Study of English

September 26, 2007

Open Questions for Prime Minister Wen Jiabao: Can You Prove There Was a Massacre in Nanking?

Filed under: "Nanking Massacre",Japan,WW2 — Sei-no-Syounagon @ 6:00 pm
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Moteki Hiromichi
Committee for the Examination of the Facts about Nanking

PRC Prime Minister Wen Jiabao arrived in Japan on April 11, 2007. In his April 12 address to the Diet, Japan’s parliament, Wen said that he had undertaken this visit in the hope that it would ease tension between China and Japan. But no sooner had those words left his mouth when he launched into the sort of lie that we’ve come to expect: “Japan’s aggression caused great sufferings and tremendous human and economic losses to the Chinese people.”1

The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) bears the ultimate responsibility for the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conflict was triggered by a communist plot, which involved arranging for Chinese troops to fire on Japanese soldiers in the Marco Polo (Lugou) Bridge Incident. The Comintern then issued orders to the Chinese Communists as follows:

1. Do all possible to obstruct a local resolution of the incident; it is imperative to bring about full-scale hostilities between Japan and China.
2. Use any and every means available to accomplish objective stated in 1; we authorize the elimination of any person in a position of leadership who would betray the movement to liberate China by advocating a local resolution or making concessions to the Japanese.2

Moreover, the Communists repeatedly violated a formal truce.

Today we have access to reliable resources that substantiate this assertion. Nevertheless, the Chinese still have the effrontery to insist that Japan waged an aggressive war. Even more disheartening was the sight of Japan’s Diet representatives nodding their heads in agreement with Wen, and even applauding his speech.

But perhaps the biggest lie of all is the allegation that the Japanese perpetrated a massacre in Nanking, which the Chinese continue to make. They have even built a shrine in Nanking dedicated to the memory of the victims of a massacre that never was. More than a few Japanese are angered by representatives of the PRC who spout platitudes about Japan-China friendship in one breath, and in the next utter vile propaganda of this sort.

We wished to benefit from the opportunity of Prime Minister Wen’s visit to Japan. We wanted to tell him that his government’s schizophrenic stance on Japan is absurd, especially since recent scholarly research proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that there was no “Nanking massacre.” We wanted to ask the prime minister what his thoughts are about this problem. To that end, we prepared a document that contains our queries in the form of open questions, with some background information.

How will Wen Jiabao respond?

We expect that 2007, marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Nanking as it does, will be a critical year. Reports have it that at least 10 films relating to the incident are in the offing. A myth that has already been given far too much credence threatens to become imprinted on the global memory for all time. To combat these lies, Mizushima Satoru, president of Channel Sakura, has begun a fund-raising campaign for a film to be produced this year under the (provisional) title The Truth About Nanking. It will be a documentary that exposes the lies that have been disseminated over the years.

In connection with this campaign, we formed the Committee for the Examination of the Facts about Nanking, on March 13 of this year. The committee is an organization dedicated to communicating the facts about 1937 Nanking, rationally and comprehensively, to the public, both at home and abroad. Our chairman is Kase Hideaki, who is assisted by Secretary Fujioka Nobukatsu and 13 other members. This writer is honored to be one of them.

On April 9, our open questions, translated into Chinese, were delivered to Prime Minister Wen in care of the Chinese Embassy. On the same day, we distributed the document (in English and Japanese, in addition to Chinese) to leading media companies, along with a press release. We sent the same package to each of the 80 members of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.

We have already received several requests for interviews from representatives of overseas media organizations. From Wen Jiabao, however, we have heard not a thing. We are not surprised. After all, it would be impossible to defend a proposition built on lies, as the “Nanking massacre” was.

Then, will the prime minister admit that the accusations relating to Nanking were made in error? We don’t think so. Even if his conscience told him to do the right thing, he could not utter words that might tear the fabric of the communist regime to shreds.

That being the case, Wen Jiabao will probably opt to remain silent. Still, these are open questions. The entire world knows that they have been submitted to the Chinese prime minister. If he ignores them, everyone will know that the PRC government is dishonest and rude, and that its silence proves that the “Nanking massacre” was fabricated.

The document submitted to the prime minister, which follows this article, consisted of five questions and one request. Here, we would like to offer some commentary for each question.

1. No mention of “Nanking massacre” by Mao Zedong

In this question, we refer to the fact that Mao Zedong never alluded to a massacre in Nanking, not in any of his writings or his correspondence. In Mao: The Unknown Story, author Jung Chang berates the Chinese leader posthumously for failing to mention the “Nanking massacre.”3
Mao is an estimable work in that it contains 500 interviews and often draws on valuable information gleaned from declassified Soviet documents. But as far as Japan is concerned, the author is stuck in the old, stale “aggressor nation” mindset.

Mao Zedong did not fail to mention a massacre in Nanking because he was out of touch with current events. Even when the Communist Party fled to Yan’an, its underground network encompassed all of China. Since the Battle of Nanking was fought during the Second United Front, Mao would have been well informed about events in Nanking, the capital. In fact, he wrote his observations about the Battle of Nanking in On Protracted War: “Japanese troops surrounded many, but killed few” (the Japanese generally freed prisoners of war).

It is the height of foolishness to assume that Mao Zedong would have neglected to speak out if Nanking had actually been the scene of the massacre of the century.

2. 300 press conferences

Prof. Higashinakano Shudo discovered vital information at the Museum of Chinese Nationalist Party History in Taipei, in a document entitled Outline of Operations: International Propaganda Department, Central Propaganda Office. For details, see his Understanding the Nanking Incident with the Aid of Top-Secret Nationalist Documents.4

The document states that 300 press conferences were held in Hankou between December 1, 1937 and October 20, 1938. On average, they were attended by 50-60 people, 35 of whom were members of the foreign press and embassy personnel. Not one of those 300 press conferences held over a 10-month period that straddled the Battle of Nanking was devoted to, entirely or in part, descriptions of Japanese troops murdering civilians or killing prisoners of war unlawfully. Nor did a foreign journalist even once pose a question about the “Nanking massacre.”

If there had indeed been a massacre in Nanking, what is the likelihood of press conferences sponsored by the International Propaganda Office skirting the subject? Could the International Propaganda Office have been so extraordinarily incompetent as to be ignorant of events that transpired in Nanking? Not if one is to believe the accounts in John Rabe’s The Good Man of Nanking that mention a large number of officers (among them Long, Zhou, Han and Luo), who were hiding in the Safety Zone, where they engaged in covert activities.

Moreover, Miner Searle Bates, a Nanking University professor who was also an advisor to the Nationalist government (and a member of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone) was only one of the foreign residents of the city who collaborated with the Nationalists. They would certainly have been prolific communicators of information about a massacre.

The reason for not referring to the “Nanking massacre” at the aforementioned press conferences is simple: no information about such a catastrophe had been received. The International Propaganda Office had no choice but to manufacture the catastrophe, selecting as its accomplice Harold Timperley, a newspaper reporter (an inspired choice, since journalists are assumed to be neutral) as a secret agent. Timperley was hired to produce What War Means: The Japanese Terror in China, a propaganda book intended for foreign consumption. The aforementioned top-secret document attests to the fact that the book was, in its entirety, a product of the Chinese propaganda machine.

Apparently, Timperley spent a great deal of his career acting as the henchman of conspirators. He later became the head of Trans-Pacific News Service, a news agency based in the U.S., which also pretended to be neutral.

3. Nanking’s population increases

One would expect a decrease in population in the aftermath of a massacre. However, Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone (hereafter DNSZ) paints a different picture. DNSZ is a logbook describing the International Committee’s activities, issued by Shanghai publisher Kelly & Walsh in 1939 under the supervision of the Chinese government. Therefore, it would have toed the Nationalist Party line.

For the population prior to the fall of Nanking, DNSZ relies on Wang Gupan, head of the National Police Agency. Wang reported a population of 200,000, which according to DNSZ, remained unchanged throughout December 1937.

It would be impossible to take a census during the upheaval of war. But there are statistics for December 1937, and they were recorded by the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone. (It was the International Committee that saw to the needs of the Nanking’s residents, who had gathered in the Safety Zone, after the city’s government officials had fled.)

The committee members continued to record the population as 200,000 even after the city fell. But the story doesn’t end there. According to DNSZ, by January 14, 1938, a month into the Japanese occupation, Nanking’s population had expanded to 250,000.

The Japanese military, aided by the Self-Government Committee, had been issuing civilian passports in connection with efforts to track down Chinese military personnel hiding in the Safety Zone. During this process, it became clear that there were many more people in Nanking than originally estimated. Consequently, the International Committee made an upward revision to 250,000.

If there had been a massacre in Nanking, the population would have decreased. It did not decrease. If it had, the International Committee would certainly not have recorded an increase.
We would appreciate Wen Jiabao’s attempt to explain away that increase, which appears in DNSZ, a publication supervised by the Nationalist government. We imagine that here, too, he will maintain silence.

He could, like Iris Chang, superimpose fiction on fiction by first manufacturing a population of 300,000 outside the Safety Zone and then claiming that it was obliterated in a massacre. In fact, that would seem to be his only option.

4. 26 murder cases

Many people may believe that there was wholesale slaughter in Nanking, even though there may not have been enough victims to cause a population decrease. We know that there were not sufficient murder cases to justify the International Propaganda Department’s breathing a hint of a massacre at even one press conference. To that information we can add the fact that only 26 murders are recorded in DNSZ.
The Safety Zone was established in an area of Nanking 3.9 square kilometers in area (less than 40% of the size of Chuo Ward, Tokyo Prefecture’s smallest administrative district or less than Central Park in Manhattan). Since 200,000 refugees crowded into that small space, it would have been nearly impossible to commit a violent crime and escape the scrutiny of 400,000 eyes.

With very few exceptions, Japanese military personnel were not permitted to leave their barracks at night. Chinese troops who had taken refuge in the Safety Zone ruled the streets at night. Japanese soldiers with criminal intent would have had to exercise it in broad daylight, when there surely would have been witnesses.

The International Committee received numerous complaints from Chinese. Committee members were unable to investigate all of them, but they did type up a report for every complaint received. The reports were compiled into “Cases of Disorder”, a section of DNSZ. Some of the cases reported by Chinese strain credibility, or at least seem suspicious.

An analysis of every case listed in DNSZ yields only 26 murders. Only one murder was witnessed; it involved the lawful killing of a soldier who tried to escape when stopped for questioning. Therefore, this case cannot be considered a crime.

The remaining 25 allegations of murder lack witnesses, or are based on hearsay. Normally, the presence of a corpse tells us that a murder has been committed. Only in three of the cases is a corpse mentioned, and in those cases, there was no evidence that would implicate Japanese military personnel. So much for the murder cases described in a book produced under the supervision of a Chinese Nationalist government organization.

At the Tokyo Trials, Tsukamoto Koji, who had been judge advocate of the Shanghai Expeditionary Forces, testified that between December 1937 and February 1938 he had handled two or three murder cases. The military police referred all crimes committed by Japanese soldiers to Tsukamoto.

His testimony is largely in agreement with the case records in DNSZ, especially when one takes into consideration the fact that a body was present at the crime scene in only three of the 25 alleged murders. Therefore, there cannot have been even 10 murders.

The Chinese government may counter this question with what they claim are the testimonies of massacre victims. But if they are not consistent with contemporary records, they are not worthy of discussion. Such testimonies, especially those that run counter to information provided in Questions 2, 3 and 4, should not be accepted as fact.

5. No photographic proof of a massacre

Our fifth question relates to photographs used as evidence in Iris Chang’s book and in many other works that purportedly expose the “Nanking massacre.” The Massacre Memorial Museum in Nanking, along with other “history museums” in China displays photographs they would have us believe bear witness to a massacre.
However, Analyzing the “Photographic Evidence” of the Nanking Massacre addresses those photographs. The authors analyzed 143 photographs that appear frequently in books and museums, applying the strictest scientific standards. Their conclusion: not one of them attests to a massacre in Nanking.5

Most of the photographs made their first appearances (in connection with the “Nanking massacre,” that is) in Record of Atrocities Committed by the Japanese Enemy, issued by the Nationalist government’s International Propaganda Department in July 1938, and Japanese Atrocities Witnessed by Foreigners (the Chinese version of Timperley’s What War Means). They later made their way into other publications. Some of them were distributed to the Trans-Pacific News Service (headed by the aforementioned Timperley) as news releases, and even reputable agencies like the AP (Associated Press) used them.

One of them is advertised as showing a Japanese officer engaged in sword practice on a prisoner of war tied to a cross. The Japanese government lodged a protest with the AP. The agency insisted that the photograph was authentic, but eventually was forced to back down. The story of this particular photograph is told in the January 1939 issue of The Lowdown, an American magazine.

The history of that one picture is interesting, in that it throws light on the history of most such pictures. It was first placed on sale, as a post card, in Shanghai in 1919. At that time it was presented as propaganda against one of the war lords who was ravaging an interior province. A year or so later it was brought out again depicting Communist Chinese officers torturing a Chinese prisoner of one of the northern provinces. It did not rest for long, as it was soon hauled out again as propaganda against the Japanese when they went into Manchuria. When the Manchurian crisis had ceased to be news it was put away only to be unearthed again to illustrate the atrocities committed by the Chinese Soviets when Chiang Kai-shek was attempting to wipe out the Chinese Red Army in 1934.

In its most recent appearance it was used for the customary purpose of enlisting American sympathies ? arousing anti-Japanese sentiment in this country.6

As incredible as it may seem, this same photograph, which was discredited prior to World War II, has been exhumed and now serves as evidence of the “Nanking massacre.”

One of the photographs in Chang’s book shows corpses floating near the banks of the Yangtze River. It turns out to have been taken by former Japanese Army soldier Murase Moriyasu, so its provenance is not in question. The 11th Company, 45th Regiment had been engaged in a bitter battle near Xinhezhen. Some of the defeated Chinese jumped into the river, and their bodies were carried by the current to the site where the photograph was taken. Obviously, this photograph has nothing to do with a massacre.

Murase reported that the city of Nanking was, for some reason, declared off-limits to his company (a transport unit) for two weeks. He is of the opinion that military authorities kept them out of the city so they wouldn’t see the massacre. This is a case of woeful ignorance. At that time, 130 journalists were combing the city for stories and shooting roll after roll of film. And in fact, no one came forward after World War II, claiming to have taken photographs of the “massacre.”

In our open questions, we invite anyone in China with photographic evidence of the “Nanking massacre” to produce it, but we are not expecting any response. The North Koreans sent human ashes to Japan, claiming they belonged to the abducted Yokota Megumi. DNA testing revealed that they did not. But the Chinese are not so foolish as to claim faked photographs are genuine.
Close the Massacre Memorial Museum

We believe that the Chinese will be unable to respond to any of our five questions. With good reason: there never was a massacre in Nanking.

We will not insist that China respond directly to our questions. But if the PRC government truly desires amicable relations with Japan, it must shut down an institution that unjustly speaks evil of Japan and perpetuates a myth: the Massacre Memorial Museum.

How can China promote friendship with Japan, and at the same time vilify Japan in the worst way possible? Such behavior is bound to have an extremely adverse impression on not only the Japanese, but on visitors who gather in China for the Olympic Games next year.

It is difficult to believe that China is serious about designating the Massacre Memorial Museum as a World Heritage site; doing so would be a grave mistake, and nothing short of self-destructive. We have more than enough evidence to convince the world that the “Nanking massacre” was a huge lie. Stating otherwise would be only adding another strand to the web of lies already spun.

1 People’s Daily Online, 12 April 2007.
2 Political Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Asian Development, Basic Materials about the Comintern and the Soviet Union’s China Policy (Tokyo: Political Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Asian Development, 1939).
3 Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), p. 207.
4 Higashinakano, Shudo, Nankin jiken: kokuminto gokuhi bunsho kara yomitoku (Understanding the Nanking Incident with the aid of top-secret Nationalist documents (Tokyo: Soshisha, 2006).
5 Higashinakano, Shudo, Kobayashi Susumu and Fukunaga Shinjiro, Nankin jiken: “shoko shashin” wo kensho suru (Analyzing the “Photographic Evidence” of the Nanking Massacre) (Tokyo: Soshisha, 2005).
6 “Words Breed War ”(by Joseph Hilton Smyth) in The Lowdown (New York, January 1939), p.19. 


September 24, 2007

The Fabrication of “Forced Conscription” Professor Chung Daekyun

Filed under: Corea(Korea),Japan,Korea — Sei-no-Syounagon @ 5:58 am
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The Fabrication of “Forced Conscription”
Professor Chung Daekyun

Author Profile: Born the child of Korean residents in Iwate Prefecture in 1948. Educated at Rikkyo University and UCLA. Posts include Assistant Professor, College of International Studies, Keimyung University, Daegu, South Korea. Currently Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tokyo Metropolitan University. Research focuses on Japan-Korea relations and Korean residents in Japan. Publications include “Japanese images of Korea”[Kankoku no ime-ji], “Korean images of Japan” [Nihon no ime-ji] (both Chuko Shinsho), “The end of the Korean residents in Japan” [Zainichi Kankokujin no shuen] (Bunshun Shinsho),“Nationalism of South Korea” [Kankoku no nashonaruizumu] (Iwanami Gendai Bunko). Most recent publication “Korean residents in Japan:  The myth of forced conscription” [Zainichi Kyosei Renko no Shinwa] (Bunshun Shinsho).

Korean resident “victims” theory disgraceful

 Interviewer: The “forced conscription” of Koreans appears in the majority of Japanese middle and high school textbooks today and the same is even set in the exams of the National Center for University Entrance Examination as established historical fact. Further the term “Korean residents” is explained to mean these victims of “forced conscription” in the context of the issues of foreigners rights to take up public service jobs and vote in local elections.

Whilst in one sense debates on “forced conscription” are advanced as if the concept were a major and self-evident premise, amidst this Professor Chung’s newly published book Korean residents in Japan:  The myth of forced conscription [Zainichi Kyosei Renko no Shinwa] (Bunshun Shinsho) has upset the status quo by pointing out that the “forced conscription” of Korean residents is a myth.

It was in this context that we invited Professor Chung to speak on the currently asserted “forced conscription” theory and its connection to Korean residents and further on the problems inherent in the “forced conscription” theory that become apparent from that connection.

Professor Chung: It is acceptable to think of the use of the term “forced conscription” as having gradually widened after being sparked by the 1965 publication of A chronicle of the forced conscription of Koreans [Chosenjin Kyosei Renko no Kiroku] by Park Kyongsik, a Korean resident. The term itself was not coined by Park.  However, this book, which had been authored by a Korean resident provided those Japanese in favor of apologizing for the war with a sense of mission. In fact, it has taken on biblical significance for these pro-apology Japanese. However, I think that, from the perspective of Korean residents, there was a feeling that this book by Park had done something disgraceful. Saying that their presence in Japan is entirely due to forced conscription carried out by the war time Japanese is a persuasive story that the thinking elite amongst Korean residents use from time to time to silence the current generation of Japanese. I think Korean residents had a sense that this sort of idea should not, by rights, be used lightly and that even if it were an argument used in speech it would be wrong to use it in writing.

Today however, forty years on from these events, making statements such as those of Park has, on the contrary, somehow become the standard for Korean residents. Since when we speak of Koreans residents these days, the majority of the first generation have already passed away, few are left who actually experienced the time of the voyage to Japan. This means that, as with the Japanese, Korean residents are also learning their history through the media and education. In other words, they are formulating their own images not through the actual experiences of their parents and grandparents, but through learning the images of Korean residents depicted by the media and other sources.

Interviewer: The forced conscription theory is told in the media and emphasis is given to Korean residents being victims. 

Professor Chung: Yes and not only this but examining the discourse on forced conscription it is often the case that it is not Korean residents themselves who are relating that they are the victims of forced conscription or descendants of the same. I touch on this on page 27 in my book. The Korean resident victims theory is taken at face value and believed by more Japanese than Korean residents here and by more westerners than Japanese. It is the custom for Korean residents to be living witnesses telling of Japan’s crimes as a nation. There are two quotations at the beginning of my book relating to the fact that in America and other places the Korean resident victims theory is referred to as soon as Japan’s ethnic problems are mentioned.

However it is the first generation Korean residents themselves who know best of all that they are not the victims of forced conscription. The first generation comprises those who have been able to tell their own stories by comparing themselves to their friends and acquaintances in their hometowns. “Why am I living in a strange land while my friends stayed in my hometown?” This is no doubt because the person made a decision due to some circumstance or another to journey to Japan or because the person, for some reason, chose to remain in Japan rather than return home. In other words, the first generation feels that to agree to the proposition that they live in Japan entirely due to forced conscription by pre-war Japanese, would be to show contempt for their own existence. We can expect that it would differ from the memories carved deeply into their minds and bodies.

However, whether for better or worse, those who recorded the stories of the first generation were not themselves first generation but a subsequent 1.5 generation. By “1.5 generation” I mean those who accompanied their parents to Japan in childhood. Park fits into this group. Whilst the first generation were not blessed with educational opportunities, this 1.5 generation did enjoy educational opportunities in Japan, so it is only natural that from amongst them should emerge some who recorded their parents’ stories. The problem is that the first generation was largely unable to read the forced conscription theory written down by this 1.5 generation, and even if they had been able to read it, the problem would never have been pointed out. No doubt it was due to circumstances such as these that we have reached the present day with the forced conscription theory still at large. 

