Shinzo Abe, Toru Hashimoto and the Comfort Women

The Dong-A Ilbo is nervous about Shinzo Abe—who just got himself elected head of the LDP—possibly regaining his old job as Japanese prime minister. In an interview with the Sankei Shimbun last month, Abe said as prime minister, he would revise statements made by Chief Cabinet Secretary Kiichi Miyazawa, another ex-cabinet chief Yohei Kono and former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama (see also here).

Those would be the statements about Japanese colonial rule, Japan’s wars of aggression and the Comfort Women.

The Dong-A doesn’t say how he might revise them, but I’m guessing he’d prefer something more along these lines (found via one of my Facebook friends. Hamel should get a kick out of it).

According to the Dong-A, nothing about Abe has changed since his last stint as PM.

Meanwhile, former Osaka governor Toru Hashimoto—who would also like to be prime minister—told reporters he would like to meet the Comfort Women.

Hashimoto said he wanted to clearly tell them that while he naturally understand how they feel (Marmot’s Note: No, he doesn’t), there is no evidence that they were forcefully dragged off with violence, threats or kidnapping.

I’m sure they’d take that quite well.

Hashimoto caused a stir when he tweeted at length about the Comfort Women—you can read the translation here.

For their part, the House of Sharing did invite Hashimoto—and The Ish, or all people—for a visit.

  • pawikirogii 石鵝

    why isnt the us condemning them? sooner or later, the us will have to choose.

  • Q

    As Abe and Hashimoto rise, The Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact (SDHF) must get busier where revisionistic history views claim “The US, not Japan, was the Aggressor”.

  • Wedge

    #1: Be careful what you wish for.

  • bballi bballi Paradise

    He goes on and on about “forcible recruitment” being the critical issue to debate.
    imo he is worming out of the real issue of the women being repeatedly raped.
    Even if every singe woman and girl were prostitutes, it is moot imo because …

    If I called up a prostitute to my house and she AGREED to come without any forcible recruitment am I then allowed to gang rape her with 30 other guys?

    Here is a question, Can a prostitute be raped if taken against her will? The answer to that question will pretty much determine which side of the debate you are on.

  • cm

    There’s no news here.

  • Jakgani

    Wasn’t it just yesterday…. Koreans were protesting – demanding to be allowed to be “comfort women?”

    Geez…. they really can’t make up their mind –

    protest because they were comfort women –


    protest because they are not allowed to be comfort women.

  • jk641


    Stop sniffing your cat’s poop.

  • slim

    I hope Abe has the decency to thank Lee Myung-bak and the PRC mobs for helping propel his return.

  • Q


    I think Abe has to thank internal crisis of Japan, especially unresolved disasters and failing economy, for his return. Diplomatic disputes with neighbors are just face-saving excuses.

  • jk641


    The Japanese people wanted Ishiba, not Abe.
    The LDP Diet members went against public opinion and elected Abe in the runoff election.

    “Analysts and some LDP lawmakers.. have expressed concerns that Abe’s hawkish streak could worsen [Japan’s territorial] disputes.”

  • Stereo

    Would anyone tell me what the point of bringing up the comfort women issue today is?

    It was settled back in 1965, right? The Korean comfort women brought the issue all the way to US court but the court turned down the lawsuit saying “it was settled in 1965″. Japanese court also turned down the case, citing the 1965 Korea Japan treaty. Korea can still bring the case to the International Court of Justice, but I am pretty sure it will turn down the case citing the same reason. This is the very nature of a peace treaty. A lot of people receive unfair damages in a war. A peace treaty limits the remedy for the damages. No one gets full compensation for war damages.

    Now, what is the point? None of the Japanese, right or left, has any idea of the point of the comfort woman issue today.

  • Bendrix

    You’ve highlighted the very reason the issue lingers to this day: it was “resolved” in the eyes of the US and Japan, on their terms, but not in Korea’s.

  • WangKon936

    An “apology” (or expression of regret or whatever you want to call it) that can be retracted at any time isn’t much of an apology IMHO.

    I believe that in order of it to have any power, an apology must be hard coded in some way… perhaps like how it is in Germany.

  • jk641

    Stereo @#11,

    It was settled back in 1965, right?

    No. The 1965 treaty did not specifically mention comfort women.

    Individual comfort women didn’t come forward until the early 1990s.

    The point is not monetary compensation.
    The point is that Japanese are clueless about the issue, and some (even prominent politicians) are denying that Japan did anything wrong to these women.

    Put yourself in these comfort women’s shoes. Would you be able to rest, if Japan behaved this way?

    The least Japan could do for them is give them an unequivocal apology, and make a law prohibiting Japanese from denying their past war crimes.

    (Really.. If Japanese keep denying their past wrongdoings, it really doesn’t make them look good, not just in Koreans’ eyes, but in the eyes of the whole world.)

  • DLBarch

    Readers of that NY Times story should not fail to notice that Abe’s call for Japan to pursue policies fostering “a strong country, a prosperous country” is not just passing political rhetoric.

    It’s also just the latest iteration of the old “fukoku kyōhei” (富国強兵) rallying cry (“rich country, strong military”) that has inspired Japan’s Right Wing since at least the Meiji period.

    Of course, that same sentiment has inspired a lot of other folks, including many in Korea, but coming from Abe, it has a whole different, and more menacing nuance.

    I suspect what we are seeing in Japan is a real concern, both within the LDP and more broadly, of the country slowly slipping into second tier status, and a fervent effort to prevent that from happening.


  • cm

    #14, once again, right on the money.

    Abe has called on to revise the national constitution to get rid of the restrictions on Japan’s military. I think, no matter who gets elected, Japan will be steering its ship sharply to the right. It won’t be inconceivable even to expect that Korea may face a military confrontation with a militarized Japan, over Dokdo, if Japan loses the Senkanku to China somehow (either through Chinese economic block on Japan or through military clash). The Japanese government would be under heavy pressure to reclaim its lost pride against a relatively weaker South Korea.

  • dusjanbe

    Y’know not even Charles Taylor was that fucking stupid.

    Claiming that under-aged Liberian girls “voluntarily” joined his army and worked as prostitutes. Shit and giggles, rolleyes.

    As we know, no “documented” evidence that Charles Taylor ever issue an order to kidnap underage girl and gang pressed them into service. Only oral testimonies from survivor, I bet they were lying their ass out in Haag just to vilified Charles Taylor.

  • Bendrix


    “I suspect what we are seeing in Japan is a real concern, both within the LDP and more broadly, of the country slowly slipping into second tier status, and a fervent effort to prevent that from happening.”

