UN rapporteur speaks out against comfort women descriptions in Japanese textbooks


Interesting article – usually the victors of war’s determine how history is recorded. Obviously, not in this case.



A special rapporteur for the UN has expressed serious concern about the Japanese government’s attempts to influence how textbooks describe the issue of the comfort women for the Imperial Japanese Army.
During a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo on Apr. 19, David Kaye, Special Rapporteur for the United Nations Human Rights Council, said that the Japanese government must both be careful about meddling in the interpretation of historical incidents and be diligent to try to inform its citizens about severe crimes such as the comfort women system.
Kaye arrived in Japan on Apr. 12 to look into the critical situation surrounding the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression in the country, and on Tuesday he publicly announced his provisional findings.
After Kim Hak-sun first testified in Aug. 1991 that she had been a comfort woman for the Imperial Japanese army, Japanese middle school and high school textbooks written in the mid-1990s gave substantial coverage to the comfort women issue.
But following an overall rightward shift in Japanese society, descriptions of the comfort women for the most part disappeared from middle school textbooks in 2006. The high school textbooks that will begin to be used next year have significantly watered down their description of the compulsory nature of the comfort women system. The phrase “rounded up by Japanese troops” is being replaced by “women who were recruited,” for example.
Addressing such trends in Japanese society, Kaye noted that he had heard about the removal of descriptions of the comfort women. “Government interference with how textbooks treat the reality of the crimes committed during the Second World War undermines the public’s right to know and its ability to grapple with and understand its past,” he said.
Kaye also addressed the hate speech and discrimination against minorities that is widespread in Japan today.
“Japan does not have comprehensive legislation to combat discrimination,” Kaye said. “Such legislation is the critical first step toward dealing with hateful expression: Japan must adopt a broadly applicable anti-discrimination law.”
The Liberal Democratic Party is currently drafting a bill related to this, but it would not explicitly forbid racially motivated hate speech.
The attacks on Takashi Uemura, former reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, who first covered the testimony of Kim Hak-sun, and comments by Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi that the government could shut down broadcasters who continue to air politically biased programs are threats against the press, Kaye said.

By Gil Yun-hyung, Tokyo correspondent, Hankyure Newspaper, english@hani.co.kr


Teaser of ‘Guihyang’ on Youtube

Official movie website: http://www.guihyang.com

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/makingguihyang


The film ‘Spirits’ Homecoming’ is based on the true story of Kang Il-chul , who was forced to become sex slave for the Imperial Japanese Army during the 1940s.

Born in 1928, she was taken by force to Comfort Stations by Japanese army in 1943, when she was only sixteen years old. This movie portrays a teenage girl’s struggle who was stripped of her human rights and dignity in the name of war and the militarism.

Unlike Germany, modern day Japan government has not made amends for their war crimes of the past. Rather, the Rightist faction, which influences great control over Japanese politics insists on unacceptable arguments as they deny the forced conscription of Comfort Women along with other historically known war crime facts.

The film does not seek simply to criticize the Japanese government nor does it seek to provide shallow comfort for the victims. Instead it aims to highlight the devastation and tragedy of the history caused by the military of Imperial Japan, and to heartily send out the message that this cannot be repeated. So, we dare say that this is not the story of the ‘past’ but of the ‘future’ for all. Furthermore, this is a ‘healing movie’ that focuses on alleviating the pain of the past.

Today, only a small number of victims remain alive. It is imperative that their stories be recorded and told to the world.

The Reason to Never Forget – origins of our tale
In the winter of 2002, when Director Cho visited ‘The House of Sharing’ to perform as a traditional Korean drummer for ‘Japanese Military Comfort Women’ victims who reside there, he met Kang Il-chul.

Ms. Kang, one of the Comfort Women victims, born in 1928, was only 16 when she was forcefully ‘recruited’ by a Japanese officer. She was taken to a Comfort Station in Mundanjiang, China, and was forced to work as a ‘sex slave’ for Japanese Soldiers.

Towards the end of war, after years of indescribable torment and abuse, she was diagnosed with typhoid. She was then, transferred outside the army camp, along with other girls who were also considered ‘useless’, to be thrown into a fire pit for disposal.

Right before she was thrown into the fire pit, she was able to make a dramatic escape thanks to a surprise attack from the Korean Independence Army at the time. From then on, she dwelled in China, with no way to go home but longing to return. In 1998, after years of waiting she was able to come home, and decided to reside in ‘the House of Sharing’ along with other victims.

In 2001, during an art psychotherapy conducted at ‘the House of Sharing’, she drew ‘Burning Virgins’ which depicts her own experience. After encountering her picture, Director Cho, shocked by the horrible truth and tragedy young girls’ lives trampled brutally, grieved deeply and wrote a scenario which gave life to the movie – Spirits’ Homecoming.

