April 30, 2016

"Comfort Women of the Empire" by Professor Park Yuha

"Comfort Women of the Empire" was written by Professor Park Yuha of Sejong University in South Korea. Please also refer to the New York Times article about this book: http://goo.gl/tKcbxg  The book was banned from publishing in South Korea. Professor Park is also being sued for defamation by anti-Japanese activist groups and receives death threats from time to time. In South Korea the government often uses civic groups to hunt down people who speak out the inconvenient truth. It is now very difficult for Professor Park to publish anything in South Korea without being persecuted, but her books can be purchased in other Asian countries.

Professor Park Yuha

I first confronted the comfort women issue in 1991. It was near the end of my study in Japan. As a volunteer I was translating former Korean comfort women's testimonies for NHK. When I returned to South Korea, the nationalism was out of control. The anti-Japanese activist group "Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery" (also known as Chong Dae Hyup 정대협 挺対協) was formed by the South Korean communists. Its leader said publicly it was determined to defame Japan for the next 200 years. Its propaganda turned me off, so I stayed away from this issue for years. I regained my interest in this issue in the early 2000s when I heard that Chong Dae Hyup was confining surviving women in a nursing home called House of Nanumu. The only time these women were allowed to talk to outsiders was when Chong Dae Hyup needed them to testify for the UN Special Rapporteur or the U.S. politicians. But for some reason I was allowed to talk to them one day in 2003. I could sense that women were not happy being confined in this place. One of the women (Bae Chun-hee) told me she reminisced the romance she had with a Japanese soldier. She said she hated her father who sold her. She also told me that women there didn't appreciate being coached by Chong Dae Hyup to give false testimonies but had to obey Chong Dae Hyup's order. When Japan offered compensation through Asian Women's Fund in 1995, 61 former Korean comfort women defied Chong Dae Hyup's order and accepted compensation. Those 61 women were vilified as traitors. Their names and addresses were published in newspapers as prostitutes, and they had to live the rest of their lives in disgrace. So the rest of the women were terrified of Chong Dae Hyup and wouldn't dare to defy again. Chong Dae Hyup (some of its members were arrested as North Korean spies) has used the comfort women issue for its political purpose, which is to drive a wedge into U.S.-Japan-South Korea security partnership.

Comfort stations

In wars, soldiers sometimes rape innocent women. To prevent this from happening, the Japanese military used existing brothels in Manchuria as comfort stations in the early 1930s. As it advanced into China and Southeast Asia, more comfort stations were needed. So the brothel operators recruited women and operated comfort stations in order to meet the increased demand. Japanese brothel operators recruited women in Japan. They owned and operated comfort stations employing Japanese women. Korean brothel operators recruited women in Korea. They owned and operated comfort stations employing Korean women. (See footnote *3, *4)

Two types of comfort women

There were two types of comfort women. (1) Japanese and Korean women (both Japanese citizens)  They constituted over 95% of comfort women. They were not coerced by the Japanese military. They were recruited by brothel operators. (2) Local women in the battlefields (Dutch women in Indonesia, Filipino women in the Philippines, etc.)  They constituted less than 5% of comfort women. Dozens of them were coerced by the Japanese soldiers in violation of Japanese military rules. The Japanese soldiers who coerced local women were tried and some executed.

These two types should have been identified differently. But when the comfort women became an issue in the early 1990s, all women who provided sex to the Japanese military were identified uniformly, and that created a big confusion.

The myth "Korean comfort women were coerced by the Japanese military"

The Korean woman who first claimed this in the early 1990s belonged to Chongsindae during the war. Chongsindae (also called Teishintai in Japanese) was a group of women conscripted by the Japanese military. They worked in factories to manufacture military equipment and uniforms. Since she was conscripted, she thought comfort women were also conscripted. It wasn't that she fabricated the story. It was an innocent mistake on her part. None of the initial testimonies of former Korean comfort women claimed they were coerced by the Japanese military. The majority of the Korean women were sold by their fathers to Korean comfort station owners. Some Korean women were deceived by Korean comfort station owners' agents. Other Korean women were in the world's oldest profession, and they did volunteer to earn good money.

The myth "There were 200,000 comfort women"

Two hundred thousand was the number of factory workers conscripted. About 150,000 of them were Japanese and 50,000 were Korean. Common misunderstanding in the West "There were 200,000 comfort women" arose because Asahi Shimbun mistook factory workers for comfort women in its August 11th, 1991 article, which inflated the number. The estimates of comfort women numbers vary from 5,000 to 10,000 depending on the historians.

The Japanese soldiers and Korean comfort women

Korean comfort women typically made about 750 yen a month plus tips. (A house in Korea cost 1000 yen at the time)  Some also sang at parties to earn generous tips. Women attended sports events, picnics and social dinners with both officers and men. They were also allowed to go shopping in towns. Romances between Korean comfort women and Japanese soldiers were common, and there were numerous instances of proposals of marriage and in certain cases marriages actually took place.

Korean comfort station owners

The Japanese military sent notices (See footnote *7) to comfort station operators prohibiting them to recruit women against their will. The Japanese comfort station operators followed the order and only recruited willing women in Japan, but the Korean operators didn't follow the order and recruited both willing prostitutes and unwilling women in Korea. If the Korean operators had followed the order, there wouldn't have been any comfort women issue.

Many of Korean comfort women's fathers had debts from alcohol, gambling, etc. and sold their daughters without daughters' consent. The Korean comfort station owners took over their debts, and depending on the amount of the debt, each woman's contract length was determined. Korean women were not allowed to leave until their debts were paid off. Any coercion, violence or confinement was exercised by the Korean owners. So if one wants to use the term "sex slaves" to describe former Korean comfort women, they were the sex slaves of Korean comfort station owners. They were not the sex slaves of the Japanese military. The Japanese military's involvement was limited to conducting sexually transmitted disease checkups and providing transportation to comfort station owners and comfort women. (Note: The Japanese government recognized its military's involvement, not coercion, in the 2015 agreement. http://goo.gl/pq5l2s)

A diary written by a Korean comfort station manager was discovered in 2013 (See footnote *3), and it makes it clear that Korean businessmen not only recruited Korean women but also owned and operated comfort stations. The diary contains the detailed account of Korean owners wire transferring huge profit they made from operating comfort stations. The common perception in the West that the Japanese military operated comfort stations is incorrect.