    It’s pathetic though how they keep evoking the country’s past glories and military might. They tell people to get over the past, yet these conservative politicians and nationalists seem to be stuck in nostalgia for those glory days, which will probably never play out again – at least not in the same way. So basically, everyone else needs to get over it while they feel they have a right a need to constantly remind themselves and everyone else of it.

  • DLBarch

    Personally, I look forward to the day when Korea has that level of quiet confidence where it stops screaming “독도는 우리땅!” and simply waves off the nutty utterings of Japanese Rightists with a quiet and dismissive “웃기지마.”

    A guarantee that when that day comes, Japan will finally have to confront something much, much worse than Korean anger. Namely, the reality that Korea no longer cares what Japan thinks and that its time has truly passed.


  • TheKorean2

    There will never be peace in those two countries unless Japan stops denying the truth. Japan is the agitator in this situation.

  • cm

    #19, holy shit you’re on a roll today!

  • tapadamornin


    Q, the only domestic issue that was of any consequence in the last few months was whether or not to raise the consumption tax. It severely fractured the Democratic Party of Japan and pissed off a lot of voters who are already paying higher electric costs caused by the Fukushima disaster. The economy is just as bad as it has always been, it’s just now that we’re starting to see that flagging economy hit our pocket books in a much more direct way.

    The issue with Fukushima is a non-starter. It was covered heavily last year, but aside from where to dump all the contaminated soil and ash, the issue has seen very little news coverage. Even the recovery efforts from the tsunami have taken a back seat to the consumption tax issue and the Senkaku/Dokdo problems. The only other story that has been talked about much on TV at any length is the decision and opposition to bringing the V-22 Osprey to US military bases here.

    So the return of Abe is very much a result of Hawkish politicians and their stance on currently brewing international conflicts. JK641 is right that public support (and regional government support) was for Ishiba, so we can only hope that Abe has another bout with diarrhea and has to leave the government again.

  • cm


    Strange how a complete environmental disaster like Fukushima which by the way is still going on and which is going to directly impact the lives of the Japanese for the generations to come, is completely dropped out of radar. And yet here is Japan needlessly fighting over rocky islands with its neighbors. Where are the priorities?

  • slim

    Abe was a miserable failure as PM, so nobody would tap him as an answer to Japan’s economic and governance woes. But just as he used the North Korea abduction issue to demagogue his way to power several years ago, he’s exploited these territorial disputes this time. He really does partly owe the ROK and PRC thanks for his job.

  • tapadamornin


    I’ll be honest, I freaked out pretty bad right after the explosions and after I found out I was living in a hot spot in July of 2011. But after going around with a Scintillation counter and a Geiger Counter in the surrounding areas, there just wasn’t enough contamination to warrant the kind of fear I was feeling.

    The people living to the N/NW of Fukushima — especially in areas like Minamisoma — have much more to worry about from initial exposure, but everywhere else the effects have been fairly minimal. Even after spending a year going over independently verified food contamination results (Greenpeace is working with the grocery store chain in my neighborhood) there just isn’t much of a problem appearing. This doesn’t lessen the real problems facing people in the exclusion zones, but unfortunately it’s these results that make it easy for politicians to focus on other problems.

    Although I think it says a lot that the Japanese government has pledged to eliminate nuclear energy by 2040, even if that is pretty much unfeasible with current renewable energy sources. In fact, the territorial disputes and the potential for natural gas reserves will probably get worse as Japan starts to feel an energy crunch.

  • Q

    The people living to the N/NW of Fukushima — especially in areas like Minamisoma — have much more to worry about from initial exposure, but everywhere else the effects have been fairly minimal.

    Well, it seems it is worrisome to people living in other parts of Japan.

    Radioactive cesium has been detected in many areas in Japan, including Tokyo, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitam, Chiba, Kanagawa, showed data from Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology: Readings of radioactivity level in drinking water by prefecture (April – June, 2012).

    Asahi shimbun’s news article ‘土壌セシウム、平均4万ベクレル超’ reported on Sep. 24, 2012 that soil samples from 13 cities and 2 towns of southern Ibaraki prefecture and Chiba prefecture surpassed average 40,000 Bq/m2.

    I could bring more news articles and reports as needed.

  • tapadamornin


    Q, I live in Chiba. In Kashiwa. Do a Google search. It’s the most contaminated area outside of Fukushima prefecture. I also have done the measurements myself, seen the reports, and the risk just isn’t there. External dose and dose rates are negligible, and internal exposure via consumption simply isn’t great enough to pose any kind of threat to the majority of people. Like I said, my local grocery store is actually working with Greenpeace to ensure radiation FREE food. That simply wouldn’t be possible if everything was heavily contaminated.

    Even from your pdf, those levels of Cesium are minuscule. Take the US limits for example:
    The extremely strict EPA sets the limit of Cesium-137 at 3 picoCuries/Liter. The FDA sets the limits of Cesium-137 at 33,000 picoCuries/Liter.

    Converting the conservative 3 pCi/L to Bq/L is 0.111 Bq/L (1pCi/L = 37mBq/L). Now compare that to the highest number on that pdf: 0.0112Bq/L (the combination of C-137 and C-134 in Ibaraki prefecture). What that shows is that even after a major nuclear accident there are only incredibly small amounts of detectable Cesium in the water, amounts less than even the limits set by the conservative US EPA standards.

    I’ll say it again. The biggest risk of radiation exposure would have been for those who remained to the N/NW of the plant during the explosions for extended periods of time. The same goes for those people who remained in what are now considered exclusion zones. Sadly, the children in those areas are going to need constant thyroid checks to make sure everything is alright for the extended future. As for urine tests, feel free to join this Facebook community that regularly reports Cesium levels in independent urine tests:

    And if you’re looking for independently verified contamination maps, you can see them here:

    I’m not saying the risk is nonexistent, just that it is minimal, and scientifically speaking, there’s probably not going to be any way to distinguish Fukushima-related cancers from normal cancers as 1 in 5 Japanese people already gets cancer of some sort:

    Besides, if you spend any time near Incheon Airport, you’ll be exposed to as much radiation as I am (the hot spot in Chiba is mentioned in this article); if you’re in central Seoul, you’ll be exposed to the same levels as in central Tokyo:

    Feel free to post as many articles as you want, but I guarantee you I’ve read them all. Living in Japan in 2011 pretty much guaranteed that you were following any and all news about radiation contamination.

  • Stereo

    >jk641 September 28, 2012 at 12:33 am
    >No. The 1965 treaty did not specifically mention comfort women.
    No, it did not and that is why the compensation for comfort women is denied. The treaty says the payment of 500 million dollars from Japan to Korea is the comprehensive and final settlement for any claim on or before August 15, 1945 among the individuals and the governments of the two nations. The treaty was signed and ratified by the Korean government, so they cannot get any more from Japan.