No “forced conscription” in the oral accounts

Interviewer: Turning to an examination of what the first generation experienced, you quote a variety of oral accounts in your book from a report published in 1988 by the Youth Association of Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan), Tell me about that day, Father:The movement to restore the history of Korean residents in Japan [Apogi, Kikasete, Ano Hi no Koto o: Wareware no Rekishi o Torimodosu Undo]. 

Professor Chung: This report is from the time of the textbook dispute of 1982 when a fact-finding survey was conducted of first generation Korean residents, with a total of 1106 sending in some sort of response. There are other compilations of oral accounts, however I raise this one as it persuasive due to the research having been undertaken by Korean residents themselves.

What has great significance are the words of the editor at the beginning of the chapter entitled “Reasons for coming to Japan”;

Japan was embroiled in war through the conflict between Japan and China that began in 1937. Whilst the Pacific War commenced in 1941, Japan had used Korea as a labor supply source since the Manchurian Incident, seeking out massive labor and military forces from that country. This gave rise to the order for what is known as “forced conscription” of the citizenry, which continued unabated to the end of the war. The method used was to drive a truck into a village when peasants were resting at lunch, threaten them with bayonets and to take them away by force (omitted).

In other words, the editor summed up matters by saying that violent forced conscription took place and that Korean residents were the victims of the same.

However if we examine the oral accounts contained in the report, there are almost no accounts of the kind the editor was anticipating.

Certainly we can discern that that they were thrown into factories in a foreign country and forced to do hard labor, however there are almost no accounts of actual “conscription” such as driving a truck into a village, threatening people with bayonets and taking them away by force.

Admiration for Japan

Professor Chung: The most common motivation for coming to Japan can probably be explained in terms of economic conditions: poverty and hardship. There are, for example, oral accounts like the following:

“We were so poor, always fighting. I came here because I couldn’t go on. Even if you got a job all you could eat was rice bran, pumpkin or radish leaf dishes. I had nothing to give my little brother and nothing myself. There was nothing but this miserable life for me in Korea so I came to Japan.” 

“The crops had failed for about 4 years and there was nothing I could do about that. I came to Japan because I couldn’t eat in Korea. My parents were in Hiroshima at the time. They didn’t want me to come to Japan but I couldn’t eat at home so I came to Japan without telling my father.

There are also those who relate that they came to Japan seeking to create wealth or admired Japan:

“Life was hard and we peasants were limited by having to farm small lots.. In the circumstances I was jealous of the way the Japanese lived and decided to go to Japan, so I had the Principal at my school give me sponsoring certification and came to Japan on the pretext of getting a higher education. It was difficult to come to Japan at the time. There were quite a number, even in my village, who were wanting to go to Japan because life was hard, but their sponsor’s credentials were not recognised and it seems they never came.

“I came to Japan on my own. Someone I knew in Korea used to talk about Japan often so I admired the country.

Interviewer: What we can draw from these oral accounts is that, whilst there were various reasons such as poverty or wealth creation, they made their own choices to come to Japan, is it not?

Professor Chung: That’s right. It’s not so much as they were forcibly conscripted but that there is even an account of a person being assisted in their journey by the Japanese police, who were said to have been responsible for forced conscription at the grassroots level. That person said the following:

Korea was in deep recession. There were 2 lessons of roughly 2 hours each week at school on the Korean language (using Korean language readers). The school Principal was Japanese, the other teachers were Korean. I had a station sergeant from Kagoshima Prefecture who was posted to Chollanamdo Sungjyu-kun, accompany me to Shimonoseki.

If we look at it this way, you could even say that there are no accounts that lead to “forced conscription”. Whilst editor of this report supposes accounts of forced conscription and seeks to wrap things up by saying that the Korean residents are the victims of the same, a number of conflicting arguments have arisen from those who gave the accounts. This trend is a special characteristic of not only this report but also a point held in common by almost all the documents collating these kinds of accounts. This means the forcible removal by truck story told by the editor, is, in the end, something not learned through this kind of fact-finding survey but something read in books and appropriately seen as discourse.
However it is the first generation Korean residents themselves who know best of all that they are not the victims of  forced conscription. The first generation comprises those who have been able to tell their own stories by comparing themselves to their friends and acquaintances in their hometowns. “Why am I living in a strange land while my friends stayed in my hometown?” This is no doubt because the person made a decision due to some circumstance or because the person, for some reason, chose to remain in Japan rather than return home.
The push ? pull perspective

Interviewer: Even so it is very interesting that when the people of the Korean peninsular thought of making money, they headed for Japan and not for Seoul, isn’t it?

Professor Chung: That is an important point. It was by no means unnatural that there was a flow of people from Korea to Japan at the time. The people of Korea were citizens of Japan just like the Japanese and even in terms of distance, the distance from southern Korea to Seoul and to Kyushu barely differ. In fact if one lives near Pusan one can see Tsushima.

Further, there were Japanese people in the Korean peninsula at the time. Whilst some among them were, no doubt, up to no good, there were quite a few who were held in appropriate esteem and respect by the Koreans. There were interpersonal relationships of all descriptions between ethnic Japanese and Koreans. So it was quite predictable that Koreans would want to start their lives over in Japan when they sought to escape their poverty.

What is more, the period of Japanese Empire was a time when peoples’ lives, including their economic activity and education were centrally controlled in Tokyo. So, rather than it being strange it was actually natural that young Koreans should aspire towards the mainland.

When we speak of human migration the classic, commonsense approach is to consider it from both the ‘push’ factors, or impetus and ‘pull’ factors or enticements and it is useless to consider the history of Korean migration to Japan without looking at the main reasons compelling Koreans to leave their homeland and those drawing them, at the same time, towards Japan. In this context there is quite a deal of overlap between the motivations of the Japanese who immigrated to South America after the war, the “newcomer” Koreans who came to Japan from the latter part of the 1980s and the Koreans who came to Japan in the pre-war wave of immigration. This means there is no reason to treat the fact of coming to Japan as something special. On the contrary, taking a universal perspective should also make it easier to understand Korean residents. 

Morita Yoshio thoroughly researched the push and pull factors for those who voyaged to Japan from Korea before the war in his 1955 work, The treatment of Korean residents: transitions and situation today [Zainichi chosenjin shogu no suii to genjo] (Legal Training and Research Institute).

According to Morita’s work, the first push factor was the increase in the Korean population. The population of Korea increased greatly through annexation with Japan. Whilst this rapid population increase occurred amongst the peasants of southern Korea the productivity of their farming land did not increase and their livelihoods became extremely strained.

On the other hand, the main pull factor, the Japanese mainland was in a period of capitalist growth and Koreans were in demand as a labor force. The mainland was close in terms of distance and there were jobs in cities, factories and mines. Going to Japan would put food on the table and the voyage was cheap. The Japanese mainland thus became a place where the population growth on the Korean peninsular would be absorbed and the Koreans made the journey.

Moreover, there were a great variety of interpersonal relationships between Koreans and Japanese and if one considers that the mainland was not only the center of economic activity but also of education and other attractions, when people living in the southern part of the Korean peninsular decided to make a new start for economic and other reasons, the place that offered them the opportunity was not Seoul, but the Japanese mainland. 

Wartime mobilization due to being Japanese citizens

Interviewer: I think it is clear from both the history of Korean settlement in Japan and the first generation accounts you have just mentioned that the claim that Korean residents are the victims of “forced conscription” is completely fictitious. However do you not also feel that the term “forced conscription” itself must be challenged?

Professor Chung: The term “forced conscription” is used as if it refers to a specific historical event that occurred at a specific time, however, it is actually a vaguely defined term. Some use it to indicate all Koreans who came to Japan during the period of annexation, some commentators use it to mean the recruitment drive that began as wartime mobilization in 1939 and others say that the use of the term should be limited to the conscription that occurred from September 1944.

Whilst these various theories exist, generally speaking it is commonly used to indicate wartime labor mobilization. This being the case the term “forced conscription” is definitely odd. It exaggerates Japanese culpability and Korean suffering.

It is an exaggeration because, at the time, Korea was part of the Japanese Empire and ethnic Koreans were part of the Japanese citizenry and further, because there were no able-bodied people loafing about amusing themselves in Japan during the war.  

As the war dragged on and military conscription expanded the labor supply grew scarce. The distribution of the labor force was regulated in order to compensate and mobilization was intensified. Against this backdrop I think it is true that Koreans mobilized from the Korean peninsular were sent to sub-standard work sites, forced to do hard labor and discriminated against in terms of food and wages in some cases.

However, having said that, Japanese men were sent to war and ethnic Koreans took their places in the workforce. My view is that in comparison to being sent to a battlefield as a soldier, being sent to a coal mine or construction site cannot be called “unreasonable” or “unfair”.

What we have to keep hold of here is that, at the time, whether Korean or Japanese, all citizens were expected to serve their country and that many people participated and were subject to that expectation. If this was “unreasonable” then that is the case not only for ethnic Koreans but for all Japanese citizens and it should be referred to as a fate imposed jointly on all Japanese citizens.

Beyond the fabricated story

Interviewer: The idea that the Japanese were wrongdoers and the Koreans were victims from the beginning is bound up in the term “forced conscription”. Further, the term itself acts to deny the existence of issues such as those you have just pointed out on the commonality of Koreans being Japanese citizens just like the Japanese and the factual reality of Korean settlement.

Professor Chung: It is plainly misleading to use the term “forced conscription” to emphasize that the Koreans were victims and the Japanese were wrongdoers.

Looking at how this situation arose, the 1965 publication of A Chronicle of the forced conscription of Koreans [Chosenjin Kyosei Renko no Kiroku] by Park Kyongsik was significant. This work is regarded as the classic theory on Korean residents, however it is dubious in its methodology and further, although its writing was clearly politically motivated from the outset, almost no-one pointed these things out.

I do raise these matters in Korean residents in Japan:  The myth of forced conscription and a reading soon reveals that Park’s book was published immediately prior to the conclusion of normalization talks between Japan and South Korea and that Park took a position in opposition to the conclusion of the talks. In other words, Park felt that the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea would be a restoration of the Japanese imperialism and the publication of the book was intended to prevent that restoration. As Park was, at the time, a history professor at Chosun University, which educated the elite of the pro-North Korean group in Japan, The General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon), it is arguable that the forced conscription claims are a perfect reflection of the Chongryon position.

However I feel that this was not the only motivation. I am referring to the North Korean repatriation, with which you are familiar and which began in 1959 and came to a peak in 1960 and 1961 before declining rapidly. There is tremendous significance in the fact that this book appeared during this period.

What I am referring to is that during the repatriation campaign Chongryon was actively promoting the necessity for Korean residents of Japan to return to participate in rebuilding their homeland. In other words Chongryon was arguing that Korean residents should leave Japan. When, however, people did return to North Korea, any illusions they had were instantly destroyed and this led to the sudden decline in the number of those repatriated.

It was at this point that it became necessary to create a basis for Korean residents to remain in Japan and not return home. This was the time when the book stressing that Korean residents had been brought to Japan through “forced conscription” appeared.

Interviewer: Naturally the “forced conscription” theory portrayed the Japanese as wrongdoers and the Koreans as victims.

Professor Chung: Yes, as I said at the outset, the first generation, who came to Japan by choice felt it disgraceful to take an attitude that capitalized on their suffering and so “forced conscription” was, at first, no more than a specialized term used by the left wing, not a term in popular use.

However when we finally reached the 1980s, the Japanese mass media reported on Japan’s state crimes during the Second World War and discrimination against Korean residents became topical, the term “forced conscription” became suddenly popular. Whilst the 1980’s were a period when the school textbooks affair became a diplomatic issue between Japan and South Korea, the fingerprinting system for Korean residents was also taken up by the media and the spike in interest in Korea accompanying the Seoul Olympics meant a popularisation of interest in Korea itself. The Korean studies experts who guided this interest were largely from the left wing and it was they who spread the use of the term “forced conscription”. It subsequently became a keyword used frequently and without compunction whenever Japan’s oppression of her neighbouring countries is discussed, not only in Japan but also in Asia and the west.   

My book is a critique of Park’s Chronicle. I wrote it, rather, to rehabilitate the work of Morita, whose work Park criticized.  It follows on from my work The end of the Korean residents in Japan published three years ago by Bunshun Shinsho as my second treatise on the topic. Whilst my own view is that The end is a ground-breaking work on Korean residents, however unfortunately it has not been widely read. In other words it has not had the full impact it could have. One cannot influence people unless they buy and read one’s work. Unless the progressive left-wingers too feel they have to read it then it will be difficult to dispel the image of Korean residents as being victims of forced conscription. I’d like you ask your readers to at least read this latest work of mine, both for my sake and also for the sake of Japan’s honor.

Interview conducted on 1 July 2004. The Editorial Department takes full responsibility for the wording and content of this article. (Choice for Tomorrow) .

September 23, 2007

“Neko-nabe”(Cat pan) is a big topic in Japan now.

Filed under: Japan — Sei-no-Syounagon @ 11:05 am
Tags: , , , ,

“Neko-nabe”(Cat pan)  is a big topic in Japan now.
It is not a new Corea(Korea) dish. (It is well known; Corean people eat dogs and cats.)
↓I want you to see this video. This is not a cruel video. If you do not hate cats, you might like “Neko-nabe”.

September 22, 2007

South Korean’s hostile policy against Japan

Filed under: Corea(Korea),Japan,Korea — Sei-no-Syounagon @ 11:08 am
Tags: , ,

South Korean’s hostile policy against Japan

Korean bought the resolution of “Sexual Slave”

Korean bought the resolution of “Sexual Slave”

September 20, 2007

Paid Advertisement concerning “Comfort Women” Run in the Washington Post

Paid Advertisement concerning “Comfort Women” Run in the Washington Post

“Facts Are Our Only Weapon”

SUGIYAMA Koichi, composer

 Facts are more powerful weapons than opinions. I am convinced that facts are the only ammunition Japan should use to combat the anti-Japanese propaganda emanating from China and other countries. This conviction inspired me to prepare a paid advertisement ? one that would disseminate the facts ?to be printed in American newspapers.
 Why American newspapers? China has been using its networks to spread anti-Japanese propaganda all over the world. Such propaganda includes the film Nanking! and resolutions condemning Japan in the U.S. House of Representatives. When the Japanese caught on to anti-Japanese activities in China, the Chinese shifted their focus to anti-Japanese campaigns in the United States, Japan’s ally. Japan must take action against such propaganda.
 As KOMORI Yoshihisa points out in the May issue of this publication, the U.S. House Resolution condemning Japan in connection with the comfort women is the product of a collaboration between Representative Mike Honda and recent Chinese immigrants to the United States. Its authors intend to place more blame on Japan by submitting this resolution to the U.S. Congress.
 Their scheme calls to mind an article written by HYOMOTO Tatsukichi, a former member of the JCP (Japan Communist Party). Before Hyomoto was expelled from the JCP, he accompanied (then) party chairman FUWA Tetsuzo to China. There he heard the JCP chairman give advice to his Chinese counterpart: “The most effective, though time-consuming, way to defeat Japan is to win the European and American media over to your side.”
   This is nothing short of treason. When I read that article, I felt as though I had been struck by a boulder. But that is exactly what is happening now in the U.S., in the form of House Resolution 121. It is extremely ironic that the Chinese learned their strategy from Japan.
The Nanking “Massacre” advertisement
 In April 2007 we began work on a full-page advertisement providing evidence that the so-called Nanking “Massacre” never took place. We intended to place the advertisement in the New York Times and the Washington Post. The objective of our campaign, which we entitled “The Facts,” was to inform the public of the facts, the most powerful antidote Japan has for Chinese propaganda. We asked Sankei Media Service to contact the two newspapers about placing a paid advertisement. The information we wished to communicate was the results of research done by Professor HIGASHINAKANO Shudo, namely: (1) all photographs purporting to be evidence of the Nanking “Massacre” are either composites or forgeries; (2) Harold Timperley, who spread the news of the Nanking “Massacre” to the entire world, held an advisory position at the International Propaganda Office of the Central Propaganda Department, a branch of the Nationalist Chinese government; and (3) the population of Nanking in 1937, when the massacre supposedly took place, was 200,000, far fewer than the alleged 300,000 victims of the massacre.
 We wished to present these facts and let individual readers decide whether there had been a massacre in Nanking. However, both the New York Times and the Washington Post refused to print the advertisement. The New York Times offered the following explanation.

While I do not pretend to be an expert on the Nanjing Massacre that took place in December 1937, I have relied on historical experts here at The New York Times who are familiar with the claims and counterclaims surrounding this incident.

Upon their review, their judgment is that the “facts” brought up in this recent advertisement do not change the long held view that?the Nanjing Massacre did happen as most scholars have written.?? They point out for instance that calling into question the population of the city, (which has been an accepted number by historians) is similar?to calling into question the number of individuals killed,?and in our view, trivializes the great human suffering of the time.? We will therefore, decline to publish advertisements such as this that, in our view, to call into question accepted facts.

Should the statements found in this advertisement be published in reputable newspapers and magazines as new found evidence, and not just speculation, please let us know.


Steph Jespersen
Advertising Acceptability
The New York Times
 In short, the New York Times believes that there was a massacre in Nanking, as has long been reported, the number of victims notwithstanding. The advertisement we proposed differs from their perception; therefore, they cannot allow it to appear in their newspaper.

Admit in the first place that there was a massacre
 The Washington Post responded as follows.

The key is there needs to be an upfront statement of whatever they acknowledge did happen at Nanking. Do they admit that some Chinese civilians were massacred?
What is a number they admit?

As the attorney says, we could probably run an ad that questions the numbers.

Once they have made their upfront statement, the rest of the ad is okay.

The section that reads “Cropped and Doctored Photographs”
The word Doctored has to be removed.
It should say “Cropped Photographs” in the sub-head.
It should say “Many of the photographs used to “prove” the atrocities are gross misrepresentations.”

 In other words, unless we admit that there was a massacre, the Washington Post will not print our advertisement. Once we have done that, they say, we may raise the issue of the number of victims. But we cannot acknowledge an event that did not occur.
 We have learned, however, that both newspapers place more value on conventional views and Chinese propaganda than on facts.
 While we were digesting the responses from the two newspapers, another issue of equal gravity arose: the U.S. House resolution calling for an apology from the Japanese government in connection with the comfort women. There was an urgent need to address this problem expeditiously.
 Therefore, immediately after our plan to run an advertisement about the Nanking “Massacre” failed, we began concentrating on the comfort women issue, and made preparations for an advertisement to be placed in the Washington Post.

So many facts
   We listed five facts in the advertisement. First, the Japanese military issued a notice to brokers (procurers) in the business of recruiting women for sexual services: “Do not force any woman to engage in prostitution against her will. Abduction is strictly forbidden.”
     Many such notices were issued. In the advertisement, we reproduced one marked “Army Memorandum No. 2197” and dated March 4, 1938. It explicitly prohibits recruiting methods that fraudulently employ the army’s name or that can be classified as abduction, warning that those employing such methods have been punished.
 Neither the Japanese military nor the government sanctioned the coercion of women. Not only were military personnel but also procurers were advised to observe guidelines. The military were indeed involved ? not in abducting women, as accusations would have it, but in ensuring that brokers did not use dishonest recruiting methods.
 Some argue that although there was no coercion in the narrow sense, there was in the broader sense. But the aforementioned memorandum clearly dismisses the possibility of Japanese military involvement in or approval of the abduction of comfort women by procurers.
 This document is housed at the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records, the National Archives of Japan, and is accessible to anyone wishing to examine it. Therefore, it is hard to believe that government officials have failed to see it. It should certainly have been made available when the Kono Statement was issued. Why did no one mention it at the time?
   The second fact confirms the first. We knew that even in the face of evidence proving that the military issued such memoranda, some might argue that they fulfilled only a nominal function.  Therefore, we produced an article stating that unscrupulous procurers who violated the rules set forth in those memoranda were indeed arrested and punished.
 According to the August 31, 1939 edition of the Korean newspaper Toa Nippo (East Asian Newspaper), the Korean police (then under Japanese control) were ordered to arrest procurers who coerced women into serving as comfort women. The article concludes by saying that when the police arrested the perpetrators, there would be full disclosure of the methods used by malicious brokers (cajoling women into becoming prostitutes by promising extraordinarily high wages, for instance).
 As the article clearly demonstrates, the military did not load reluctant women into trucks and take them away. Far from it: military officials kept a watchful eye on procurers to ensure that they followed orders.
Not sex slaves
 The third fact refers to an incident that took place in Semarang Island in Indonesia. Some Dutch women were forced to serve as comfort women. When it became clear that they had been coerced, military officials closed the comfort station.
 This is additional proof that the Japanese military did not abduct women. If  coercion was permissible, that comfort station would have never been shut down.
 The fourth fact is inconsistencies in the testimonies of former comfort women. The resolution submitted by Representative Mike Honda, and other accusations against Japan regarding the issue of the comfort women, are based primarily on these testimonies. However, the testimonies have changed frequently over the years. When the women first testified, they made no reference to coercion on the part of the Japanese military; they said only that they had been recruited by brokers. However, after the anti-Japanese campaign reared its ugly head, they said that their abductors wore military or official-looking uniforms.
 The fifth fact asserts that comfort women were never sex slaves. Examples illustrate that they were paid extremely well, earning wages equivalent to those of field-grade officers. Other sources tell us that soldiers who treated comfort women cruelly were punished by the military.
   Furthermore, it was quite common for the army of a nation at war to establish brothels in battle zones to satisfy the sexual needs of its soldiers, and prevent assaults or rapes of local women. Why, then, are the Japanese the only ones censured for having done so?
 When the United States Army occupied Japan, General Headquarters instructed the Japanese government to organize brothels for the use of American military personnel, and to maintain order and hygienic conditions therein.
     Our advertisement presents facts obtained from primary resources, and encourages readers to exercise their own good judgment. It concludes: “We are interested, foremost, in sharing the truth with the American public. Criticism of events that actually occurred must be humbly embraced. But apologies over unfounded slander and defamation will not only give the public an erroneous impression of historical reality but could negatively affect friendship between the United States and Japan. We ask only that the facts be objectively regarded so that we may share a correct perception of history. 
 To date, people representing every walk of life have angrily refuted accusations made by the Chinese and others, but their voices have not carried outside Japan. Japan’s arguments deserve attention in the international media. We cannot overstress the importance of presenting facts, not opinions.
 As I have been working on this project between composition projects, a year has elapsed since I first decided to prepare an advertisement, which cost \15 million (about $120,000). If a negative response is forthcoming, the purchase of another advertisement anytime soon would be beyond our means.
 The work we are doing should rightly be done by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With a \1.5 billion budget allocation for publicity, the ministry could easily run 100 such advertisements. The truth is that, for whatever reason, our government officials do not act, preferring not to make waves.
 We have received a great deal of cooperation from Japanese legislators. Many Diet members representing several political parties (Liberal Democratic Party, Democratic Party of Japan, and independents) have supported and participated in our activities, proving that facts transcend political boundaries.

