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Dyana Bagby Posted by on June 27, 2017.

Japan consul general’s ‘comfort women’ comments trigger international criticism

Comments from the Japanese consul general in Atlanta about Brookhaven’s “comfort women” memorial – made in a Reporter interview where he denied the women were sexually enslaved — have rekindled an international controversy and drawn criticism from the South Korean government.

The memorial, set to be unveiled June 30 in a Brookhaven park, is intended to honor women sexually trafficked by the Japanese military during World War II, according to the city and organizers. One of the surviving women, Kang il-chul, is scheduled to attend the unveiling.

Takashi “Thomas” Shinozuka, the consul general of Japan in Atlanta, discusses his stance on the “comfort women” memorial at the consulate in Buckhead. (Dyana Bagby)

The Japanese government in 2015 formally apologized for the “comfort women” system in a pact with Korea.

But in a June 16 interview with the Reporter at the Japanese consulate in Buckhead, Consul General Takashi “Thomas” Shinozuka said the women were “not sex slaves and not taken by force. Maybe you know that in Asian culture, in some countries, we have girls who decide to go to take this job to help their family.”

“No evidence has been found about that,” he said of the standard historical description of the women being forced into sex, as well as about a debated figure that about 200,000 women were victims of the system.

Those comments are drawing criticism broadcast everywhere from local press releases to Korean TV news. Much of the criticism highlights the term “paid prostitutes,” which was a Reporter paraphrase of Shinozuka’s comments, not a direct quote. Regardless, the controversy is about his overall denial of the “comfort women” system.

Cho June-hyuck, a spokesperson for South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, condemned Shinozuka’s comments in a press conference translated and broadcast June 27 by the South Korean English-language TV news channel Arirang News.

“If the report is true, it’s unbelievable that such a high-ranking diplomat would make that statement,” the spokesperson said. “It would be a really inappropriate remark that goes against the international community’s consensus that the ‘comfort women’ issue is about wartime sexual violence, and that it was a gross violation of human rights.”

An image from a June 27 report on South Korea’s Arirang News about the Reporter’s interview with Consul General Takashi “Thomas” Shinozuka.

The South Korean consulate in Atlanta could not be reached for comment.

The Atlanta Comfort Women Memorial Task Force, which commissioned the Brookhaven statue, also blasted Shinozuka’s comments. In a press release, the Task Force said his comments “denying the comfort women history by calling the sexually enslaved women ‘paid prostitutes’ marks the first time in recent memory that an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has made such an extreme statement. Previously, it was the extreme neo-conservative nationalist right-wing faction of Japan that had uttered such unheralded levels of denialism.”

Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said the comments are “consistent” with what Shinozuka told him personally in private meetings, including in a meeting before the City Council voted May 23 to accept the memorial.

“The first time we met, he said some of the women were prostitutes,” Ernst said. “His basic message has been that the Japanese government asked for forgiveness and paid reparations, and this is a done deal.”

Brookhaven City Councilmember John Park, who moved with his family to the U.S. from Korea when he was 6, said the consul general’s comments are “offensive.”

“What he said is completely out of line of accepted international norms,” Park said. “They were forcibly enslaved. The Japanese government accepted it and now they are backtracking.”

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

Japan and Korea have a long history of disputes about Japan’s World War II war crimes and policies, with the “comfort women” being one of the hotter points. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s current prime minister, drew similar outrage in 2007 with similar comments about the “comfort women.”

“The fact is, there is no evidence to prove there was coercion,” Abe was quoted as saying by an Associated Press report at the time.

Abe and the Japanese government soon apologized and eventually made the agreement with Korea. However, Abe’s positions on the “comfort women” history remain controversial. Earlier this year, Abe called for South Korea to remove an identical “comfort women” memorial in that country, saying it threatened the 2015 pact.

The Brookhaven memorial also has been controversial locally. The dispute between Japanese and Korean viewpoints has filtered to the local level. Dunwoody state Rep. Tom Taylor tried to get the memorial withdrawn, citing potential negative impacts on international trade. And neighbors of the park where the memorial is installed are unhappy with their lack of input.