    >The point is that Japanese are clueless about the issue
    Actually, Japanese know more about the issue than Koreans who live in a censored world. What Koreans believe to be true on this issue is 20% truth and 80% lies.

    >TheKorean2 September 28, 2012 at 5:52 am
    >There will never be peace in those two countries unless Japan stops denying the truth. Japan is the agitator in this situation.
    Japan does not deny truth. It only denies Korean lies.

    About 10 years ago, there were more than 100 Japanese parliament members who were supportive of Korean comfort women. Now, there is none. The accounts of former comfort women change so much every time they speak, politicians can no longer support them. Koreans did nothing to make the case more convincing by collecting evidence. All they did was just to make big noises emotionally, while Japanese were collecting their evidence. This time Japan will not give anything to Korea. If you see Japan tilting toward right, the chances are that that is a result of the behavior of Koreans.

    The blog owner seems to have difficulties in distinguishing a rape from prostitution. Prostitution is consensual, whereas a rape is not. When you look around the world, you can find a lot of women who would agree to have a dozen intercourses a night for some amount of money.

  • cm

    “If you see Japan tilting toward right, the chances are that that is a result of the behavior of Koreans.”

    Oh yes, a failing economy, declining influence, and a massive stagnation, and good old racism, had nothing to do with Japanese leaders looking for external scapegoats, l’m sure.

    “About 10 years ago, there were more than 100 Japanese parliament members who were supportive of Korean comfort women. Now, there is none.”

    Those were different times when the confident Japan had the luxury to look down, from above. It didn’t take much to placate a few obnoxious group of Koreans demanding whatever, by throwing some scraps of bones. But Japanese now see their once insurmountable gap in lead, closing in on them. They have doubts about the future of their country as their wealth evaporates right in front of their eyes. It’s panic time.

  • TheKorean2

    LOL Korean lies? hahahaha How is comfort women Korean lies when all of Asia occupied by Japan had comfort stations.

  • Q

    We have records of government of Japan has lied to their citizens. Akita Univ. Professor said that Japanese gov’t engaged in propaganda, a coverup of dangers to Japanese people and we have Japanese government deleting emails on radiation data,
    not to mention TEPCO’s falsification of radiation readings.

  • CactusMcHarris


    Every government lies to its citizens – Japan doesn’t have exclusivity there. Wake up before you post, please.

  • Q

    tu quoque, CMcH?

  • jk641


    Koreans did nothing to make the case more convincing by collecting evidence.
    All they did was just to make big noises emotionally, while Japanese were collecting their evidence.

    Talking about evidence..
    The Japanese govt has tons of WWII-era documents that it is not disclosing to the public.
    Yes, the Japanese military destroyed huge amounts of documents when it lost WWII (especially ones concerning its human rights abuses), but there are still tons of documents left. But they’re classified and locked up somewhere.

    I’m particularly interested in Japanese police records. (Since Japanese police in Korea were deeply involved in forcibly conscripting young Korean men and women for Japan’s war machine.)

    But there are other documents too.
    “In addition to the fact that many documents were destroyed at the end of the war, many of those that remain (police records, documents of the Department of Overseas Affairs and Home Ministry relating to the colonies, the huge collection of diaries of officials and personnel accompanying the military held by the Defense Agency, materials relating to the war crimes trials held by the Justice Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, Welfare Ministry documents relating to demobilization and support) have not yet been made public.
    It is my hope that the government will declassify these documents immediately, but currently, we only have access to the tip of the iceberg.”
    (Yoshimi, Yoshiaki. Comfort Women. 2000. p.39)

    Here are some more excerpts from Yoshiaki Yoshimi’s book about how the Japanese govt first came to apologize to the comfort women in 1992:

    “I [Yoshimi] found six pieces of evidence that had survived the destruction of documents and was able to publish them in the newspaper.
    Why were these materials, which we would expect to have been destroyed, still extant?
    They were among a group of documents written prior to 1942 that had been stored in an underground warehouse in Hachioji to protect them from the U.S. air raids. They were scheduled for incineration in the final days of the war, but the arrival of the Allied forces preempted that plan…” (Yoshimi, p.35)

    “Since the discovery of these documents, many people have labored energetically to dig up more materials.
    I published a collection of these materials that contradicted the conclusions of the government’s first survey of materials.
    In 1993 I participated in an independent survey of documents sponsored by the Center for Research and Documentation on Japan’s War Responsibility that resulted in the discovery and publication of sixty-two additional documents.”

    “The public announcement of the first six pieces of evidence had a profound impact.
    On January 12 [1992], the day following the publication of the documents in the newspaper, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Koichi publicly acknowledged the Japanese military’s participation in organizing the comfort station system. On the 13th, he announced talks on formulating an apology. On the 17th, then Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi, who was visiting Korea, officially apologized at a meeting of top Korean and Japanese leaders.” (Yoshimi, p.35)

    After these announcements, the government conducted a limited survey of official documents and hearings with some former comfort women from South Korea. The government announced the findings of its inquiry on August 4, 1993. In that statement, the government acknowledged the following facts:

    1. The Japanese military was “directly or indirectly involved” in the establishment and management of the comfort stations and in the transfer of comfort women.

    2. As for the “recruitment” of the comfort women, “in many cases they were recruited against their own will, through coaxing, coercion, etc.” and “at times administrative/military personnel directly took part in the recruitment.”

    3. “They lived in misery at comfort stations in a coercive atmosphere.”

    4. The “recruitment,” transfer, and control of comfort women born on the Korean Peninsula were conducted “generally against their will, through coaxing, coercion, etc.”

    5. The issue of military comfort women is “an act, with the involvement of the military authorities of the day, that severely injured the honor and dignity of many women.”

    6. To the former comfort women, “the government of Japan would like to take this opportunity once again to extend its sincere apologies (owahi) and regrets.”
    (Yoshimi, p. 36)

    Now, all this came as a result of a “limited survey” of Japanese govt documents on comfort women.
    Imagine what we’d find if the Japanese govt disclosed all of its WWII-era documents.

  • Q

    Check out Toshiyuki Tanaka’s research “Japan’s Comfort Women (Asia’s Transformations)” has a chapter The organizational structure of the comfort women system.

  • Stereo

    >TheKorean2 September 29, 2012 at 4:44 am
    >LOL Korean lies? hahahaha How is comfort women Korean lies when all of Asia occupied by Japan had comfort stations.

    I think a comment like this is a product of Korean yellow journalism, which reports as if Japanese government is denying comfort women itself. Koreans are so “simple” as to believe whatever is written on paper as long as it is anti-Japan. I think they have a long way to mature as a developed country member. Japanese government openly recognized comfort woman system during the war, after the war and continues to recognize it now.