Send messages overseas
 Some say it is better not to make a fuss over issues like the Nanking “Massacre” and the comfort women, but they are gravely wrong. If something is said that is untrue, and you don’t immediately point out that it is untrue, people may end up believing the untruth. Japan has repeatedly made this mistake, and the result is the situation we have today.
 We must not allow China to demean diplomacy by using it as a tool for spreading lies and propaganda any longer. The most formidable weapons Japan has are facts, and we must use them. Where the Nanking “Massacre” and the comfort women are concerned, the facts are on our side.
 The situation is so complex now that I don’t dare hope that placing advertisements in American newspapers will immediately invalidate Chinese diplomatic treachery. But perhaps our work will awaken the Japanese people to the importance of facts as an effective weapon against propaganda.

Author profile: SUGIYAMA Koichi
 Born in Tokyo in 1931, Sugiyama graduated from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Education, with a degree in educational psychology. After graduation, he joined Nippon Cultural Broadcasting, serving in the news and entertainment departments. Later he moved to Fuji Television, and as a director, produced many programs, among them the “Hit Parade.” In 1968 Sugiyama became a full-time composer. His works include: “Ama iro no kami no otome” (Girl with the flaxen hair), many songs for television commercials, and theme songs for the Dragon Quest game series. He is also director of JASCRAC (the Japanese Society for the Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers), honorary chairman of the Japanese Backgammon Society, executive director of the Japan Composers and Arrangers Association (JCAA), and director of the Japan Composers Conference.
(Translated by Sekai Shuppan, Inc. from “‘Jugun ianfu mondai de Washinton Posuto ni iken kokoku: Yuiitsuno buki wa ‘jijitsu’” in WiLL, August 2007).

September 17, 2007


Filed under: Corea(Korea),IANFU 'comfort women',Japan,Korea — Sei-no-Syounagon @ 5:48 pm

―How Fiction Became Fact―

By NISHIOKA Tsutomu,

Professor at Tokyo Christian University,
Deputy Chairman of the National Council for
the Rescue of Japanese Abducted by North Korea

Fabricated confession

I first became involved with the comfort women controversy in 1991. Most of my recent work concerns North Korea, particularly abductions of Japanese nationals. But my specialty is Japan-Korea relations (the title of my master’s thesis is “How Postwar South Korean Intellectuals Perceive Japan”). Between 1950 and 1980, I devoted a great deal of time and effort to research exploring topics that have incited Koreans to criticize Japan over the years, and the logic behind the criticism. Then, from 1982 to 1984, I was a specialist researcher attached to the Foreign Ministry at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.

The research topic assigned to me by the Foreign Ministry was “South Koreans’ Perception of Japan,” which was essentially an extension of my master’s thesis. It was then that I encountered the first problem having to do with history ? what I call the “first textbook incident.”
This problem was contextually very similar to the comfort women problem, which reared its head later. Anti-Japanese elements in Japan embarked on a mammoth campaign devoted to publicizing a lie: they claimed that the Ministry of Education had ordered textbook screeners to substitute “expansion” for “aggression” in accounts of modern Japan-China relations in Japanese middle school history textbooks. Consequently, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kiichi Miyazawa issued an apology to South Korea on behalf of the Japanese government. Then another criterion was added to the list to be observed during the textbook-screening process: “Textbooks ought to show understanding and seek international harmony in their treatment of modern and contemporary historical events involving neighboring Asian countries.”

I am not a historian, but as a regional studies researcher, I’ve been observing situations like this for quite some time. If I were asked what threw Japan-Korea relations off kilter, or how the perception gap arose, or who caused it, I could tell you. My first book, which came out in 1992, was entitled The Mountain of Misconceptions Separating Japan and Korea.1 It deals with the controversies over the comfort women and textbooks. Since then, I have been following these controversies, and participating in the debate against the Japan-bashers over the comfort women.

Now, to describe the course of events: in 1983, a book was published ? one that greatly distorted the Japanese and Korean perceptions of comfort women. Entitled My War Crimes: Abduction of Koreans, it was written by Yoshida Seiji. In his foreword, Yoshida writes:

For about three years, from 1942 until Japan lost the war, I was head of a labor mobilization group called Yamaguchi Prefecture National Labor Service Assciation.  My job was to procure Korean laborers. I was a loyal citizen, a self-sacrificing patriot serving my country by going on “slave hunts.” (…) I hope Japanese born after the war will read my book and learn that during one chapter of history, we enslaved Koreans. By showing remorse for such behavior, we Japanese will have taken a step toward becoming civilized human beings.2

In 2007, a resolution demanding that the Japanese government “formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Force’s coercion of young women into sexual slavery, known to the world as ‘comfort women,’ during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II”3 was submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives, creating a huge uproar. The origins of this resolution, which has no basis in fact, can be found in Yoshida’s fictional confession about “slave hunts.”
One of the main themes of my book involves tracing the path from Yoshida’s lies to the U.S. House of Representatives. To that end, I must again quote from Yoshida’s book. This is a lengthy citation, and not pleasant reading, but I ask readers’ forbearance.

I ordered an immediate roundup of the women in the village. Houses lined the road, each one surrounded by a stone wall. My crew, armed with wooden swords and guns, opened the doors, entered the houses, and began searching for women.

I climbed up on a wall and looked around. I saw 20 or 30 women gathered at a large house in front of me. Young girls, along with older women, were sitting in rows in a room with a wood floor and on the veranda, weaving rushes to make cylindrical Korean hats. When I signaled, my crew and the soldiers rushed into the house.

The women began to scream, and I could hear the crew and soldiers yelling. Some men emerged from a silent, nearby house, and ran down the street. There were about a dozen of them. They gathered inside the wall around the house; I could tell they were agitated. My crew emerged from the house, in pairs, each dragging a wailing woman by the wrists to the road. They had captured eight young women. The other men were yelling something in Korean.

The road was narrow, with stone walls on both sides. Our path was blocked in both directions by more than 100 villagers. Among them were 20 or 30 half-naked robust-looking men, who might have been fishermen. They didn’t seem to be afraid of us Japanese, and began walking toward us, snarling and screaming.

Sgt. Tani ordered the soldiers to fasten their bayonets, but the villagers kept on yelling. He ordered the soldiers to advance. My crew followed them, dragging the eight girls, who were sobbing. Five or six strong Korean men came forward; they stood in the road, blocking our way. They were waving their arms excited and howling. Exasperated, one of the higher-ranking soldiers with a mustache raised his sword, yelled and started running. The villagers screamed and retreated; the men escaped inside the wall.
When we arrived at our truck parked in the road, the girls started screaming and struggling. They were sturdy young women. As they squirmed, their tanned faces stiffened, and you could see their white teeth as they twisted and turned, attempting to escape from their captors. When they succeeded, crew members tried to grab them from behind. The girls fell onto the grass in a heap. Their white Korean robes opened up in front, exposing their breasts, and rode up at the bottom. They kicked out with their sandaled feet; all in all, they gave the crew a hard time. The soldiers thought the whole scene was very funny and entertaining. My crew finally subdued the girls, grabbed their arms and pushed them into the back of the truck, which was covered with canvas. The crew left right away.

After we had driven east on a main coastal road for about five or six kilometers, Sgt. Tani ordered us to drive the truck into a thicket near a rocky hill. Then he said, “The soldiers expect a reward for protecting the procurement crew. Let’s stop here for a rest for 30 minutes and let them have some fun.”

The soldiers were delighted when they heard Sgt. Tani order a rest break. Once my crew had gotten out of the truck, they jumped into the back. When the girls screamed, the soldiers laughed. No sooner were they procured than the soldiers initiated them: they were comfort women now.4

The comfort women portrayed by Yoshida would indeed have been sex slaves ? if he was telling the truth, that is. Later he writes that the procurement of comfort women was done in accordance with an order from the Japanese Army instructing him to “mobilize a Korean female volunteer corps.”

On May 15, 1943, a first lieutenant from Western District Army Headquarters arrived at the Yamaguchi Prefectural Police Department’s Labor Administration office. The officer delivered a labor mobilization order addressed to the Yamaguchi National Labor Service Assciation chairman (also governor of Yamaguchi Prefecture). The head of the Labor Administration Section was also secretary of the National Labor Service Assciation. As head of the Shimonoseki Branch Mobilization Department, I was asked to be present because I would be executing the mobilization order. 

The lieutenant explained that the mobilization order was issued to National Labor Service Assciations in prefectures in Japan’s Western District, and in each province in the southern part of Korea. Two thousand workers were to be mobilized. The order delivered to the Yamaguchi Prefectural National Labor Service Assciation contained the following information.

1. Volunteer corps of 200 Korean women to serve as entertainers for the Imperial Army
2. Age: 18-29 (married women acceptable; pregnant women not acceptable)
3. Healthy women (medical examination required, especially tests for venereal diseases)
4. Duration: One year (renewal possible if desired)
5. Remuneration: \30 per month
6. Clothing allowance: \20 (to be paid in advance)
7. Place of assignment: central China
8. Recruiting areas: southwestern Korea and Cheju Island
9. Departure date: 12:00 noon, 30 May 1943
10. Meeting place: Western Army, Unit 74
The women’s National Labor Service unit was renamed the Female Volunteer Corps. Students at girls’ schools and local girls (members of girls’ youth groups) working in munitions factories were called “Female Volunteer Corps,” but the female volunteer corps that provided entertainment to soldiers of the Imperial Army were actually comfort women.


The order to mobilize 200 Korean comfort women was reissued as a procurement work order and handed to me by the head of the Labor Administration Section.5

After his book came out, in December 1983, Yoshida visited Korea, apologizing wherever he went; he even had an expiatory tablet erected. But his efforts seemed to end there, and the problem seemed to have gone away.

When I read the book, soon after it was issued, I was suspicious. The scenario Yoshida describes didn’t seem credible. It didn’t jibe with what I had heard from older Koreans who had experienced colonial times.

Japanese specialists in Korean history, the masochistic media (especially Asahi Shimbun) and other Japan-haters swallowed Yoshida’s confession whole, without even bothering to check the facts. Consequently, after the late 1980s, an increasing number of historical works and dictionaries carried references to the coercion of comfort women. People born too late to know about the colonial era began to believe them. Then, in 1989 or so, Socialist Party members began bringing up comfort women in Diet sessions.

At about the same time in South Korea, feminist movements and the left-wing media pounced on the myth about the coercion of comfort women. It was then that the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan got its start.

As I will explain later, rumors that the female volunteer corps and the comfort women, which bore no resemblance to each other, were one and the same were already becoming ingrained in people’s minds. When Yoshida used the term “female volunteer corps” to refer to the comfort women, the die was cast.
Former comfort women denounce Japan

In August 1991, about eight years after Yoshida’s book was published, Asahi Shimbun came out with an article under a banner headline reading “Korean Former Comfort Woman Breaks Silence After Half a Century.” It begins as follows:
During the Sino-Japanese War and World War II, Korean women were told they would be joining Female Volunteer Corps, but were instead transported to battle zones and forced to provide sex services to Japanese military personnel. It has come to light that one of these so-called “comfort women” lives in Seoul. The Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (Yun Chung-ok, co-chairwoman: umbrella organization for 16 groups with a total membership of approximately 300,000). The Council interviewed the woman, and on August 10, turned over a recording of the interview to an Asahi Shimbun reporter. On the tape, the woman can be heard saying, “Even now, remembering those days makes my skin crawl.” Nearly 50 years after the war, she is finally able to talk about experiences that she had kept hidden deep inside.6

In the article the woman was given a pseudonym, but she revealed her real name (Kim Haksun) when the Japan-bashing continued at a press conference on August 14. At the end of the year, Kim toured Japan, telling her story at every destination. She then sued the Japanese government, demanding compensation.

Asahi Shimbun gave this woman and her story extensive coverage. Numerous articles about comfort women appeared in other publications, laying the foundation for the still-unresolved comfort women controversy, and a grass-roots campaign aimed at forcing the Japanese to take responsibility in some way. Soon the campaign would evolve into a domestic consensus and conviction that as a nation, Japan had committed an unforgivable crime.

Then an article by Chuo University Professor Yoshimi Yoshiaki, a historian, appeared on the front page of the January 11, 1992 edition of the Asahi Shimbun. Yoshimi announced that he had uncovered sources at a Defense Agency research institute stating that the Japanese military was involved in the abduction of comfort women. His disclosure threw the government into a panic, prompting Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Koichi to issue a statement of apology. This was exactly the effect intended by Asahi Shimbun and the reason for its intensive coverage of the issue.

As it later became clear, Prof. Yoshimi had been aware of the sources in question for quite some time. However, Asahi Shimbun didn’t release the information until Kim Haksun had filed her suit, the comfort women controversy had reached frenzy level, and Prime Minister Miyazawa’s visit to South Korea was only a few days away.

Newspapers commonly attempt to inform the public by explaining a topic, concept or term when it comes into the news for the first time. When Asahi Shimbun announced Prof. Yoshimi’s “discovery,” it supplied the following explanation at the bottom of the front page:

In China in the 1930s, Japanese military personnel raped a great many women. To hold anti-Japanese sentiment at bay and prevent the spread of venereal diseases, brothels were established. According to former soldiers and army doctors, 80% of the women who worked in the first brothels were Koreans. With the outbreak of the Pacific War, women ? mainly Korean women ? were transported to the brothels under the pretext that they would be serving in a female volunteer corps. Their numbers are estimated to have been 80,000 or 200,000. (Italics supplied.)7

There is tremendous significance in the italicized portion of the text. At that time, Japan was mobilizing workers in accordance with the National Mobilization Act. “Female volunteer corps” was the name given to groups of women drafted to work in munitions factories. The term was never used in connection with comfort women. I know plenty of women who were mobilized into female volunteer corps, and all of them have assured emphatically me that their groups had nothing to do with comfort women.
Members of female volunteer corps were mobilized in accordance with National Labor Service Cooperation Act, which stated that unmarried women between the ages of 14 and 25, as well as men aged 14-40, would join National Labor Service Corps. Beginning in 1943, married women were also urged to join female volunteer corps but, as the term implies, they were not obligated to join. When the Female Volunteer Labor Act (Imperial Order No. 519) was enacted in 1944, women between the ages of 12 and 39 were legally bound to join volunteer corps.8

It is unlikely in the extreme that Asahi Shimbun was unaware of these historical facts. In actuality, it was the conventional wisdom among left-wing, masochistic scholars of the time that the mobilization of workers into compulsory “volunteer” groups in colonial Korea also included comfort women.

Here are some examples of that conventional wisdom.

Beginning in 1943, approximately 200,000 Korean women were mobilized into teams called “female volunteer corps.” Approximately 50,000-70,000 young, unmarried, women among their number were forced to become comfort women.9

In August 1944, the Female Volunteer Corps Labor Act was promulgated. Several hundred thousand Korean women between the ages of 12 and 40 were mobilized; several tens of thousands of unmarried women among their number were pressed into service as comfort women for Japanese military personnel.10

The origin of both of these “explanations” is Yoshida Seiji’s book. As I wrote earlier, he stated that there was a roundup of women in 1943 on Cheju Island for a volunteer corps of comfort women.

By stating that “women ? mainly Korean women ? were transported to the brothels under the pretext that they would be serving in a female volunteer corps,” Asahi Shimbun was claiming that they were compelled to become comfort women, as Yoshida wrote. This is “coercion in the narrow sense” of the word, which Prime Minister Abe has denied.

In 1997, Asahi Shimbun changed the focus of its coverage to the hardships the women experienced once they entered the brothels, i.e., the coercive nature of their environments. But in 1992, the newspaper had charged that the recruitment of the comfort women was “systematically coercive.”
Meanwhile, the living witness to the slave hunts (Yoshida), and former comfort woman Kim Haksun had been making frequent appearances on Japanese television and in newspaper articles.

The January 23, 1992 edition of the Asahi Shimbun carried an editorial entitled “The Comfort Women.” It quoted Yoshida as saying, “They used the police, a state power, to abduct women in the colony using means that precluded escape. They transported them to battle zones and confined them there for a year or two years. They were gang-raped, and abandoned when the Japanese military retreated. It’s my guess that half the men and all the women I personally abducted died.”11 This was followed by a portion of a conversation between the author of the editorial and Yoshida: “I was concerned that Mr. Yoshida would be inconvenienced if his name appeared in the media. When I asked him about that, his cheerful reply was ‘That’s all right. It doesn’t bother me anymore.’”12

When I read the editorial, I realized that Yoshida was the answer to Asahi Shimbun’s prayers. Now the trio was complete: Yoshida (the conscientious witness), the documents unearthed by Prof. Yoshimi, and the former comfort woman, the victim. This unfortunate alignment created the mistaken impression of being evidence that women were abducted in slave hunts, and forced to service Japanese soldiers. Asahi Shimbun, other anti-Japanese media and activists had seized upon them and used them in their attempt to ruin Japan’s reputation.

The prevailing view at that time was that Japanese troops had abducted Korean women and forced them to become prostitutes, but the Japanese government would neither acknowledge nor apologize for these inhuman crimes.

I have vivid memories of Keio University Professor Okonogi Masao’s January 1992 editorial in Sankei Shimbun : “What I have learned is so horrible it makes me want to cover my eyes.” He had offered his political conclusion without ever bothering to examine the facts.13

Then, on January 13, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Koichi issued an official statement, saying that “we would like to offer our heartfelt apologies to the women who endured unspeakable suffering while serving as comfort women.” This was the first government statement issued in connection with the comfort women problem. On January 17, Prime Minister Miyazawa went to Korea, where he apologized to President Roh Tae-woo eight times.
Japanese instigated suit instituted in Korea

The February 1992 issue of the monthly Hoseki carried transcripts of interviews conducted by journalist Usuki Keiko with former comfort women. The title was “Another Pacific War: Former Korean Comfort Women Tell Their Stories: the Depravity and Shamelessness of the Japanese Soldiers Who Abused Our Bodies.” Those who agreed to the interview were Kim Haksun and two women who used pseudonyms.

Curious about what they had said, I immediately obtained a copy of the magazine. I was wondering whether they were going to say they had been abducted, thereby proving Yoshida Seiji was right.

But Kim Haksun said that she had been sold into prostitution for \40. Neither of the other two women said anything about having been kidnapped by Japanese soldiers. “What’s this?” I thought.

Poverty was a very serious problem in both Japan and Korea prior to World War II. In those days, women were indeed sold into prostitution. Everyone is aware of that; it is not news. What was supposed to make the comfort women newsworthy was their coming forward to say they were coerced.

Reading the apologies offered by the chief cabinet secretary and the prime minister, and the emotional coverage in the Japanese media, I thought, “Something’s wrong here. This may be a huge scam. No one has offered any proof that those women were coerced into prostitution.”

I was aware that, for the court proceedings held in connection with the suit instituted by Kim Haksun, et al. against the Japanese government, Japanese had gone to Korea and posted fliers advertising for plaintiffs.

