headed for bankruptcy; delay and defeat in confirmation of Federal judges; so on). (4) A similar resolut…

Washington Post's double talk

Washington Post's editorial says PM Abe is right to blame North Korea's refusal of response to Japan's request for more information about abduction but wrong to refuse Japan's responsibility of military abduction during WW2:What's odd -- and offensive -- is his parallel campaign to roll back Japan's acceptance of responsibility for the abduction, rape and sexual enslavement of tens of thousands of women during World War II. [...]Historians say that up to 200,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines and other Asian countries were enslaved and that Japanese soldiers participated in abductions. Many survivors of the system have described their horrifying experiences, including three who recently testified to Congress.This is, to be sorry, one more false accusation based on the wrong reporting of the Asahi Shimbun and the misleading apology of Japanese government. No historian says "Japanese soldiers participated in abductions". Even Prof. Yoshimi, wh…

Asahi admits their Ianfu stories were wrong

According to a comment to my blog, the PR bureau of the Asahi Shimbun replied to his question on the phone as follows:Seiji Yoshida's testimony that he abducted women was not a true story. The Asahi corrected the articles in 1997.It was not true that the Ianfu were forced into brothels as "Joshi Teishintai". The Asahi never reported it was true.The article on 11 Jan. 1992 did not say that the Army had abducted women.Although these excuses are questionable, it is obvious that even the Asahi doesn't say that the Army coerced women into brothels. The "Ianfu" is a phantom issue that was created by the Asahi's wrong report and that it admits they were wrong.

Coercion in the broad and narrow sense

PM Abe's artificial definition of "coercion" is making this issue even more confusing. A blog pointed it out.

Abe didn't deny coercion in the broad sense, i.e., the coercion or deception by contractors of the Army. He denied the coercion in the narrow sense, i.e., kidnapping of women by the Army officials. NYT and other media confused this definition.

This bizarre definition came from an effort to make Abe's denial of coercion in the past consistent with Kono statement. So it is understandable for western media was confused. But some reporter, for example Onishi of NYT, seems to have misinterpreted it intentionally to make his article more sensational.

Asian Women's Fund

This is a report about comfort women by the Asian Women's Fund, a non-profit organization to compensate ex-Ianfu by private funds. Since it was headed by Prof. Haruki Wada of Tokyo University, a pro-North Korean scholar, its neutrality is questionable. But this is the most extensive report about Ianfu in English.

Japanese government insisted the Ianfu was not business

According to an article in WSJ, two lawyer point out that Japanese government insisted that employing comfort women was not a commercial activity, and a federal district court of the United States decided that it was a "war crime":When women who survived the sex-slavery camps sued Japan in federal court six years ago, they alleged that the whole sex slavery scheme functioned as commercial activity. Faced with this charge, Japan denied it had acted as a business. The D.C. District Court agreed, holding in effect that the fact that the women were abducted and enslaved pursuant to a Japanese government "master plan" distinguished their case from routine commercial prostitution. The court concluded that this "barbaric" conduct was more like a war crime or a crime against humanity than a commercial venture, and so Japan could not be held liable under the provision of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that allows governments to be sued when they act like bus…

Japanese Government states there is no evidence of military coercion

Yesterday Japanese Cabinet endorsed a written statement that there was no evidence that the Japanese military had forcibly recruited women into sex slavery during World War II.

NYT's Onishi quotes the American ambassador's claim that there was testimony by "credible witness", which is wrong, as usual for Onishi. The witness from Korea and Taiwan didn't testify they were kidnapped. Dutch witness claimed she had been raped, but it was not related to the Army's order, as Dutch court decided.


The article about "Comfort women" was vandalized and protected. It is full of so many factual errors that I can't correct them all. Please correct them in the comments.

US Media on Comfort Woman Controversy

Post from Mr. Mitibata, Suzunari 

Few Japanese can express their ideas in English. English speaking people tend to ignore the opinion in Japanese. As a result, discussions in two languages do not meet. English prevails, independent of the content and validity of the argument itself. In the comfort woman issue, US media seems to lack fairness and distorted what PM Abe had said.

"US media ignores Japanese ambassador’s press conference" by ampontan on March 9th, 2007

"PM Abe misquoted in English" by Matt on March 2nd, 2007

Japan Focus

Articles about Ianfu

BBC, Mar. 3: "Sex slave denial angers S Korea"Discussion about this articleNYT, Mar.6: "No Apology for Sex Slavery, Japan’s Prime Minister Says"

NYT, Mar. 6: "No Comfort" (editorial)Discussion about these articlesWashington Post (AP), Mar. 7: "Ex-S.Korea Sex Slaves Recall Humiliation"

LA Times, Mar. 7: "Paging the emperor" (editorial)

Economist, Mar.8: "No comfort for Abe"

Post more links and comments.

Starting up

This site collects articles, raw materials, links, and other resources about the Ianfu, or "comfort women", the state-regulated prostitutes who served for Japanese Army during the World War 2.

Although there are many sites arguing this issue in Japanese, there are very little information in English. So Western media like NY Times and BBC write many wrong and biased stories. That's why I set up this blog. You can post (or copy)Article about Ianfu in EnglishEnglish translation of the articles about Ianfu in newspapers, magazines, and booksLinks to Japanese sites about Ianfu.The post should be written in English. Since this site is aiming at database, the post must be focused on the fact, not opinion.

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