    Prostitution is not illegal even now in many countries in the world, including UK, the Netherland, Germany and parts of US. So, Japan will not apologize for licensing prostitution. Japan apologizes only when coercion is involved in the comfort woman system, and Korea is failing to establish the fact, most probably because coercion was not involved in Korea in the first place.

    >jk641 September 29, 2012 at 10:14 am
    You should distinguish evidence from opinions. What you quoted is not evidence, but is the very statement Mr. Abe wants to review because of lack of evidence. Do you understand that it is not possible to support a statement using the statement itself as evidence?

    By the way, do not you think it strange that Koreans rely so much on the works of Japanese? Probably it is because they do not care the facts.

  • TheKorean2

    Stereo, South Korea is already developed future-orientated nation, Japan is still sticking to the past. That’s the big difference.

    As for comfort women, its sexual slavery, nothing more. If there is prostitution, why didn’t millions of comfort women not get paid?

  • Q
  • jk641


    Do you understand that it is not possible to support a statement using the statement itself as evidence?

    What are you talking about??
    The Japanese govt issued the Kono statement after conducting a study on the comfort women issue.
    Did you even read my comment?

    By the way, do not you think it strange that Koreans rely so much on the works of Japanese? Probably it is because they do not care the facts.

    No, you nincompoop, it’s because Korea was under Japanese control in the 1st half of 20th Century.
    Not to mention the fact that it was Japan that ran the comfort women system, and Japan’s got all the historical documents.

    Of course, this is not at all to belittle the Japanese researchers who spent many years uncovering the facts regarding comfort women and Japan’s other war crimes.
    The world is forever indebted to them.

  • Stereo

    >Q September 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Nothing new. Those materials are well known, but do not contain any evidence that Korean girls were coercively abducted as comfort women by Japanese government. There were a lot of reports of rapes committed by Japanese soldiers in and near the battle fields such as China, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. But there is no such report in Korea where there was no major battle took place and no major army unit was deployed during WW2.

    >jk641 September 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Do not you get it? There should be newspaper articles, personal diaries, or personal letters written in those days on the abduction of Korean girls by Japanese soldiers, if it took place. All you have to do is to show them to the world. If you cannot, I believe the opposite is true.

  • Stereo

    >jk641 September 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm
    >What are you talking about??
    >The Japanese govt issued the Kono statement after conducting a study on the comfort women issue.

    Maybe needless to say, but just in case. Read the first paragraph of this blog article that Robert wrote. “Yohei Kono”. Does that ring a bell?

  • Q

    Yuki Tanaka’s research “Japan’s Comfort Women (Asia’s Transformations)” has a
    chapter Procurement of Korean and Taiwanese women.

  • Q
  • TheKorean2

    “Do not you get it? There should be newspaper articles, personal diaries, or personal letters written in those days on the abduction of Korean girls by Japanese soldiers, if it took place. All you have to do is to show them to the world. If you cannot, I believe the opposite is true.”

    There are plenty of diaries and first hand account. Just google it yourself.

  • redwhitedude

    It seems like we got another playing the role of Gbevers.
    With people who deny these atrocities Japan is going to be condenmed to be making the same mistake, then it will turn into an international pariah. 2nd time around they won’t be so lucky.

  • Stereo

    >Q September 30, 2012 at 5:25 am

    So, where is the evidence?

    >TheKorean2 September 30, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Excuse me, but where can I find one, if there is at all?

    >redwhitedude September 30, 2012 at 9:36 am

    I am just pointing out the lack of evidence. It is you, Koreans, that should present the evidence. Koreans love the argument the lack of evidence is the proof of crime and cover-up thereof. Grow up. Korea will be considered a member of developed nations when its citizens understand the value of healthy skepticism.

  • Q

    “I call it the sickness of Japan. First, we hide, then we postpone, and then we assume no responsibility.” Mitsuhei Murata (Japan’s former Ambassador to Switzerland )(6:43)

    Let’s read Toshiyuki Tanaka’s research:

    In order to clarify who was responsible for organizing the exploitation of women on such an unprecedented scale, its is necessary to analyze how the comfort women system became a general policy of the Japanese Imperial forces, and how this policy was implemented by military leaders.

    At this time, however, it is quite difficult to conduct thorough research on this issue, mainly due to restrictions on access to relevant documentation:

    * Firstly, many official military documents are still classified and not open for public inspection — for example, several thousand volumes of Gyomu Nisshi (Records of Military Plans and Operations) and Jagun Nisshi (Field Diaries) housed in the Research Library of the Japanese Defense Agency.

    * Secondly, all documents prepared by the Japanese Police during the Asia-Pacific War are still closed.

    * Thirdly, it is believed that many relevant documents were prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Colonial Affairs, both of which had major responsibilities for colonial Korea and Taiwan. (From 1942, the Ministry of Home Affairs replaced the Ministry of Colonial Affairs in charge of administration of Taiwanese affairs.) However, none of these official records has so far been released.

    * Finally, it is also believed that Japanese government ministries — the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Public Welfare and the Ministry of Justice — still retain considerable numbers of relevant documents, but these are not accessible to researchers. The fact that there is no Freedom of Information Act in Japan makes it difficult to change the present research condition.

    In addition, many people who were directly involved in setting up and implementing the comfort women system are still alive, but they remain silent on this issue.

    Therefore, the following analysis is based upon the limited number of official documents that have so far been discovered. A few documents as well as some testimonies are available, and these detail actual military instructions or orders to set up comfort stations (as detailed earlier) Let us look at these records more closely in order to clarify from whom such orders originated, and who was responsible for implementing the scheme.

    * In March 1932, the Shanghai Expeditionary Army under the command of General Shirakawa Yoshinori set up comfort stations in Shanghai. General Okamura Yasuji (the Deputy Chief of Staff), and Lieutenant-General Okabe Naozaburo (another senior staff officer of this Army) instructed their junior officer Lieutenant-Colonel Nagami Toshinori, to take charge of this task.(Okabe Naozaburo, op. cit., p.23; Inaba Maso, op. cit., p.302.) It seems very unlikely that the Army commander, General Shirakwa, was unaware of the fact that such instructions were issued by top-ranking officers of his own army. Shirakawa was the Minister of War between 1927 and 1929. In 1944, Okamura became the general commander of the China Expeditionary Army, the highest position within the entire Japanese forces stationed in China. Okabe was promoted to commander of the North China Area Army in the same year. Nagami later became the commander of the 55th Division.

    * In December 1937, the Central China Area Army issued an instruction to each contingent force to set up comfort stations. The commander of this Army was General Matsui Iwane, and the Chief of Staff was Major-General Tsukada Osamu.

