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Posted by on June 25, 2017.

Commentary: ‘Comfort women’ memorial belongs in Brookhaven

On June 30, Brookhaven will unveil a statue to honor and remember the many women and girls who were sexually enslaved during World War II by the Imperial Japanese Army. Google “comfort women” and you’ll read, see and hear heartbreaking stories of lives destroyed by these atrocities.

Brookhaven City Councilmember John Park

Beyond the individual suffering, it represents one of the largest cases of sex trafficking in modern history. It reminds us of the potential of humanity to reach such depths of depravity. It’s important for us as a society to remember how bad it can get, whether it be slavery in America, Nazi Germany’s concentration camps or the “comfort stations” established during WWII, so that it will never be repeated.

One commonality in the history of all these events is that it was institutional and supported by the government in power at the time. They weren’t criminal enterprises in the shadows, but rather state-sponsored and overt violations of human rights. Remembering and bringing about awareness of the history isn’t just for us and our children, but also for generations to come.

In February, I was invited to attend a meeting of the Atlanta Comfort Women Memorial Task Force along with several other elected officials. Congressman Mike Honda, a Japanese American, who introduced legislation in Congress to demand the Japanese recognize and apologize for the comfort women, attended and spoke. We viewed documentaries that reminded us of the plight of the comfort women and it was announced that the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta would be the home of the Young Girl’s Statue for Peace. Similar statues have been erected in countries throughout the world.

Several weeks later, the Center for Civil and Human Rights reneged on their agreement to house the statue. Even though a memorandum of understanding was signed, they gave a dubious reason for their reversal: “permanent exterior fixtures were not part of the original design or any new strategic plan for the future of the Center for Civil and Human Rights.” It was clear that lobbying by the Japanese consul was the reason, since the Center’s letter to the Task Force reiterated all of the Japanese consul’s objections. The Japanese consul denied that economic repercussions were threatened. It was clear to the Task Force that actions were taken in the shadows and behind closed doors to affect this change.

The local “comfort women” memorial is identical to this one shown the Facebook page of the Atlanta Comfort Women Memorial Task Force. (Special)

I believed that the Center made a mistake in reneging on their promise, as it was a unique opportunity to fulfill their mission of educating the public about historical violations of human rights. The mayor and my fellow council members of Brookhaven agreed.

We also agreed that to welcome the statue in Brookhaven is in line with our stated policy and leadership in battling sex trafficking by raising awareness of past and present sex trafficking. The FBI reported that in 2014, metro Atlanta ranked as the top city in the nation for these crimes. As reported here, Brookhaven was first in Georgia to join the “Not Buying It” campaign, a national initiative to create a forum for all 50 states to collaborate and develop strategies to end sex trafficking. In 2014, the city of Brookhaven became the first city in Georgia to train its top managers and all city employees on how to recognize signs of child sex trafficking.

A PTA meeting I attended with our chief of police reminded me that we must not let our discomfort prevent us from discussing such an important subject. After covering issues concerning public safety around the school, the chief encouraged the parents to attend a screening of “8 Days,” a film about underage sex trafficking. Some parents became visibly upset. They questioned the relevance, as “things like that don’t happen in Brookhaven.”

It was explained that unfortunately this does happen, and it’s a lot closer than we think.

The WWII comfort women did not speak out for decades about what happened to them due to their discomfort. Even if it’s uncomfortable, it’s important for us to overcome our discomfort in order to truly fight against it. It is a small price to pay to honor the memory of the comfort women, educate the world on what has happened, and make sure it never happens again.

John Park represents District 2 as a member of the Brookhaven City Council.

66 Responses to Commentary: ‘Comfort women’ memorial belongs in Brookhaven

  1. Moguro Fukuzo

    June 25, 2017 at 11:13 am

    It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  2. Phyllis

    June 25, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I completely agree with what you said, John. The fact that it happened 70 years ago does not make this crime any less important or compelling – especially when there are survivors who have been struggling for the past 25 years to recover their dignity by bringing formal acknowledgement of the Japanese government that this was a State-sponsored sex trafficking and a Crime Against Humanity.

    Refusing to remember this history when it was presented to us, unfortunately, is an act of supporting the perpetrators. The current Japanese government did not commit this crime 70 years ago but it is committing another grave crime by denying this history and silencing the victims.

    I thank you, the City Council and the citizens of Brookhaven for taking a bold step to remember this dark chapter of human history so that we can make sure it never happens again.

    • Ken L

      June 25, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      Phyllis
      If what happened 70 years ago is so important, why do we ignore the victims under the comfort women system S.Korea adopted in the Korean war and the Vietnam war that were relatively recent events? During the period, more than millions of Korean women in total worked as comfort women and many of them suffered from abuse, poverty, horrible treatment, sexual disease, and slavery by Korean and UN army.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jlfAqR8uBc
      They’ve actually demanded apology and compensation from Korean government and US army many times. But both of them have kept refusing to answer to them. What a hypocrite. This memorial, which disguises as “peace memorial”, is in fact one of the smear campaigns by S.Korea against Japan. I hope Americans will notice it, too.
      http://www.politico.eu/article/my-body-was-not-mine-but-the-u-s-militarys/

    • H.S. Kim

      June 26, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      I have studied this issue for over 15 years looking into every primary source in Korean and Japanese, and I can assure you that the Korean activists’ narrative is false. The South Korean activist group Chong Dae Hyup (Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery) is closely related to North Korea. For example,

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

      Westerners must realize that North Korean operatives are using the comfort women issue to drive a wedge into U.S.-Japan-South Korea security partnership.

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

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

      Who would know this issue better than those who actually used comfort stations?

      Let me also remind you that at least half of the policemen were Korean. What were they doing? Did they just watch the Japanese take Korean women?

      As a history student I interviewed dozens of Koreans who were born and raised in the Korean Peninsula in the 1920’s and 1930’s including my grandparents about comfort women.