Actually, theirs was not the first suit filed in connection with comfort women. Its precursor went to trial in 1990. When I learned that that suit had been instituted by Japanese, I realized that there must be some huge lies involved.

It so happened that the monthly Bungei Shunju had printed an article entitled “Japan-Korea Relations Have Deteriorated So Much that We Must Apologize” in its March issue, which hit the stands on February 10, 1992. The article is a dialogue between Sato Katsumi, director of the Modern Korea Institute, and Takushoku University Professor Tanaka Akira. These two pioneering specialists in postwar North and South Korean studies, who have many friends in South Korea, were also my mentors.

Both men spoke candidly. They deplored the state of the relationship between Japan and South Korea, reminding us that all reparations had been paid in accordance with the [Japan-Korea Treaty]. They mentioned a white paper, a statement of claim issued by the South Korean government, which lists the uses to which monies received from Japan were put, including monies intended for individuals. During their discussion, they indicated that the repeated apologies offered by Japan in response to South Korean demands had caused anti-Korean sentiment to spread against the Japanese. They also referred to the fact that the “comfort women trial” had been instigated by Japanese.

Scholars who have been engaged in research on South Korea for 30 years, or 40 years, came out and said that we must stop apologizing to the Koreans, that the more we apologize the worse relations between the two nations will become, using their real names. The shock waves were mammoth. Their statements were met with harsh criticism from the South Koreans, who pronounced them absurd.
Fact-finding investigation commissioned by magazine

As repercussions rippled throughout Japan and Korea, the editorial division of the monthly Bungei Shunju asked me to investigate the comfort women controversy and write up the results. To be candid, I wavered about accepting the assignment. As I wrote earlier, at that point I was having serious misgivings about the Japanese and Korean media coverage of the problem, and the Japanese government’s response. Therefore, I knew that someone had to do painstaking research into the facts and make the results known to the world.

But at the core of the problem was sex, a topic that people are generally unwilling to discuss frankly. Also involved was the fact that I, a citizen of a nation that had colonized Korea, might end up criticizing old women who had been victimized. I would rather have someone else do this job.
But as I vacillated, the lies continued to spread. I finally assented, believing that I could not, in good conscience, refuse. I was afraid that Japan’s relationship with Korea, a nation where many of my professors, mentors, friends and acquaintances live, might be irreparably damaged.

I was convinced that there is nothing more absurd (or harmful) than debates and apologies that have no basis in fact. I was fully prepared to be the first to offer an apology if I was proven wrong, if this wasn’t a scam and my investigation revealed that Japan had used force to victimize innocent Korean women.

The editor in chief of Bungei Shunju told me, “When you conduct your investigation, resign yourself to being vilified, along with me.” He promised me the editorial division’s full support. He assigned one of his most capable editors to the project full time, and told me I could use as many investigators as I wanted, and buy as many references as I needed. He said my research should be done wherever it needed to be, and not to worry about money. Therefore, I wasn’t a solo investigator, but part of a team working on the same project.

The objective of my research was to discover whether the comfort women were so poor they had to sell their bodies to stay alive, or whether they were sex slaves coerced into prostitution by military or government personnel.

First of all, I scrutinized the document that Prof. Yoshimi offered as proof of military involvement. It permitted me to confirm an important fact. Yes, the military was involved in recruiting comfort women, but only by attempting to prevent private brokers from engaging in immoral behavior and claiming they were acting on behalf of the military.

Not only did the document prove that the military did not coerce women, it also proved that they tried to stop brokers from engaging in unlawful acts during their recruiting campaigns. Yes, the military were involved, but their involvement had benevolent intentions.

I will quote from the document as published in Asahi Shimbun. It appears in a collection of documents exchanged between the Ministry of the Army and units assigned to China and entitled “China Area Army Journal: Secret.”

Subject: Recruitment of Comfort Women (Communication from adjutant to head staff officers of North China Area Army and Central China Expeditionary Army)

China Area Army No. 745: Secret

04 March 1938
We advise Expeditionary Army personnel to exercise extreme caution in the recruiting of female workers to avoid harm to the prestige of the military and the emergence of social problems. Be aware that unscrupulous brokers may say they are acting on behalf of the military, thus causing the military to lose prestige or generating misunderstandings among the local population. They may also cause social problems by violating regulations and recruiting through war correspondents or visitors. Some of the recruiters cannot be trusted; they lack the judgment required of recruiters, and must be watched carefully, as they have previously been arrested or interrogated by the police for using improper recruiting methods akin to kidnapping. Select recruiters with care and keep control over them. Maintain close contact with the military police and local police authorities.14

This document does not prove that the military forced women to serve as prostitutes. Asahi Shimbun reported that this document and two others attest to military involvement. But they simply state that the brothels were established to improve military discipline, as rapes committed by Japanese soldiers in war zones would be used as anti-Japanese political propaganda.

Following a logical thought process, we have: the military were concerned about inciting adverse public sentiment in war zones. There was already a fledgling independence movement in colonial Korea. The military wouldn’t have dared angering the local population by coercing women to become prostitutes. Therefore, the document found by Prof. Yoshimi does not prove that the comfort women were coerced. On the contrary, it proves that they were not coerced.

But the atmosphere at the time was obviously conducive to the creation of a mass delusion and fraud (the flames of which were fueled by Asahi Shimbun’s coverage and the chief cabinet secretary’s flustered apology) ? namely, that the comfort women were victims of coercion.


The link between the Association for the Pacific War Victims officer and Asahi Shimbun

I examined the testimony of the former comfort woman who had come forward. I wanted to know whether it would attest to her having been abducted by military or government authorities.

Since she had instituted a lawsuit, I decided to have a look at the petition, which I acquired. I discovered that it agreed with the article I had read in Hoseki. An excerpt follows.

Kim Hak-sun’s family was poor, so she stopped going to school. To earn some money, she did babysitting and maid’s work. She was adopted by Kim Tae-won, who sent her to a school for kisaeng (entertainer-prostitutes) when she was 14, for three years. In the spring of 1939, when Kim Hak-sun was 17, her adoptive father convinced her and another girl named Emiko, who was one year her senior, to go with him to China, “where you can make a lot of money.”15
Kim Hak-sun states clearly that she became a kisaeng because her family was poor. When I discussed her case with the Bungei Shunju editors, we agreed that it was similar to those of young Japanese women who were sold into prostitution by their parents. But how can anyone claim Kim was abducted?

The more I investigated, the more malicious the Asahi Shimbun editorial seemed. Then I learned that the daughter of Yang Sun-in, the former executive director of a South Korean organization that goes by the name of Association for the Pacific War Victims, is married to Uemura Takashi, a reporter for Asahi Shimbun. If my sources were accurate, it did seem as though Uemura had manufactured his article out of whole cloth to give his mother-in-law and her accomplices an edge in court.

In any case, I had decided to track down absolutely every lead, including this one. That meant going to South Korea to meet Yang Sun-in. The people at the Bungei Shunju editorial division expressed concern when I told them of my plans. They were afraid that I might be assaulted by survivors, activists, or their agents; I was encouraged to travel with a reporter and a bodyguard. I declined their offer to save myself from having to interpret for an entourage.

Once in Seoul, I obtained the phone number of the Association from a Japanese foreign correspondent. I made an appointment to meet Yang Sun-in at the organization’s office. Actually, if luck hadn’t been on my side, that meeting might have been canceled at the last minute. Takagi Ken’ichi, the Japanese lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the suit, was scheduled to visit the Association’s office at about the same time to prepare for the trial. Since I had criticized his activities in Gendai Koria (Modern Korea) and other publications, I was sure he knew who I was. If Takagi had showed up at the office prior to my appointment, Uemura would have warned Yang Sun-in about me, and she would not have agreed to the interview. Fortunately, I arrived in Seoul a few days before he did.

I went to the Association’s office bearing a gift, a box of fruit, and proffered my business card (the one that says I’m a university professor). I announced that I was doing research on Korea. When I mentioned that I was particularly interested in the comfort women controversy, Ms. Yang opened up to me.

I asked her how the lawsuit had come to be filed. (I will describe her response in detail later.) Then I told her, “The Japanese government has already paid $300 million in cash and tendered $200 million in loans to South Korea in accordance with the 1965 treaty. The South Korean government paid 300,000 won out of that amount to victims’ survivors. Why demand further compensation from the Japanese government, especially at this late date?”

Her strange reply was: “The 1965 treaty was imposed on the weak (South Korea) by the strong (Japan). We don’t care if a thousand treaties were signed. We won’t recognize them.”

Then I said I’d heard that her daughter was married to an Asahi Shimbun reporter. “Yes, that’s true,” she replied.

To make sure I had the correct information, I asked, “Is his name Uemura?” “Yes.” Now I had the information I needed, straight from the horse’s mouth.
Criminalization of the Japanese military

The next task on my agenda was to interview Kim Hak-sun, the former comfort woman who had come forward. I wasn’t able to do that, unfortunately, because she had been hospitalized. Instead, I managed to track down and meet with a Korean resident of Japan, a woman who had arranged for Kim to appear on Japanese television programs, and acted as her interpreter.

She had come to know Kim very well after interpreting for her a number of times. She had learned that Kim had not been abducted by the Japanese military, but had been sold to a kisaeng house because her family was so poor.

Having discovered that the truth was quite different from the fiction preferred by television commentators, etc., who were determined to portray the Japanese military as a band of demoniacal criminals, my informant had begun to realize that something was terribly wrong. I believe that is why she told someone like me, who had come from Japan on a fact-finding mission, Kim Hak-sun’s true story.

She said that once she had learned the truth, she had a quiet conversation with Kim when there were no reporters around.
“Ms. Kim, you were sold to a kisaeng house, weren’t you?”

“Yes, I was.”

“Then why in the world did you come forward?”

“I was so lonely. No one ever came to see me. Then one day I saw a television program about people who were forced to work during the war and how they were going to go to court. I thought maybe that had something to do with me, so I made a phone call.”

In August 1991, Kim Hak-sun was the first former comfort woman to come forward. At that time, as already described, Asahi Shimbun gave the event a huge amount of coverage: “A comfort woman comes forward for the first time ever.” This was a scoop for Asahi, which wrote about the event before even Korean newspapers got wind of it. The author of the article was, needless to say, Uemura Takashi, son-in-law of the woman whose organization was contacted by Kim Hak-sun. He was bound to get the scoop.

The article Uemura produced, as mentioned earlier, has a very shocking beginning.

During the SinoJapanese War and World War II, Korean women were told they would be joining female volunteer corps, but were instead transported to battle zones and forced to provide sex services to Japanese military personnel. It has come to light that one of these socalled “comfort women” lives in Seoul. The Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (…) interviewed the woman … .16

Nowhere here will you find the most critical part of her story: that her family was so poor she was sold to a kisaeng house. Without this information, readers would never see the true picture.

Interestingly, the portion of the article that mentions the female volunteer corps (“Korean women were told they would be joining Female Volunteer Corps, but were instead transported to battle zones”) is the same language used in the “supplementary material” supplied by Asahi Shimbun in connection with the document provided by Prof. Yoshimi. The first glimpse the Japanese reading public got of Kim Hak-sun was the portrait Uemura Takashi painted of her, which closely resembled Yoshida Seiji’s confession: the victim of an abduction.

On December 25, 1991, Asahi Shimbun carried another article under the headline “Former Comfort Woman Kim Hak-sun Institutes Suit Against the Japanese Government: Seeks Compensation for a Stolen Youth.” It contained a partial transcription of Uemura’s interview with Kim, where she says, “I heard I could make a lot of money. Someone working in my neighborhood told me. He didn’t say what type of work was involved. I accepted the offer, and so did a friend who lived nearby. It was the spring of 1939, and I was 17.” Still no mention of being sold to a kisaeng house.

Did Kim Hak-sun fail to mention the kisaeng house when she first came forward? If so, then the information in Uemura’s article was erroneous. But it would be unfair to describe it as malicious

The truth quickly emerged. After doing some checking, I learned that on August 14, shortly after Uemura’s article appeared, Kim Hak-sun held a press conference for Korean newspaper reporters. I looked for the articles and discovered that even Hankyoreh, South Korea’s most left-leaning daily, carried one about Kim.

No longer able to make ends meet, my mother sold me to a kisaeng house owner in Pyongyang when I was 14. After living there for three years, I thought I had gotten my first job. But the place I was taken by the kisaeng house owner who had adopted me was a division of the Japanese Army in North China. There were more than 300 soldiers there. First I was sold for \40, then trained to be an entertainer for a few years, and after that I went to a place where Japanese soldiers were stationed.17

It was the same story she had told from the very beginning, the one I read on the petition for the lawsuit. Every time she told it ? the first time she spoke out, on the petition, and in the Hoseki interview, it was the same: Kim Hak-sun had been sold to a kisaeng house.
Asahi Shimbun’s malicious fabrication

Uemura’s article in the December 25 edition of Asahi Shimbun begins: “I was present when the lawyers interviewed the former comfort woman, so I heard her story in detail. Here are excerpts from the tape-recorded description of her stolen youth.”

Not only in his August article, but also in the December piece, Uemura deliberately omitted important information from Kim Hak-sun’s account: the part about being sold to a kisaeng house. At that time, Uemura worked on the city desk at the Osaka office of Asahi Shimbun. Apparently, he had gone to Korea as an exchange student, where he was studying the language. There he met Yang Sun-in’s daughter, whom he later married. This means that he reads and speaks Korean. It is hard to believe that Kim Hak-sun omitted the part of her story relating to having being sold only when she spoke to him, i.e., Asahi Shimbun.

That part of Kim’s story can also be found in the petition for the lawsuit. So, if Uemura was present when Takagi and the other attorneys met with Kim, she would certainly have told them about it. Uemura must have known about it. I can only assume that he left it out because it didn’t fit in with the scenario he had concocted. He was afraid to write the truth, because then his whole drama about abduction and coercion by Japanese authorities, which was what Asahi Shimbun wanted to publicize, would have crumbled.

Asahi Shimbun’s current position is that Prime Minister Abe should stop dithering about whether there was coercion in the narrow sense or in the broad sense. If he’s going to apologize, then he should apologize, and properly. Actually, the newspaper thought that the story wasn’t worth printing unless they could make a case for coercion in the narrow sense of the word (i.e., abduction by military or government authorities). For that reason, the editors deliberately dropped the part about Kim’s mother selling her for \40.

Recently, a television program claiming that you’ll lose weight if you eat fermented soybeans was canceled and the television network that broadcast it was expelled from Minporen (National Association of Commercial Broadcasters) for misinforming the public. But Asahi Shimbun’s sins are far, far more grievous.

When an Asahi reporter claimed he had found graffiti carved in coral and was later found to have staged the incident, the president of Asahi Shimbun resigned. But Uemura’s offense was twice as reprehensible, since he lied not only to get a scoop, but also to get a lawsuit instituted by his mother-in-law off on a good footing. Their deliberate dissemination of lies has had serious consequences, worsening not only relations between Japan and South Korea, but also between Japan and the U.S.

Since 1992, I have been spreading the word about this incident every chance I get: in magazine articles, books, and in televised debates and public speeches, naming names every single time. Still, Asahi Shimbun has yet to issue a rebuttal, a correction or an apology; nor has the newspaper reprimanded Mr. Uemura. Far from it, it appointed him Seoul correspondent, and assigned him to write articles on Korean problems. This is inexcusable behavior.

Another individual whose conduct has been reprehensible is Takagi Ken’ichi, the attorney. We assume he read the petition, so he must have known Kim Hak-sun’s sad story: the family was so poor her mother had to sell her for \40. If he were a reputable lawyer, he would have explained things to her: “You don’t have a case. By telling your story, you are inviting humiliation for a second time.”

As the first former comfort woman to come forward, Kim Hak-sun became a pawn in the anti-Japan campaign waged by Takagi and his accomplices. She was also used by Uemura and the Asahi Shimbun. When I and other Korea specialists exposed her true past, she became expendable. After I wrote about the portion of her story that Uemura concealed in Bungei Shunju, Korean scholars conducted an inquiry. She told them a new tale, which wasn’t included in the petition. This resulted in closer scrutiny of her past; she was now trapped in a vicious cycle. It’s hard to believe that Takagi Ken’ichi cared the least bit about her human rights.
Child comfort women?
Now I’d like to return to the investigation I conducted in February 1992. On January 14 of that year, two days before Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi was to visit Korea, articles about the Japanese rounding up elementary school students to serve in volunteer corps, and editorials about forcing even elementary school-aged girls to become sex slaves appeared in Korean newspapers, fomenting resentment against Japan.

Did the authors actually verify the existence of 12-year-old comfort women? I located the person who wrote the first article about elementary school students and the volunteer corps, and met with him. His name is Kim Yong-soo, and he works for Rengo News Agency. He said he had been following this problem for quite some time.

As described earlier, in South Korea there is a misunderstanding about the wartime volunteer corps. They have been mistaken for comfort women; there was no connection. Kim knew that, but he wrote only that 12-year-olds were drafted into volunteer corps. He made no effort to explain. He didn’t claim that they had been forced to serve as comfort women. But the editorial in the Dong-a Ilbo, a Korean daily, which appeared not long after the Kim article, stated that “even 12-year old schoolgirls were mobilized to serve as sex slaves in war zones.” Presented as unassailable fact, this “information” infuriated many Koreans, and right before Prime Minister Miyazawa’s visit.

Volunteer corps were, more accurately, volunteer labor corps, which had nothing whatsoever to do with comfort women. Members were not transported to brothels, but to munitions factories in Toyama Prefecture. According to my research, in 1944, Ikeda Masae, a Japanese teacher at the Hozan National School (an elementary school) in Keijo (today Seoul), sent six of her sixth-grade students to work in a munitions factory in Toyama as members of a volunteer corps. In August 1945, the war ended; in December, Ms. Ikeda returned to Japan. By that time, all but one of her students had returned to Korea. Ms. Ikeda never forgot the girl, and after retiring from her teaching position in Japan, went to look for her. Her search ended happily in 1991, when she found the student. She learned that the girl had returned safely to South Korea, but had headed straight for her home village, without stopping at the school to announce her return.

Since Kim Yong-soo had intended to write an article describing this chain of events, he continued to gather information. He observed that a former comfort woman had come forward, and a document uncovered by Prof. Yoshimi had been given wide coverage in Japan. Then he wrote an article stating that elementary school children had been drafted into volunteer corps.

As I stated earlier, Kim did not explain that these girls were being sent to work in a factory in Toyama, not a brothel. He knew (or perhaps hoped) that his article would be misinterpreted.

I asked him directly: “Why did you write that article? You knew that those 12-year-old girls never became comfort women. In Korea, your article served as the basis for others asserting that 12-year-old Korean girls were forced to become sex slaves in battle zones. Maybe your article, and your article alone, contained no inaccuracies, but you wrote it knowing full well that it would be misinterpreted. How could you do such a thing?”

Kim’s reply: “Yes, I knew that those six children weren’t comfort women, but I’ve heard stories in Korea about children who were drafted into volunteer corps and later forced to become comfort women. So I thought that other elementary schoolgirls might have been forced to become comfort women. That’s why I didn’t bother to write that these six were members of volunteer labor corps, and not comfort women.”
His excuse was pathetic, but at least I was able to ascertain that there was no proof to back up the accusations that followed his article.

To this day, none of the sources of the rumor that 12-year-old girls were forced to serve as comfort women (Kim’s article, the newspapers, television networks, etc.) has stated that schoolgirls were mobilized to work in munitions factories, not to serve as comfort women. Anti-Japanese sentiment has continued to worsen. Here is an excerpt from one of the editorials; this one appeared in Dong-a Ilbo in early 1992.
Twelve-year-old “volunteer corps” members

The crimes committed by the Japanese empire were so repugnant and barbarian that it is difficult to believe they were perpetrated by human beings. It is true that they were committed during the conduct of a war waged by a militaristic government, but still, we find it nearly impossible to believe that the Japanese would go to such cruel, inhuman lengths to commit these brutal crimes.

We have been struggling to comprehend, even vaguely, the pain and suffering the members of those “volunteer corps” endured when they were brutally abducted and forced to provide sex services to the Japanese military. However, we find it impossible to control the anger that consumes us once again at the news that even 12-year-old elementary school students were mobilized and used as sexual commodities in war zones.


It is shocking to learn that before liberation,18 six students in Sixth Grade Class No. 2 (an all-girl class) of the Hozan National School in Seoul (then a public elementary school affiliated with Keijo Province) were abducted and forced to join a girls’ volunteer corps. Five of them were only 12 years old at the time. It is common knowledge that 15-year-old girls were mobilized for those volunteer corps, but we have learned that even 12-year-old girls were abducted.

A Japanese teacher named Ikeda (female, now 68 years old), then employed by said school, sent the students off to a volunteer corps, which she called a “volunteer labor corps.” Ikeda persuaded the girls to go by telling them and their parents that, as subjects of the Japanese empire, they were obligated to join volunteer labor corps.

However, that was a bald-faced lie. We now know from testimony provided by various individuals that after the girls were mobilized under the volunteer labor corps pretext, they were
instead assigned to brothels. Ikeda says she felt so guilty that she never married, and could never look at the sky in the direction of Korea. This is proof that she knew what the volunteer labor corps really were.