Japan-South Korea Treaty of 1965

During treaty negotiations, the Japanese government asked the South Korean government to identify and separate individual claims from the treaty because the Japanese government wanted to make sure the victims received compensation. The South Korean government declined and accepted the entire sum of 800 million dollars (over ten billion dollars in today's money) in place of its citizens and spent all of it on infrastructures. Therefore it is not reasonable for the South Korean government to keep asking for additional compensation from Japan.

Kono Statement in 1993

Kono Statement acknowledged that some Korean comfort women were coerced. But it did not acknowledge that the Japanese military coerced them. Some may ask why it was necessary for the Japanese government to apologize via Kono Statement if Korean women were coerced by the Korean operators. Well, the Japanese military's invasion into China and Southeast Asia did create the demand for comfort women. So Japan bears part of the responsibility for women's suffering although its military did not coerce Korean women nor operate comfort stations.

Asian Women's Fund

Asian Women's Fund was established by the Japanese government in 1995. (Compensation came with a personal letter of apology from Prime Minister of Japan)  As for Korean women, although they were not coerced by the Japanese military and all individual claims were settled in the 1965 Japan-South Korea Treaty, the Japanese government still offered Asian Women's Fund to Korean women as a good gesture. Ironically every nation involved except South Korea accepted compensation through Asian Women's Fund and reconciled with Japan.  (Note: The South Korean government and Korean women wanted to accept Asian Women's Fund as well, but the anti-Japanese activist group Chong Dae Hyup threatened Korean women not to accept Japan's apology and compensation so that it could continue its anti-Japanese propaganda campaign. So most Korean women could not accept Japan's apology and compensation.)

Why has it been so difficult to resolve this issue only with South Korea?

Chong Dae Hyup (정대협 挺対協) opposed Asian Women's Fund claiming it wasn't the legal apology and compensation. But considering all individual claims were settled in the 1965 Japan-South Korea Treaty, Asian Women's Fund was the best the Japanese government could do. Chong Dae Hyup has had a very close relationship with North Korea. Its members including the leader's husband were arrested as North Korean spies. The real reason Chong Dae Hyup opposed Asian Women's Fund was because it wanted to use the comfort women issue to block reconciliation between Japan and South Korea. Chong Dae Hyup has hosted Wednesday protests every week in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul since 1992.

The relationship between the anti-Japanese activist group Chong Dae Hyup (Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery) and North Korea:

Yun Mi-Hyang (Chairwoman) was investigated for working with North Korea in 2013.
Kim Sam-Suk (Yun Mi-Hyang's husband) was arrested as a North Korean spy in 1993.
Kim Eun-Ju (Kim Sam-Suk's sister) was arrested as a North Korean spy in 1993.
Choi Gi-Yong (Kim Eun-Ju's husband) was arrested as a North Korean spy in 2006.
Lee Seok-Gi (member) was arrested as a North Korean spy in 2013.

World's view

Instead of reconciling with Japan by accepting Japan's apology and compensation, Chong Dae Hyup and its U.S. affiliates have appealed to the world by dragging former Korean comfort women (now in their 90's) around the world as exhibitions. UN reports such as Coomaraswamy Report and U.S. House Resolution 121 were issued based solely on materials provided by the activists with close ties to North Korea. (False testimonies of women who were coached by Chong Dae Hyup. Reference)  Most Western media and scholars fell for activists' propaganda and believe "200,000 Korean women were coercively taken away by the Japanese military." Obviously this world's view is not based on fact. The Japanese soldiers did coerce dozens of Dutch and Filipino women in the battlefields of Indonesia and the Philippines. But the Korean women were not coerced by the Japanese military because the Korean Peninsula was not the battlefield and therefore very few Japanese soldiers were left in Korea and the majority of policemen were Korean. Japan apologized and compensated, and Netherlands, Indonesia and the Philippines had all accepted Japan's apology and reconciled with Japan. So there are no comfort women issues between those nations and Japan. The comfort women issue remains only with South Korea because Chong Dae Hyup refuses to reconcile with Japan and continues to spread the false claim -- 200,000 Korean women were coerced by the Japanese military -- throughout the world. Chong Dae Hyup is a very powerful activist group in South Korea, and Korean politicians are scared to death to defy it. But South Korean government must somehow distance itself from Chong Dae Hyup if this issue is to be resolved. After all, Chong Dae Hyup has no interest in the welfare of former Korean comfort women. Its goal is to discredit Japan and to block reconciliation between Japan and South Korea.

Empires and comfort women

Just like the empires were created by European powers and Japan in the past, the United States has military bases all over the world. And wherever the U.S. military bases are located, there are women who provide sex to the U.S. military personnels. There is no doubt that the U.S. military interventions in Vietnam, Iraq and so on had caused suffering to local people especially to women. It is rather ironic that the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution to criticize Japan and comfort women statues keep going up in the U.S.  Japan was partly guilty because its imperialism (the Japanese military's invasion into China and Southeast Asia) created the demand for comfort women. But the Korean narrative -- the Japanese military showed up at the doors and abducted young Korean women -- just didn't happen. The Korean brothel operators capitalized on the demand, recruited Korean women, operated comfort stations and made lots of money. Japan has apologized for its part. South Korea should admit its complicity and stop demanding Japan for more apologies.

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(*1) The following is a momoir written by a former Korean comfort woman, Mun Oku-chu. It shows what it was like to be a comfort woman.


(*2) The U.S. military interrogated hundreds of Korean POWs that belonged to the Japanese Army. They frequented comfort stations, and the following was what they said about Korean comfort women.

"All Korean prostitutes that POWs have seen in the Pacific were volunteers or had been sold by their parents into prostitution. This is proper in the Korean way of thinking, but direct conscription of women by the Japanese would be an outrage that the old and young alike would not tolerate. Men would rise up in a rage, killing Japanese no matter what consequence they might suffer."

The following is the U.S. military report dated October 1, 1944. This report is accurate except where it says "Japanese agents recruited women and Japanese housemasters operated comfort stations." It should have said "ethnic Korean agents recruited Korean women and Korean housemasters operated comfort stations." The U.S. military interrogator thought they were Japanese because their surnames were Japanese. Actually the ethnic Koreans were Japanese citizens at the time, so the report might have referred to them as "Japanese agents" and "Japanese housemasters" for that reason. (See the list of comfort stations in footnote *3)


(*3) In 2013 Professor Ahn Byong Jik of Seoul National University discovered a diary written by a Korean comfort station manager. The diary contains accounts of Korean owners wire transferring profit they made from operating comfort stations. The diary also mentions that whenever comfort stations needed more women, Korean owners used their agents to recruit women. Professor Ahn Byong Jik confirms that Korean comfort women were recruited by Korean comfort station owners, not by the Japanese military.