From the ‘Guihyang’, official site.

China, Taiwan Apply Pressure to Japan Over ‘Comfort Women’ Issue

First re-blogged 30/1/16

A Chinese girl from one of the Japanese Army’s “comfort battalions” sits on a stretcher, awaiting interrogation at a camp in Rangoon.
Image Credit: UK Imperial War Museums

On December 28, Japan and South Korea announced a landmark deal to resolve the issue of “comfort women,” the euphemism used for women forced to sexually service Imperial Japanese Army troops during World War II. The deal announced last Monday sees Shinzo Abe apologize, as Japan’s prime minister, for the women’s suffering. Japan’s government also pledged to provide 1 billion yen ($8.3 million) to a fund for the women, to be established by the South Korean government.

The “comfort women” issue, and the degree to which Japan’s government will (or won’t) accept responsibility for the forced recruitment of the women, has been a major flashpoint in Japan-South Korea relations. However, South Korea isn’t the only country from which “comfort women” were drawn, and the deal between South Korea and Japan has sparked mixed reactions from other states — most notably China and Taiwan.

China (along with South Korea) has been the most vocal in accusing Japan’ of “whitewashing” history. Unsurprisingly, then, Beijing adopted a cautious stance on the comfort women deal, insisting that it would have to “wait and see” whether Japan’s actions matched its words. When the deal was announced, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang spent more time highlighting the historical issue than addressing the deal. “The forced recruitment of the ‘comfort women’ is a grave crime against humanity committed by the Japanese militarism during the Second World War against people of Asian and other victimized countries,” Lu said, urging Japan to “face up to and reflect upon its history of aggression and properly deal with the relevant issue with a sense of responsibility.”

The general consensus in Chinese state media is that the comfort women deal does not go far enough. Xinhua in particular has repeatedly called Japan’s sincerity into question in its articles on the agreement (see here, here, and here for examples). In particular, Xinhua argued that by making a deal specifically with South Korea, Japan was not acknowledging the full extent of the “comfort women” issue. “Apart from Korean women, victims also include the women of China, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries, who also deserve an apology and compensation,” one Xinhua editorial pointed out.

The last surviving member of a group of Chinese comfort woman seeking to sue the Japanese government passed away in November at the age of 89. Yet the issue continues to live on, with China’s first memorial to the comfort women opening in December in the city of Nanjing. Beijing also sought to have documents related to the comfort women issue inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, though that attempt was unsuccessful.

When asked if China would hold its own talks with Japan on the comfort women issue, Lu simply repeated China’s call for Japan “to face squarely and reflect upon its history of aggression and deal with the relevant issue in a responsible manner.” Though Chinese state media has called for Japan to apologize to and compensate comfort women of all nationalities, there’s no indication the that government is seriously negotiating on the issue with Japan.

By contrast, Taiwan is preparing to enter negotiations with Japan, seeking a deal similar to the one announced with South Korea. On December 29, President Ma Ying-jeou reiterated his government’s stance on the comfort women issue, saying, “The Republic of China government has always said that Japan should apologize to Taiwanese comfort women and offer compensation to them.” The same day, Foreign Minister David Lin said Taiwan would “continue negotiating with Japan to restore the dignity of Taiwan women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army.” He said Japan had agreed to adopt a “flexible” stance and conduct negotiations, which will start in January in Tokyo.

On Tuesday, a cross-agency working group (which including a comfort women advocacy group, the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation) met to hammer out a strategy for negotiations with Japan. According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, Taipei will ask Tokyo to “issue a formal apology to Taiwanese comfort women, offer compensation to the surviving women, and restore their reputation.” Taiwan’s top representative in Japan, Shen Ssu-tsun, met on Monday with the head of Japan’s Interchange Association, which handles relations with Taiwan, to discuss the issue.

Charles Chen, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s Presidential Office, confirmed on Tuesday that Taiwan wants the same deal that Japan offered to South Korea. However, Taiwan was unnerved by comments from Japan’s chief cabinet secretary that Tokyo does not, in fact, intend to start a new round of negotiations with other countries based on the South Korea deal. Yoshihide Suga told reporters that Japan has dealt with the issue “in a sincere manner considering each circumstance” in different countries. He indicated that the situations in other countries were “different” from the one in South Korea, suggesting that Japan will not extend to same offer to other governments.

According to the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation, there were around 2,000 Taiwanese women forced into sexual slavery during World War II. Of the 58 who came forward to demand an apology and compensation from Japan, four are still alive.

By Shannon Tiezzi from The Diplomat


Still no apology for Japan’s comfort women

First published 16/8/2015

I’m not usually a big fan of CNN News – however, I think there are right on the money with this news story.

Below is a shortened extract (the full article can be read by clicking the link at the bottom of the page).