We don’t know how many young girls were taken from their parents and forced to join volunteer corps. Even some young mothers were beaten and abducted, their infants torn from their breasts. We estimate that 80,000-200,000 people were mobilized to serve as comfort women.


We do not wish to dwell on the volunteer corps issue, which has caused us great disgrace. We should persuade Japan to seek forgiveness for these brutal acts by making amends in the spirit of humanitarianism.19

After my second reading of this tirade, I was practically groaning. Images of 12-year-old girls and new mothers being abducted and forced to become comfort women in war zones, where they “were used as sexual commodities” had become imprinted in the minds of a great many Koreans. Subsequently, they made their way, practically unaltered, into the educational arena and into dramas shown on television. The conventional wisdom in South Korea about the comfort women, especially among those who never experienced colonialism, is virtually identical to the scenarios described in this editorial.

Another bombshell: lawsuit instigated by Japanese

The more research I did, the clearer it became that there had been absolutely no abductions by military or government authorities. I set out to discover the motivation for the lawsuit, and ran into yet another instance of chicanery.

In Oita Prefecture there lives a woman named Aoyagi Atsuko. During my investigation, I went to her home to hear what she had to say. The wife of a physician, Aoyagi champions a Korean-Japanese anti-discrimination activist named Song Tu-hea. Aoyagi teamed up with Song to institute a lawsuit against the Japanese government demanding an apology and compensation. I later met with her puppet master Song, too, in Tokyo. From those interviews, I gleaned the following facts.

The first lawsuit of this sort involved Koreans residing in Sakhalin. It too was instigated by Song Tu-hea. Quite the eccentric, Song Tu-hea uses a bizarre logic, which prompts him to emit utterances like “the Koreans in Sakhalin and the Koreans in Japan, including me, all possess Japanese citizenship, even today.” Apparently, he didn’t want to use lawyers, but the court wouldn’t accept the documents he submitted. Enter Takagi Ken’ichi, the attorney.

In 1975, Takagi and his colleagues sidelined Song, and prepared the required documents. Then they instituted suit against the Japanese government, demanding an apology and compensation because “Japan bears responsibility for the inability of Koreans in Sakhalin to return to South Korea.”
That lawsuit was adjudged to be without merit. After its defeat, Japan was not involved in any way with the South Koreans’ tragic postwar fate. Sakhalin was occupied by Soviet troops, who sided with North Korea and, therefore, refused to allow Koreans to return to South Korea. The court ruled that the lawsuit was groundless. But the attitude that anything is fair game if it makes Japan look bad, and that it’s perfectly all right to twist the facts, if necessary, is the specialty of Japan-hating Japanese like Takagi and company.

But between the time the suit was instituted and into the 1980s, the Soviet Union began granting temporary exit visas so Koreans could travel to Japan. Reunions took place, and they included family members who had traveled from South Korea. The Japanese government funded these reunions, for humanitarian reasons. South Koreans in Sakhalin seemed to have reasons to be hopeful.20 After his Sakhalin court case was hijacked by Takagi, Song looked to South Korea as a source of plaintiffs.

The Song-Aoyagi group placed an advertisement in the February 19, 1989 issue of the now defunct left-wing magazine Asahi Journal that read, in part: “Japan must issue a formal apology to North and South Koreans.” The advertisement appeared 14 more times, every other week, until December.

On January 19, 1989, Aoyagi made a three-day trip to South Korea, armed with a Korean translation of the Asahi Journal ad. The purpose of her trip was to find plaintiffs for a lawsuit against the Japanese government demanding an apology and compensation. She left her literature with various media organizations, but was unable to locate any victims.

An acquaintance of mine who works at a branch office of a Japanese daily in South Korea told me that Aoyagi visited his office during her 1989 trip, and said she was looking for plaintiffs. Here we have a Japanese woman going around handing out flyers in South Korea, and urging people to sue the Japanese government. The more I learned about her activities, the more dubious I became.

Several weeks after she returned to Oita, Aoyagi received a telephone call from South Korea. It was Yang Sun-in, the mother-in-law of Asahi Shimbun reporter Uemura Takashi. Yang said she represented a group called Association for the Pacific War Victims, and wanted to be a plaintiff in Aoyagi’s lawsuit.

In March 1990, Aoyagi visited Korea a second time. Awaiting her arrival were approximately 1,000 members of the Association for the Pacific War Victims, who had gathered in the auditorium of the Hankuk Ilbo Building near the Japanese Embassy for a “Briefing on a Lawsuit Seeking a Formal Apology and Compensation from Japan.” Aoyagi told me that her speech to the Association for the Pacific War Victims had gone something like this:
I am just an ordinary housewife and the mother of three children. When I met Song Tu-hea and the members of his group, I realized that I could wait no longer for Japan to do the right thing. I decided to make preparations for a lawsuit. No decent human being could possibly forgive what Japan has done, including the annexation of Korea for 36 years. It makes me especially angry that Japan has shirked its postwar responsibilities.

We decided that the most effective method to use, of those available to us, would be a lawsuit. We are now preparing for the court proceedings. At the trial, we will ask for an official apology and compensation from Japan. I’d like to explain the court proceedings briefly. Court costs vary according to the amount of compensation demanded. Since it is expensive to transport witnesses to Japan, we’d like to start out with 10 plaintiffs. But to make it clear that there are many more plaintiffs standing behind these 10 people, I’d like to have as many powers of attorney as possible. We have raised four million yen in Japan to cover court costs. We plan to begin the court proceedings with 10 plaintiffs and a large number of powers of attorney.

Surely the Koreans in the audience reacted positively to this Japanese woman, who had journeyed to South Korea, condemned her own country’s government and exhorted all in attendance to join her in a lawsuit demanding an official apology and compensation, all expenses paid. Then Aoyagi suggested staging a demonstration in front of the Japanese Embassy, just a few steps away. The demonstration, the first of its kind, took place that day. Since then, there have been demonstrations demanding compensation every Wednesday in front of the Japanese Embassy, but it was Aoyagi who organized the very first one.

Inspired by Aoyagi’s exhortations, the Association for the Pacific War Victims began to act in earnest. In May 1990, the group held a two-week-long sit-in in front of the Japanese Embassy. In June and July, they marched from the Japanese Consulate in Pusan to the Japanese Embassy in Seoul carrying photographs of victims hanging from their necks. Then, on October 29, 22 South Koreans appeared in Tokyo District Court to file their lawsuit against the Japanese government, the bulk of their paperwork having been done by Aoyagi and her accomplices.

The plaintiffs in this case were the survivors of Koreans who had been drafted into the Japanese Army or mobilized as workers, and were killed on the battlefield or elsewhere. No former comfort women were involved in this action.

But since Song Tu-hea and Aoyagi hadn’t used an attorney then, either. As a result, they did not succeed in bringing the lawsuit to trial.

In August 1991, when the first former comfort woman came forward, the Association for the Pacific War Victims bid Aoyagi farewell, and together with attorney Takagi and a group including journalist Usuki Keiko, began preparing for a new lawsuit. This was the case described earlier (Kim Hak-sun was the lead plaintiff).

By rights, any controversy over compensation should have been resolved when the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea was concluded in 1965. There were no demonstrations in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul until the first was fomented by the Association for the Pacific War Victims and Aoyagi.

But when someone came from Japan and told them they could sue, when someone told them they might be able to get more money, and that all their expenses would be paid in Japan, that’s when the movement gained real momentum.

Compensation of individual victims at discretion of ROK government

How did the Association for the Pacific War Victims come to be established? In accordance with the 1965 treaty, Japan paid $300 million in cash and tendered $200 million in loans to Korea (the property claim agreement). Since Japan had only $18 billion in foreign currency reserves in 1965, an expenditure of $500 million would have been a hardship. That amount was paid in installments over 10 years between 1966 and 1975. At the time, South Korea had $130 million in foreign currency reserves, far less than the nation’s trade deficit ($290 million). Therefore, $500 million was very significant to the Korean economy.

The Park Chung-hee administration earmarked the funds received from Japan as follows: (1) All citizens must benefit equally, (2) the funds must be applied so as to increase national income, (3) decisions to distribute funds must be made in accordance with Korean leadership initiative, be they applied to infrastructure, raw materials or machinery, and (4) the funds must be invested in major enterprises that can be passed on to our children and grandchildren.21

Based on the view that investment in production would result in increased national income, plans were made to use the funds for national construction projects: dams, steel plants and roads were built.

According to Korean government estimates, the funds from Japan represented a contribution of 19.3% on average, between 1966 and 1975, to South Korean economic growth. In the postwar world, developing countries received a tremendous amount of financial aid from advanced nations. But few nations used those funds as effectively as the Park Chung-hee government.

The matter of compensating individuals was put off until later. Between May 1971 and March 1972, private claims against Japan were filed. The Association for the Pacific War Victims was formed during this period. In 1974, the Law Concerning Private Compensation Claims Against Japan was enacted. Beginning in 1975, 300,000 won was paid to each of 9,546 direct descendants of “persons who lost their lives as a result of having been conscripted as military personnel, civilian workers for the military or laborers prior to August 15, 1945.”22

The Association for the Pacific War Victims came into being in 1972; its raison d’?tre was to petition the Korean government for more money, since 300,000 won was insufficient. The organization should have asked the South Korean government for more money, since Japan had already transferred the funds, and there was no reason for further Japanese involvement.

Furthermore, the Korean government compensated only those who were mobilized to serve as soldiers, military workers or laborers and died while performing those services, as described earlier. Individuals who were wounded or injured received nothing.

It can certainly empathize with the petitioners. But if the Japanese government were to pay the same amount of compensation to Korean survivors as to Japanese survivors, as Japanese Japan-haters would have it, what would happen?

The South Korean government spent some of the funds received from Japan on programs intended to support independence activists and their survivors. But South Korea is now an independent nation; it must attempt to achieve a balance between compensation to survivors of those who were forced to help with Japan’s war effort when Korea was a Japanese colony, and survivors of popular heroes who died fighting for independence. Also to be factored in is compensation to survivors of Korean military personnel killed in action protecting their nation against invaders from North Korea, after independence.

The basis of comparison should be not the level of military pensions in Japan, but the balance with other survivors in South Korea. Again, it is up to the South Korean government to decide to whom and how much of the funds received from Japan should go to Koreans who were mobilized for the Japanese war effort.

None of the Korean survivors had been contemplating an attempt to extract more money from Japan. After all, Japan had paid an amount equivalent to one-third of its foreign currency reserves. And since Park Chung-hee put the money to good use, it contributed greatly to South Korean economic growth.

But more than 20 years after diplomatic relations were normalized (14 years after the South Korean government began paying compensation to individuals), a Japanese appears on the scene, out of the blue. She hands out flyers, and goes around telling people, “We’ve raised \4 million, so let’s go to court and extract damages from the Japanese government on an individual basis.” Then she holds a briefing, followed by an anti-Japanese demonstration.
Why is the Japanese government paralyzed?

Now I’d like to return to the research I conducted for my article in the February 1992 issue of Bungei Shunju. After visiting South Korea and Oita, I tackled the Northeast Asia Division of the Japanese Foreign Ministry. The civil servants there repeatedly refused to talk to me, but with the deadline looming, I asked again for a briefing, and someone finally agreed to see me. The first thing I needed to know was why Prime Minister Miyazawa apologized in South Korea.

“Did Mr. Miyazawa acknowledge that there had been coercion or ‘slave hunts’ on the part of military or government authorities when he apologized? Or did he say, ‘At the time, there was a district of Japan called Yoshiwara, where many Japanese women worked. They had been sold into prostitution because their families were so poor.’ Did he say that was sorry for the suffering they had experienced when he apologized? Which was it? If the latter, then why doesn’t the Japanese government apologize to the Japanese women who worked in Yoshiwara?”
The bureaucrat’s shocking reply was, “I’ll have to check on that, but it’s a fact that people were taken away and had horrible experiences.”

I asked, “What is your opinion of Yoshida Seiji’s testimony about having hunted for comfort women under military orders?”

“I can’t comment with certainty, but it’s hard to believe that someone who’s already confessed to a crime would lie about that.”

So the Foreign Ministry didn’t possess any proof that the comfort women had been abducted by military or government authorities, either.

The more I investigated, the more convinced I became that no one had proved that there was systematic coercion. But it seemed as though all of Japan had accepted that premise. I felt totally isolated.

Several days later, holed up in a hotel, I worked night and day finishing up the article. All that time, there was a nagging thought in the back of my mind: Why am I, a private citizen, using a private publishing company’s money and a considerable supply of my energy to go to South Korea, interview everyone I possibly can, and gather evidence to clear Japan’s name? The Japanese government should be doing this!

Was there actually coercion by the authorities? If there was, then it would have been in violation of international law. Japan would be obligated to apologize.

When Japan annexed Korea, a sincere effort was made to unite the two countries. Koreans were exhorted to become loyal subjects of Japan’s Emperor ? to become Japanese. Even in the context of the value system of the time, abducting Korean women to provide sex services to the Japanese military would have been betraying the Koreans. It would have been a state crime ? an unforgivable state crime. And certainly, some sort of compensation would have been warranted.

My opinion on this subject has not changed at all. But I was shocked that the Japanese government had apologized without benefit of an investigation.
Four proposals in 1992 article

There is not one civil servant who will protect Japan’s honor. The Defense Agency (now Defense Ministry) and Self-Defense Forces can protect Japan’s sovereignty in the event of an armed attack. But there is no government office, there are no civil servants, to defend Japan’s honor in the face of a scurrilous, indirect attack, i.e., an attack on Japan’s honor, by conducting an investigation and countering the attack effectively.

Such matters should be within the purview of the Foreign Ministry. As described previously, that entity is planning to launch a fact-finding investigation. But what is the ministry’s reason for waiting until now, after lies about the comfort women have spread all over the world, and Japan is being condemned from all quarters. I am even more outraged that it forced a prime minister to apologize.
My essay, entitled “Behind the Comfort Women Controversy,” appeared in the March 10, 1992 issue of Bungei Shunju. I am glad that I was able to make a difference at a time when the conventional wisdom in Japan was that comfort women were abducted or otherwise coerced, and the discussion had turned to how the victims should be compensated.

My essay jump-started a huge debate over whether the comfort women were coerced. Before I trace the path of that debate, there’s another point I would like to make: we must not do anything that would result in the abrogation of the treaty signed with Korea in 1965 or destroy the foundation of Japan-South Korea relations, built with great effort on the part of both nations over the years since then.

Although the two nations had already settled their past differences, a debate began, not only in the South Korean mass media, but in Korean government circles, over whether the Japanese government should compensate former comfort women. Nor has it subsided, either. In a speech delivered in March 2005, President Roh Moo-hyun said that “we should delve into the past, and if we discover that apologies are needed, they should be made from the heart, and compensation should be paid, if justified.” More recently, the situation has deteriorated so much that the U.S. Congress debated a resolution demanding that the Japanese government issue a formal apology to the former comfort women.

In my essay, I offered four proposals to be adopted for the sake of friendship between Japan and South Korea.

1. The issue of compensation was resolved when the treaty between Japan and Korea and its ancillary agreements were concluded in 1965. Care should be taken to avoid abrogating these pacts, as they form the foundation of Japan-South Korea relations.

2. Both Japan and Korea should make an effort to explain to their citizens the terms of the 1965 treaty, how much compensation was paid to Korea, and how it was decided to whom compensation would be paid. Then they should publicize information about how the funds were used. The media of both nations should publicize this information.

3. The Japanese government should discontinue its habit of apologizing every time Japan is criticized. Instead, it should review the colonial era from Japan’s perspective.

4. The South Korean government should establish programs that will provide humanitarian aid to former comfort women. Japan should cooperate with South Korean efforts, on humanitarian grounds.

As for my second proposal, in August 1992, by way of making a personal contribution, I devoted 28 pages of my first book, The Mountain of Misconceptions Separating Japan and Korea, which dealt with the comfort women controversy, to a Japanese translation of the salient portions of the White Paper on the JapanROK Property Claim Agreement issued by the Korean government in 1975.
My essay did provoke a reaction in some circles. Older people who lived through the colonial era said that there was no abduction of women by the authorities; they were sold into prostitution due to poverty. Their statements, however, were not carried by the mass media. As a result, an increasing number of discerning Japanese have suddenly developed a dislike for South Korea.

Also, the editorial division of Gendai Korea received numerous telephone calls and letters from Japanese saying they felt like assaulting Koreans, or that they wanted Korean Japanese to be expelled from Japan, or that they wanted to sever diplomatic relations with South Korea. Some of the older people were furious: “How can anyone equate volunteer corps with the comfort women?”

Here is one person’s comment: “At that time, the standard of living was low in Japan, too. I’m not going to claim that everything was wonderful during the colonial area. There was discrimination against the Koreans. Some of them suffered terribly. But there was absolutely no connection between the volunteer labor corps and the comfort women. Nor was their any coercion of the comfort women.”

Some periodicals carried statements from women commentators Sone Ayako and Kamisaka Fuyuko, both conversant with social issues, to the effect that no proof of coercion has been presented. Prostitutes were licensed then, and it wasn’t unusual for Korean or Japanese girls from poor families to be sold into prostitution.

But their opinions appeared only in a very few weeklies or monthlies, and never on television or in the newspapers. It had become taboo to print or say anything that might be construed as a criticism of the former comfort woman who had come forward.

But to shatter the taboo, a few people, myself included, continued the debate. At that point, our biggest hurdle was Yoshida Seiji’s confession.

Yoshida had claimed he engaged in the abduction of women ? “slave hunts,” he called them. But the more research I did, the more Yoshida’s tale seemed anomalous when compared with other testimonies. Even the Foreign Ministry bureaucrat seemed to believe him: “Why would a an admitted perpetrator lie?” It seemed very likely that Yoshida was at least partly responsible for the prime minister’s having to apologize, even though no one had checked his story.
       1 Nishioka Tsutomu, Nikkan gokai no shin’en (The mountain of misconceptions separating Japan and South Korea (Tokyo: Aki Shobo, 1992).
     2 Yoshida Seiji, Watakushi no senso hanzai: Chosenjin kyosei renko (My war crimes: abduction of Koreans) (Tokyo: San’ichi Shobo, 1983).
     4 Yoshida, op. cit., pp. 107-110.
     5 Ibid., pp. 100-102.
     6 Asahi Shimbun, 11 August 1991.
     7 Ibid.
     8 Momose Takashi et al., Jiten: Showa senzenki no Nippon (Dictionary: Japan in the Showa era prior to World War II) (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 1990).
     9 Ito Abito, ed., Chosen wo shiru jiten (Cyclopedia of Korea) (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1986). This text appears unchanged in the fourth printing (revised and expanded edition) released on 05 July 2006.
     10 Takeda Yukio, ed., Chosen shi (Korean history) (Tokyo: Yamakawa Shuppansha, 1985).
     11 Asahi Shimbun, 23 January 1992 (evening edition).
     12 Ibid.
     13 Sankei Shimbun, 25 January 1992.
14 China Area Army Notice No. 745, 04 March 1938.

     15 Petition submitted to Tokyo District Court by Kim Hak-sun et al. on December 6, 1991); for the complete testimony, see Hirabayashi Hisae, Kyosei renko to jugun ianfu (Abductions and comfort women) (Tokyo: Nihon Tosho Center, 1992).
     16 Asahi Shimbun, 11 August 1991.
     17 The Hankyoreh, 15 August 1991.
     18 Here “liberation” means liberation from Japanese colonial rule.
     19 Dong-a Ilbo, 15 January 1992.
     20 For details, see Arai Sawako, Saharin no Kankokujin wa naze kaerenakatta no ka (Why South Koreans on Sakhalin couldn’t return home) (Tokyo: Soshisha, 1997).
     21 White Paper on Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims, and Economic Cooperation between Japan and Republic of Korea, Economic Planning Board, Republic of Korea, 1976.
      22 Ibid.

September 16, 2007


Filed under: Germany,Japan,WW2 — Sei-no-Syounagon @ 5:53 am



I heard the following anecdote from an acquaintance, and thought it interesting enough to share: At a recent gathering in Berlin, Japanese and Germans were talking about war. One of the main topics was, as usual, the crimes of the Nazis. A Japanese university professor who teaches German began listing Japan’s crimes, possibly to ingratiate himself with the Germans. He said that the Japanese had committed crimes that were just as appalling as those of the Germans, citing the POW camps in Japan and the Nanking massacre. When he had finished, a Jew spoke up: “It is true that there were concentration camps in the United States, in England and in Japan. But no other nation has malevolently and methodically established concentration camps designed to exterminate an entire ethnic group, as Germany did.” The Japanese, crestfallen, retreated into silence.