You can purchase the diary at the following.


The following is the summary of the diary in English by Professor Choe Kilsung.

The following is the list of comfort stations mentioned in the diary. The owners were all Korean although they had Japanese surnames. (click to enlarge)

 The following is the list of comfort stations in Shanghai where Korean women worked. The owners were all Korean as well.

(*4) The photo below is a recruitment ad in Korean newspaper Maeil Sinbo (매일신보 毎日新報) on October 27, 1944 by a Korean comfort station owner. There are more ads like this.

(*5) The photo below is a record of how much a typical Korean comfort woman made.

(*6) The photo below is a report in Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo (동아일보 東亜日報) on August 31, 1939. It says, "About 100 Korean women were abducted by Korean comfort station owners' agents but were rescued by Japanese policemen." There are dozens of reports like this. (other reports)

(*7) The photo below is an order sent by the Japanese military to comfort station operators. It says, "Do not recruit women against their will. Only recruit willing prostitutes." Professor Yoshiaki Yoshimi (a well known communist and with close ties to North Korea) misrepresented this document as proof that the Japanese military coerced Korean women. Confronted by other scholars, Mr. Yoshimi admitted to the Japanese media that he was wrong, but he never did so to Western media. The New York Times in its 2007 article used his initial statement as proof that the Japanese military coerced Korean women. Many scholars have demanded NYT to retract the article, but NYT has refused to do so claiming it wasn't their fault Yoshimi misrepresented.

(*8) The photo below is an article in Korean newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun (경향신문 京郷新聞) on June 6, 1977. It says that a Korean comfort station owner trafficked dozens of Korean comfort women to Rabaul, Papua New Guinea to provide sex to Japanese soldiers there during World War II. It was common knowledge in South Korea until the 1970s that Korean comfort station owners recruited Korean women and operated comfort stations, and no South Koreans contested that notion. Then Asahi Shimbun (Japanese newspaper) published a series of fabricated articles in the 1980's falsely accusing Japanese military of abducting Korean comfort women. South Korean communists with close ties to North Korea thought this was a great opportunity to discredit Japan and block reconciliation between Japan and South Korea. So they formed the anti-Japan lobby Chong Dae Hyup in 1990 and began spreading comfort women lies worldwide. Their strategy was to use the case of a small number of Dutch and Filipino women who were coerced by lower ranked Japanese soldiers and make it look like the same thing happened to tens of thousands of Korean women. Since they had no evidence, they coached Korean women to testify falsely.

(*9) The relationship between the anti-Japanese activist group Chong Dae Hyup (Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery) and North Korea.

Yun Mi-Hyang (Chairwoman) was investigated for working with North Korea in 2013.
Kim Sam-Suk (Yun Mi-Hyang's husband) was arrested as a North Korean spy in 1993.
Kim Eun-Ju (Kim Sam-Suk's sister) was arrested as a North Korean spy in 1993.
Choi Gi-Yong (Kim Eun-Ju's husband) was arrested as a North Korean spy in 2006.
Lee Seok-Gi (member) was arrested as a North Korean spy in 2013.

(*10) The South Korean government established comfort women system for its troops in Vietnam in the 1960s and for the U.S. troops stationed in South Korea in the 1960s & 1970s.



A number of comfort women statues have been built in the U.S. as a result of tenacious lobbying by the Korean activists. The activists insist that the statues are for all women whose rights were violated in wars and not meant to be anti-Japanese. However, the statues only accuse the Japanese military and do not mention the South Korean military's atrocities to women.

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Asahi Shimbun published a series of fabricated articles on comfort women in the 1980s. Based on these articles, the anti-Japanese activist group Chong Dae Hyup was formed by South Korean communists in 1990. Then out of nowhere a woman named Kim Hak-sun came forward in 1991 and claimed she was abducted by the Japanese military. There is clear evidence (recorded tapes) that suggests she was coached by Chong Dae Hyup to give false testimony. If Korean women were indeed abducted by the Japanese military, it is rather odd that not a single woman claimed anything for over 45 years after the end of World War II.  Former South Korean President Roh Tae-woo said in a 1993 interview, "Asahi Shimbun created the comfort women issue out of nothing, provoked Korean nationalism and infuriated Korean people."

It is ironic that 99% of Westerners fell for Chong Dae Hyup's (North Korean) propaganda and believe 200,000 Korean women were coerced by the Japanese military while South Korean scholars such as Professor Park Yuha of Sejong University, Professor Lee Yong-hoon of Seoul University, Professor Ahn Byong-jik of Seoul University, Professor Jun Bong-gwan of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Professor Lee Dae-gun of Sungkyunkwan University, Professor Choi Ki-ho of Kaya University, Professor Oh Seon-hwa of Takushoku University and Professor Chunghee Sarah Soh of San Francisco State University agree that the Japanese military did not coerce Korean women. Only a small number of fanatics with loud voice (South Korean activists with close ties to North Korea and China) falsely claim 200,000 Korean women were coerced by the Japanese military. Westerners must realize that North Korean and Chinese operatives are using the comfort women issue to drive a wedge into U.S.-Japan-South Korea security partnership.

April 28, 2016

Korean Newspaper Reports from 1930's

1939.03.28 동아일보
50여 처녀가 조선인 인신매매단에 걸려서 북지, 만주에 창기로 팔림.
일본경찰이 구해줌. 
March 28, 1939 Donga Ilbo
Over 50 women were deceived by a Korean trafficker (Bae Jang-eon 배장언)
 and sent to Northern China & Manchuria.
He was arrested and the women were rescued by Japanese policemen.
1933.06.30 동아일보
노상에서 소녀를 유인하여 납치,
추업중인(매춘포주)에게 매도. 범인은 박명동과 이성녀
June 30, 1933 Donga Ilbo
A girl was kidnapped from the street by
Korean traffickers (Park Myeong-dong & Lee Seong-nyeo)