Of course my recently published novel The Cry of the Kuaka describes the life of Korean Women who were abducted/tricked into going to work in Japan, only to end up serving as Comfort Women in Yokohama. It is vile enough that these things happened seventy years ago – but now a reluctant apologist seems to rub salt into the wounds.




News Story

Tokyo (CNN)The statement by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be parsed and dissected in detail over the coming months and years as its ambiguities and vagueness allow for varying interpretation.

South Korea: Abe apology 'not sincere'

Within Japan opinions are divided along ideological lines — Abe enjoying the support of the right, and criticism from the left with the caveat that reactionaries were disappointed that he demonstrated any contrition at all. Those on the left complained that he failed to clearly express a heartfelt, personal apology and it looked like he was just going through the motions. While Abe may have done just enough to satisfy critics in the United States, and Washington’s pro-Abe Japan hands are touting the statement’s merits, Beijing and Seoul are disappointed by what Abe left unsaid.

 As a leading revisionist, Abe has spent his entire career repudiating apology diplomacy and what he describes as masochistic history. He is a polarizing figure in Japan, a neo-con nationalist who has criticized the 1995Murayama Statement for the past two decades and undermined the 1993 Kono Statement regarding responsibility for the so-called comfort women system.

In contrast to Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, who accepted Germany’s “everlasting responsibility,” for its actions during the same period, Abe conveyed perpetrators’ fatigue, avoiding offering his own apology and expressing hope that future generations of Japanese would not also be required to do so. But calling for an end to apologies before Japan has embraced a forthright reckoning of its shared history with Asia is counterproductive. A recent NHK poll indicated that 42% of Japanese support an apology for the war, while only 15% oppose such gestures. So Abe’s belief that Japan has done enough on the apology front is not driven by public sentiment.

Should Abe have apologized for 'comfort women' again?

 Should Abe have apologized for ‘comfort women’ again?

Abe was vague precisely where he needed to be more specific and spoke of apology in the past tense. On wartime aggression, colonial rule and the controversial issue of comfort women, Abe dodged detailed and forthright acknowledgment of what Japan inflicted on Asians. Afterwards former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama complained that Abe’s statement did not clearly reflect or embrace the spirit of his historic 1995 statement that serves as the gold standard of Japanese mea culpa. Abe seems in a rush to turn the page on the past before it has been fully recognized.

While he made a circumspect effort to offer the olive branch to China, Seoul is exasperated with Abe’s roundabout and evasive comments. President Park Geun-hye said his speech left much to be desired and that you can’t hide history because it is alive in people’s memories.  Abe’s reference to the comfort women was excessively vague and there was little to assuage Korean sentiments.

Overall, Abe appeared unrepentant, outsourced contrition to his predecessors and failed the apology test. It is naïve to assume that an apology is the magic wand of regional reconciliation in northeast Asia, but equally naïve to think that it is not crucial to the process. After eight months of Abe reducing expectations, his statement exceeded what many expected, but still fell short of what is necessary. Abe remains equivocal about Japan’s wartime past and therefore failed to overcome reservations about his views and leadership.


Kia Ora


Feisty Women

First published 2/8/15

Today’s Blog is not about North Korea, its rogue nation status, its oppressive regime nor despot leader Kim Jong Un.

Today’s blog is about women.

Now, I have met and known many feisty women in my time, just as I have known some feisty men.

However, I have always found the combination of femininity and aggression a very intriguing and attractive characteristic.

Don’t get me wrong,I could never live with someone whom I am constantly sparring with, but the thought of it is strangely appealing – even sexy.

A North Korean soldier patrols the bank of the Yalu River, which separates the North Korean town of Sinuiju from the Chinese border town of Dandong, on Saturday, April 26.

There is danger in conflict, there is excitement, it tingles the nerves and jolts the senses. To win in conflict you need to be on the top of you game. Conflict escalates communication to another level.

Let’s be honest – how many of you have had a play fight or wrestle with your partner? And for those who did, how many found it stimulating and erotic? I have, and found it so, although admittedly its not much fun if you get cramp or a bloody nose.

Violence in any form is unacceptable at any level, so I am not suggesting that you should call over your partner and plant a five knuckle kiss on their lips. But play fighting seems to me to invoke the innocence of child hood memories with the pleasures of adult knowing. It is naughty but nice.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with North Korea's first female fighter jet pilots in this undated photo released by the country's state media on Monday, June 22. He called the women

Women can do and do do everything. Therefore, it is no surprise that Kim Jong Un and North Korea have no hesitation in having women pilot their jet fighters, patrol their borders or storm troop in their assault brigades.

All I can say in response to that, is that I am very pleased that some of the feisty women I have met over the years, did not have access to machine guns or jet fighters!

However, that being said would it be such a terrible thing to be arrested or man handled by the following beautiful women?

(apologies – I am but a man)

Kia Ora