The Reporter recorded the June 16 interview with Shinozuka and another consulate official, Consul Tomoko Ohyama, which lasted over 45 minutes. To listen to the full interview recording on SoundCloud, click here. The following are transcriptions of key parts of the interview.

Shinozuka’s full comments about the “comfort women” historical record were as follows:

 

So we can’t say that they had a happy life, but maybe you have a [unintelligible] that there were 200,000 or more women who have been sexually enslaved and taken by force.

But these three elements, the number 200,000 and sexual slaves and also taken by force have not been confirmed in other studies [unintelligible] Japanese government made in 1990s and in 2000s, and even by [unintelligible] the Korean government. No evidence has been found about that.

So first of all, this is fact of history. Not 200,000, not sex slaves and not taken by force. Maybe you know that in Asian culture, in some countries, we have girls who decide to go to take this job to help their family. And there should be [unintelligible]. Having said that the comfort women and in 1965, two governments decided to settle [unintelligible] to normalize their relations. They decided that the demand for reparations by someone in this country would have been settled by disarmament. Am I clear?

 

Shinozuka also commented on the political context of “comfort women” memorials and why he opposes the Brookhaven version:

 

Although we have this agreement, some activists in Korea continue to erect statues. This one has been at this place in front of embassy for several years. But last December they decided to put another statue. These people put another statue in front of embassy [unintelligible] in great city of Korea.

The memorial which the city of Brookhaven would like to have is not a simple art object but a political tool which has many controversial implications. As you can see, this has been [a] symbol of hatred and resentment against Japanese.

And Atlanta is the great city of Dr. Martin Luther King, of inclusion, peace, and forgiveness. We do not have this kind of landmark in metro Atlanta.

What we are puzzled about by the city, the memorial, of Brookhaven is they tried to have it in haste without giving the residents, including the Japanese residents, [input] because we have between 300 and 400 Japanese people living in Brookhaven.

— By Dyana Bagby and John Ruch

38 Responses to Japan consul general’s ‘comfort women’ comments trigger international criticism

  1. Phyllis

    June 28, 2017 at 2:36 am

    American politicians bear their duties and responsibilities to their citizens and the constituents, not to foreign governments.

    We have a long tradition of fighting in solidarity and remembering grave human rights violations around the globe, regardless where or when they happened.

    Japanese government and its leader Prime Minster Shinzo Abe still have not recognized the government responsibilities for the military sexual slavery by Imperial Japan as an institutionalized sexual slavery; instead, the government of Japan is trying to deny and erase this history by lobbying our elected officials.

    Making threats of economic retribution for promoting human rights is simply absurd.

    Japan must stop meddling in American value.

    • Yoshi

      June 28, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      The United States, South Korea, and “Comfort Women”

      “the U.S. soldiers were themselves traffickers. In one particularly egregious example, a 14-year-old Korean girl was abducted and raped by members of the Korean army. She was then given over to an American soldier and subsequently moved to America, where she was then sold into a massage parlor circuit.”

      http://stanford.edu/group/womenscourage/cgi-bin/blogs/structuralviolence/2009/01/22/the-united-states-south-korea-and-comfort-women/

    • H.S. Kim

      June 29, 2017 at 7:28 am

      I have studied this issue for over 15 years looking into every primary source in Korean and Japanese, 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.

      Phyllis Kim, the director of KAFC, has also spread the false narrative.

      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.

    • Hisatake

      June 29, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Phyllis, although it was before I was born, I grew up in a Japanese city where many Japanese women were registered with police as comfort women for American soldiers. How many Americans remember that?

      • Kyoko A.

        July 2, 2017 at 2:04 am

        I myself is Japanese And grew up in Tokyo. I believe that the Comfort Women happened. You should be ashamed that someone like you denied the fact that this ever existed.