1936.05.14 매일신보
농촌부녀유인 악한을 검거.
여자를 만주에 창기로 팔려던 것을 일본경찰이 검거해서 여성을 구출함.
네명의 여자가 마수를 벗어남.
May 14, 1936 Maeil Shinbo
Traffickers (Korean comfort station owners' agents) were arrested
by police for deceiving women from farming villages.
Four women were rescued.
 1939.08.31 동아일보
악덕소개업자가 발호, 
이들이 유괴한 농촌부녀자의 수가 무려 100명 이상.
모두 일본경찰님들이 구출해내심. 
August 31, 1939 Donga Ilbo 
Over 100 women from farming villages were deceived
by Korean traffickers (Kim Ok-man 김옥만 & his family) 
They were arrested and the women were rescued by Japanese policemen.
1936.07.09 매일신보
처녀를 유인하여 추업(매춘)을 강제한 행상마녀의 죄상. 
범인은 황금정, 박금희, 이덕순 이라는 조선녀 3인. 
순진한 가정부녀들을 유인해서 중국인에게 매춘을 강요함. 
일본경찰이 검거하여 피해여성들을 구출. 
July 9, 1936 Maeil Shinbo
   Three Korean traffickers (Hwang Geum-jeong, Park Geum-hee & Lee Deok-sun)
were arrested for deceiving innocent girls.
1935.03.07 동아일보
중국 상해 암흑굴에 조선여성 2천여명. 이들 원정녀들 때문에 조선인의 체면이 손상됨. 
그녀들의 참담한 생활에도 불구하고 대책이 막연. 
왜냐하면 경제적 문제로 인한 자발적인 근로라서 대책을 세울 수 없음을 안타까워하는 내용.
March 7, 1935 Donga Ilbo
About 2,000 Korean women work in the Shanghai slum.
These prostitutes tarnish our reputation.
But we can't stop them because they voluntarily stay there for economic reasons.
1933.07.01 동아일보
소녀유인단의 수괴 은뽕어멈.
주로 어린 소녀들을 꾀어다가 매음굴에 팔아 먹던 악녀였는데,
일본경찰이 검거함.
July 1, 1933 Donga Ilbo
A leader of the Korean group that trafficked girls to
Korean comfort station owners was arrested last night.
1936.02.14 매일신보
조선인들이 여자 유인해서 창기로 팔아 먹는걸 
일본경찰이 발견하고 검거함. 
February 14, 1936 Maeil Shinbo
Korean traffickers who deceived and sold women
 to Korean comfort station owners were arrested by police.
1939.03.28 매일신보
농촌처녀 유인해서 100 여명을 팔아먹음.
부자와 4촌이 가족친지 조선인 납치단임.
이걸 일본경찰이 검거해서 여성들을 구해줌.
March 28, 1939 Maeil Shinbo
A group of Korean traffickers deceived and sold
over 100 women from farming villages.
The women were rescued by Japanese policemen.
 October 27, 1944 Maeil Shinbo
Comfort women wanted ad by a Korean comfort station owner

April 27, 2016

"I am 92 years old, and I want to tell you the truth" by Professor Choe Ki-ho

Professor Choe Ki-ho of Kaya University

I was born in 1923. For the sake of South Korea and for Japan, I want to tell you the truth. Telling the truth could threaten my life in South Korea, but I feel it is my duty to do so.

I lived in Seoul during the annexation period. I also spent some time in Tokyo. In those days, the Koreans were more proud of being Japanese than the Japanese themselves. At movie theaters in Korea, they showed the war news before the movies were played. For example, if they showed the image of Japan's victory in New Guinea, the Koreans shouted banzai and gave a round of applause. I loved movies, so I went to movie theaters in Japan as well, and the Japanese were calmer. Nowadays the Koreans who speak positively of the Japanese are criticized as "Chinilpa (pro-Japanese)" but in those days over 90% of Koreans were pro-Japanese. After the war, successive South Korean governments have brainwashed the youths with anti-Japanese education in order to incite hatred towards the Japanese.

Koreans in the street of Seoul celebrating Japan's advance in China (1941)

90% of history education in South Korea is distorted. In South Korean classrooms, our teachers don't teach how corrupt the Joseon Dynasty was in the 19th century, and they make their students believe that the Koreans could have gained independence without Japan's help.

By becoming part of Japan in 1910, education, healthcare, industry and infrastructure in Korea improved dramatically. The foundation of becoming a modern state was built during the annexation period. Yet we teach in our classrooms that Japan's annexation set back Korea's progress.

Population and average life span of Koreans doubled under the Japanese

The Joseon Dynasty ruined Korean industry, and the Korean thinkers who advocated reforms were brutally executed. The Koreans today shout "brutal Japanese!" "sex slaves!" but the Korean ruling class (Yangban) in the 19th century was far more brutal. The final years of the Joseon Dynasty were so hellish that they would only compare with the present day North Korea.

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"I received my education under the Japanese, and I wasn't discriminated at all"

Former South Korean Air Force Captain Choe Sam-yeon

Colonies have existed since the 15th century. Modern history of mankind can be called the colonial age. We encounter former colonies wherever we go in the world. In Africa people are still in poverty long after the end of being colonized. Which former colonies have achieved economic success? South Korea and Taiwan. Both of them were former Japanese colonies. India was one of the British colonies, but the British didn't spend money on infrastructure, and the Indian economy didn't develop for a long time. It has finally started to grow, but its GDP per capita and literacy are still very low.

Japan spent a lot of money on infrastructure both in South Korea and in Taiwan. This was very unique. Other colonizers squeezed natural resources from their colonies but didn't invest in them. Half of Japanese taxpayers' money was spent on colonial infrastructure so that the quality of life would be equivalent.

During the Joseon period, the overwhelming majority of the Koreans could not attend schools. When the Japanese came in, they built many schools. So I was able to receive my education, and the quality of education was just as good in Korea as in Japan. The Koreans and the Taiwanese were able to attend military academy of Japan as well. Other colonizers didn't allow people from their colonies to attend military academy of the colonizers. In other words, the Japanese didn't discriminate in education either. In other colonies the discrimination was rightful. The Japanese rule in Korea and Taiwan should not have been called colonization. It was annexation, similar to what England did with Scotland. The Koreans like me who experienced Japan's annexation reminisce it, but unfortunately the younger Koreans who received anti-Japanese brainwashing in schools despise it.

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A 38 year-old man beat a 95 year-old man to death

Published in Segye Ilbo (World Daily) on September 12, 2013

A man in his 30's beat a man in his 90's to death because the old man supported the Japanese rule of Korea. The court imposed a five year sentence on the assailant.

In May 2013, 38 year-old Mr. Hwang quarreled with 95 year-old Mr. Park in Chongmyo Park located in Chongno ward, Seoul, South Korea.

Mr. Park said, "I fondly recall the period of the Japanese rule. It was fortunate for Korea to have been ruled by Japan." Mr. Hwang could not control his temper. Mr. Hwang kicked Mr. Park, forcefully took his 80cm long walking stick supporting him and hit his face several times.

Mr. Park was taken to a hospital. He was diagnosed with cerebral hemorrhage and a fractured skull, which would take eight weeks to heal. Mr. Hwang was charged with assault after interrogation by police.