      According to what they witnessed, most Korean women were sold by their parents to Korean comfort station owners. There were also some women who were deceived by Korean traffickers. They never witnessed any Korean women coerced by the Japanese.

      Korean men, who had debts from alcohol, gambling and so on, sold their daughters to Korean comfort station owners who shouldered their debts. Each woman’s contract length was determined depending on the amount of debt the owner took over. Korean women were not allowed to leave until their debts were paid off. Any coercion, violence or confinement was exercised by Korean comfort station owners. So the Korean women were the sex slaves of Korean comfort station owners. They were not the sex slaves of the Japanese military. The common perception in the West that the Japanese military operated comfort stations is incorrect.

      I’m sure you are aware that South Korea has used comfort women in Vietnam. If the statue mentioned the atrocities the South Korean Army committed in Vietnam, I would be more sympathetic to the Korean group’s activities, but they refuse to acknowledge their own atrocities, which makes this statue a symbol of anti-Japanese hate.

      In wars, soldiers sometimes rape innocent women. To prevent this from happening, the Japanese military asked businessmen to recruit prostitutes and operate comfort stations (brothels). The Japanese military sent orders to comfort station operators not to recruit women against thier will. Japanese businessmen followed the order and only recruited willing women in Japan. But Korean businessmen recruited both willing prostitutes and unwilling women in Korea. This is why some of former Korean comfort women are still unhappy while we hear little or no complaint from former Japanese comfort women. If Korean comfort station owners had followed the Japanese military’s order, there wouldn’t have been any comfort women issue.

      The Japanese military was partly guilty because its invasion into China and Southeast Asia did create the demand for comfort women. But the Korean narrative — the Japanese military showed up at the doors and abducted young Korean women — just didn’t happen. The Korean businessmen (comfort station owners) capitalized on the demand, recruited Korean women, operated comfort stations and made lots of money. Japan has apologized for its part. South Korea should admit its complicity and stop demanding Japan for more apologies.

      • Jon Park

        June 26, 2017 at 1:39 pm

        H.S. Kim,

        I agree with many of what seem to be your true statements from above and I appreciate you for stating them but in the end, I must disagree with your assessment on the “comfort women” statue.

        I’ve heard about those allegations regarding the leaders of the Korean Council as well which is responsible for making the “comfort women” issue so politically controversial. I also am aware of the facts that many Korean collaborators did abduct, deceive and sell many young girls, brokering them to the comfort stations. Also, many of the operators of the comfort stations were Koreans and some of them, including some comfort women (Ok Joo Mun, for instance) became rich, and I can go on and on.

        And, yes I read many of Prof. Young Hoon Lee’s articles and watched his 3 part series on ‘The Women of Comfort Stations.’ Indeed I’ve watched it several times and could not get over my shock the first time I watched it. I also read books written by Yoshimi Yoshiaki, Sarah Soh, and Yua Park and I can share my agreements and disagreements with each of them.

        But in the end, what does that matter to what we are trying to do here by erecting a memorial in an attempt to honor those tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of young girls and women who were deceived or coerced into sexual slavery? Clearly, you would not deny that large number of women were held against their will and subjected to horrific brutality. We want to remember them and we want also the world to know their story and take it as a historical lesson so that such thing can never happen again in the future.

        I am glad to hear that you are a Korean historian who has spent last 15 years in research over the “comfort women” issue. Please do shed more lights and let the truth about it be known more clearly and broadly.

        But I must point out you: your last paragraph is not valid. As I have tried to explain it else where, a memorial does not have to include every similar incidents on it, other wise there would be no room enough for them. Similar tragedies can be brought to one’s mind by way of deduction and application and that’s why people are building the memorial in the first place.

        Thus, rather than trying to dilute and take the true focus away from the installation of this Young Girl’s Statue for Peace, why don’t you join your compatriots and many others also in sounding a clarinet call against sexual and human trafficking in our community on June 30th at the city park?

        PS. This is the same reply I sent to you on the interview article on June 25. I saw you posted almost exactly same remarks, I’ve decided to post mine here. I apologize to those who may not appreciate the same reply twice. So sorry!

        • H.S. Kim

          June 26, 2017 at 9:01 pm

          Councilor Jon Park,

          Thanks for your kind reply.

          It is wonderful to know that you have read the books written by Professor Sarah Soh and Professor Park Yuha and also watched video lectures by Professor Lee Yong-hoon. As you said Professor Lee Yong-hoon’s lectures are very powerful and based on primary sources such as a diary written by a Korean comfort station manager and a memoir written by a former Korean comfort woman Mun Ok-chu. If you read the comments attached to the videos, you’ll see that more and more Koreans are beginning to realize that the activists’ narrative is propaganda based on political motives. It is unfortunate that only we Koreans can understand those lectures. They should add English subtitles to them so that others can learn the truth about this issue.

          The problem I have with these memorials that the activists have built and are trying to build is that the messages written on them are not based on fact. For example the Glendale memorial says, “In memory of more than 200,000 women who were coerced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Armed Forces of Japan between 1932 and 1945.” As you’ve admitted, this statement is not based on fact.

          The Korean activists say that these memorials are not meant to be anti-Japanese or single out the Japanese but to address women’s rights issues.

          As you know the South Korean Army coerced many Vietnamese women into sexual slavery and also massacred thousands of innocent women and children in Vietnam. You may have read the following article, but let me provide the link to it just in case.

          http://scholarsinenglish.blogspot.com/2014/10/why-has-south-korea-still-not.html

          President Moon Jae-in recently praised the South Korean Army that served in Vietnam and he received fierce protest from the Vietnamese government and the Vietnamese people.