    • Barbara H

      June 30, 2017 at 12:24 am

      Hey Phyllis: If you want to fight against human rights violations start with the country that is the #1 prostitute capital of the world. South Korea. Not only did South Korea have its own comfort system for Korean and Allied soldiers during the Korean war (1950-1953) and Vietnam War (1955-1975), South Korea continues to make prostitutes available to American soldiers stationed in the ROK. And I’m sure you know that South Korean soldiers raped thousands of Vietnamese women during the Vietnam war and left behind thousands of mixed-heritage children.

      Today, South Korea traffics prostitutes from Southeast Asia into Korea and traffics Korean prostitutes to Japan, Australia, the US, and other countries. In the US, we are swimming in Korean prostitutes, who sometimes like to pretend they are Japanese, take on Japanese names, call their service Sakura something.

      Judging by some of the Korean sex workers arrested in the US. Korean parents are still forcing their daughters to work off money the brothel owner advanced to the parent. I know that Koreans are aware of daughter trafficking. In the 1930s and 1940s it was a common enough practice all over Asia. And the practice still remains in some areas.

      That was then, and this is now. Japan has already pledged that its military will never again use commercial brothels to make sexual services available to soldiers as they did during the Pacific War. That was a mistake.

      And Japan has acknowledged its mistake, and its role in the suffering of the women who worked in those commercial brothels. Japan has apologized many times and has offered written apologies and compassion funds, plus health and welfare support to the comfort women, both in the 1990’s and again in 2015.

      Now it’s time for Korean society to reflect on its own role in the suffering of the comfort women. Time to reflect on why so many young women and old women (Bacchus women) turn to prostitution for a living.

      I’m sorry to inform you that the Japanese military DID NOT have to kidnap and coerce Korean women to work in brothels. Brothel owners, operators, and brokers hired their own workers under strict instruction by Japan NOT to coerce the women. Many brothel owners were Korean men and women. Nevertheless, I feel sorry for these aging ladies, and I think their “handlers” Chong Dae Hyup and various human rights hustlers should allow them to accept Japan’s donation and apology and find peace.

    • Steve

      June 30, 2017 at 2:46 am

      Thank you Phyllis, as native born and raised Atlantan of Korean descent.

  2. Kazzy

    June 28, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Dear Dyana
    I was disappointed with this article that was biased in many way.
    I wonder if you have read all comments followed your last article as below about this issue. Very thoughtful discussions took place there thanks to your good work.
    But you just ignored them all. So I can’t trust your article. Sorry for that.
    http://www.reporternewspapers.net/2017/06/19/brookhaven-parks-neighbors-oppose-comfort-women-memorial-may-sue/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=socialnetwork

  3. Mina Ikarina

    June 28, 2017 at 8:59 am

    the Japanese consul general in Atlanta, Mr.Shinozuka, did an excellent job explaining Japan’s position.

    One of the agreement back in 2015 between Japan and Korea was as follow,

    (3) While stating the above, the Government of Japan confirms that this issue is resolved finally and irreversibly with this announcement, on the premise that the Government will steadily implement the measures specified in (2) above. In addition, together with the Government of the ROK, the Government of Japan will refrain from accusing or criticizing each other regarding this issue in the international community, including at the United Nations.

    However, Korean groups never stop promoting “Comfort Women” issue in and out the country.
    Korean Government is the one that dishonor the agreement.

  4. Tony Marano

    June 28, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    What Takashi “Thomas” Shinozuka said corresponds with the U.S. Army 1944 number 49 report which states the captured Comfort Women were well “paid prostitutes.”

  5. Yoshi

    June 28, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Koreans drive demand for child prostitution in Southeast Asia

    http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2013/01/116_129743.html

  6. Justice

    June 28, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    At least Germany apologized for what they did.
    Shame on you, Japan!!!

    • MOMO1333

      June 28, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      +Justice

      Japan has apologized many many many times since ww2.

      But Korea didn’t apologize for what they did in Vietnam War.
      http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-korea-vietnam-20150516-story.html

      Shame on you Korea!!!

      I want you to say,
      DO NOT START KOREA-JAPAN WAR ON AMERICAN SOIL.