At first, the court categorized this case as a simple assault and entrusted it to the summary court. However, after Mr. Park died in the hospital, the situation changed.

The prosecutor attributed the death of Mr. Park to the assault by Mr.Hwang and changed the charge from assault to assault causing death. The case was also transferred to the district court where three judges presided over the trial.

On September 10th, Seoul District Court (chief judge Kim Young Gwan) ruled Hwang guilty of all charges and sentenced him to five years in prison.

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Korea was the one that requested to become part of Japan

The photo on the left: A telegraph sent by Iljinhoe (Korea's leading political party) requesting Japan to annex Korea (click to enlarge)

The photo on the right: Iljinhoe enjoyed the overwhelming majority among political parties

"The annexation was forced upon Korea by Japan" is a lie


Right after the end of WW2, many Koreans wanted to remain Japanese citizens

The sign above says "We want Korea to remain part of Japan"

The sign on the left says "We are against the U.S. trusteeship"

There were many demonstrations like this one across the Korean Peninsula

Over 800,000 Korean men applied to join the Imperial Japanese Army 1938-1943
Year     # of positions offered to Koreans     # of applicants     # accepted
          1938                           400                                   2,946                  406
          1939                           600                                 12,348                  613
          1940                        3,000                                 84,443               3,060
          1941                        3,200                               144,743               3,208
          1942                        4,000                               254,273               4,077
          1943                        6,000                               303,394               6,000             
IJA was one of the most coveted professions among young Korean men.

Education under the Japanese

The photo above: Seoul National University (the very first university in the Korean Peninsula)

The photo below: Seoul Women's Normal School (the women couldn't receive education during the Joseon period)

Since Korea became part of Japan (not a colony), Japan established higher education institutions

Namdaemun (South Great Gate)

The photo above (1897): Straw thatched roofs, dirt road, poor hygiene

The photo below (annexation period): paved streets, street cars, better hygiene

Infrastructure & healthcare improved dramatically under the Japanese

Namdaemun Street (South Great Gate Street)

The photo above (1880)

The photo below (1936)

Quality of life improved dramatically under the Japanese

The photo above (Joseon period)

The photo below (1937)

April 26, 2016

"The New Korea" by Professor Alleyne Ireland

The state of 19th century Korea (Joseon Dynasty 조선왕조 李氏朝鮮) was very similar to that of present day North Korea. The majority of the population were starving and were enslaved by the royal court and bureaucrats called Yangban (양반 両班) who were supported by Qing Dynasty China. (Just like Kim Jong-un and his henchmen rule North Korea with aid from China today)  When Japan defeated China in Sino-Japanese war (1894-95), the court and bureaucrats lost their backing. Soon Korea fell into total chaos. To avoid the Russian invasion, Korea chose to become part of Japan in 1910. This move was welcomed by the majority of the Koreans (former slaves who enjoyed freedom and better lives under new administration) but was resented by Yangban who lost their privilege to enslave people. (Yangban would soon launch an independence movement)

Professor Alleyne Ireland of University of Chicago was the leading expert on colonial administration in Asia. He gained deep knowledge of Japan's annexation of Korea from his visit there in 1922. The following are excerpts from his book "The New Korea" published in 1926.

Professor Alleyne Ireland

My opinion of Japanese administration in Korea has been derived from the consideration of what I saw in the country, what I have read about it in official and in unofficial publications, and from discussions with persons (Japanese, Korean and foreign) who were living in the Peninsula at the time of my visit.

It is true that at the time Japan annexed Korea in 1910, the actual conditions of life in the Peninsula were extremely bad. This was not due to any lack of inherent intelligence and ability in the Korean race, but to the stupidity and corruption which had characterized the government of the Korean dynasty, and to the existence of a royal court which maintained a system of licensed cruelty and corruption throughout Korea. Such was the misrule under which the Koreans had suffered for generation after generation that all incentive to industry and social progress had been destroyed because none of the common people had been allowed to enjoy the fruits of their own efforts.

From 1910 to 1919 Japanese rule in Korea, though it accomplished much good for the people, bore the stamp of a military stiffness which aroused a great deal of resentment.

The New Korea of which I write is the Korea which has developed under the wise and sympathetic guidance of Governor-General Saito. At the time of my own visit to Korea in 1922, the Governor-General had nearly completed three years of his tenure in the office. The following is the list of measures Governor-General Saito introduced upon his arrival in 1919.

  1.  Non-discrimination between Japanese and Korean officials.
  2.  Simplification of laws and regulations.
  3.  Prompt transaction of state business.
  4.  Decentralization policy.
  5.  Improvement in local organization.
  6.  Respect for native culture and customs.
  7.  Freedom of speech, meeting and press.
  8.  Spread of education and development of industry.
  9.  Re-organization of the police system.
10.  Enlargement of medical and sanitary agencies.
11.  Guidance of the people.
12.  Advancement of men of talent.
13.  Friendly feeling between Japanese and Koreans.

The general consensus of opinion in Korea in 1922 was that Governor-General Saito had been animated by a sincere desire to rule Korea through a just and tolerant administration, that he had accomplished notable reforms, that in the matter of education he had ministered very generously to the cultural ambitions of the people, and that in regard to their political ambitions he had shown himself eager to foster local self-government and to infuse a spirit of friendliness and cooperation into the personal relations of the Japanese and Koreans.

Discussing Korean affairs with a good many people (Korean, Japanese and foreign) I found almost unanimous agreement on two points: one, that native sentiment had shown a continuing tendency to become less anti-Japanese in recent years; the other, that the remarkable increase in the country's prosperity had been accompanied by a striking improvement in the living conditions of the Korean people at large.

Writing now, four years after the date of my visit, and having in mind the most recent accounts of the state of Korea, I can express my conviction that there has occurred a steady and accelerating improvement in the general conditions of the country, in the administrative organization and personnel, and in the temper of the intercourse between the Koreans and the Japanese.

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Professor Atul Kohli of Princeton University confirmed Alleyne Ireland's conviction with the following data in his 2004 book "State-Directed Development":

"The average life span of the Koreans doubled from 23 years in 1910 to 45 years in 1945, and the population doubled from just over 12 million in 1910 to over 25 million in 1945 due to the institution of modern healthcare under the Japanese. Economic output in terms of agriculture, fishery, forestry and industry increased tenfold from 1910 to 1945. The economic development model the Japanese instituted played the crucial role in Korean economic development, a model that was maintained by the Koreans in the post-World War II era."