          You said, “a memorial does not have to include every similar incidents on it, other wise there would be no room enough for them.” You’re right. If other similar incidents such as Bosnian women raped by the Serbian Army and German and Japanese women raped by the Russian Army have to be mentioned, there wouldn’t be enough room. And I’m not asking for all of them to be mentioned. But since the Korean activists are the ones who are trying to build the memorial in Brookhaven, they should at least have the humility to let the Korean atrocities mentioned on it as well. Otherwise the memorial would indeed be the symbol of anti-Japanese hatred by us Koreans. Also the message on the memorial should be based on fact.

        • H.S. Kim

          June 27, 2017 at 12:47 am

          Jon Park,

          In your other comments, you seem to rely on Yoshiaki Yoshimi’s book ‘Comfort Women’ published in 2002 as your important source.

          Are you aware that he has since retracted his assertions?

          The key evidences he relied on in his book were the Japanese military documents. He claimed that they proved the Japanese military coerced Korean women. As it turned out, he misinterpreted the documents. Other scholars confronted him, and he admitted that he misunderstood them.

          The documetns were orders sent by the Japanese military to comfort station operators and local policemen. They said “Do not recruit women against their will.”

          Also the number 200,000 women that he used in his book turned out to be the number of factory workers conscripted by the Japanese military. About 150,000 were Japanese and 50,000 were Korean. They worked in factories to manufacture military equipments and uniforms. The number of comfort women was considerably less. The Japanese comfort women constituted the majority. Professor Lee Yong-hoon says there were about 5,000 Korean comfort women.

      • Steve S

        June 29, 2017 at 9:44 pm

        This is the worst case of a self hating korean I’ve ever seen. I usually stay far away from this word bc Asians tend to overuse it, but in this case – this man is the most disgraceful example of a Korean I have ever come across in my life thus far. You’re cowardice knows no bounds, your self hate says so much more about you than it ever will about us as a people. Shame on you.

        • H.S. Kim

          July 8, 2017 at 1:48 am

          Steve S,

          I argue based on primary sources, and you accuse me of being a self hating Korean? The truth doesn’t matter to you? Shame on you.

    • Nettie

      June 26, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      HI I applaud a city that is progressive in it views on the world around it and the global stage to recognize these crimes against humanity. Thank you

    • Barbara H

      June 27, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      The problem with the statue is not that it commemorate events that happened 70 years go. The problem is that it represents a 25 year old scam promoted by Chong Dae Hyup a South Korean NGO with strong ties to North Korea. Don’t ask Brookhaven to worship false idols!

    • Hisatake

      June 27, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Phyllis, I have to agree with Ken and Kim.

      If you want to erect a comfort women statue in the United States, you should erect a statue of the Korean War comfort women.

      Reason number one: Japanese military’s comfort women has nothing to do with USA.

      Reason number two: South Korean military’s comfort women system came into operation (5 years) after Japanese military shut down its comfort stations. Let the tragedy of the Korean War comfort women be the last of this kind.

      Reason number three: The Korean War comfort women existed several decades longer than Japanese military’s comfort women. Which means it might be the worst case of “State-sponsored sex trafficking and a Crime Against Humanity” ever.

      Reason number four: The Korean War comfort women deserves more attention, compensation, and apology like comfort women of the WW2.

      Reason number five: Japanese will understand that this is not Japan bashing.

  3. Phil Oneacre

    June 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    This is not Korea, it is the United States of American. We should be presenting memorials to American soldiers and citizen who were harmed while supporting our country at home or abroad before taking on other countries. To my knowledge there are not such memorials in Brookhaven. While the comfort women were greatly abused it has absolutely no connection with our country, state, or city.

    • Mina Ikarina

      June 27, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      Phil,

      I agree with you 100%.

    • Steve S

      June 29, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      With a sizeable Korean American population, it makes perfect sense to be in the state. I don’t know why Brookhaven got chosen, Duluth would make more sense. But your “empathy” for the human beings your white brethren “saved” speaks volumes about your character as a human being.

  4. Tony Marano

    June 25, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    During the public portion of the Brookhaven City Council meeting two people spoke in favor the placing that statue claiming in part it was not “Japan bashing.” I am sorry to disagree with these two well intentioned persons.

    This proposed Comfort Women statue only memorializes women servicing the Japanese military during and prior to the start of World War Two. While at the same time ignoring the women pressed into Comfort Service by the South Korean military for the U.S. military over about a forty year period. From around 1950 to around 1990, and a lawsuit currently is pending. Also ignores the Comfort Women pressed into service by South Korean troops for South Korean troops in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

    By claiming empathy of the Comfort Women who were in the service for the Japanese military while ignoring the two aforementioned Comfort Women groups can reasonably be assessed as Japan bashing.

    I am not writing should not allow this statue, just requesting in the statue’s inscription include the other two ignored Comfort Women groups. By doing so it will demonstrate to the nation and people of Japan your concern for all women who served as Comfort Women in the Asian theater prior to 1990. It will also demonstrate the sincerity of the two people who spoke at the City Council meeting stating it was not “Japan bashing.”

    Incidentally, the memorial was in place in the park hidden under a wooden box BEFORE the City Council approved it.

  5. MOMO1333

    June 25, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Does this statue remind you of “slavery in America, Nazi Germany’s concentration camps or the comfort stations established during WWII”?? Why?

    I am Japanese living in Tokyo. Everyday I see anti-japan demos with this statue as a anti-japan simbol on the TV.

  6. Mei Fujiki

    June 26, 2017 at 3:11 am

    Then include Vietnam comfort women in the inscription, who were brutally murdured by S. Korean troops during the Vietnam War. They deserve apology and acknowledgement from S. Korean gov’t. Otherwise, this statue is nothing more than a means for Japan bashing.

    http://m.beforeitsnews.com/war-and-conflict/2016/01/south-korean-troops-atrocities-during-vietnam-war-exposed-2460050.html

    http://web.archive.org/web/20160304044534/http://www.examiner.com/article/why-has-south-korea-still-not-apologized-to-the-vietnam-comfort-women-2

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=W9LrCId7Hyc&feature=youtu.be

  7. Bill

    June 26, 2017 at 5:25 am

    Thanks City of Brookhaven and John Park, for giving the work of art that is stunning and thought provoking a home.