      If you don’t like Japan, come to Japan and say “I don’t like you”. Then I will say “I don’t like you, too”

      * Germany apologized about Nazi things, but they never apologize their own comfort women and sex slaves at ww2.

    • Yoshio Haraguchi

      June 29, 2017 at 8:46 am

      You speak only propaganda. See the facts.

    • Navy Kim

      June 29, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      Germany have never apologized to Poland Comfort Women.
      And Comfort Women problem is not Holocaust.
      Learn History.

  7. Terry

    June 28, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    This will contribute to more division and hatred in America. People come to the U.S. to start anew as Americans, not to bring over their particular prejudices that further foment racial, ethnic, and religious tensions within this society known as a melting pot. America must stay united, and it is such a tragedy that this movement to erect more statues continues, especially since Japan and S. Korea agreed to a bilateral accord on Dec. 28, 2015 to resolve the issue ‘finally and irreversibly,’ with Japan once again apologizing and providing financial arrangement. And predictably again, S. Korea has reneged, seeking more further negotiations, and those who have immigrated to the U.S. must decide if they desire to be viewed as Americans or part of fringe groups who are simply here to spread more animosity toward one

    ethnicity in the name of ‘human rights’ and ‘justice.’ The 200,000 abductions of women by the Japanese military for sexual slavery is a narrative that even the U.S. (and some European) scholars who cosigned the May 2015 Open Letter do not support: http://www.eagerexec.com/letters/

    I appreciate the fact that at least we have a public forum such as this one to express our views, for in S. Korea, this is what happens when scholars dare to speak against a popular narrative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tygtzR9ARvM

    This message by Robert Shapiro, former Undersecretary of Commerce, is really how the vast majority of Americans will eventually assess the comfort women issue in the United States: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEvDZODg2WA

    • Yoshio Haraguchi

      June 29, 2017 at 8:52 am

      I heartfully agree with your sincere remarks. Thank you.

  8. Yoshio Haraguchi

    June 29, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Accoding to this article, Mr. Shinozuka did not use the term “paid prostitute” as the article says, “Much of the criticism highlights the term “paid prostitutes,” which was a Reporter paraphrase of Shinozuka’s comments, not a direct quote.” The paper should express the responsibility of the misleading quote.

  9. fedup

    June 29, 2017 at 9:49 am

    want facts?

    then look at the “Final Report to the US Congress on Nazi War Crimes & Japanese Imperial Government Records” authored by the Interagency Working Group (IWG). Interestingly, few activist Koreans seem to know about that report. The US government, under the Clinton and Bush administrations, spent 7 years and 30 million dollars to look into Nazi and Japanese war crimes.

    The report was published in the spring of 2007. Out of millions of pages of newly declassified material, much of it related to Japan, and they were unable to find evidence of forced prostitution.

  10. Yoshi

    June 29, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Where were the Korean men, when their mothers, wives and daughters were taken away?

    The US Official Records: Korean PoW’s testimony on Korean “Comfort women” in 1945.

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

    https://cdn.mainichi.jp/vol1/2016/06/10/20160610p2a00m0na015000q/0.pdf

  11. Yoshi

    June 29, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    We should not foreget that they too fought a war as the comrades to the Japanese army.

    Former Korean Comfort Woman Mun Oku-chu’s Memoir

    “Myself as a comfort woman for Tate Division deployed in Burma” by Mun Oku-chu

    (In Mandalay, Burma)
    Page 63
    The soldiers and we had the same thoughts, that is, we must work hard for our emperor. The soldiers gave up their wives, children and their own lives. Knowing how they felt, I did my best to solace them by having conversation with them.

    Page 68
    I prayed for safety of Ichiro Yamada. After two or three of months, the troop unit to which Yamada belonged returned from the front. Yamada returned in good health. He immediately came to the comfort station. He said “I, private first class soldier Yamada, have just come back from the front.” Yamada gave a salute to me. We hugged in full of joy. Such a day was so special that the comfort station owner Matsumoto (a Korean from Daegu) closed business for the day. The comfort station was full of excitement, and we, comfort women, contributed 1 yen per woman to hold a big party for them.