There seem to be many Japanese like him these days. The media have harassed us so much over the years about our failure to demonstrate sufficient remorse for World War II, especially when compared with the Germans. As a result, more and more of us feel compelled to apologize at every encounter with a foreigner, like Pavlov’s dogs: “Japan is just as guilty as Germany. Please forgive us.”
However, the anecdote I cited demonstrates the importance of ensuring that any debate involving comparisons is premised on an explicit awareness of the differences, as well as the similarities.
An epidemic of uncritical thinking

In the summer of 1993, Prime Minister Hosokawa Morihiro issued a statement ? an apology for a war of aggression. The statement provoked yet another flood of newspaper editorials about war responsibility, the payment of compensation to individuals and other, similar topics. I had the opportunity to compile and read many of those editorials, as well as journalists’ essays, letters to the editor and the like. I was quite surprised to discover that the majority of these pieces compared Japan with Germany.

Among them were quite a few articles reproving Japan and mentioning (then) German President von Weizsacker’s famous 1985 address. An oft-quoted sentence from that speech was “[A]nyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present.” It was usually followed by remarks to the effect that Germany had paid 100 billion marks in reparations to the Jews and other ethnic groups. Some authors mentioned the fact that by the end of 1988, Germany had expended 65 times more than Japan on reparations, in terms of the per-capita contribution. Almost all of them castigated the Japanese government for dereliction of duty and insufficient contrition for the war.

Here are some examples.

On May 5, 1985, German President Weiszacker delivered a heroic speech in the Bundestag during a ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of Germany’s defeat in World War II. In it he issued a warning: “[A]nyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present.” Has a Japanese prime minister or Cabinet member ever spoken out about Japan’s war responsibility, or issued an explicit, sincere apology to the nations that were victims of Japanese aggression? Every time these subjects are broached, our leaders equivocate. They even remove references to them from textbooks if they cast Japan in a bad light.1

In an address commemorating the 40th anniversary of Germany’s defeat in World War II, German President Weizsacker said, “All of us, whether guilty or not, whether old or young, must accept the past. We are all affected by its consequences and liable for it.” Germany’s introspection has borne fruit in the tracking down and prosecution of war criminals, the payment of reparations to Jews, the pursuit of peaceful diplomacy, and the admission of a great many immigrants. In contrast, the Japanese perceive themselves as victims, especially with respect to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But they tend to obfuscate their nation’s role as offender. Our political leaders express regret for past mistakes, but those gestures seem insincere to people outside Japan, because of our government’s flawed historical perspective, as well as its unresponsiveness.2

In any discussion of relations with neighboring nations, the difference between Germany and Japan is certain to be mentioned. Japan has been accused of failing to compensate sufficiently for its wartime past. This is the reason why our diplomatic platform is so insecure.3

When I contemplate the Japanese government’s failure to conduct a thoroughgoing fact-finding investigation into Unit 731’s lethal human experiments and the comfort women in Korea and Southeast Asia after all these years, anger wells up inside me. German President von Weiszacker has made an earnest plea for world peace, demonstrating remorse for past mistakes and declaring that “anyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present.”4

After the war, the Japanese were told by our government that all 100 million of us must atone for the war, because we shared responsibility for it with those who set it in motion and those who were drafted to fight in it. We were never told, however, exactly how we were supposed to atone for the war. In contrast, (then West) Germany has been paying reparations to the Jews and other victims of Nazism ? a total of \6 trillion ? for decades. Japan has paid only some \600 billion in reparations to Asian nations.5

The writers of all the excerpts cited have made the assumption that the alliance formed between Japan and Germany prior to the war somehow renders the two nations comparable; they take no other factors into consideration. They completely ignore the differences in motivations for, the purposes of, and the results of the war, not to mention the political climate in which each nation found itself after the war. This epidemic of uncritical thinking reminds me of the aforementioned Japanese professor.

Moreover, there is another important point to consider. In their conduct of the war in China and other arenas, the Japanese did commit war crimes (inhuman acts against prisoners of war and noncombatants). However, what about the Final Solution ? the plot to exterminate every Jew in Europe? The Final Solution was certainly a crime, but why has no one suggested that, given its enormity of scale and its methods, it was not a war crime at all?

There is also the disgraceful, misguided notion of using German reparations to the Jews as an example when claiming that Japan has not sufficiently compensated the Koreans. The colonization of the Korean peninsula began in 1910, before the outbreak of World War I. If comparisons must be made, then make them with India under English rule, Indochina under French rule, or Indonesia under Dutch rule.

In other words, we must engage in a conscious process, one that would involve identifying both the similarities and the differences. On that basis, we should decide what must be done, as well as what does not need to be done. Indiscriminate thought betrays a paucity of intellect. Perhaps all of this can be traced to the impoverished sense of self peculiar to the Japanese: we want to the world to believe we are decent human beings, so we castigate ourselves for our moral failings and apologize for anything and everything, whether or not an apology is warranted.

Germany’s failure to acknowledge collective guilt

Of course, Japan’s offer to pay reparations to individuals at this particular time is not without political reasons. The (West) Germans’ payment of additional reparations was a political imperative. To survive, they needed to rebuild their nation, a process that depended upon trade with their neighbors. Japan too has a political imperative, as the focus of our trade shifts from the U.S. to Asia, which may have prompted Mr. Hosokawa’s statement. The business community supports the statement 100%, for obvious reasons. The nations of Asia know exactly what Japan is up to. Japan’s newspapers and the intellectuals who support them dwell on the moral aspects of the issues, making it impossible to move past them. They are so hell-bent on accusing their own country of what they mistake for immorality that they cannot look at the issues realistically. Thus, they fail to realize that their beloved President von Weizsacker is a politician, not a religious leader. They also overlook the fact that, prudent in the extreme, von Weiszsacker does not apologize to any nation in his speech. They do not realize that by inserting language that blames individuals for the crimes, in an exercise of exquisite caution, he absolves the Germans of collective guilt, rescuing them at the brink of the abyss.

If the Germans truly regretted the extermination policy launched against the Jews, and if they were truly to atone (here I’m applying moral logic in the extreme), they would have to acquiesce to the eradication of the German people. The horror of that possibility is evident in the desperately defensive words uttered about there being no collective guilt. On that point, the idea that the German people would be better off dead if Germany’s plan to subjugate the world failed must certainly have been in Hitler’s mind when he issued the suicidal declaration of war against the United States. Hitler’s words and actions were consistent from beginning to end. That is the history of which von Weiszacker speaks. I sense fear, much more than supplication, in von Weiszacker’s speech. Memories of the past are now nightmares that continue to terrify the Germans.

Von Weiszacker said, “There is no such thing as the guilt or innocence of an entire nation. Guilt is, like innocence, not collective, but personal.”6 The notion of acknowledging collective guilt is unbearably frightening. The vast majority of Germans share von Weiszacker’s opinion that guilt is personal. Accordingly, the guilty individuals are Nazi Party leaders and those who perpetrated the crimes under their orders. Hidden between the lines is the understanding that none of this has anything to do with me (or us). Von Weizsacker is therefore absolving millions of (West) Germans, former Nazis, and restoring to them the status of upstanding citizens. The hunt for high-profile Nazi leaders, e.g., Eichmann, which extended as far as South America, was taken up by Israelis and other foreigners. But it never reached the executive or judicial branches of the German government. Totalitarian crimes are those perpetrated by the executive, judicial and legislative organs of a nation. Unless the investigation extends to those organs, the German attempt to take responsibility for the past will never succeed. In other words, punishing certain individuals (Nazi Party leaders and their henchmen) is like cutting the tail off a lizard, but leaving the head untouched. It was nothing more than a desperate tactic on the part of the Germans to keep their race alive. Von Weiszacker’s declaring that there is no such thing as collective guilt reveals the subtle psychology behind this survival strategy.

Japan did not create war criminals, as Germany did. There are those who claim that we were irresponsible in failing to do so. But Japan didn’t cut the lizard’s tail off and leave the head untouched. Japan discerned that it was impossible to draw a clear line between the masterminds of the war and the citizenry. In a sense, Japan admitted to collective guilt. That is what the “100 million people atoning for the war” concept meant. It was emphatically not, as our newspapers reported, a cowardly evasion of responsibility. In contrast, the Germans didn’t take action until they were goaded by other nations. Their response was to make scapegoats of a few Nazi leaders, and to add Article 139 to their Constitution, which guarantees that Nazi war criminals will be prosecuted, thus protecting 99% of all Germans from prosecution (and implying that the Nazis and Germans were two different entities). This dispassionate response was far more cowardly (and far more immoral) than that of the Japanese.

Over the years, Japan has recognized collective guilt in some ways, and pleaded collective innocence in others precisely because Japan’s actions were radically different from those of Germany. Unlike Germany, Japan has never even contemplated, much less planned or perpetrated a holocaust ? an absolutely unforgivable crime, atonement for which would require the annihilation of the Japanese people.

Thus, von Weiszacker’s address is a seemingly conscientious baring of the heart, but its fabric is actually cautious political logic. He was not speaking only from an ethically sentimental point of view, as the Japanese think he was. Nevertheless, Japan’s newspapers have attacked our nation, incessantly and always from the same tack, for not having done what the Germans did, i.e., purchase redemption. The attacks have proved successful, since due to their sheer monotony, they have found a permanent residence in the “minds” of the unthinking. We can see this is true by observing the strenuous efforts of Prime Minister Hosokawa and House of Representatives Speaker Doi in recent years to compete with the Germans by owning up to crimes on a scale never committed by Japan.


Three months after this essay was published, the same magazine carried an article entitled “Nazis Not Eradicated” by Yagi Shigeru, a journalist who lived in Germany for many years. That article could very well have been a supplement to my essay. Yagi based his reportage on detailed information obtained locally. Since the content is so important, I would like to cite relevant portions.

After the Nuremberg Trials, the United States handpicked Nazis (mainly scientists and intelligence agents) deemed potentially useful to the American Cold War effort, and granted them pardons. The work of punishing Nazi war criminals was entrusted to Germany. Parallel to the Nuremberg Trials was an investigation whose purpose it was to draw up a list of public officials to be removed from office. The work began in earnest, but when the number of names on the list reached the 11 million mark, the investigators threw up their hands. Since the population of Germany was six million at the time, if one excludes women, children and the elderly, then one out of two adults had some sort of Nazi affiliation. Common sense tells us that every German was a Nazi collaborator. Therefore, every German was guilty of war crimes to a greater or lesser extent. And if even the persons compiling the list of public officials to be ousted were Nazis (which they were), it was absolutely impossible to decide who was going to judge whom.

In 1946, a year after World War II had ended, 60% of respondents to a German public opinion survey agreed that the Nazis had committed errors, when provided with a list of those errors. Moreover, despite the fact that the actions of the Nazis who murdered the Jews or sentenced them to death in Nazi courts were all recorded in writing, it was impossible to try them.

Article 211 of the German Criminal Code defines a murderer as “whoever kills a human being out of murderous lust, to satisfy his sexual desires, from greed or otherwise base motives, treacherously or cruelly or with means dangerous to the public or in order to make another crime possible or cover it up.”7 However, none of the motives listed applies to the slaughter of the Jews. The methods used to kill them at Auschwitz were unbelievably brutal. The murderers were the servants of a murderous nation, and the crimes were perpetrated in an organized, “mass-production” manner. That notwithstanding, there was no legal basis on which to prosecute those murderers.

West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) was one of the signers of the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, the spirit of which was reflected in Article 220a of the German Criminal Code. However, according to Article 103 of the German Constitution, the law cannot be applied retroactively: “An act may be punished only if it was defined by a law as a criminal offense before the act was committed.” Therefore, Nazi war criminals are protected from prosecution by the German Constitution. What makes life even more comfortable for Nazi war criminals is the fact that according to the German Criminal Code, any act committed in accordance with laws in force during the Nazi regime and sanctioned by those laws, cannot be condemned, even a crime against humanity. Even the likes of Adolf Eichmann, who masterminded the mass deportation and extermination of the Jews of Eastern Europe, and Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, could simply not be tried in Germany.

Judges in the courts were particularly helpful to Nazi leaders by handing down death sentences against innocent men and women. Not one of them was ever convicted of a crime. Quite the contrary: some of them resurfaced as judges in the courts of the Federal Republic of Germany. Others became chief prosecutors or presidents of judges’ associations, having exchanged their Nazi judicial robes for Federal Republic robes without skipping a beat.

It is true that trials were held in Frankfurt and Dusseldorf in connection with atrocities. However, they were conducted in accordance with the prevailing law during the Nazi era. The criminals actually tried were the lowest-ranking members of the extermination machine ― the people who worked at the death camps. The charges were punching or kicking victims, or being rough with children as they “escorted” them to the gas chambers ? ridiculous charges, it would seem, since their victims could derive no satisfaction from them.

Judges who effectively murdered millions of Jews, gypsies, prisoners of war, political prisoners and members of the anti-Nazi resistance movement. Overseers of the deportations and incarcerations in the death camps. Designers of the gas chambers. Architects of laboratories where experiments were performed on human beings. Scientists who engaged in barbaric biological research. None of these criminals were tried or convicted because of the retroactive loophole.8

Another noteworthy source is Peter Przybylski’s Zwischen Galgen und Amnestie. Kriegsverbrecherprozesse im Spiegel von Nurnberg, which is useful for its description of the facts. The book was published in 1979. Although the author feigns ignorance of the corruption that marred the administration of justice in the former East Germany, if readers keep that flaw in mind, they will be rewarded with detailed explanations of how the former West German judiciary hindered the prosecution of Nazi war criminals after World War II, and set numerous murderers free.9
Hitler’s slaughter: the destruction of civilizations

Since the days of Alexander the Great and Napoleon, every nation that has waged war has committed war crimes. Japanese military personnel of yesterday and American military personnel of today are not exceptions to this rule. However, as I demonstrated earlier, what sets the crimes of Nazi Germany apart is the fact that they were not war crimes. They were the crimes of a peculiar system called totalitarianism. This factor opens up a yawning divide between Japan and Germany in the 1930s.

It was not the nation of Germany that possessed and employed a terrorist apparatus replete with paramilitary units to which special duties were assigned (the stormtroopers that later became the SS (Schutzstaffel) and other units), a secret police force, and concentration camps. It was the Nazi Party ? in effect, a nation within a nation, a secret world in which criminals held sway. Under Nazism, relationships between individuals and a nation, the likes of which had never before been seen in human history, were formed. Japan under militarism should never be compared to Nazi Germany. The only regime comparable to Nazi Germany was Stalinism, which arose in the 1930s and outlived Nazism. Hitler and Stalin learned from each other, and the two forms of totalitarianism absorbed aspects of each other to the point of indistinguishability.

Here in Japan, even today, far too few people know the truth about the crimes of the Nazi regime. Hitler’s mass extermination program was, in a sense, the destruction of civilizations, not a war crime. His crimes began where one would expect a war crime to end. If we define Nazi crimes as war crimes (some examples of which are the mass murder of prisoners of war, strategic aerial bombing of residential areas and the sinking of hospital or passenger ships), we are closing our eyes to the very special nature of Hitler’s crimes.

In The Meaning of Hitler, Sebastian Haffner neatly classifies the crimes of the Nazis into five categories:

1. The first mass extermination order issued in writing by Hitler targeted sick Germans. Approximately 100,000 persons, among them 70,000-80,000 patients in sanatoria and nursing homes, 10,000-20,000 physically handicapped persons, all Jews housed in mental institutions, and approximately 3,000 physically and mentally handicapped children ranging in age from one to 13 years, were killed by executive order. This order was canceled after two years.

2. Gypsies were captured, first in Germany, and then in the Eastern European nations under German rule. They were transported to death camps, where all of them perished. There are few sources attesting to these crimes. The plight of the Gypsies did not arouse much sympathy; all that is known for certain is that up to 500,000 of them were murdered. Of the approximately 250,000 Gypsies living in Germany in 1939, only about 5,000 were alive in 1945.

3. During the five years beginning with Germany’s occupation of Poland, the Germans systematically slaughtered Polish intellectuals and political leaders. Educated Poles (priests, teachers, university professors, newspaper reporters and entrepreneurs) fell victim to Nazi tyranny in their own country, where there were no laws to protect them. During the first winter of the war, the commander in chief of the occupying German forces expressed his dismay at the behavior of his own men behind the battle lines, describing them as “creatures with abnormal instincts, like savages on the rampage.” The carnage was motivated by the desire to destroy the civilizations of peoples with a long cultural history. The Germans decided that non-Germans in Eastern Europe needed only a four-year elementary-school education. They needed to be able to count to 500 and to write their names. Otherwise, they were required only to obey the Germans. Another reason for the slaughter was the selection of Poland as a proving ground for a plan to massacre or enslave every Russian. We don’t know exactly how many Polish intellectuals were murdered. During the six-year-long war, Poland lost approximately six million of its people, but about three million of them were Jews. No more than 300,000 Poles died in battle. If we subtract the 700,000 who fled their native land or died of natural causes, we are left with two million people. About half of them must have succumbed to the Nazi campaign to methodically exterminate Polish intellectuals.

4. The planned extermination or enslavement of Russians was implemented for two or three years after the Germans occupied that vast nation. The number of victims is unclear. The occupying forces thought Hitler would not countenance the reluctance to get their hands dirty they had shown in Poland. Therefore, they exhorted their underlings as follows: “We are not fighting a war to preserve our enemies. This is a war of annihilation!” Very few prisoners of war captured by the Germans survived. For instance, according to a document dated May 1, 1944, 5,160,000 Russian soldiers were captured, 1,170,000 of whom were still alive. The Germans executed 473,000 of them, and 3,000,000 more starved to death in prison camps. However, the torture of prisoners of war is indeed a war crime. The purpose of such acts cannot be construed as the conduct of war. Moreover, there was no excuse for the escalation of senseless murders that might even jeopardize German prospects of victory. The wholesale, unspeakably brutal extermination of Russian leaders was entrusted not to the Armed Forces, but to four task forces that specialized in murder. But the number of victims is not known, except that it was greater than the number of victims in Poland.

5. Hitler’s largest-scale massacre was the slaughter of the Jews, which is so widely known that there is no need to provide details. However, the author places particular emphasis on one fact: Hitler made his decision to implement the Final Solution after ascertaining that Germany could not emerge victorious from World War II.

Prior extermination operations had been executed far away from Germany, deep in the heart of Eastern Europe.  Furthermore, mass shootings had been the method of choice, however time-consuming. As far as the German public was concerned, the Jews had simply been deported. At that point, Nazis were attempting to deceive the public, meaning that political considerations were still important. After December 5, 1941 ? at about the time when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor ? the Germans were very close to Moscow. But Russian troops launched a massive counterattack, routing the Germans. Hitler’s dreams of victory were shattered. However, he never contemplated a political resolution. With lightning speed, he changed his plan. If he couldn’t defeat Russia, there was no way to make peace with England. Then why not declare war on the United States?10

On December 11, Germany did declare war against the U.S., but not to show solidarity with Japan. According to the Tripartite Pact concluded among Japan, Germany and Italy, Germany had no obligation to participate in the war against the U.S. because Japan was the attacker, not the attacked. It is difficult to fathom Hitler’s state of mind at that time. Since going to war with the U.S. was a suicidal act that made German defeat a certainty, he should have been racking his brain to avoid such a war. He conducted his ethnic extermination campaigns in remote areas of Eastern Europe in a cautious attempt to hide them from England and the U.S
Did Japan commit crimes against humanity?

On January 20, 1942 the Wannsee Conference began. On that day and thereafter, Nazi leaders planned the extermination of all the Jews in Europe, Germany included, in death camps. It was at this meeting that the decision was made to execute the Final Solution. Soon after the conference, the gas chambers and crematoria began operating. The Nazis no longer felt the need to worry about adverse reactions from the British or Americans. Again, one cannot know what Hitler was thinking at this point. Haffner believes that Hitler was resigned to the obliteration of Germany if he could not emerge victorious. Perhaps because he took pleasure in murder, or because his hatred of the Jews was so strong, Hitler may have anticipated even more satisfaction from the Final Solution than from triumph in war. Whatever the case, the apocalyptic moment had arrived. Hitler was forced to decide between world hegemony for Germany and the eradication of all the Jews. The former option was unachievable, and therefore abandoned. Hitler devoted all his energy to the Final Solution.11

Haffner’s interpretation is certainly open to argument, but it is common knowledge that Hitler was immensely enthusiastic about the Final Solution. Perhaps the extermination of all the Jews in Europe actually was an objective much dearer to him than winning the war. The crimes of Hitler and Nazi Germany were committed during a war, but they were assuredly not war crimes.

The objective of war is victory, not the commission of crimes. War and crimes are not necessarily concomitant. Numerous crimes may be committed during a conflict without being connected with it. After World War II ended, in peacetime, a host of crimes were committed by the totalitarian regimes of Stalin and Mao: surveillance of ordinary citizens, forced migration, persecution, imprisonment and murder.

It is true that during World War II, Japan implemented a national mobilization system. Japan also expanded its military influence in Asia. Yes, Japan harbored imperialistic ambitions. But did Japan commit crimes against humanity (a category that made its first appearance as the cause of action at the Nuremberg Trials, and which was not at that time recognized by international law), that would compare with the ethnic extermination or mass murder perpetrated by Hitler and Nazi Germany? Was the Greater East Asian War waged for the purpose of destroying civilizations? I will not deny that Japan wanted to protect its interests against the nations of Europe and the U.S., and had designs on China. During that era, it was difficult to make a clear distinction between defense and aggression. I won’t insist that Japan had absolutely no aggressive intentions. But nations asserted themselves in different ways at that time, which could be likened to the economic competition of today. The reasons behind sweeping American and European encroachment into Asia did not change between the prewar and postwar eras.