The books by Professor Alleyne Ireland and Professor Atul Kohli make it clear that the common perception in the West -- the Japanese invaded Korea, exploited Korean people and committed atrocities -- is a myth. If Japan is to annex North Korea right now, kick out Kim Jong-un and liberate majority of the North Koreans, wouldn't they welcome Japan's annexation with open arms? That was exactly what happened in 1910.

Footnote: You can read Professor Alleyne Ireland's book "The New Korea" in its entirety at http://goo.gl/czecMx

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The former US President Herbert Hoover visited Korea twice, the first time in 1909 and again in 1946. He noticed that many changes had occured in Korea during the Japanese rule.

April 25, 2016

Why Has South Korea Still Not Apologized to the Vietnam Comfort Women?

By Chris Grasso of Tampa Business Examiner

This year, at the 96th anniversary of the Korean uprising against Japan in March 1, 1919, South Korean President Park Geun-hye reiterated her call for Japan to admit to the war crimes it had committed during World War Two. Yet, even as she relentlessly seeks an apology from Japan, Ms. Park has conveniently ignored the fact that during the Vietnam War, Korean troops raped, assaulted and barbarically slaughtered thousands of Vietnam comfort women. Ms. Park cannot escape blame and claim unverified reports. Why South Korea still refuses to apologize to the Vietnam comfort women is not as mysterious as it seems.

Documents from the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) show irrefutable proof of South Korea’s abuses and wrongdoings during that period. Noriyuki Yamaguchi, then Washington bureau chief of the Tokyo Broadcasting System, mentioned in an article he wrote that in July 2014, the archives revealed a letter from the US military command stationed in Ho Chi Minh City (then Saigon) to Gen. Chae Myeong-sin, the military commander of South Korea in Vietnam. The letter referred to the illegal diversion of US supplies to South Korea, acts of prostitution in a supposedly “welfare center” where Vietnamese women were working, and US troops using that center for a $38 fee per visit.

The above report is only one of many accounts of South Korea’s atrocities towards the Vietnamese people during the war. Elderly survivors have recounted their own horror stories of the sex slavery and massacres they went through at that time. In 2001, recognizing the veracity of the reports, then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung met with Vietnam President Tran Duc Luong and offered a direct apology for South Korea’s acts on the Vietnamese people during the war.

But the day after Kim’s message of apology, Park Gein-hye, then deputy leader of the Grand National Party, the opposition party at the time, criticized Kim’s statement, saying it “drove a stake through the honor of South Korea.” Looking back, it was an omen of things to come if she should lead the country someday.

Seventy years and several apologies later, South Korean officials are still pressing Japan over the WW2 comfort women issue. Like an infant fixated on a vendetta, South Korea’s sense of entitlement is such that no amount of compensation or apology will satisfy them. Or is it really a simple case of overblown egomania? Old and new historical events might provide clues.

In a case of karmic retribution for South Korea, the Vietnam comfort women issue has been brought to international awareness 40 years after the war ended. To recall, in 1991 Kim Hak-soon was the first Korean comfort woman living in South Korea to give a testimony about her alleged experience under the control of Japanese soldiers. It triggered a barrage of angry reactions against Japan and put the country under scrutiny for the reparation and atonement it should give to its victims. Now it is South Korea facing the very same situation. Long before the Vietnam comfort women came out and identified themselves, they already knew about their own atrocities but, through cunning and clever manipulation, managed to keep it under the radar of the mainstream media.

It took a visit to Vietnam by Yoon Mi-hyang in March to uncover the grim truth about the sex enslavement of Vietnam’s women by Korean and American troops. Yoon is president of the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, the non-profit organization formed to look into alleged crimes against women in Asia during World War Two, many of whom were Koreans. In 2012, the Council had set up the Butterfly Fund and extended their mission to help other women victims of war. Congo was the first country they identified. Little did they know that in Vietnam, they would find out about the horrors that their own countrymen, the Korean soldiers, had perpetrated.

Another recent incident that has put Pres. Park in a negative light is the Sewol ferry disaster. On April 16, 2014, the South Korean ferry Sewol, carrying 476 passengers and crew, among them 325 high school students, was on its way from Incheon to Jeju island when it sank, killing more than 300 people, mostly the students. To date, nine are still missing. It was rumored that Pres. Park was nowhere to be found and she was with a former political aide said to be married then. Japanese journalist Tatsuya Kato, chief of Sankei Shimbun’s Seoul bureau, was singled out for printing this piece of information and defaming Ms. Park. He was charged and indicted. This incident has raised howls from international journalists amid concerns on press freedom in South Korea.

Park’s handling of the Sewol ferry disaster was widely criticized. In the seven hours leading to the disaster, she received 18 reports and her only response were two orders that were standard operating procedures. It was the committee secretary who acted as spokesperson before Ms. Park could face the public herself. The investigation into the botched rescue efforts, the cause of the sinking and the violation of safety rules have been assailed by the victims’ families as being controlled by Park’s government. Add to that her unfulfilled promise to raise the ferry from the bottom of the sea. At the first anniversary of the sinking, the families refused to meet the president and promised to stage regular protests.

Park’s Strategy to Gain Support and Popularity

Recent polls show Park’s public support dropping from a low of 29% to a high of 46% from the pre-accident 70 percent. In her bid to regain her popularity in the local and international community, she must portray her nation as a victim. And the most convenient issue is a social one that targets the “bleeding hearts” of open wounds from WW2 and stoke up nationalism via anti-Japan rhetoric and propaganda. Here, the Korean comfort women fit the bill. Certainly, Japan has owned up to its’ share of the blame when it comes to WWS war crimes. From 1965 to 2010, its Ministers, Cabinet officials and most significantly Emperors have made at least 14 apologies to South Korea alone, not counting the 1995 Murayama and 1993 Kono statements. It put up the Asian Women’s Fund to give monetary compensation to the comfort women in various countries, which all accepted but South Korea refused to accept. On the domestic front, Park has been successful. Polls show that 57.4% of respondents support not holding summit talks with Tokyo until yet another full apology from Japan is given. In the United States, officials and diplomats are divided. Dr. Robert L. Shapiro, a former adviser on economic affairs, sent a video message to Pres. Park stating his concern over her country’s failure to forge better ties with Japan and her government’s curtailment of press freedom. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Wendy R. Sherman was more direct, citing Park’s desire for cheap applause by putting Japan in a bad light for propaganda’s sake alone.

Another controversial issue between South Korea and Japan is over the Liancourt Rocks. Known as Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan, the two countries have been disputing the territorial jurisdiction of the islands, composed of two main islets and 35 smaller rocks. These islets are valued for their rich fishing grounds and production of natural gas.