    Page 75
    I saved a considerable amount of money from tips. So I asked a clerical staff whether or not I could have a saving account and put the money in the account. His reply was positive. I knew that all the soldiers put their earnings in the saving accounts in the field post office, so I decided to put my money in the saving account. I asked a soldier to make a personal seal and put 500 yen in the account. I got my savings passbook and found 500 yen written on the passbook. I became the owner of the savings passbook for the first time in my life. I worked in Daegu as a nanny and a street seller from the childhood but I remained poor no matter how hard I worked. I could not believe that I could have so much money in my saving account. A house in Daegu cost 1,000 yen at the time. I could let my mother have an easy life. I felt very happy and proud. The savings passbook became my treasure.

    Page 98
    Ichiro Yamada came to see me once a week and I was in a great mood on that day from the morning. But if he did not show up on his once a week holiday, I became so worried wondering if he was killed by the enemy that I could not work properly. He made me worry so much.

    (In Rangoon, Burma)
    Page 106~107
    I was able to have more freedom in Rangoon than before. Of course, not completely free but I could go out once a week or twice a month with permission from the Korean owner. It was fun to go shopping by rickshaw. I can’t forget the experience of shopping in a market in Rangoon. There were lots of jewelry shops because many jewels were produced in Burma, and ruby and jade were not expensive. One of my friends collected many jewels. I thought I should have a jewel myself, so I went and bought a diamond.

    Page 107
    I often went to see Japanese movies and Kabuki plays in which players came from the mainland Japan. I enjoyed watching players change costumes many times and male players portray women’s roles. I became a popular woman in Rangoon. There were a lot more officers in Rangoon than near the frontlines, so I was invited to many parties. I sang songs at parties and received lots of tips.

    (In Saigon, Vietnam)
    Page 115~118
    It was finally time to return home. I went to Saigon via Thailand. The ship was to depart from Saigon. Then Tsubame said “I had a nightmare in the morning about my mother vomiting blood. I am afraid that something unlucky will happen, so I will not return to Korea.” Hiroko, Kifa and Hifumi agreed with Tsubame saying “We will not go back to Korea, either.”

    Page 120
    When I went to a cabaret where Japanese military men hung out, navy pilots were there. Some of them asked me “Why are you still here?” I replied “I am still here because I don’t want to go home. I want to go back to Rangoon.”

    Page 121
    I put on a pair of high heels, a green coat and carried an alligator leather handbag. I swaggered about in a fashionable dress. No one could guess that I was a comfort woman. I felt so happy and proud.

    (Back In Rangoon)
    Page 123
    A military man came on a bicycle and asked me “Hi Yoshiko, can you ride a bicycle?” I replied “No, I can’t.” He asked “Would you like to learn how to ride?” I learned with pleasure. I rode it smoothly through the town of Rangoon. I didn’t see any other women on bicycles. People on the street looked back at me. It was fun for me to go to the town of Rangoon. I talked with people in Burmese, Japanese and Korean. I had no difficulty communicating when I shopped.

    Page 126
    I killed a non-commissioned officer who was drunk and held the sword against me. I won acquittal as legitimate self-defense, and many military men were pleased with that court decision.

    Page 137
    I withdrew 5,000 yen from my saving account and sent it to my mother.

    http://scholarsinenglish.blogspot.jp/2014/10/former-korean-comfort-woman-mun-oku.html

  12. Yoshi

    June 29, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Anybody who is interested in the “Comfort women” issu should thoroughly read this important record from 1944. You will know the “Comfort women” was nothing more than highly paid prostitutes.

