MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT COMFORT WOMEN

NO ORGANIZED OR FORCED RECRUITMENT: MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT COMFORT WOMEN AND THE JAPANESE MILITARY

Hata Ikuhiko, Professor Emeritus, Nihon University (PDF) Excerpts:

Here we will focus on the testimony of Lee Yong-soo, who lives in Seoul at Nanum House, a home for former comfort women. Ms. Lee has visited Japan several times to tell her story. Here are some excerpts from her testimony at the hearing:
Punsun knocked on my window early in the morning, and whispered to me to follow her quietly. I tip-toed out of the house after her. I lift [sic] without telling my mother. I was wearing a dark skirt, a long cotton blouse buttoned up at the front and slippers on my feet. I followed my friend until we met the same man who had tried to approach us on the riverbank. [Italic added]
Former comfort woman Mun Ok-chu (now deceased) published her vicissitude-filled story. Active in Burma, she was known for her cleverness, sunny disposition and solicitude. She was immensely popular among the Japanese soldiers, from the rank-and-file soldiers to generals. In less than three years, she managed to save up ¥26,000,3 and sent¥5,000 home to her family. At that time, the average salary of a Japanese Army sergeant was ¥30 per month.

How about the other woman, Kim Koon-ja? According to her testimony, her foster father (a Korean police officer) told her to go out and earn some money at the age of 16. Kim met a Korean man who told her he had a good job for her. She was then taken away in a freight car. Ms. Kim was either deceived by a broker or told to go with him by the foster father (perhaps sold to him to pay off a loan). What is noteworthy is that no Japanese was involved in Kim’s case.

Since there is no evidence of kidnapping by a government authority, we must assume that the young women were deceived by Koreans — their compatriots. The fact that no Japanese living on the Korean peninsula had sufficient command of the Korean language to deceive a Korean woman lends even more credence to this assumption.

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