The background behind ownership of these islands is confusing. South Korea has been administering them since 1954 but Japan’s legal basis of possession dates back to 1904. To put an end to the dispute, Japan has suggested three times (in 1954, 1962 and 2012) that the matter be taken to the International Court of Justice, but this was rejected by South Korea each time.

South Korea hopes that the US will back them in this matter and an opinion post in the Korea Herald recently criticized its’ own government’s futile brinkmanship. Political analysts are not inclined to think this will lead to any serious actions, militarily speaking or that the US will take sides. Both Japan and South Korea are powerful Asian allies of the United States and showing favoritism would be detrimental to it’s position. But Park Hwee-rhak, a political science professor at Kookmin University in Seoul says Japan is more important to America in its policy towards Asia because of its economic power, military technologies and its capacity to keep China in check over its ambitious expansion plans.

Comfort Women Memorials and Resolutions Spring Up in the US

Some US politicians have been quick to cash in on the comfort women issue. When House Resolution 121 sponsored by Rep. Michael Honda of Silicon Valley, Calif., was passed in 2007, it was a go-signal for politicians to cater to the wishes of the South Korean community in their electoral areas. In the guise of advancing public awareness to the injustice done to South Korean women, resolutions and statues of comfort women have been put up in cities around the United States. Local Korean-American organizations in the area applied pressure on officials to yield. These particular “voting areas” have a large community of Korean-Americans who can swing votes when elections come around.

On August 2014, the Fullerton City Council approved a resolution recognizing the Korean comfort women. In New Jersey, the State Senate passed a resolution to the same effect.

The first comfort woman monument in the US was put up in Palisades Park, NJ in 2010. In 2012, another one was erected in Veterans Memorial in Eisenhower Park, Nassau County, NY. In March 2013, a memorial was opened in Hackensack’s Bergen County, NJ and in July 2013, in Glendale Central Park, Glendale, Calif., a statue of a young girl representing a comfort woman was unveiled. In August 2014, a statue was put up in Southfield, Michigan. There are plans for another statue to be put up in Maryland.

The comfort women monuments binge-building has recently spread to Canada, with a well know political blogger calling it “a giant scam whose goal is to alienate Japan from the Western powers.” The City of Burnaby in British Columbia is in the process of studying a proposal to put up a comfort woman statue in the city.

With the Vietnam comfort women coming out into public consciousness, can the US expect a deluge of similar memorials installed in the cities and parks anytime soon? And will South Korea protest against them as the Japanese did over the Korean comfort women monuments? The truth is that they won’t, as the Vietnamese communities in the US hold far less political sway and the US itself would rather forget the Vietnam War.

The Atrocities in the Vietnam War

Just as the Japanese had their Comfort Women, South Korea also created brothels with Vietnam comfort women for their and the American troops’ carnal pleasure. Numbering 5,000 to 30,000, stories about them are not easy to come by, thanks to the cloud of secrecy that South Korea shrouded them with.

The massacres that the Korean military committed during the Vietnam War on the Vietnamese took about 9000 lives, not counting the living survivors who had no more lives to speak of. From that time until 2000 when a more liberal administration took over in South Korea, it was taboo to talk about their participation in the war. In June 2002, the US National Archives and Records Administration declassified documents about the Vietnam War and the massacres at Phong Nhi and Phong Nhat, Hoan Chau, and Phuoc My were made public. There are also the 1966 massacres at Tay Vinh that saw 1200 civilians being slaughtered and at Go Dai with 380 people rounded up and killed. These mass slayings were all done in the same manner. The Ha My account is an example of the way the South Korean Army and Marines butchered and killed innocent men, women and children without remorse.

A first-hand account from Pamtihoa, survivor of the Ha My massacre is reprinted in The Hankyoreh. It shows the trickery and brutality of the South Korean soldiers towards the Vietnamese. In March 1965, the 3rd US Marine amphibious force landed in Da Nang, Vietnam and took over Ho Ah Bang and Di En Ban. In December 1967, the 5th regiment of the USMC handed over the Con Ninh base to the 2nd Marine brigade of South Korea, called the Blue Dragons.

The people of Ha My who had been transferred to Con Ninh base went back to their village, as life was hard at the base. Whether the Korean Marines permitted them or not is not clear. But they did provide the village people with food and supplies and the villagers returned the favor by giving them local delicacies. But, to their horror a month later, the nice Korean soldiers turned into monsters. It was on a morning that they came, entered the village with their tanks and armored vehicles and moved in three different directions. Then they gathered the villagers in three different locations to listen to a speech from the Korean commander while the soldiers gave candies to the children.

After the speech, the commander walked away and, after a few steps, made a hand gesture. In an instant, M60 machine guns and grenade launchers came out of hiding from the woods and opened fire on the shocked villagers. A total of 135 people were killed. Pamhitoa survived but lost both feet. The dead were a ghastly sight – brains coming out of head, internal organs spilling out of bodies, decapitated limbs. Along with a few survivors, Pamhitoa buried the dead in shallow holes they had dug up. But the next day, the Korean soldiers returned with D-7 bulldozers, dug up the graves and crushed all the dead bodies.

The Vietnam Comfort Women’s Stories

Unlike South Korea under Pres. Park, the Vietnam government advises its citizenry to put the past behind them and move on to the future. But, if only to make Ms. Park realize her inconsistency and how the resolution of war issues lies in her own hands, the Vietnam comfort women must be made known in the same manner as the Koreans want their stories to be shared. Surviving Vietnamese women speak of serial rapes several times a day, brutal sexual assaults and killing them after the rapes. One woman who was nine months pregnant had her stomach slit open and her entrails along with her baby hanging out.

Korean comfort women survivors Kim Bok-dong and Gil Won-ok as well as the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan have called on the South Korean government to acknowledge the country’s wrongdoings and atone for them by way of an official apology and compensation. It was an emotional moment and an eye opener at the House of Sharing last April when Yoo Hee-nam, a comfort woman for the Japanese Army met with Nguyen Tan Lan (64) and Nguyen Thi Thanh (55), massacre survivors.

What makes the Vietnam comfort women issue worse are the consequences of the rapes are the children born out of these barbaric acts- called the Lai Dai Han, a term for mixed blooded children who are viewed as contemptible and shunned by society. There are about 5,000 to 30,000 of them, unacknowledged by their Korean fathers.