    Bravo for being the first city in Georgia to be a part of “Not Buying It” campaign.

  8. Moguro Fukuzo

    June 26, 2017 at 5:42 am

    The following webpage shows how Koreans cheat on evidences. How can you trust them?

    http://www.howitzer.jp/korea/page60.html

  9. Frank Z.

    June 26, 2017 at 6:42 am

    Good job John.
    I support your commitment to fight the sex trafficking.
    Have you met in person the residents of the Reserve and explained them the situation?
    They would be happy to hear you.

  10. Sarah

    June 26, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Thank you Councilman Park and City of Brookhaven for standing up for women everywhere.

  11. Lissie Stahlman

    June 26, 2017 at 8:12 am

    As a woman, I believe anything we can do to bring to light the horrible scourge of human trafficking whether it be historical reference or current crimes, is appropriate. As a Jew, I’ve heard the phrase “Lest we forget” my entire life regarding the atrocities of the Holocaust. While I agree that WWII was certainly not the only instance of institutional abuse of women, the symbol depicted by the statue can serve as a reminder of atrocities committed in our midst of which we need to be aware and do our best to help eliminate.

  12. K. Hosoya

    June 26, 2017 at 8:51 am

    If the Comfort Women were, as Councilmember Park alleges, sexually enslaved women, it would be justifiable a justification of installing comfort women statue in the park

    If the Comfort Women were, as Councilmember Park alleges, sexually enslaved women, it would be worthwhile for the city to memorize and to swear not to recur.

    However if it is not true, the statue would dishonor your city and its citizens, but also defame Japan and Japanese, and which means that Mr. Park himself would violate human rights.

    The issue- Comfort Women is now under controversy on the point whether they were enslaved or just prostitutes.

    Why Mr. Park and supporters do not prove their allegations?, or do not show persuasive evidences?

    • Steve S

      June 29, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      It’s already been proven, just as the holocaust was. Go play somewhere else, the only one’s who need more confirmation of this are people like you who can’t accept the truth.

  13. CA man

    June 26, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Readers in Brookhaven need to know this. South Korean government and Japanese government are both trying to remove the original statue located in Seoul, South Korea for the better and peaceful relationship between two countries. This statue is a exact copy of that. This act is completely against that will. Who called this a peace monument. It creates animosity and nothing else.
    I bet, this representative knows it.

    • Jon Park

      June 26, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      CA man,

      I hope one day the statue located in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul would be moved to elsewhere. Also, later on perhaps one in front of the Japanese Consulate in Busan, too. But as you might have noticed, not when Japan continues in its double talk and flip flop: “one hand, we have already apologized, and then by the way, they are well paid prostitutes.”

      Koreans are generally big-hearted people and when they see someone apologize sincerely, they would be willing to forgive and move on.

      But here in Atlanta, even though it is the same statue, the inscription on it is different and what we try to accomplish would be different! For instance, we would not demand apology from Japanese government because we think apology should be sincere and must be from the heart. Additionally, you would not see a large gathering of Koreans at the memorial and chant, “Japan apologize!” Instead, you will see people bringing their children and have picnic there or some grandma’s and grandpa’s coming to show respect to them with flowers and other artifacts. Over all, I assure you it will be very quiet and peaceful!

      • Frank Z.

        June 26, 2017 at 5:21 pm

        This is the first time we hear about inscription.
        Seems to be interesting.
        Could you explain us in detail?

        • CA man

          June 26, 2017 at 9:41 pm

          Shocked to learn the inscription is not yet public. No wonder I couldn’t find it. Is this really part of United States? Jun 30 is the deadline right?

        • Jon

          June 26, 2017 at 11:28 pm

          Frank Z.

          We have sent the inscription to the City of Brookhaven for the city’s approval and we should be able to share it with you of any of those who are interested in knowing about it after the unveiling of the statue on June 30, 2017. Or, you live nearby, you can come to the unveiling ceremony and see it yourself how those who would be gathered there would behave. It’s open to the public.

          Meanwhile, we have been preparing a website and even though it is still in construction, you can visit it at wwww.ygpm.org. Btw., Ygpm stands for Young Girl’s Peace Memorial.

          • Frank Z.

            June 27, 2017 at 12:52 pm

            Thank you Jon.
            I appreciate your reply.
            I look forward to.

      • CA man

        June 26, 2017 at 9:36 pm

        John Park,
        Whatever your initial intention may be, majority of rational people will think the same statue in GA will be taken as a challenge to what both South Korea and Japan are trying to accomplish, peace and stability to the relation. The intention for the statue may also change in future, you may not be in this world at the time. So you cannot actually say you can assure it. Beside, that park is not yours to claim is it?
        In future, near of far, the statue will cause a confrontation when the issue is such controversial as you can see from all the comments this site is getting.

        People in Japan and myself as well are not, in many part, agreeing what Koreans and your organization are saying. Expecting sincere apology will not take place unless they believe it is a fact. So far, the argument from Korea is too weak and distorted in my mind.

        Also, people organizing this action are from the country that hate Japanese the most. You can easily check it on the web. Moreover, the country also has same controversial issues by itself., WWII, Korean war and Vietnam war. nonetheless, decide to pick on Japan and ignoring its own. This is morally no-no, in Japan, as well as in The States and should be taken as hate based action.

        If you firmly believe, the comfort women were forced by Japanese government, why don’t you request South Korean government to bring the matter to ICJ, International Court of Justice. That should be the first step. Fair and square, don’t you agree? It has not even gotten there yet. After the verdict, and then people in Japan can finally agree on what you are saying and sincerely apologize. Until then, presumed innocent is in effect.
        One important thing to note is that Japan is one of the countries that declared ICJ as compulsory jurisdiction. South Korea has not. Should South Korea declare the same, and request for the trial, Japan must face the trial. If South Korea has courage to do so, no matter what Japan expects, it will happen.