    On receiving this instruction, Iinuma Mamoru (Chief of Staff of the Shanghai forces) ordered members of the 2nd Section of the Staff Office to draw up a plan. His junior staff officer, Liutenant-Colonel Cho Isamu, was responsible for implementing the plan. The commander of the 10th Army was Lieutenant-General Yanagawa Heisuke. This Army also set up comfort stations under the instruction of the Central China Area Army Headquarters. A staff officer of the 10th Army, Leiutenant-Colonel Terada Maso, set up a comfort stations staffed with Chinese women. He used the kempeitati to procure there women. (Nakin Jiken Chosa Kenkyu Kai ed., op. cit., pp. 211, 220, and 280.)

    After the war, General Matsui was tried at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. He was accused of responsibilities for the Nanjing Massacre. It can be said that he was also responsible for the comfort women operations, as the commander of the Central China Area Army which issued an instruction to set up such facilities. Cho later became the Chief of Staff of the 32nd Army, and Terada was elevated to the position of head of the Armament Department in the Imperial Headquarters. The 10th Army commander, Yanagawa, later served as Minister of Home Affairs in Prince Knoe’s cabinet in 1941.

    * In June 1938, Lieutenant-General Okabe Naozaburo (then Chie of Staff of the North China Area Army) issued and instruction to each unit to set up comfort stations to serve several hundred soldiers in this army. ( JIS, Document No. 42, pp. 209-210) The commander of these forces was General Terauchi Hisaichi. Terauchi was the Minister of War in the previous two years.

    * The commander of the Kwantung Army was Lieutenant-General Umezu Yoshijiro, and the Chief of Staff was Lieutenant-General Yoshimoto Teiichi. It has been reported that in about 1941, the Kwangtung Army planned to mobilize 20,000 Korea women and requested assistance from the Government-General (i.e. the colonial government) of Korea. As a result, about 8,000 Korean women were reported to have been sent to northeast China (i.e. Manchuguo). Although no official documentation has been unearthed to prove such conduct, a number of testimonies refer to this operation, including one by a former staff officer of the Kangtung Army, Lieutenant-Colonel Hara Zenshiro. (Senda Kako, op. cit., pp. 103-105) It implicates many bureaucrats of the Gevernment-General of Korea in procuring a large number of Korean women, and therefore the Governor-General, General Minami Jiro, was also responsible. Minami served as the Minister of War for a short period in 1931.

    It is clear from these examples that senior staff officers of each army issued orders to establish comfort stations, and that staff officers of subordinate units made a plan and put it into operation. All were undoubtedly elite army officers. As commanders of each army, they had distinguished careers. Some of them were cabinet members of the Japanese government. In short, the comfort women system was created and developed as a well-planned policy by a group of top Japanese military leaders.

    During the Asia-Pacific War, the Japanese Imperial forces stationed five armies overseas. There armies were under the supervision of the Minister of War and the Chief of the General Staff, who were subordinate to the Grand Marshal (i.e. the Emperor). (For details of the organizational structure of the Japanese Imperial forces, see US War Department, Handbook on Japanese Military Forces (Presidio Press, California, 1991) Chapter III).

    Each army engaged in warfare at the Emperor;s orders. The Chief of the General Staff advised the Emperor in planning war strategies. The ultimate right of command over each army lay in the hands of the Emperor. However, in reality, the Chief of the General Staff was responsible for war strategies and military operations, and the Minister of War was responsible for military administration. As far as matters related to comfort women are concerned, the staff section of each army was responsible for dealing with them, and if necessary, the Ministry of War issued instructions to each army’s headquarters. (Yoshimi Yoshiaki, “Gun Ianfu Seido no Shiki Merei Ketd” in Yoshimi and Hayashi eds., op. cit, Chapter 2, pp.15-28).

    In the Ministry of War, there was no particular section designated to administer the comfort women system. The relevant Bureau would give instructions to each army as the occasion demanded. For example, the Military Administration Bureau gave instructions on military discipline and troop morale in relation to comfort women and comfort station, while the Medical Bureau was responsible for advice on matter related to VD prevention and sanitary affairs.

    As already briefly mentioned, there were basically two different “recruiting” methods. The first method involved local civilians in the occupied territories. In these cases, staff officers attached to army divisions, brigades or regiments, together with members of the kempeitai, requested local leaders to supply certain numbers of young women. (The kempeitai in the occupied territories were under the control of the commander of each army.) As a result, a large number of women who were not prostitutes appear to have been forced to render sexual service to the Japanese troops. This point is proven by the following extract from the diary of a medical officer, Yamaguchi Tokio, who was assigned to conduct VD examinations of some selected local Chinese girls in a village near Dongshi (Hubei province):

    At the first VD check-up, one girl was too shy to take off her trousers for the examination of her sexual organ. My interpreter and the head of the local security council yelled at her, to force her to take them off. When I made her lie on the bed and started examining, she frantically scratched at my hands. When I saw her face, I realized she was crying. Later I was told that she keep crying for a while, even after she left the examination room. The next girl also behaved the same way. I felt I would like to cry, too… I wonder whether these girls unwillingly came to see me because local leaders talked them into complying for the sake of the village’s peace… This kind of work does not suit me, and I cannot get rid of the thought that this is a violation of humanity.

    (11August 1940)

    (Mizobe Kazuto ed., Doku San Ni: Mohitotsu no Senso (private publication, 1983) p. 58.

    Another method was that each army headquarters selected its own recruiting agents (i.e. brothel owners or labor brokers). They were then sent to Korea, Taiwan, and Japan to secure comfort women. These Japanese and Korea brothel owners/labor brokers, with support from the Kempeitai and the police forces in those countries, searched for and “recruited” suitable women. From various testimonies, including those of former Korea comfort women, there is no doubt that many of these labor brokers used dubious methods, including deception, intimidation, violence, and in extreme cases, even kidnapping. Its seems clear from diaries and individual testimonies that the Governments-General of Korea and Taiwan made their kempeitai and police force available for this purpose. Although no official documentation has so far been discovered in relation to the activities of the kempeitai and police in this field in Korea and Taiwan, it seems that government officials well understood the nature of the work that these women would be engaged in. It seems likely that they also knew the methods used for such “recruitment.”