    UNITED STATES OFFICE OF WAR INFORMATION Psychological Warfare Team Attached to U.S. Army Forces India-Burma Theater APO 689
    Japanese Prisoner Place interrogated: Ledo Stockade of War Interrogation Date interrogated: Aug. 20 – Sept. 10, 1944 Report No. 49. 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 ____________________________________________________________________________ PREFACE; 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 Myitkyina 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. RECRUITING; 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 work 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 vicinity. 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. PERSONALITY; The interrogations show the average Korean “comfort girl” to be about twenty five years old, uneducated, childish, whimsical 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. LIVING AND WORKING CONDITIONS; 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 Myitkyina 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 phono-graph; and in the towns they were allowed to go shopping. PRICE SYSTEM; 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. SCHEDULES ; The soldiers often complained about congestion in the houses. On many occasions 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 Maymyo; 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 price 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. PAY AND LIVING CONDITIONS; 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. REACTIONS TO JAPANESE SOLDIERS; 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. SOLDIERS’ REACTIONS; 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 clogs. The lipstick and clogs were definitely 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 mind. REACTION TO THE MILITARY SITUATION;
    It appears that they knew very little about the military situation around Myitkyina even up to and including the time of their retreat and capture. There is however some information worth noting:
    “In the initial attack on Myitkyina 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 stem 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. RETREAT AND CAPTURE;
    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 means of crossing. They remained in a nearby house until August 10th when they were captured by Kachin soldiers led by an English officer. They were taken to Myitkyina and then to the Ledo

    stockade where the interrogations which form the basis of this report took place. PROPAGANDA
    The girls know practically nothing of any propaganda leaflets that had been used against the Japanese. They had seen a few leaflets in the hands of the soldiers but most of them were unable to understand them as they were in Japanese and the soldiers refused to discuss them with the girls. One girl remembered the leaflet about Col. Maruyama (apparently it was Myitkyina Troop Appeal), but she did not believe it. Others heard the soldiers discussing leaflets from time to time but no tangible remarks resulted from their eavesdropping. However it is interesting to note that one officer expressed the view that “Japan can’t win this war”.
    REQUESTS; None of the girls appeared to have heard the loudspeaker used at Myitkyina but they 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.
    APPENDIX “A”
    Following are the names of the twenty Korean “comfort girls” and the two Japanese civilians interrogated to obtain the information used in the reports. The Korean names are phoneticized.
    NAME AGE ADDRESS
    1, Shin Jyun Nimi 21 Keishonando, Shinshu
    2. Kak Yonja 28 “ Sanzonpo, Yunai
    3. Pen Yonja 26 “ Shinshu
    4. Chinga Chunto 21 Keishohokudo, Taikyu
    5. Chun Yonja 27 Keishonando. Shinsyu
    6. Kim Nanju 25 Keishohokudo, Taikyu
    7. Kim Yonja 19 “ “
    8. Kim Kenja 25 Keishonando, Keson
    9. Kim Senni 21 “ Kumboku

    10. Kim Kun Sun 22 “ Taikyu
    11. Kim Chongi 26 “ Shinshu
    12. Pe Kija 27 “ “
    13. Chun Punyi 21 “ Keisan Gun,
    Kayomon Mura
    14. Koke Sunyi 21 “ Kenyo, Sokibaku
    Mo, Kyu Ruri
    15. Yon Muji 31 Heiannando, Keijo
    16. Opu Ni 20 “ “
    17. Kim Tonhi 20 Koikido, Keijo
    18. Ha Tonyo 21 “ “
    19. Oki Song 20 Keishohokudo, Taikyu
    20. Kim Guptogo 21 Zonranando, Kosyu
    Japanese Civilians:
    1. Kitamura, Tomiko 38 Keikido, Keijo
    2. Kitamura, Eibun 41 “ “

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

  13. John Gillan

    June 29, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan 2015
    http://apjjf.org/-Asia-Pacific-Journal-Feature/4828/article.html

    “Exploitation of the suffering of former “comfort women” for nationalist ends in the countries of the victims makes an international resolution more difficult and further insults the dignity of the women themselves.”

    This statue is just Koreans’ nationalist end.