        So convey this to your colleagues and cancel the statue to prevent causing unnecessary harm to Japanese living in U.S and to Koreans living in Japan.
        Both are minorities and don’t have a power to protect themselves, and that is what happened after the Glendale installed the same statue three years ago.

      • Jason Morgan

        June 28, 2017 at 1:01 am

        Mr. Park,

        I appreciate your points, although I disagree with most of them.

        One thing that strikes me is the notion that people would have a picnic at the statue, as you suggest. This makes me wonder whether you have fully thought through what you propose.

        The statue is to be a physical testimony to an unimaginable crime: the systematic human trafficking of children into sexual slavery. I, for one, would not find such a statue, commemorating a horrific and twisted abuse of minors, to be a place to hold a picnic.

        It seems as though, at heart, you really do not believe what you are saying. If the statue is what you claim it is, then how is it also to be a place for outdoor recreation? Does anybody, for example, go sunbathing in front of the Vietnam Memorial? Does anyone have a garden party at Holocaust museums?

        The comfort woman system existed. The problem is that, the deeper one digs into it, the worse Korean society looks. The women who were sent to be comfort women against their will were usually sold by their own parents to Korean brokers, who in turn transported the women to comfort stations throughout Asia. At the comfort stations, the managers would ask the women if they were there of their own free will. The Korean brokers trained the women to say, “Yes.” It is not a pretty picture in any respect, but least of all, perhaps, for the Koreans. Many of the women were volunteers (professional prostitutes or else destitute women looking to earn quick money). But the ones who were forced into being comfort women were forced, almost exclusively, by fellow Koreans.

        In fact, the system of “daughter trafficking,” which also existed in Japan and China, was, in Korea, a function of the yangban elite’s control over Korean society.

        Chong Dae Hyup, which is the driver behind these statues, does not care about Korea or Koreans. They are communists. They want to destroy the SK-Japan-US alliance and bring communism to the entire Korean peninsula. They use people of goodwill such as yourself to do their propaganda work for them overseas. Everyone is appalled by human trafficking. But thats precisely the point–it’s a ready diversion from what Chong Dae Hyup is really doing, which, if it succeeds, will be a disaster for actual Korean people.

        I was born in Louisiana and grew up in Tennessee and Alabama. I love the South, and, despite y’all’s strange affection for the Falcons, I also love the Great State of Georgia. I have visited the Peach State literally hundreds of times. Southerners have a strong sense of morality, but also do not take kindly to having their hospitality abused. The statues are a modern form of carpetbagging. We Southerners–you and I–have to protect our beautiful region from people who, at heart, do not mean us well. Or Koreans, for that matter. Or Japanese or Americans in general. We learned long ago, the hard way, that racial discrimination against anyone is just plain wrong. And these statues are ugly examples of racism.

        I respect you for taking a public stand. But let us think through this thing carefully before making a decision. This statue is the thin edge of the wedge!

        Sincerely,
        Jason Morgan
        PhD, East Asian History

  14. Jon Park

    June 26, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Mr. K. Hosoya,

    There are only 38 surviving “comfort women” as we are speaking and all of them are in their nineties and older and they may not live much longer.

    While the victims are still alive, you already dare to accuse them as deceivers and their testimonials only as fabrications from weaker and fragile minds, what then will happen when all of them are gone?

    Why not, before too late, realize what you are doing? You have trampled their youths once and now your are trying to put them to shame and humiliate them once again? No one is deserved to go through that much suffering….

    Please stop the historical revisionism.

    • A man

      June 27, 2017 at 10:02 am

      Vietnamese and Korean “comfort women” managed by South Korea military are also alive.

      The reason why Korean side always sounds so fishy is that they pick only the Japanese case and not even mentioning the Korean case. In the meantime, they accuse the Japanese side as revisionists and addressing “please learn true history” kind of thing.

      Once you support Korean side and start learning, you will notice that kind of contradiction they have on too many topics. I am fed up with that thing.

  15. MOMO1333

    June 26, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    JAPANESE, KOREANS, WHY ARE WE FIGHTING EACH OTHER IN THE UNITED STATES???

    We already have a deal!
    2015 agreement from BBC news http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35188135

    * Japan will give 1bn yen to a fund for the elderly comfort women, which the South Korean government will administer (done)

    * The money also comes with an apology by Japan’s prime minister and the acceptance of “deep responsibility” for the issue (done)


    * South Korea says it will consider the matter resolved “finally and irreversibly” if Japan fulfils its promises (not yet)

    * South Korea will also look into removing a statue symbolising comfort women, which activists erected outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul in 2011 (not yet)

    * Both sides have agreed to refrain from criticising each other on this issue in the international community (WHO BROKE??)

  16. K. Hosoya

    June 26, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    To: City Councilmember John Park, and Readers,

    Mr. Park seems to alleges that stories of “the victims” are unconditionally true and evidences.

    The center core of the issue is, as mentioned in my previous comments (shown above), whether the Comfort Women(CW) were enslaved by Japanese Military, or not.
    Mr. Park does not reply to this question and not show any evidence of enslavement.

    Instead Mr. Park say the “victims”, and accuse me of not my writing words – their stories deceivers and their testimonials only as fabrications from weaker and fragile minds.
    I just query Mr. Park an evidence of the enslavement, based on which Mr. Park justify the installment of the statue.
    Mr. Park himself need to proves them.

    If a story of a plaintiff became a judicial evidence, we would have to abolish the crime of perjury and an attorney in courts.

    Mr. Park, to establish your allegation of the enslavement as fact, can you show documents, or material object, drawn from stories of CW?, which have not been proven so far over 20 years.
    You would be admired by the CW.

