Good day readers, I have been busy and away from this blog for a while, but today I was compelled to write about something I saw, thanks to twitter. Before I get started, thanks for following my blog, even when I don’t post for a while. Now on to the topic of the day.
The Yomiuri Shinbun (Shinbun means newspaper in Japanese) is a right-wing newspaper that is known for its far right stance. However, the latest editorial from that fascist rag takes the cake in terms of insensitivity, historical revisionism, and blatant misogyny. In an editorial on August 2nd titled
“Refute recent moves in U.S. to distort comfort women issue”
the newspaper issued the opinion that Korean-Americans who have set up monuments to the victims of Japan’s war time sex slavery system administered by their armed forces is “distorting” the “comfort women” issue. First the paper ridiculously refers to those trying to honor the memory of those victims as “anti-Japanese” as if to be honest about history and mourn the oppressed is to hate Japan. Of course that doesn’t say much for the moral character of Japan, but leaving that alone for the moment; the newspaper is once again, like many right-wing fascists in Japan have done for decades, is trying to revise history to be one that fits their agenda, and fits with their nationalist myth making. Let’s go through some of these ridiculous claims, and see if they hold any water. Just because I’m fair like that.
They point out that the monument erected in California reads “In memory of more than 200,000 Asian and Dutch women who were removed from their homes…to be coerced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Armed Forces of Japan between 1932 and 1945.” The newspaper refutes this with “The distorted and exaggerated phrases “sexual slavery” and “more than 200,000” are enough to significantly degrade the honor of Japan.”
Let’s examine those two claims. One, they are asserting that the so-called “comfort women” system was not sexual slavery. Is that true? Well, what is the definition of slavery? According to Merriam-Webster online the definition of slavery is:
“[…] it was not out of our own will, we were forced into it. I was beaten until I lost hearing. I was tortured. They didn’t see us as people, but as objects.” –Lee Ok-sun, comfort woman (as cited in Wabnitz, 2007)
Well, that certainly sounds like slavery to me. There is a colossal mountain of historical documentation that shows that these women were forced into sexual slavery in service to the Japanese Imperial Army. There are journal articles upon newspaper articles upon photos and government papers and reports and on and on and on that verifies the reality of the sexual slavery of these women. Yet apparently the Yomiuri doesn’t let a little history deflect them from “upholding the honor of Japan,” Those honoring the victims of that horrible fascist government aren’t dishonoring Japan, those who built the “comfort women” system of sex slavery are the ones who dishonored Japan. That’s like claiming the witnesses of a murder are more guilty of killing because they reported it. It’s cognitive dissonance on crack.
Ok, so let’s examine the second claim, that being that 200,000 sex slaves is an exaggeration. Let’s turn again to an academic source for that.