In fairness, Korean soldiers were not alone in raping the Vietnamese women. From August 1964 to May 7, 1975, there were more than 9 million military men who served in the Vietnam War. Accounts and research have proven that American GIs also participated in the rapes. But they were kept hidden and if they did reach army court-martial trials, convictions were few and sentences were light. The US government cannot deny that it shares accountability for the war crimes in the Vietnam War along with South Korea. While the official stand is always not to condone such acts, it’s a different matter out in the battlefields. Commanders and generals turn a blind eye to the truth. But the war ended decades ago and the time has come for both countries to face their responsibilities and cease the hypocritical finger pointing at Japan.

Footnote: Any attempt to publicize the massacres by the South Korean military in Vietnam is squashed by the war veterans in South Korea.


"Confronting Korea’s Censored Discourse on Comfort Women" by Professor Joseph Yi

Professor Joseph Yi


"Korean Wartime Sex Slaves is Fake News" by Professor Ikuhiko Hata

Professor Ikuo Hata


April 24, 2016

"Korean Comfort Station Manager's Diary" analyzed by Professor Choe Kilsung

Professor Choe Kilsung


The list of comfort stations in the diary (click to enlarge)
Comfort station owners were all Koreans
although their last names were Japanese

You can buy the diary at the following.


Ambassador James Glassman on comfort women

The following article was written by the U.S. Ambassador James Glassman.

Ambassador James Glassman

During World War II, Japanese and Korean women were recruited to provide sex to Japanese and Korean soldiers. They were called comfort women, and some of them were abused.

Under a 1965 agreement, Japan paid $800 million in grants and soft loans to South Korea as compensation for colonial rule from 1910 to 1945. South Korea “agreed never to make further compensation demands,” according to a UPI report in 2005, on the basis of documents that had just been declassified. The funds from Japan were used by South Korea for economic development rather than for paying victims.

In late December, South Korea and Japan reached an agreement that attempts to resolve the comfort women dispute. Japan supplied $8 million in government funds to support Korean women who were used for sex by Japanese soldiers, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued an apology. Japan has given South Koreans money and apologies before, but the issue hasn’t died. Prime Minister Abe went much farther than his predecessors, but many South Koreans still aren’t satisfied.

The story of the comfort women has often been distorted by Japan’s former adversaries in the war, and exploited for political purposes. A 2013 book by a South Korean academic, Park Yu-ha, challenged what she called “the common knowledge” about the abuse. The backlash was fierce. In an appalling assault on freedom of speech, the South Korean court ordered the book censored in 34 sections, Park was put on trial for criminal defamation charges, and there are moves to fire her from her professorship at Sejong University in Seoul.

“In her book,” said the New York Times, “she emphasized that it was profiteering Korean collaborators, as well as private Japanese recruiters, who forced or lured women into the ‘comfort stations,’ where life included both rape and prostitution. There is no evidence, she wrote, that the Japanese government was officially involved in, and therefore legally responsible for, coercing Korean women.”

Other historians have drawn similar conclusions. Prostitution and war have long gone hand in hand. In fact, in 2014, a group of South Korean women sued their own government claiming that it trained them and worked with pimps to run a sex trade for American soldiers in the 1960s and 1970s.

In addition, Vietnamese women are coming forward to say they were raped by South Korean troops during the Vietnam War, and a Change.org petition calling for an apology by South Korea’s president, president, Park Geun-hye, has gathered more than 34,000 signatures. Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman wrote on FoxNews.com last October that South Korean troops “sexually assaulted thousands of young women, some as young as 13 and 14 years of age. Many of these women bore children as a result of these assaults. Today, between 5,000 and 30,000 children of mixed Korean-Vietnamese ancestry, called the ‘Lai Dai Han,’ live at the margins of Vietnamese society.”

Meanwhile, despite the whirling political animosity, Prime Minister Abe decided to try to put an end to the comfort women controversy, in part because animosity has spilled over into economic and security relations between the two countries. Between 2012 and 2014, trade between the nations dropped 17 percent; Japanese travel to South Korea fell by one-third. South Korea has leaned toward China on its South China Sea claims, to the dismay of Japan.

North Korea has tried to exploit the divisions between Japan and the South. After the agreement was reached in December, a pro-North civic group in South Korea said that “there is no more humiliating diplomacy than to reach such a deal with Japan.”

The U.S. played an important role in securing the comfort women agreement, but the administration needs to take a stronger stand in resolving a nasty spat that’s been going on for three-quarters of a century. The economic and national-security stakes are too high for this battle over history to continue.

"What Is Behind South Korea's Criticism On Comfort Women" by Professor James E. Auer

The following is an English translation of Professor James E. Auer's op-ed in Monthly Chosun in October, 2014. Dr. Auer is an emeritus professor of international relations and public policy at Vanderbilt University.

Professor James E. Auer

It is not surprising that China criticizes Japan because China is under Communist Party dictatorship. But South Korea has been a democratic nation. Why did South Korea begin to criticize Japan in the 1990s? It wasn't because Japan posed any threat to South Korea. Instead South Korea insisted Japan's apology and compensation were not enough.

Japan has never denied that its military used comfort stations where Korean comfort women worked. Whether it was coercive or not, Japan has apologized for Korean women's suffering. When the allied forces prosecuted war criminals, the comfort women system never became an issue because the U.S. military reports concluded with testimonies from Korean women that they either volunteered or were sold by their parents to Korean comfort station owners.

Let us verify some facts.

1) Past and present, there were/are women who got/get into prostitution unwillingly. But prostitution is not slavery.

2) The comfort women system was not illegal in Japan's eyes in the 1930s, and the allied forces didn't think it was illegal, either.

3) The South Korean government established comfort women system for its troops in Vietnam in the 1960s and for the U.S. troops stationed in South Korea in the 1960s & 70s. The Koreans for some reason think coercion and confinement took place in Japan's system but not in Korea's system.


4) If the Japanese government or people tried to get facts out, the international community would perceive that effort as revisionism.

5) In August, Asahi Shimbun published retraction articles admitting it falsely reported on abduction in Jeju Island. Asahi also admitted it mistook factory workers for comfort women, which inflated the number of comfort women. Many Westerners praised Asahi for admitting its mistakes. However, what they failed to realize was Asahi told more lies in its retraction articles, which infuriated Japanese public. Westerners mistook mainstream Japanese's disgust toward Asahi for right wing's bashing on Asahi.

When Japan apologized for what it did during the war, its sincerity was backed by 50 odd years of good behavior.

In 1998, South Korean president Kim Dae-jung accepted an apology from Japan's Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and promised South Korea would never bring up the comfort women issue again. But subsequent Korean presidents have annulled Kim's promise and used nationalism to bolster their low approval ratings.