    After your works, then we can open a dialogue whether the CW were sex-slaves, whether a statue should be installed, and what kind of a message to be inscribed with a statue?

    Why these steps were saved?

  17. Michael Yon

    June 27, 2017 at 1:33 am

    This is part of a vast information war that I have researched in 11 countries, including twice in Korea so far.

    Brookhaven will make a terrible mistake if they allow this statue of hate inside their community. It will bring trouble and possibly violence. A supporter of this statue in Korea tried to assassinate our Ambassador, Mark Lippert. Ambassador Lippert suffered a serious wound to his face.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34217371

    The assassin was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Before that, he tried to assassinate the Japanese ambassador to Korea. The assassin was a staunch supporter of these hate statues and was photographed beside one of the statues in Seoul doing a sort of communist salute.

    The ultimate target is not Japan. The ultimate target is the United States. This is part of a massive information campaign supported by China to split relations between ROK–USA–Japan. It is working on the Korean front, but causing Japan and USA to come even closer. So in some ways it is working well, but other ways backfiring.

    Again, there are numerous goals with this campaign that depend on the participants. One set of participants are feminist organizations. Their ultimate goal is to get the USA to continue to condemn Japan for ‘sex-slavery’, and then turn this back on America and claim we did the same. We know this is part of their strategy. We found more than one smoking gun. It’s coming. Stay tuned. Might be a few more years but it is coming.

    Do not allow this statue in Georgia. I am a Florida boy but have lived more than half my life overseas, much of that in Europe, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Asia. I know a Korean scam when I see one, and Chinese fingerprints are deep on this.

    I regularly receive death threats for outing this, including after making comments on this Brookhaven statue. Some of my comments are not permitted to post. That will not work. If this comment does not go up, I will publish on my Facebook with more than 600,000 followers.

    https://japan-forward.com/the-hate-farm-china-is-planting-a-bitter-harvest/

  18. Jason Morgan

    June 27, 2017 at 6:17 am

    There are a number of problems with the “comfort woman” statue, a few of which I list here.

    1/ The statue is not proper to a monument. Monuments commemorate, but, by the author’s own admission, the memory of the events in question are far from clear. Numerical estimates alone vary by at least a factor of ten (again, by the author’s own admission). It is morally wrong to erect monuments which do not commemorate. Monuments grounded in speculation can be for no other purpose than to propagandize.

    2/ The statue purports to pay tribute to Korean heritage, but it does the opposite. The legacy of comfort women activism (which is fundamentally different from the actual history of the comfort women) is that it portrays Koreans as weak, even impotent, in the face of what, if true, would be grave injustices. Why not search the historical records for brave men who resisted the “forced recruitment by the Japanese military”? If these men exist, they should be lauded as national heroes. The “comfort woman” statue, as it is, tacitly indicts Koreans as cowardly.

    3/ The statue purports to enhance Korean standing overseas, but it does the opposite. Ethnic diasporas almost always erect statues of great figures. Chinatowns often have bronze Confuciuses or Sun Yatsens, for example. This projects a sense of greatness of the culture which produced them. But erecting statues clearly designed to evoke sympathy risks being seen as playing the victim and manipulating emotions.

    4/ The statue is not innocent of ulterior political motives. Holocaust museums are not anti-Germany museums. However, “comfort woman” statues cannot be separated from the anti-Japanism rampant in South Korea. I spent a happy year in South Korea but was shocked by the depth of hatred for Japan. It caused me to distrust Korea’s version of history, as it was painfully distorted by disregard for another country. The author says that Koreans readily forgive; it has been more than 70 years since Japan left, but the historical record shows that Koreans’ dislike for Japan has only grown since then (and despite countless apologies). The “comfort woman” statues export this disregard to other, unrelated places under the cover of concern for human rights. This is wrong.

    5/ The statue is poorly timed. The focus by South Koreans on a dubious comfort woman past makes Koreans seem geopolitically tone-deaf. Many around the world wonder whether South Korea notices the existential threat across its northern border. As a mad dictator launches missile after missile over South Koreans’ heads, South Koreans harm the Japan-US-South Korea alliance with bitterness over the past. Why not a statue commemorating South Koreans’ and Americans’ shared sacrifices in the Korean War? If the purpose of the statues is to improve Korean-American relations, then the “comfort woman” theme seems designed to do the opposite.

    Jason Morgan
    PhD, History

  19. Kelly

    June 27, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Councilman Park,

    Your commitment to remembering the Comfort Women as a way to highlight the fight against sex trafficking and violence against women is inspiring. I know the city of Brookhaven is in good hands with leaders like you, Council members Jones, Gebbia and Mattison as well as Mayor Ernst, who all voted unanimously for the memorial.

  20. Moguro Fukuzo

    June 27, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Considering the seriousness of the allegation, at least a chance of presenting refutation should have been given to the local Japanese consul or representative of the local Japanese residents before making the resolution to erect the memorial.

    The very fact that the decision was made with absence of the accused party clearly shows the unfairness of the city council.

  21. Mina Ikarina

    June 27, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    I am puzzled whether Mr.John Park is a member of the City council of Brookhaven or a memeber of “The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan” which in based in South Korea.
    Seems like he is favoring his heritage a lot more than taxpayers of Brookhaven.
    Why does he need to single out controversial incident?
    Is his intention to put Japanese people,who reside surrounding area, on the corner as revenge?
    There are many other ways to rise awareness of human trafficking without hurting anybody.

  22. Mina Ikarina

    June 27, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    “The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan” based in South Korea, is asking everybody to send following letter to the City of Brookhaven.