An article by Sankei Shimbun commentator Yasumura Kiyoshi appeared two months after my essay, in the same publication. An excerpt follows.

You need only compare the Nuremberg Trials with the Tokyo Trials to discern the fundamental differences between Nazi Germany and Japan. The Allies prescribed three categories of crimes: crimes against peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Previously, international law had not afforded any protection against crimes in the first two categories. Therefore, the retroactive application of the law governing crimes against peace and crimes against humanity was, essentially, unjust. More important, no charges of crimes against humanity were ever levied against Japan.12 The Japanese never committed any act even remotely resembling the Nazi crimes against the Jews.13

But in the 1930s, two totalitarian systems arose in Germany and Russia: secret police and concentration camps. In Germany, these two entities were controlled by the Nazi Party. As Hannah Arendt writes in The Origins of Totalitarianism, the two states assumed forms the likes of which had never been seen in human history, founded as they were on principles at odds even with autocracy, dictatorship and despotism.14 In its militaristic phase, Japan may have had a system resembling fascism, but for better or for worse, no aspect of it is comparable with its German counterpart in any way.

Now that World War III (commonly known as the Cold War) has ended, we should be comparing the two totalitarian regimes that provoked that 20th-century conflict. Instead, the victors of the previous war, World War II, continue their anachronistic harangue, extolling the virtues of British and American democracy over Japanese and German fascism.

The Russians, Chinese and Cambodian supporters of Pol Pot would do well to heed von Weizsacker’s message. The terror that emanates from his words is so ominous that only an ethnic group that has experienced the Holocaust or genocide could comprehend it. To most Japanese, it seems like tedious moralistic sermonizing. It certainly seems dull to me. We cannot understand the speech because we have not had those experiences. Those of us who are moved to tears by it, and who believe we should be guided by its moral example are guilty of incredible complacence, thoughtlessness, and misplaced good intentions.

Hosokawa’s inexplicable inferiority complex

As I mentioned earlier, any nation that wages war inevitably commits war crimes. In a battle at Jaffa (part of Israel today), Napoleon Bonaparte tricked 3,000 enemy soldiers into surrendering; he then had all of them, and their families, bayoneted to death. The United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan. All of these acts are war crimes. But it would be incorrect to characterize either France or the U.S. as criminal states. They are simply two nations that have committed war crimes. This distinction is very important, because the Nazi state perpetrated massacres ? massacres that had no direct connection with the waging of war ? in accordance with the principles it had established for the creation of an ideal, Aryan society. Political theorist Hannah Arendt argues that all human beings have a right to live on Earth, and defines any nation that believes it has the authority to exterminate a particular group of people, and exercises that authority, as a criminal state.

Virtually the same position was adopted at the Nuremberg trials, which explains why Nazi criminals were charged with crimes against humanity, and an article was added to the German Criminal Code revoking the statute of limitations for Nazi crimes. The Germans must have decided that their country would have to be judged for its past, beyond the boundaries of established law.

An examination of Japan’s past from any perspective yields the conclusion that Japan was never a criminal state, simply one of the many nations that committed war crimes. This is a very important distinction.

Over the years, Japan’s newspapers have repeated the same, mind-numbing harangue: West Germany is a paragon for having not only paid reparations to other nations, but also for compensating individual victims of its war crimes. Japan, on the other hand, lags far behind. I agree that the Germans’ compensatory efforts dwarf those of the Japanese, both in quality and in quantity.

But I would like to remind readers that, as a nation, Germany paid no reparations at all. Such matters were dealt with in bilateral treaties and agreements. The compensation the Germans paid ? and this is crucial ? was not for war crimes, but for unlawful acts and damage inflicted by the Nazis. It was compensation for crimes against humanity, and only the most egregious of those crimes.15

In 1952, when Konrad Adenauer was prime minister, Germany concluded the Luxembourg Agreement with Israel. By 1965, the Germans had paid 3.4 billion marks to victims of the Holocaust, in installments. This was their first such gesture. In 1953 the Supplementary Federal Law for the Compensation of the Victims of National Socialist Persecution was enacted; it stipulates that 95 billion marks in pensions, medical benefits, and vocational training would be expended by the year 2030. However, only victims residing within German borders were eligible for this compensation. There were no provisions for the compensation of non-German victims of Nazi crimes, persons whom the Nazis sterilized, or who were the involuntary subjects of medical experimentation. A more comprehensive compensation program covering these victims as well did not see the light of day until the 1960s, when bilateral agreements were concluded with 12 nations. Agreements with the nations of Eastern Europe, concluded in the late 1960s and early 1970s, covered only victims of medical experimentation. My impression is that the Germans paid restitution in small installments, increasing the scope only when pressured. Given the monstrosity of the Nazi crimes, the amount of compensation paid was pitifully small. Furthermore, many victims were deemed ineligible for compensation.

To address such shortcomings, victims of forced sterilization were awarded one-time payments of 5,000 marks per person (equivalent to \350,000 today) in the 1980s. The Germans also paid 400 million marks in total to Jews who had previously been excluded from compensation, and whose health had been severely damaged due to persecution. Restitution was also paid to surviving Gypsies, who had been virtually ignored until then, in the amount of 100 million marks. Three hundred million marks were paid to the families of the sick and handicapped euthanized by the Nazis. Since 100 million marks is equivalent to approximately seven billion yen, this is a pittance, given the enormity of the crimes and the number of victims they claimed.

Germany has been lauded over the years for the compensation it has paid, particularly compensation to individuals. However, since those compensated fall into a wide range of categories and are scattered over a huge geographical area, the disbursements cannot even begin to encompass all victims in any appreciable way.

Furthermore, it is clear beyond a shadow of doubt that awards to individuals have been paid only to victims of crimes against humanity committed during Nazi attempts to create an ideal race. Germany has not shouldered the burden of war responsibility. Germany has not even attempted to atone for its war crimes. Germany has limited its compensation efforts to a narrow category: individuals victimized by the moral crimes of the totalitarian Nazi state.


One reason why Germany did not pay war reparations, except for compensation to the victims of Nazi crimes, is clear. When Germany proper was occupied, its domestic assets were stolen, and its most talented engineers were forced into exile. Therefore, the claim has been made that Germany had suffered enough during the period immediately after the war to offset the Nazi crimes. The U.S. and the Soviet Union grabbed up German scientists and intelligence agents who might be useful during the Cold War. According to a book entitled Postwar Reparations, Poles had been forcibly transported to Germany and compelled to work for German companies.16 They were not paid any compensation because when the war ended, Poland inhumanely expelled a million Germans in violation of international law, and confiscated their assets.17

We need to be aware of an important fact, and we need to be assertive about stating it: in the conduct of war, which expanded into Asia and the Pacific, Japan never committed any crime against humanity unrelated to its military goals, or on a scale comparable with the German crimes. Additionally, if it comes to light that Japan did indeed commit crimes in connection with its conduct of the war and its military goals, then we must voluntarily compensate the victims of those crimes. The nature of the crimes is of no consequence. Even if they do not fall into one of the categories that I have mentioned, we must make restitution. Not because we committed the same crimes that Germany did, but because Japan’s leaders need to be aware of this fact, and need to inform international opinion so further misunderstandings do not arise. Having learned that Germany had expended a total of \7 trillion in compensation, Prime Minister Hosokawa embarked on a sort of competition with Germany. Out of rivalry and possibly nursing an inferiority complex, Hosokawa volunteered that Japan was prepared to expend \1 trillion in compensation. By doing so, he seemed to be boasting to the world that Japan perpetrated crimes on an unimaginable scale. I find his behavior both bizarre and incomprehensible.

There are circumstances under which it is appropriate to pay compensation. But it is never appropriate to pay compensation ingenuously or exuberantly.
Postwar Germany: An Era of Self-Deception

It is not surprising that Germany has paid restitution to victims of Nazi crimes, but has avoided paying compensation for any acts that could be defined as war crimes. Without exception, every nation that emerged victorious from World War II committed war crimes. Many historians are convinced that vengeful acts committed by the British and Americans near the end of the war (the firebombing of Dresden and the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan) were classic war crimes. Accordingly, if both the victors and the vanquished began denouncing each other for every aberrant act committed during the course of the war ? the mass murder of noncombatants, for instance ?the debate would never end. That is why peace treaties (the negotiated type) are necessary.

However, a war does not end when combat ceases, or even when a peace treaty is concluded. When defeated Germany cut off the lizard’s head and tail, leaving only the midsection, it was putting up desperate resistance. This too was a sign that Germany still had the will to wage war even after the conflict ended. What differentiates Japan from Germany on this account is the former’s desire for domestic peace, which was revealed in a shared sense of responsibility: every citizen of Japan bears guilt to some extent. It is true that Japan had more freedom than Germany did to decide own fate, thus avoiding partition, but that decision was Japan’s way of resisting. Germany had similar wishes. But there were so many criminals in Germany, including police who specialized in murdering intellectuals, and physicians who had sterilized and performed medical experiments on unwilling victims. Unless some of them were prosecuted, at least for crimes covered by existing laws, the Germans would be ostracized by the entire world, and Germany as a nation would cease to exist. We must also remember that in Germany, a political party (the Nazi Party) was the guiding force behind the war. Nazi Party membership was not mandatory. Consequently, after the war, the Germans began to make a clear distinction between Nazis and non-Nazis, and to attack party leaders and other important members.

I find the argument that the Germans were deceived and manipulated by some of their leaders absurd, since the Nazi Party acquired the reins of government through lawful means. All ordinary Germans, once they attained a certain age, supported the Nazis. Therefore, I am troubled by their having prosecuted party leaders and criminals, thereby cutting off the lizard’s head and tail. The Germans laid all the blame on a few obvious criminals, and walked around with their heads held high. West Germany’s postwar history is a search for scapegoats, a witch hunt. It is also a tale of the Germans deceiving themselves while sweeping deep-rooted problems under the rug. This is certainly the cause, however latent, of the recent rise of the reactionary Neo-Nazis.

But when one broaches a topic like this, the Germans counter: “But we took the initiative in pursuing Nazi criminals, even after the Nuremberg Trials. We found 6,000 persons guilty. The Japanese have not hunted down their war criminals, because they believe that ordinary citizens and military leaders alike were responsible for the war. You should be ashamed that, in contrast with Germany, Japan has shirked its responsibilities. This is a problem that you must strive to correct.” At first, this seems like a valid argument. However, it not; it is an abstract, unrealistic argument that completely ignores the differences between Germany and Japan.

As I stated previously, the Germans would have preferred to admit collective guilt. If they had, they wouldn’t have been obligated to round up and deliver their criminals. They would have simply paid reparations to the victor nations, avoided partition and devoted all their energy to the rebuilding of their nation. That would have been the logical way for defeated Germany to activate its survival instinct and assert itself. Unfortunately, the Germans could not admit collective guilt as the Japanese had done. They couldn’t bring themselves to acknowledge that they were just as guilty as the sadistic murder squads or the physicians who performed lethal experiments. No, their only choice was to declare that guilt is not collective, but personal. Their only choice was to show the world that they would allow their nation to be partitioned, rid of tainted “individuals,” and cleansed of the blood of its victims so that it could be reborn a beautiful, unsullied Germany. This drama of self-deception on the stage of the world was necessary to the survival of Germany and the German people.

Of course, Japan did not totally avoid partition. B and C-class war criminals were ferreted out by the Allies, just as they were in Germany. Japan’s nobility, military factions and financial conglomerates were disassembled, though its bureaucracy and universities survived. Japan was not permitted to close itself off from the rest of the world. But the Japanese did not hunt down, prosecute or try criminals from their midst. And because we did not, we have been rewarded with negative public opinion castigating us endlessly for being unremorseful and irresponsible. However, such accusations are made with total disregard of the issue in its entirety.

Postwar opinions such as those voiced in Sekai magazine did not impress the Japanese people, who knew instinctively that Japan and Germany waged different types of wars. Most of them were unhappy when Kishi Nobusuke, who had been a member of the wartime Cabinet, later became prime minister. But the Japanese have also watched as countless intellectuals who once waved Imperial Rule Assistance Association flags and rallied for patriotism joined the Communist Party after the war, clamored for revolution, and counseled the members of the Japan Teachers Union. Both the left and right wings had their flaws. The Japanese people knew that this was a natural progression of events. They understood that the problems had many layers, and remained tolerant. They empathized with those who, on August 15, would prostrate themselves in front of the Imperial Palace and weep, because they understood them better than anyone else.

The Japanese were tolerant of all types of war responsibility. Perhaps this was not a matter of choice, but they certainly were not irresponsible. Their situation was far from cut-and-dried. If pressed, they would have lied. If they had cut the lizard’s head and tail off, their dilemma would have been such that friends became enemies. We cannot know whether their thought process went that far, but they knew in the back of their minds what the ramifications were, from what they had experienced. The Japanese have a philosophy that is peculiar to them: they see things in shades of gray, rather than in black and white. That philosophy is truly a blessing, for it enabled us to weather the postwar period without any divisive domestic strife. I doubt that there is any instance that symbolizes Japan’s logic-defying unity as much as our weathering of a long, stormy period of history beginning with our emergence as an empire, through the outbreak of war, defeat and ruin, to the reemergence of Japan as an economic superpower, under the rule of a single emperor.

Von Weizsacker and Japan’s emperors

As one would expect, among the citizenry of our placid, united country, there is a wide variety of opinions about past wars. Some Japanese stubbornly affirm the Greater East Asian War. Others adamantly oppose Japan’s participation in World War II. Then there are countless more opinions that fall somewhere between these two extremes. Some view Japan’s defeat as a victory for American democracy. Others object to our having had American justice forced upon us, and say that we lost the war because of the sheer difference in power. But justice is in the beholder’s eye; still others are convinced that postwar economic competition is the continuation of war. I’m sure that there is not one Japanese who feels guilt toward U.S. troops in World War II or toward Allied soldiers from England, France, the Netherlands or the Soviet Union. Nor is there any reason to harbor guilt about enemy combatants. This is the decisive difference between Japan and Germany.

Foreign assessments of Germany’s war are overwhelmingly negative, as are those of the Germans themselves. In contrast, Japanese assessments of Japan’s war run the entire gamut from very positive to very negative, and do not jibe with foreign assessments. In other words, external and internal impressions are at odds. I think that it is admirable that despite the fact that we Japanese accommodate a multiplicity of views about the war, neither that phenomenon nor our foreign image, whatever it may be at any given time, has ever sundered our unity.

Commentator Inose Naoki is effusive with praise for von Weizsacker’s address; he writes that it demonstrates foresight and had a positive effect on German diplomacy. Since the German president’s “imposing” speech was delivered prior to German reunification, it “forestalled opposition from neighboring nations.” In that sense, von Weizsacker’s tactics were “forceful.” Inose envies the German belief in the power of words, and adds that “if only Japan had been blessed with such a leader during that same era ? a leader capable of an address as memorable as that of the German president, Asian distrust of Japan would have been significantly mitigated.” Also, “When the Emperor visits China, instead of having a bureaucrat in the Imperial Household Agency draft his speeches, the government should hire someone like distinguished novelist Shiba Ryotaro to ghostwrite them. Then they too would be ‘imposing.’”18

I will not dignify his comments by analyzing them in any detail. But the easy (and only) answer about the crimes of Nazi Germany is that they must be condemned. Germany placated foreign nations and avoided provoking domestic wrath ? that is all. Actually, von Weizsacker was exercising political restraint. He did not have to break any new ground. The same is not true of the wars Japan fought. You can tell the story of those wars from many perspectives, but all of them invite misinterpretation. The war in China, the war in Southeast Asia, the war against the Americans, British, French and Dutch; and the war against the Soviet Union: each of these four conflicts has a completely different significance.
Inose continues with an incredibly simplistic comment: “December 8 of last year [1991] marked the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of hostilities between Japan and the U.S. If Prime Minister Miyazawa had seized that opportunity to deliver an imposing address, it is likely that the world would have viewed Japan in a different light.”19

Is Inose aware that the vast majority of Japanese have begun to believe that Japan was foolish to go to war with the U.S., but that the cause was not unjust? If the prime minister were to express that sentiment in a speech, the Americans would be livid, and some of them would be sure to demand that diplomatic relations be severed. But what would the result be if the prime minister were to “imposingly” reaffirm the victory of American democracy? Here in Japan, he would be rewarded with jeers and derision, and certainly anger from some quarters. The simple type of psychological makeup that enabled the Germans to condemn their own nation for all eternity does not work for the Japanese. The Japanese believe in the power of words, and therefore cannot say anything, nor should they be required to.

High-ranking members of society should avoid making self-righteous pronouncements. Von Weizsacker went too far. Under the pretext of self-examination, he places himself within the bounds of snow-white, infallible righteousness. By entering a refuge that none of his countrymen can assail, he speaks high-handedly of justice. No one with any sense of shame could do that. I detect nothing “imposing” in that address.

Japan’s emperors do not speak at length, nor should they. This sort of restraint inspires us to trust them.
The importance of viewing history from multiple perspectives

Now I would like to comment on the following editorial, which appeared in the Asahi Shimbun.

Prime Minister Hosokawa described the Greater East Asian War as a war of aggression, and expressed his apologies to the victims of that war in Asia and elsewhere. He added that he would discuss this problem in a policy speech to be delivered at an extraordinary Diet session. While we admire him for making this gesture, it is time to make a substantive gesture that will dissipate Asian distrust of Japan, once and for all.

After World War II, and even after the Nuremberg Trials, West Germany prosecuted and tried Nazi criminals, 6,000 of whom were found guilty and sentenced. Such efforts continue today in the form of investigations into murders committed by the Nazis and the pursuit of their perpetrators.

There are still fascists in Germany, and the pursuit of Nazi criminals is less aggressive at times than at others. But when Neo-Nazi campaigns to expel foreigners gained momentum, President von Weizsacker marched at the vanguard of demonstrations against them. The vicissitudes of history notwithstanding, the German government’s battle with its past continues.

In contrast, Japan’s postwar era began with the atonement of 100 million people expressing their remorse. Military leaders responsible for a war of aggression and soldiers conscripted to fight in that war were now on equal terms. The Allies conducted war crimes trials (the Tokyo Trials and other tribunals), but Japan never attempted to track down or prosecute Japanese war criminals.

The story doesn’t end there. Funds from operatives involved in right-wing intrigue in China since prewar times were used to rebuild Japan’s conservative political parties. Moreover, Kishi Nobusuke later became prime minister, despite having been charged with Class-A war crimes. This phenomenon can be explained by the intensification of the Cold War, which brought about a change in American priorities for Japan. Now at the top of the list was the fight against communism. Some members of the nationalist right wing remained in the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party). Such members exerted their influence in various ways: war responsibility, textbooks and other areas.

Trends like this can inspire ambitions of tyranny and power, which are not consistent with Japan’s peaceful-nation policy. They also create another reason for Asian distrust of Japan.

Today, nearly a half-century later, we are hearing demands to resolve war-related issues. This is a good time, since we have a new government, and an opportunity to build new international relationships.

Japan has paid reparations to all relevant nations, except for the Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea). However, we need to address other problems involving individual victims, like the comfort women, in good faith.

Germany has paid the equivalent of \6 trillion to Jews and other individual victims. Japan, on the other hand, has paid only \600 billion, which is hardly sufficient.

Japan should make amends to the people of Asia, who suffered during the war. By doing that, we will have taken an important step toward earning the trust of other nations.20

Readers have probably encountered similar language so many times that they have become virtually immune to it. But you have probably accepted this theory to some extent, skimming through the text without ever having any doubts about it.

But if you have read my essay up to this point, please reread this editorial and see what you think about it now. Without belaboring the point, I believe you will realize that the message conveyed by the editorial is biased and stale, and certainly not rooted in historical fact. Furthermore, it ignores the differences between the two nations. Its writer is guilty of indiscriminate thought, to which I alluded earlier, and attempts to pull readers in one direction. If you have followed my argument, you should be able to refute the statements in the editorial, one by one. I will not go through the process with you. If you have difficulty, please read through my argument once again.

We need to be able to look at history from multiple perspectives. It is important to have idealistic goals, but just as important to realize how difficult they are to achieve and why. If we ignore this advice and judge the history of our nation using other nations as models, the facts will not change. We will simply be adding to the confusion.

(This essay first appeared in the November 1993 issue of Shokun magazine.)


Since the war ended, countless books and other publications dealing with the hunt for and trial of Nazi criminals have been written. Some of the authors are Japanese. Most of the books are written from the victims’ point of view, without making a clear distinction between crimes against humanity and war crimes (also committed by the victor nations). The Germans committed both types of crimes during the war. The war crimes indicated by the authors are confused with typical Nazi crimes; most of the perpetrators were prosecuted for the sheer purpose of exacting revenge. German disappointment in that process has been repressed throughout the postwar era and remains so today.