  14. Carl C.

    June 29, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    It’s deplorable that local governments are allowing the erection of comfort women monuments. It is alleged by some Korean factions that Korean women were used as sex slaves by the Japanese military during the Second World War – this has not been incontrovertibly proven. Through many official military reports, the United States Military, in its independent investigation during and after the war, refutes this allegation. What emerges more as fact is that the Korean women and those of other ethnicities including Japanese women, were legally paid prostitutes. The comfort women syndrome in turn is being used by globalist factions for political reasons. It enhances the notion of women in general being used as sex objects by the usual brutal macho men. This tends to enhance the already inordinate empowerment of women, the movements (not all of course) that are clearly anti-male, thereby creating further divisions between men and women. The globalists can also use the comfort women syndrome to further create a political demonization of Japan and also its ally, the United States. As I write this comment, the city of Brookhaven which is in the outskirts of Atlanta, is proceeding with another monument – our American cities are becoming useful tools for more division and chaos based on a dangerous globalist agenda. GOD HELP AMERICA!

    • H.S. Kim

      June 29, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      Great comment Carl,

      The Korean activists, known to be sympathetic to North Korea, conveniently ignore the fact that the Korean Army coerced many young Vietnamese women. While there are dozens of primary sources that show that the comfort stations for the Japanese Army were operated by private brothel owners, there is irrefutable evidence that the Korean Army directly operated comfort stations in Vietnam.

      The activists say that the statue is for women’s rights and not meant to be anti-Japanese, yet they refuse to let it mention the atrocities the Korean Army committed to the Vietnamese women.

      I understand Tom Taylor, Georgia House of Representatives, is extremely displeased with the Brookhaven City Council’s decision to erect the statue. He is exploring the possibility of removing the statue. Please write to him to show your support.

  15. Richard

    June 29, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Congratulations, trolls. Thou doth protesteth too much. You have defiled the comments section of yet another article on Comfort Women history with your fake news. Interesting that you scurry to any article on this history and spread your lies like cancer. The international community does not support your revisionist history. Credible sources do not buy your lies. Your responses get longer and longer because the truth is not on your side.

    • Yoshi

      June 30, 2017 at 11:18 am

      I wonder if there was need for abducting women in the country where the sex indusry is 4% of GDP today.

      “The South Korean government’s Ministry for Gender Equality estimates that about 500,000 women work in the national sex industry, though, according to the Korean Feminist Association, the actual number may exceed 1 million. If that estimate is closer to the truth, it would mean that 1 out of every 25 women in the country is selling her body for sex — despite the passage of tough anti-sex-trafficking legislation in recent years. (For women between the ages of 15 and 29, up to one-fifth have worked in the sex industry at one time or another, according to estimates.)”

      South Korea: A Thriving Sex Industry In A Powerful, Wealthy Super-State

      • Richard

        July 1, 2017 at 7:34 pm

        You make my point, Yoshi. You make my point.

        Disgusting.

  16. Hisatake

    June 30, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Dyana, thanks for following this issue. I think it would have been better if you didn’t omit this part.

    “Do you know what happened in the past? Although there might be many versions of the things that happened”(0:36-0:45, https://soundcloud.com/dyana-bagby/japaneseconsulgeneral)

    “At that time Korea was part of Japan and so among the comfort women who accompanied the Japanese army several of them were Koreans but, there were also many Japanese women who were part of that. So we can’t say that they had a happy life but …”(0:55-1:25)

    And you seem to miss this part.

    “Maybe you know that in Asian culture, in some countries, we have girls who decide to go to take this job to help their family. And there should be [unintelligible]-> (There should be several cases like that)” 2:40-3:00

    I think he was trying to tell you that there were many different cases and in some cases girls chose to work as comfort women to help their family. Maybe you don’t like it, but it is true.

  17. Yoshi

    June 30, 2017 at 10:54 am

    President Park went to jail without apologising Vietnamese.

    President Park Please apologise Vietman

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CRXYrzNUsAAPwkz.jpg

  18. son k

    June 30, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    If you compare Japan to Nazi, Korea was also a member of Nazi.
    Park Chung-hee, The former president of korea swore allegiance to the Japanese Emperor.
    And fought as a Japanese in China.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_Chung-hee

  19. Richard

    July 1, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Hey Japanese-paid trolls. You are embarrassing yourselves. Please stop.