    (Machine Translation from web site)
    http://www.womenandwar.net/contents/board/normal/normalView.asp?page_str_menu=0301&action_flag=&search_field=&search_word=&page_no=1&bbs_seq=15650&passwd=&board_type=&board_title=&grade=&title=&secret=&user_nm=&attach_nm=&reg_dt=&thumbnail=&content=

    There are sonyeosang establishment of peace and progress in the Atlanta Brookhaven City . Some Japanese are currently installed sonyeosang opposite of peace in order to deter sonyeosang of peace which is installed in Atlanta, email to that spending . Sonyeosang of peace, you know that is a symbol to remember and record the Japanese military sex slavery history and contains the hope that you do not wind caused recurrence of the tragedy of war . It is also a symbol of the aspirations of peace hope that the exhibition violence against women is still perpetrated throughout the world stops . However, some Japanese people may interpret the sonyeosang disregard of the meaning of peace contained in sonyeosang of peace only as an attack on Japan . We are conducting a sabotage to the papermaking sonyeosang of peace which is installed in Atlanta . I want you to act together so that they can be safely erected in peace rain Atlanta .
    The English letters below faz.gonzalez@brookhavenga.gov Please send !

    to, mayor and the members of brookhaven city council

    from, individuals or corporate bodies are English local people + please write to .

    20 june 2017

    we support to set up the peace monument in Brookhaven and we do not want to see sexual slavery victims of the war crime again.

    we would like to send our greeting in peace to mayor and the members of Brookhaven city council to try to set up the peace monument. we appreciate mayor and the members of the Brookhaven city council to support and help to launch the peace monument. however, we have heard that atlanta comfort women memorial task force (hereafter acwmtf) has had a lot of difficulties when they had built the peace monument in local society, Atlanta. acwmtf has built the peace monument to remember and commemorate the cruel history of Japanese military sexual slavery during the world War ⅱ. acwmtf has built to prevent tragedies to reoccur in the human history. it is the peace monument that symbolizes to stop violence against women during the war and to protect the human rights. we hope there would be peace in Brookhaven, too.

    some of the extreme right Japanese people in the u.s.a who think that the peace monument doesn’t mean to prevent violence against women and to protect the human rights but do attack to Japanese government. because of this reason, they interrupt what acwmtf has built the peace monument in Atlanta. Germany and Australia had difficulties when they built the peace monument in their country, too. with many supporters who encourage to restore women’s human rights and to be peace, Germany and Australia could build the peace monument in their country in the end. we think that people who fight for the human rights and justice would empathize to spread peace all over the world.

    we are demanding Japanese government to admit state responsibility for Japanese military sexual slavery, make an official apology, and provide legal reparation to the victims. we, the Korean council for the women drafted for military sexual slavery by japan, support and are with acwmtf.

    sincerely yours

    Personal , please put your corporate name or organization representative sign or seal .

  23. Phyllis

    June 28, 2017 at 1:19 am

    What would we say if German government tried to dismantle the Holocaust education in the US schools and demanded the Holocaust museums and memorials be removed?

    What would you say if the US government ordered all education about Japanese internment in the US to stop and the Japanese American National Museum to remove its permanent exhibit of the internment camp?

    If the largest case of institutionalized (government-led) sex slavery and abuse of women and girls (as young as 11 years old) – unprecedented in its scale (200,000 to 400,000 from a dozen countries) and cruelty – doesn’t deserve remembrance and education, what does? If you want to deny and erase this history, where is your humanity?

    The ‘Comfort Women’ issue is by no means the only war crime the Imperial Japan is responsible for, which it never acknowledged the responsibility of – Nanjing Massacre, medical experiments on living bodies at Unit 731, forced laborers and inhumane treatment of them in the Hashima island, only to name a few.

    Germany recovered trust and respect from its neighbors by squarely acknowledging its responsibility for the Holocaust they were responsible for. Germans’ mature attitude and sincere repentance for the past enabled Germany’s comeback as a leader in Europe.

    Japan must squarely acknowledge and sincerely repent for the atrocities Imperial Japan committed against millions of people in Asia Pacific. Denying its past wrongdoings and glorifying its military aggression will not lead Japan to a better future.

    • Barbara H

      June 28, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      * * * * *
      –> The Holocaust happened for real.

      –> The three-year internment of Japanese Americans
      happened for real

      –> Slavery happened for real

      –> The Earth circles the Sun for real

      –> BUT the myth that Japanese military kidnapped and
      coerced the Korean comfort women into the
      brothels is not for real!

      Comfort women were either professional prostitutes, desperate women who turned to prostitution to survive, or were trafficked by their own parents in exchange for a loan — or in some cases they were tricked into brothel work by an unscrupulous private brothel owner(most of whom were Korean men and women.

      This issue has nothing to do with Germany or the price of chicken wings in Georgia. And Japan would be crazy to “acknowledge and repent” for kidnapping and coercing the comfort women because they did not do it!

      However Japan has acknowledged that it the military arranged for the private brothels to be made available to Japanese soldiers. Japan has accepted its share of responsibility for the suffering of the women and has apologized and paid compassion money to the comfort women twice (once in the 1990s, again in 2015).

      Now it’s high time for the Korean parents who sold their girls into brothels and for any deceitful Korean brothel owners to reflect on their role in the suffering of these women.
      * * * * *

  24. Moses

    June 28, 2017 at 6:57 am

    http://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/report-49-USA-orig.html

    I am against the comfort women monument in Brookhaven at Blackburn Ⅱ Park. The peaceful city of Brookhaven should not be involved in such political issue by erecting memorial. The “hate Japan” education in both Koreas and China has been promoting the atmosphere in the U.S. Japanese people are strongly opposed to the comfort woman memorial because it is so one-sided and will create a conflict among people, leading to hate crime and children bullying in your city. Please search and read U.S. official documents below about this issue in those days. “Japanese Prisoner of War Interrogation Report No. 49”

  25. Frank Z.

    June 28, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    John
    We learned recently that you may run in fall.
    All the best!