    We do, however, possess important official documentation concerning key aspects of the comfort women program. One document prepared by the Ministry of War is an instruction entitled “Matters related to the recruitment female and other employees for military comfort stations,” which was issued on March 4, 1938 to the Chief of Staff of the North China Area Army and Central China Area Army. It states:

    In recruiting female and other employees from Japan for the establishment of comfort stations in the place where the China Incident occurred, some deliberately make and illicit claim that they have permissions from the military authorities, thus damaging the Army’s reputation and causing misunderstanding among the general population. Some others are causing social problems by trying to recruit [women] illegally through the mediation of war correspondents, visiting entertainers and the like Due to the selection of unsuitable recruiting agents, some have been arrested and investigated by the police because of their [dubious] methods of recruitment and kidnapping. Thus, great care is necessary in selecting suitable agents. In future, when recruiting those [women], each Army must tighten control [of the selection procedure] by carefully selecting appropriate agents. In actual recruitment, each Army must work in closer cooperation with local Kempeitai or police authorities, thus maintaining the Army’s dignity and avoiding social problems. The above is issued as letter of proxy. (JIS, Document No. 6, pp. 105-107)

    This letter was drafted by the staff of the Military Administration Bureau and issued under the name of Colonel Fushibuchi Senichi. It was approved by the then Vice-Minister of War, Umezu Yoshijiro. It is important to note that this instruction was issued as “a letter of proxy,” which means that it was also approved by the Minister of War, Sugiyama Hajime. In other words, top army leaders in the Ministry of War closely monitored the procurement of women in Japan by the North China Area Army and the Central China Area Army. This was intended to control the use of “agents” of questionable character in order to prevent potentially explosive abuses, while stationing the basic comfort women system. While apprehensive about the methods of procurement, they made no attempt to stop their armies from operating comfort stations.

    On the contrary, the following document endorses the fact that the Ministry of War promoted the comfort women scheme as an effective method to maintain military discipline and prevent VD. The document called “Measures for enhancing military discipline based upon experiences in the China Incident” was distributed as “educational material” to all army units from the Ministry of War on September 19, 1940. It states in part:

    [Since the Sino-Japanese War started], despite brilliant achievements in war, our soldiers have committed various crimes such as looting, rape, arson, murder of prisoners, and the like which are contrary to the essence of the principles of the Imperial Army. It is therefore regrettable that such conduct had created a sense of aversion both within and outside Japan, thus making it difficult to attain the object of our holy war… Having observed the circumstances in which crimes and misconduct were committed, it is recognized that many of them occurred immediately after combat activities… In the battle zone, it is necessary to make efforts to create a good environment, to pay considerable attention to the facilities for amenities, and to ease and control rough and low feelings from the troops… In particular, the psychological effects that the soldiers receive at comfort stations are most immediate and profound, and therefore it is believed that the enhancement of troop morale, maintenance of discipline, and prevention of crimes and VD are dependent on successful supervision of these [comfort stations].

    (Ibid., Document No. 28, pp. 164-172)

    According to Mr. Shikauchi Nobutaka, who was trained to become a paymaster at the Military Paymasters School in 1939, cadets were taught how to establish and manage military brothels. Incidentally, during the Pacific War Shikauchi was seconded from the Material Section in the Ordnance Bureaus of the Ministry of War to the Kokusai Gomu Kogyo (International Rubber Industry) Corporation, in order to supervise the production of condoms for military use. The Army Accounts Department and the Supply Headquarters were responsible for sending condoms to forces stationed overseas, and officials ensured a ready supply. In 1942, for example, 32.1 million condoms were sent to units stationed outside Japan. (For details of statistical data on condoms used by the Japanese Imperial forces during the Asia-Pacific War, see Hayashi Hirofumi, “Rikugun Ianjo Kanri no Ichi Sokumen: Eisei Sakku no Kofu Shiryo o Tegakari ni” in Kikan Senso Skinin Kenkyu, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 12-19).

    There is no doubt that the Ministry of War was directly involved in transporting comfort women to war zones, since it was impossible to use any Japanese military ships without its permission. The operation of army ships was controlled by the Army Section of the Imperial Headquarters under the authority of the Commissary General. (This position was usually held concurrently by the Vice-Chief of the General Staff.) The Army Section of the Imperial Headquarters was staffed by the senior bureaucrats of the Ministry of War. From various available documents and testimony it is clear that comfort women were transported by army cargo ships from Japan and Korea to many places in the Asia-Pacific region. In cases where Korea women were sent to China from Korea, the Kyogi Railway in Korea and Southern Manchurian Railway in Manchuria were used Both railway lines were owned by Japanese companies. In China, local railways controlled by the Japanese Army were used for this purpose. In places where railway service was not available, army trucks were provided. In some special cases, women were even flown by army planes to the front lines. (Yoshimi Yoshiaki, “Gun Ianfu Sedo no Shiki Meirei Keito” in Yoshimi and Hayashi eds., op. cit. pp. 24-25).

    However, the Ministry of War needed the co-operation of other governmental organizations, such as the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Governments-General of Korea and Taiwan, in order to facilitate the procurement and transportation of comfort women.

    For example, on February 23, 1938, Tomita Kenji (Chief of the Police Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs) issued and instruction to the governor of each Prefecture in Japan, entitled “Regarding the treatment of female travelers to China.” In this document, he ordered that only prostitutes over the age of 21 should be permitted to travel to northern and central China. It could be interpreted that such instructions, allowing only the travel of professional Japanese prostitutes to China, was issued as a countermeasure to prevent illegal trafficking of women. (Such illegal trafficking was against the International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children of 1921, to which Japan became a signatory.) However, the fact that no such instructions were issued in Korea or Taiwan indicated that the Japanese government had no intention of suppressing illegal trafficking of Korean and Taiwanese women for military prostitution. It seems that officials believed this international law was not applicable to Japan’s colonies.

    Testimonies by former comfort women also indicate that police in Korea and Taiwan were involved in various ways in the the procurement of comfort women. For example, Mun P’ilgi, a Korean woman from Chisu District, South Kyongsang, testified that a local policeman called Tanaka was with a Korea labor broker when she and other women were “recruited.” Another Korea women, Mun Okchu from Taegu city, said when she was arrested by two members of the kempeitai for no particular reason, a Korean policeman accompanied them. She was then sent to northeast China to become a comfort woman.

    In both Korea and Taiwan, police forces were under the control of teh Bureau of Police Affairs of the Government -General (i.e. the colonial government). No official documents regarding the involvement of the police of these colonies in procuring comfort women have been discovered so far. However, each police station under the control of the Bureaus of Police Affairs was responsible for issuing passports. It was illegal for the police to issue a passport to a local woman knowing that she was being forcibly recruited as a comfort woman. If they did so unwittingly, then this should be condemned as “neglect of duty.” It is most unlikely that the police in both colonies were unaware of forcible recruitment of comfort women, for it was standard practise for them to thoroughly investigate each traveler’s age, occupation, family background, career, native language, and the purpose and intended period of travel before issuing a passport. Police should not have issued a passport unless the travel had a legitimate purpose.

    […] After the outbreak of the Pacific War in December 1941, the Ministry of War, on its own initiative, started implementing various policies to promote the establishment of comfort stations and to control the transportation of comfort women in the Asia-Pacific region. Until then, as we have seen, the Ministry of War played a somewhat secondary role in establishing the comfort women system, and the primary responsible body was each army headquarters.