Another trap these books dealing with the hunt for Nazi criminals or that era of history fall into is an overemphasis on the goodness of the German people ? in other words, their rigorous soul-searching and sincerity. This tendency is very common in books by Japanese writers, who fail (or refuse) to see things as they are: that ordinary Germans did no soul-searching at all after the war, and that they attempted to conceal their pasts. Even when they faced reality, they were loath to call their past evil. Since they haven’t reflected on their pasts, they don’t see the evil festering there.

We cannot erase our pasts. We don’t want to think about them. Human nature is such that we close our eyes to what is too painful to contemplate; we look only toward the future. Human beings are weak, but as long as the survival instinct is intact, this is how we live, and there is nothing strange about that. Books that criticize such an attitude and call it evil have failed to understand the phenomenon. They don’t understand that people who have suffered, or who have weaknesses or worries, absolutely must close their eyes to the past. Such books shed no new light on the human condition.

Nomura Jiro, the author of The Nazis on Trial, does not use the methodology I have outlined herein. He does not consciously distinguish between crimes against humanity and war crimes. He devotes too many pages to the retaliatory trials held in neighboring nations victimized by the Nazis. Moreover, Nomura does not delve into the German pursuit of (or rather, inability to pursue) Nazi criminals. But at least he is not afflicted with the idiocy of other Japanese authors who praise the Germans for their soul-searching, and urge the Japanese to learn from their example. Nomura has been researching this topic for many years and has obviously given it serious thought; that may be why. Perhaps for that reason, one gets a glimpse of the Germans’ true feelings: they are tired of soul-searching.21

In 1980, Nomura visited the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg, Germany. On that occasion, he asked two German professors how they felt about the elimination of the statute of limitations for Nazi crimes. The answers I received seem representative of (undisguised) German opinion. a

Here is the question he posed to Prof. Hans-Heinrich Jeschek: “What is your opinion of events of the past 30-some years, the statute of limitations system, and the significance of eliminating the statute of limitations for Nazi crimes?”

Here are his answers.

“Thirty years ? more than 30 years, in fact ? is certainly a long time. I was a soldier; I fought in the war and witnessed my comrades killing enemy troops, and being killed by them. Though there may be degrees of difference, both sides were doing the same thing. Therefore, I think this quest for accountability should end. It seems unreasonable to ask a rank-and-file soldier to accept responsibility for obeying orders from an officer. I believe that members of the Bundestag (Federal Diet) who objected to the removal of the statute of limitations did so for the same reason. The passing of time has caused various problems, too. One of them is the inability to amass sufficient evidence to try Nazi criminals. Even so, there are still cases where we can prove that such criminals are guilty. As long as that is possible, it is important to prosecute and punish them, because we are serving the cause of justice. For Germany, the purpose of eliminating the statute of limitations is to declare to the German people and the international community that we will never cover up Nazi crimes. However, I don’t think there will be much of an effect.”.

The difference between form and substance has often been indicated in connection with the pursuit of Nazi criminals by West Germany. Conclusions and logical explanations are dismissed as cosmetic gestures lacking real meaning. But when I listened to Prof. Jeschek, I believe I caught a glimpse of the German mentality: they do not want to open old wounds.

At the Institute, I also met Prof. Gunther Kaiser, and asked him the same questions. At 40, he is younger than Prof. Jeschek, but his candid response was clearly negative.

“I am not particularly interested in this topic, but I do think that conducting war crimes trials was part of the Allies’ occupation policy. Nazi crimes were the offspring of an exceptional era, during which the Nazis ruled. Therefore, I don’t think there is much point in trying suspected criminals more than 30 years after the fact. It is very difficult to hold people responsible for events that took place under abnormal circumstances, i.e., war. Furthermore, 30 years is a long time. If we are trying people for acts committed when they were in their twenties 30 years later, the defendants must be in their fifties and sixties now. Most of them may think differently or feel differently now. They may be totally different people, in fact. Therefore, we can’t be certain that those crimes would carry the same weight today.  Nevertheless, punishing them for acts committed long ago has no meaning other than retribution. I can’t help questioning the wisdom in trying someone today for a crime that would have merited the death penalty during the war, finding him guilty, and imposing the same penalty.”

I would imagine that Prof. Kaiser’s views are shared by about half the people of Germany.22

Nomura’s conversations with the two professors took place five years prior to President von Weizsacker’s famous speech. There is no evidence proving that all Germans agreed with or were moved by its content.

Much time has passed since the Nazi era; the German social psychology has changed. We may succeed in remembering the past when we are told to do so. But we cannot take charge of the past a second time. The reality of that era was anomalous. Those who criticize the past often attempt to judge it from a contemporary perspective. Strictly speaking, it is neither possible nor meaningful to analyze a totalitarian regime of yesteryear using the new standards of modern democracy.
Translated by Sekai-Shuppan, Inc. from “Waitsuzekka zen Doitsu daitoryo enzetsu no giman,” Chapter 2 of Nihon wa Nachisu to do zaika (Tokyo: WAC Publishing, 2005).
      1 “Koe” (Voice) [letters to the editor], Asahi Shimbun, 03 September 1989.
      2 Editorial in Mainichi Shimbun, 08 December 1991.
      3 Asahi Shimbun, 27 February 1993.
      4 Asahi Shimbun, 20 August 1993, evening edition (Osaka).
      5 Asahi Shimbun, 04 September 1993.
      6 “Speech by Richard von Weizsacker, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, in the Bundestag during the Ceremony Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the End of the War in Europe and of National Socialist Tyranny,” May 8, 1985.
      7 Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB),
      8 Yagi Shigeru, “Nazis Not Eradicated” in Shokun, February 1994.
      9 Peter Przybylski, Zwischen Galgen und Amnestie. Kriegsverbrecherprozesse im Spiegel von Nurnberg (Between the gallows and amnesty: War crimes trials in light of Nuremberg) (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1979).
      10 Sebastian Haffner, Anmerkungen zu Hitler (The meaning of Hitler) (Frankfurt: Fischer, 1981).
      11 Ibid.
      12 Shimizu Masayoshi, Gendai ni okeru senso sekinin (War responsibility in the modern age).
      13 Yasumura Kiyoshi, in Shokun, January 1994.
      14 Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, 1973).
      15 For more information, see Hirowatari Seigo, “Doitsu ni okeru sengo sekinin to sengo hosho” in Senso sekinin: Nippon to Doitsu wa do chigau ka (War responsibility: the difference between Japan and Germany) (Tokyo: Asahi Shimbun Sensho, 1994).
      16 Asahi Shimbun Investigative Team, Sengo hosho to wa nani ka (Postwar reparations) (Tokyo: Asahi Shimbunsha, 1999), p. 150.
      17 Interview with Professor Thomas Wurttemberger.
      18 Inose Naoki, Shokun, August 1992; Shukan Bunshun, 13/20 August 1992.
      19 Inose, “Lacking imagination and strategy” in Shokun, August 1992, p. 37.
      20 Asahi Shimbun, 19 August 1993.
      21 Nomura Jiro, Nachisu saiban (The Nazis on Trial) (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993).
       22 Nomura Jiro, Nachisu Saiban (The Nazis on trial) (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993).

September 15, 2007

Report of the U.S.Army at WW2 on “IANFU” comfort women.

Filed under: IANFU 'comfort women',Japan,Korea,U.S.A. — Sei-no-Syounagon @ 11:16 pm

Report of the U.S.Army at WW2 on “IANFU” comfort women. 

Report No. 49: Japanese POW Interrogation on Prostitution.  
Psychological Warfare Team Attached to U.S. Army Forces
India-Burma Theater APO 689
Japanese Prisoner of War Interrogation
Report No. 49. Place interrogated: Ledo Stockade
Date Interrogated: Aug. 20 – Sept. 10, 1944
Date of Report: October 1, 1944
By: T/3 Alex Yorichi
Prisoners: 20 Korean Comfort Girls
Date of Capture: August 10, 1944
Date of Arrival: August 15, 1994 at Stockade


This report is based on the information obtained from the interrogation of twenty Korean “comfort girls” and two Japanese civilians captured around the tenth of August, 1944 in the mopping up operations after the fall of Myitkyin a in Burma.

The report shows how the Japanese recruited these Korean “comfort girls”, the conditions under which they lived and worked, their relations with and reaction to the Japanese soldier, and their understanding of the military situation.

A “comfort girl” is nothing more than a prostitute or “professional camp follower” attached to the Japanese Army for the benefit of the soldiers. The word “comfort girl” is peculiar to the Japanese. Other reports show the “comfort girls” have been found wherever it was necessary for the Japanese Army to fight. This report however deals only with the Korean “comfort girls” recruited by the Japanese and attached to their Army in Burma. The Japanese are reported to have shipped some 703 of these girls to Burma in 1942.


Early in May of 1942 Japanese agents arrived in Korea for the purpose of enlisting Korean girls for “comfort service” in newly conquered Japanese territories in Southeast Asia. The nature of this “service” was not specified but it was assumed to be work connected with visiting the wounded in hospitals, rolling bandages, and generally making the soldiers happy. The inducement used by these agents was plenty of money, an opportunity to pay off the family debts, easy work, and the prospect of a new life in a new land, Singapore. On the basis of these false representations many girls enlisted for overseas duty and were rewarded with an advance of a few hundred yen.
The majority of the girls were ignorant and uneducated, although a few had been connected with “oldest profession on earth” before. The contract they signed bound them to Army regulations and to war for the “house master ” for a period of from six months to a year depending on the family debt for which they were advanced …

Approximately 800 of these girls were recruited in this manner and they landed with their Japanese “house master” at Rangoon around August 20th, 1942. They came in groups of from eight to twenty-two. From here they were distributed to various parts of Burma, usually to fair sized towns near Japanese Army camps.
Eventually four of these units reached the Myitkyina. They were, Kyoei, Kinsui, Bakushinro, and Momoya. The Kyoei house was called the “Maruyama Club”, but was changed when the girls reached Myitkyina as Col.Maruyama, commander of the garrison at Myitkyina, objected to the similarity to his name.


The interrogations show the average Korean “comfort girl” to be about twenty-five years old, uneducated, childish, and selfish. She is not pretty either by Japanese of Caucasian standards. She is inclined to be egotistical and likes to talk about herself. Her attitude in front of strangers is quiet and demure, but she “knows the wiles of a woman.”
She claims to dislike her “profession” and would rather not talk either about it or her family. Because of the kind treatment she received as a prisoner from American soldiers at Myitkyina and Ledo, she feels that they are more emotional than Japanese soldiers. She is afraid of Chinese and Indian troops.


In Myitkyina the girls were usually quartered in a large two story house (usually a school building) with a separate room for each girl. There each girl lived, slept, and transacted business. In Myitkina their food was prepared by and purchased from the “house master” as they received no regular ration from the Japanese Army. They lived in near-luxury in Burma in comparison to other places. This was especially true of their second year in Burma. They lived well because their food and material was not heavily rationed and they had plenty of money with which to purchase desired articles. They were able to buy cloth, shoes, cigarettes, and cosmetics to supplement the many gifts given to them by soldiers who had received “comfort bags” from home.

While in Burma they amused themselves by participating in sports events with both officers and men, and attended picnics, entertainments, and social dinners. They had a phonograph and in the towns they were allowed to go shopping.


The conditions under which they transacted business were regulated by the Army, and in congested areas regulations were strictly enforced. The Army found it necessary in congested areas to install a system of prices, priorities, and schedules for the various units operating in a particular areas. According to interrogations the
average system was as follows:

1. Soldiers 10 AM to 5 PM 1.50 yen 20 to 30 minutes

2. NCOs 5 PM to 9 PM 3.00 yen 30 to 40 minutes

3. Officers 9 PM to 12 PM 5.00 yen 30 to 40 minutes

These were average prices in Central Burma. Officers were allowed to stay overnight for twenty yen. In Myitkyina Col. Maruyama slashed the prices to almost one-half of the average price.


The soldiers often complained about congestion in the houses. In many situations they were not served and had to leave as the army was very strict about overstaying. In order to overcome this problem the Army set aside certain days for certain units. Usually two men from the unit for the day were stationed at the house to identify soldiers. A roving MP was also on hand to keep order. Following is the schedule used by the “Kyoei” house for the various units of the 18th Division while at Naymyo.

Sunday 18th Div. Hdqs. Staff

Monday Cavalry

Tuesday Engineers

Wednesday Day off and weekly physical exam.

Thursday Medics

Friday Mountain artillery

Saturday Transport

Officers were allowed to come seven nights a week. The girls complained that even with the schedule congestion was so great that they could not care for all guests, thus causing ill feeling among many of the soldiers.

Soldiers would come to the house, pay the price and get tickets of cardboard about two inches square with the prior on the left side and the name of the house on the other side. Each soldier’s identity or rank was then established after which he “took his turn in line”. The girls were allowed the prerogative of refusing a customer. This was often done if the person were too drunk.


The “house master” received fifty to sixty per cent of the girls’ gross earnings depending on how much of a debt each girl had incurred when she signed her contract. This meant that in an average month a girl would gross about fifteen hundred yen. She turned over seven hundred and fifty to the “master”. Many “masters” made life very difficult for the girls by charging them high prices for food and other articles.

In the latter part of 1943 the Army issued orders that certain girls who had paid their debt could return home.
Some of the girls were thus allowed to return to Korea.

The interrogations further show that the health of these girls was good. They were well supplied with all types of contraceptives, and often soldiers would bring their own which had been supplied by the army. They were well trained in looking after both themselves and customers in the matter of hygiene. A regular Japanese Army doctor visited the houses once a week and any girl found diseased was given treatment, secluded, and eventually sent to a hospital. This same procedure was carried on within the ranks of the Army itself, but it is interesting to note that a soldier did not lose pay during the period he was confined.


In their relations with the Japanese officers and men only two names of any consequence came out of interrogations. They were those of Col. Maruyama, commander of the garrison at Myitkyina and Maj.
Gen.Mizukami, who brought in reinforcements. The two were exact opposites. The former was hard, selfish and repulsive with no consideration for his men; the latter a good, kind man and a fine soldier, with the utmost consideration for those who worked under him. The Colonel was a constant habitue of the houses while the General was never known to have visited them. With the fall of Myitkyina, Col. Maruyama supposedly deserted while Gen.
Mizukami committed suicide because he could not evacuate the men.


The average Japanese soldier is embarrassed about being seen in a “comfort house” according to one of the girls who said, “when the place is packed he is apt to be ashamed if he has to wait in line for his turn”. However there were numerous instances of proposals of marriage and in certain cases marriages actually took place.

All the girls agreed that the worst officers and men who came to see them were those who were drunk and leaving for the front the following day. But all likewise agreed that even though very drunk the Japanese soldier never discussed military matters or secrets with them. Though the girls might start the conversation about some military matter the officer or enlisted man would not talk, but would in fact “scold us for discussing such un-lady like subjects. Even Col. Maruyama when drunk would never discuss such matters.”

The soldiers would often express how much they enjoyed receiving magazines, letters and newspapers from home.
They also mentioned the receipt of “comfort bags” filled with canned goods, magazines, soap, handkerchiefs, toothbrush, miniature doll, lipstick, and wooden clothes. The lipstick and cloths were feminine and the girls couldn’t understand why the people at home were sending such articles. They speculated that the sender could only have had themselves or the “native girls”.


“In the initial attack on Myitleyna and the airstrip about two hundred Japanese died in battle, leaving about two hundred to defend the town. Ammunition was very low.

“Col. Maruyama dispersed his men. During the following days the enemy were shooting haphazardly everywhere.
It was a waste since they didn’t seem to aim at any particular thing. The Japanese soldiers on the other hand had orders to fire one shot at a time and only when they were sure of a hit.”

Before the enemy attacked on the west airstrip, soldiers stationed around Myitkyina were dispatched elsewhere, to storm the Allied attack in the North and West. About four hundred men were left behind, largely from the 114th Regiment. Evidently Col. Maruyama did not expect the town to be attacked. Later Maj. Gen. Mizukami of the 56th Division brought in reinforcements of more than two regiments but these were unable to hold the town.

It was the consensus among the girls that Allied bombings were intense and frightening and because of them they spent most of their last days in foxholes. One or two even carried on work there. The comfort houses were bombed and several of the girls were wounded and killed.


The story of the retreat and final capture of the “comfort girls” is somewhat vague and confused in their own minds.
From various reports it appears that the following occurred: on the night of July 31st a party of sixty three people including the “comfort girls” of three houses (Bakushinro was merged with Kinsui), families, and helpers, started across the Irrawaddy River in small boats. They eventually landed somewhere near Waingmaw, They stayed there until August 4th, but never entered Waingmaw. From there they followed in the path of a group of soldiers until August 7th when there was a skirmish with the enemy and the party split up. The girls were ordered to follow the soldiers after three-hour interval. They did this only to find themselves on the bank of a river with no sign of the soldiers or any mea ns of crossing. They remained in a nearby house until August 10th when they were captured by Kaahin soldiers led by an English officer. They were taken to Myitleyina and then to the Ledo stockade where the interrogation which form the basis of this report took place.


None of the girls appeared to have heard the loudspeaker used at Myitkyina but very did overhear the soldiers mention a “radio broadcast.”

They asked that leaflets telling of the capture of the “comfort girls” should not be used for it would endanger the lives of other girls if the Army knew of their capture. They did think it would be a good idea to utilize the fact of their capture in any droppings planned for Korea.

In Japan, value of money is very different from this age in modern days.
I shows the annual salary of the Japanese army according to the class referring.
(As of July, 1943)
General                       6600 yen
Lieutenant general     5800 yen
Major General             5000 yen
Colonel                       4440-3720 yen
Commander                3720-2640 yen
Major                          2640-2040 yen
Captain                       1860-1470 yen
Liutenant                    1130-1020 yen
Second lieutenant         850 yen
It is a salary as follows.
Sergeant major               75-32 yen
Sergeant                         32-23 yen
Corporal                          20 yen
Lance Corporal                13.5 yen
Superior soldier               10.5 yen
Senior soldier                    9 yen
Junior soldier                     9-6 yen

Korean news paper denied the YOSHIDA, Seiji’s testimony on the comfort women issue.

Filed under: IANFU 'comfort women',Japan,Korea — Sei-no-Syounagon @ 10:55 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Korean news paper denied the YOSHIDA, Seiji’s testimony on the comfort women issue.

Mr.YOSHIDA, Seiji’s testimony on the ‘Comfort women’ issue was a lie. The fact was clarified by the investigation of a newspaper of South Korea.

‘Jeju newspaper'(Jeju island, Korea) on August 14, 1989 reported concerning the Mr.YOSHIDA, Seiji’s testimony as follows. The reporter is Ms. Heo, Yeong-Sun.
(Korean Language→Japanese→Poor English. It is not a strict translation. Please note it.)

The record with “205 women on the Jeju island were requisitioned as  comfort women at the Japanese empire age ” is published on the 44th anniversary of liberating and a big testimony is given. 
However, there is no testimony that proves it, and the doubt has extended.
(Outline of the book written by Mr.YOSHIDA in ’83 )
The story “15-16 people were compelling requisitioned at the shellfish button factory” and “The comfort women hunting was done in a village here and there” is described in this book.  However, There are few people who do the testimony that proves these stories. Natives of the island refuse, and declare the doubt on the credibility of this writing strongly, saying that “It is a lie”.
Ms. Chong oc-tane (85-year-old woman) was said, “If as many as 15 people were requisitioned in this village with only 250 houses or more, it is a big incident. However, there was no such fact at that time.”
Local historian Mr. Kim Pons-oku is getting indignant.,
“It was turned out that there are parts not ture as a result of the pursuit investigation after a Japanese version (YOSHIDA’s book) had come out in 1983 for several years. This book seems the product of frivolous commercial spirit that shows a Japanese corruption.”


In the Far Eastern international, military trial, the “comfort women issue” doesn’t exist at all. It doesn’t exist at all when Japan-Korea Basic Relations Treaty is concluded in year of the ’65, too.
In ’77 and ’83, the two books of Mr.YOSHIDA,Seiji confessed “I compelling took the comfort women” were published. And in ’91, Asahi Shimbun (Tokyo, Japan, Leftist newspaper to cooperate with “People’s Daily” the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China) reported “comfort women issue” based on the Mr.YOSHIDA’s testimony many times without verifying whether the fact. And it became a major issue.
However, already in year of the ’89, the conclusion concerning the books of Mr.YOSHIDA like the above-mentioned article had been reached. The professor of Nihon University:HATA,Ikuhiko also did the field survey of Jeju island in ’92, and the same conclusion as the newspaper was put out.
When Prof. HATA met Mr.YOSHIDA and asked it, Mr.YOSHIDA admitted it was a fiction that he had written.

Such a basic fact seems not to be known except Japan.
Many of Koreans do not know this fact, too. People who know this disregard it.

Prof. Hata was asked by the repoter Ms. Heo, Yeong-Sun, “Why did he write such a lie?”, and was at a loss because of the answer.
Mr. YOSHIDA runs from the ‘Japan Communist Party’ for the Shimonoseki-city municipal election in April, 1947, and defeated by only 129 vote margins. The answer of their doubts is surmisable from this fact.

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