  26. Helen Ho

    June 28, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    For those who are curious about the truth of the comfort women and this little known part of WWII history, please note these sources as the history deniers will keep posting blogs made by extreme right-wing groups.

    United Nations 1996 Special Report, Commission on Human Rights (holds that the practice of “comfort women” should be considered a clear case of sexual slavery and a slavery-like practice in accordance with the approach adopted by relevant international human rights bodies and mechanisms): http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/commission/country52/53-add1.htm

    United Nations 1998 Report for UN Economic and Social Council, “Contemporary Forms of Slavery” (Report done specifically on comfort women issue and what legal issues are available, emphasizes that practices such as the detention of women in “rape camps” or “comfort stations;” forced, temporary “marriages” to solders; and other practices involving the treatment of women as chattel, are both in fact and in law forms of slavery, and, as such, violations of the peremptory norm prohibiting slavery):
    http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/demo/ContemporaryformsofSlavery_McDougall.pdf

    Congressional Research Service (CRS) 2007 report, this is a nonpartisan, public policy research org which works exclusively for the Congress and their staff (The evidence is clear that the Japanese government and military directly created the comfort women system; no doubt from the available evidence that most comfort women were in the system involuntarily): http://apjjf.org/-Congressional-Research-Service-/2405/article.html (summary) and http://japanfocus.org/data/CRS%20Comfort%20Women%203%20Apr%2007.pdf

    The American Historical Society, Leading Historians stand with Truth of WWII history/ comfort women (“As historians, we express our dismay at recent attempts by the Japanese government to suppress statements in history textbooks both in Japan and elsewhere about the euphemistically named “comfort women” who suffered under a brutal system of sexual exploitation in the service of the Japanese imperial army during World War II.”): https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/march-2015/letter-to-the-editor-standing-with-historians-of-japan

    So many more, but the overwhelming consensus among respected historians, governmental bodies and the international rights community is that hundreds of thousands of girls and women were victims of one of the largest known sex trafficking rings in modern history, and unfortunately the Japanese government never formally apologized and made reparations in keeping with international norms.

    • H.S. Kim

      June 28, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      Helen,

      UN Reports and US Congressional Report (2007) are not valid sources because they are solely based on false testimonies. Read the following article to understand how women’s testimonies have changed.

      http://scholarsinenglish.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-comfort-women-by-chunghee-sarah-soh.html

    • Kazu

      June 30, 2017 at 8:04 am

      Helen,
      Regarding the articles “Standing with Historians of Japan” by Alexis Dudden, March 2015 and subsequent “Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan” May 11, 2015 , I would like you and the readers here to refer to “Japanese Scholars’ Reply to the American Scholars’ Comfort Women Statement”.
      http://eng.the-liberty.com/pdf/20150808_document.pdf

      In that article, 110 Japanese scholars remonstrate with the “American” scholars” about their judgement on the facts. According to the Japanese scholars, the American scholars opinion is influenced by a statement issued in December of 2014 by the Historical Science Society of Japan, which is a Japanese Marxist organization that has opposed the Japanese-American Security Treaty. It is questioned whether the American scholars were aware of these positions when they signed their May, 2015 open letter or not.

  27. Moguro Fukuzo

    June 28, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Read the following article and reconsider whether you are qualified to condemn us as murderers and rapists.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/594d3d5de4b0c85b96c658c3

  28. Mina Ikarina

    June 29, 2017 at 10:49 am

    The statue doesn’t belong to Backburn Park II.

    However, the city needs to install two set of “Comfort Women” statues, in front of “Pink Pony”, and an entrance of the City Hall.
    So everybody can see a nice and close relationship they share to one and another.

    • MOMO1333

      June 29, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      How about a statue of “Pink Pony sitting in the chair” with inscription “against human right violations”?
      I sure eveybody can see a nice.

  29. Kazu

    June 29, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Jon,
    I here read that you agree with many true statements by H. S.Kim. Yet you say that in the end it doesn’t matter to erecting a memorial to honor tens of thousands of young girls and women who were deceived or coerced into sexual slavery?
    Is it a right thing to persist to installing the statue and invite people bringing their children there, even though the fact is a debunked fake?
    Let me allow to repost my quotes to articles on June 19 and 23.

    Quotes from“Comfort Women Articles by Scholars”
    http://scholarsinenglish.blogspot.jp/?
    – In an interview with Professor Chunghee Sarah Soh of San Francisco State University, a former Korean comfort woman Kim Sun-ok said that she was sold by her parents four times.
    Yet she testified before UN Special Rapporteur Radhika Coomaraswamy that she was abducted by the Japanese military.
    – In an interview with Professor Park Yuha of Sejong University in South Korea, a former Korean comfort woman Bae Chun-hee said that she hated her father who sold her.
    Yet she testified before UN Special Rapporteur Radhika Coomaraswamy that she was abducted by the Japanese military.
    – In 1993 a former Korean comfort woman Kim Gun-ja told Professor Ahn Byong Jik of Seoul University, “I was sold by my foster father.”
    Yet she testified before UN Special Rapporteur Radhika Coomaraswamy that she was abducted by the Japanese military.

    The biggest problem about the testimonies is, as Mr.Hosoya writes, you cannot find any documentary evidence or any eyewitness of the kidnapping of enormous number of Korean girls by Japanese Army. Testimony without evidence is least credible.

  30. Kitty-George

    July 1, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Comfort women weren’t sex slaves.
    Comfort Women the truth be told; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL9TCbBHQjs

  31. Hirose

    July 2, 2017 at 5:39 am

    Even in the survey of the wartime information agency in the United States, Korean comfort women end with the conclusion that “high-class whore”. I can browse it at the National Diet Library.

  32. Moguro Fukuzo

    July 11, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I trust John Park and the rest of councilmembers are just pandering local Korean residents in order to get votes and funds, and actually quite indifferent about the historical truth, the relationship between Japan and S. Korea, and/or education for future generations.