    Indeed, the Ministry of War’s plan to set up comfort stations in future war zones was already under way several months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. For example in mid-1941, a Medical Officer, Major Fukuda Masuo, was assigned to secretly conduct a field study in the Dutch East Indies (i.e. Indonesia). After returning to Japan, he submitted his report to the Ministry of War on July 26, 1941, recommending the establishment of comfort stations in Indonesia immediately after the Japanese occupation commenced. He also recommended a “request” be sent to each village chief in occupied territory to provide local women to work at these stations. There is little doubt that “request” in this case meant “order.” Major Fukuda believed such arrangements would be necessary in order to avoid rape of local civilians by Japanese troops, as well as to prevent the spread of VD among the forces.

    In January 1942, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Togo Shigenori, instructed his staff that comfort women should be issued with military travel documents and that they would no longer require a passport for overseas travel. In other words, the movement of comfort women was not controlled by the Ministry of War, and thus the Ministry of Foreign Affairs lost its administrative power as far as controlling the travel of comfort women was concerned.

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  • TheKorean2

    Even Japanese historians confirm this. You are delusional, stereo.

  • jk641

    Stereo @#40,

    There are many old Korean newspaper articles that talk about “comfort women” and how they were dragged off (tricked/kidnapped) by Japan and made sex slaves.

    This isn’t an issue that the Korean govt concocted all of a sudden in the 1990s just to bash Japan.
    I’ve seen articles from back in the 1960s that talk about comfort women and demand that Japan be held accountable for its heinous crimes against these women.

    The comfort women issue became big in the 1990s because that’s when individual victims came forward and sought justice.

  • mickster

    What has become of all of you?
    Trying to rehearse debating Shinzo Abe?
    Guess it’s enough to know there are likes of Stereo in Japan.
    Testimonies are good enough evidence, but mean little to those who disregard them. And winning arguments over Stereo won’t solve the problem.

    The real problem, though, is the fact that people don’t vote for politicians over their stance on history issues. Politicians popular for other issues tend to be leaning toward the right.
    Shintaro Ishihara is a competent governor in tackling local issues and gets elected. But he makes unnecessary stunts on diplomatic issues outside his responsibility. Abe does not win votes for his hawkish stance, but for the governing party’s incompetence in handling the economy and tax issues. The same for Hashimoto. Popular ones happen to be insensitive on the history front. There aren’t any reliable statesmen around with history views of the Social Democratic Party.

    As cm@5 says, there’s no news here … other than Stereo.
    “If you see Japan tilting toward right, the chances are that that is a result of the behavior of Koreans.” That statement is a stinker coming from a Japanese, but it’s true in a way (I don’t blame you). And equally true is, the likes of Stereo make Koreans more pissed.

    Hope you all have more fun in other threads.

  • Q

    Dr Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Emeritus Professor at IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland wrote a letter to Financial Times: ‘Japan’s not ready to be a reliable ally’.

  • mickster

    “For the moment, unlike in the 1930s and 1940s, Japan poses no military threat. However, its behaviour vis-à-vis the world in general and its Asian neighbours in particular poses a serious security threat. ”

    Food for thought.

  • Q

    HERE is full text.

  • Stereo

    >Q September 30, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Q, do you understand the point of the argument? I bet you do not, or else you have no brain. Comfort women are no secret to begin with. Every soldier knew it. Contrary to the misinformation by Korean papers, Japanese government does not deny or hide comfort women system. It is a prostitution system licensed by Japanese army.

    The point is if Korean women were forced to be comfort women by Japanese army.

    I see the tendency among Koreans, when this issue is questioned, that they do not face the question but change the subject if comfort women system existed, just like Q did. I think this is because they understand they are lying. Q, do you see my point?

    >jk641 September 30, 2012 at 12:15 pm
    >There are many old Korean newspaper articles that talk about “comfort women” and how they were dragged off (tricked/kidnapped) by Japan and made sex slaves.

    Oh, really? Please show me one. And I mean articles in 1940’s when they were supposed to be abducted.

    >mickster September 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I hope you get healthy skepticism someday.

  • Q

    Toshiyuki Tanaka’s research “Japan’s Comfort Women (Asia’s Transformations)” has a chapter Procurement of Korean and Taiwanese women. Here is an excerpt:

    Some testimonies of former comfort women indicate that Japanese police in Korea collaborated with sub-contracted labor brokers. It is believed that the military authorities asked the police in Korea to assist local sub-contractors, to whom the work of procurement was commissioned by comfort station owners/managers. The following testimony by a former comfort woman, Mun P’ilgi, for example, endorses such an interpretation.

    In our village there was a man in his fifties who worked as an agent for the Japanese. One day he approached me and told me he would give me an introduction to a place where I could both learn and earn money. I had been so resentful that I hadn’t been able to study, and his proposition was so attractive, that I told him I would like to take him up on the offer…. It was autumn 1943 and I was 18….

    After a few days, the man came to see me at dusk and told me to follow him. He said he wanted to take me somewhere for a few minutes. So I crept out of the house without saying anything to my parents. We walked for a little while, to a place not far from home. It was quiet; there were few houses around. There I saw there was a truck parked, with a Japanese policeman, Tanaka, who worked at the village police station.

    In the case of the “recruitment of Yun Turi, a young girl in Pusan, it seems that local policemen themselves were acting directly for a comfort station. According to Yun’s testimony:

    I was on my way home at about 5:00 or 6:00 p.m., and was passing the Nambu police station in front of Pusan railway station, when a policeman on guard duty called me over. He asked me to go inside, an I dutifully followed him, thinking nothing could happen because I hadn’t done anything wrong. It was sometime in early September 1943. There were three or four girls of my age already inside, and the policeman asked me to sit down. When I asked why, he said he would find me work in a nice place and told me to wait quietly …. At 11:00 p.m., a military truck arrived, and two soldiers loaded us on board.

    Yun was taken to No. 1 Comfort Station in Yongdo, an island just off Pusan, which was managed by a Japanese man called Takayama. Her mother and sister later found that Turi had been detained at this station, but they could not rescue her as the station was guarded by Japanese soldiers.

    The fact that the police were involved in the “recruitment” in the cases of Mun P’ilgi and Yun Turi (both in late 1943) implies that, toward the end of the war, the military authorities used the police force to procure women. This probably was due to the scarcity of young women at the time.

    Mobilization of the Korean labor force into war-related industries was greatly strengthened from 1943. In 1943 alone, nearly 140,000 people were mobilized by the Government-General (Yoshimi Yoshiaki, Jugun Ianfu, p.100). In September 1943, the “Women’s Voluntary Labor Service Corps” was organized throughout Korea. Through the corps many young, unmarried women were forced to “volunteer” for various types of work in wartime industries. In August 1944, a new law – the “Women’s Voluntary Labor Service Law” – was enacted. This allowed the Governor-General of Korea to force any unmarried woman between 12 and 40 years to engage in war-related labor for 12 months. Under this law a vast number of young girls were mobilized and many were sent to Japan to work at large industrial factories. This policy probably created the situation in which procurement of young Korea women for military comfort stations became difficult. As a result, it seems that the power of the police force was abused by the military authorities for the purpose of securing comfort women. According to testimonies of former comfort women, it appears that some representatives of the local Neighborhood Association, an organization that the Government-General required local civilians to establish, were also forced to act on behalf of owners/managers of comfort stations or their sub-contractors.

    Some girls accepted offers of “employment” by labor brokers, or through the mediation of leaders of the local Neighborhood Association, in order to avoid being drafted into the Women’s Voluntary Labor Service Corps. Ch’oe Myungsun was one of them. In January 1945, when she was 19 years old, she accepted an introduction by a representative of the Neighborhood Association to a “good job” in Japan. She was sent to Hiroshima to become a mistress of Japanese military officer for a couple of months. Then she was taken into a comfort station in Osaka, where she was forced to serve the Japanese soldiers until shortly before the end of the war.

    It was shortly after August 1944, when the Women’s Voluntary Labor Service Law was enacted, that a rumor spread in Korea that all unmarried girls over 14 years old would be forced to become comfort women. Many middle- and upper-class Korean families withdrew their daughters from women’s colleges and hurriedly arranged marriages for them to avoid their being drafted. However, some families in lower social strata felt trapped. For example, in September 1944, a girl called Kim T’aeson, who was then 19 years old and living with her uncle, was hiding in an attic of his house. One day when she came out of the attic and was having a meal downstairs, a Japanese man with a Korean partner visited the house, and offered her a “job” in Japan. Thinking that work in Japan would be a far better option than becoming a comfort woman, she accepted their offer. She ended up in a comfort station in Burma. In this way, in the late stage of war, the method of deceit was closely intertwined with the political coercion imposed upon the colonial subjects.

    It seems that in some cases an advance payment was made to a girl’s family in a similar manner in which women had been sold to civilian brothels in the 1920s and early 1930s. Yet in these cases, too, labor brokers rarely told the girls and their parents the truth. They would give a false impression that the girls would be working as nurses, housemaids or factory workers. A survey of 20 Korea women captured in Burma, conducted by the US Army forces in the India-Burma theater, reveals that they were deceived and mad to believe that their service would pay off family debts. The following is an extract from this official US survey:


    Early in May 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 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 debts 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. (The US National Archives collection, United States Office of War Information, Psychological Warfare Team Attached to US Army Forces India-Burma Theater, Japanese Prisoner of War Interrogation Reports, No. 49.

    The “housemaster,” i.e. the manager of this comfort station, was a Japanese man called Kitamura Eibun. Kitamura, his wife and sister-in-law had been running a “restaurant” in Kyongsong (now Seoul) before obtaining a commission to run a comfort station in Burma. Kitamura purchased 22 Korean women, who were aged 19 to 31, paying each family from 300 to 1,000 yen. In July 1942, Kitamura and his wife took these 22 women to Burma on a passenger ship which had more than 700 Korean women on board. The total amount of money Kitamura used for advance payments must have been more than 10,000 yen, a large sum of money – surely beyond the means of a small “restaurant” owner at that time. It is therefore speculated that the money may have been made available by the Japanese military authorities.

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  • Koreansentry

    You guys don’t get it, most Japanese people don’t care about their country’s politics because no ordinary Japanese ever have been placed into center of Japanese political power, it’s all dominated by ex-Samurai warlords, aristocrats mostly from affluent family background, they don’t have any respect for ordinary Japanese. If Japanese politics is hand over to right wing Japanese clans then Japan will return to Edo period where Shogun was ruling Japan, they will push Japan into another war with China and Korea even drop Nuke on American soil. Japanese never forgotten who dropped two atomic bombs – ultimately America will become Japan’s victim. Americans are too dumb – They should have beheaded all ruling clans of Japan.

  • mickster

    Healthy skepticism, yeah … about what our govt says as well as what other govts say.

  • jk641


    Oh, really? Please show me one. And I mean articles in 1940′s when they were supposed to be abducted.

    You do realize that during the Japanese colonization the Japanese govt in Korea censored Korean newspapers, right?

  • cm

    Really now, what can anyone say when someone asks:

    “Oh, really? Please show me one. And I mean articles in 1940′s when they were supposed to be abducted.”

    Oh my..

    All I can say is, this is the result of what happened when the Japanese apparatus that was responsible for the war in the Pacific war and was never dismantled and vanquished. Instead the same high level Japanese who were responsible for their war machine were allowed to stay in power and form and educate their youth. The is the hindsight result that the US has inadvertently created. The US has to take some responsibility for this, in today’s East Asia, by giving Japan a blank check and shielded them from needing to facing up to their no good deeds. After all, can you imagine what would have happened in Europe if the same apparatus that was in charge of Nazi Germany were allowed to stay in power and educate their own people? If that had happened, I don’t Europe of today would be recognizable.

  • TheKorean2

    Stereo, if comfort women were prostitutes, why didn’t millions get paid? Comfort women was institutionalized by IJA and approval from the Japanese government themselves. It was perfectly structured and most of them were near IJA bases. Nothing bunch of enforced sex slaves. Yes, its a serious crime that your government did 70 years ago. Admit it.

  • Stereo

    >TheKorean2 October 1, 2012 at 2:58 am
    They were paid, of course. Early comers get very rich, because they went home before the war ended. Late comers were not so lucky because they were paid in Japanese military currency, which became invalid when the war ended in Japanese defeat. Though being invalid as currency, the military currency was proof of their claim against Japanese government, until the claim became invalid due the Korea Japan treaty of 1965.

    >cm October 1, 2012 at 1:48 am

    I will tell you what. When Japan was under US occupation, US army censored Japanese paper. But Japanese journalists kept the record of what they censored. Could not Koreans do the same?

    >Instead the same high level Japanese who were responsible for their war machine were allowed to stay in power and form and educate their youth.

    In Japan, students do not learn what to believe. Rather they learn not to believe in anything, because skepticism is the mother of every science. I do not believe Korean story, just as well as I do not believe in Japanese story. It seems to be, from the conversations here, hard for Koreans to understand, but Koreans have to prove their story.

    >Q September 30, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    So much for the lengthy irrelevant stuff. What is your point?
    Comfort woman system was a licensed prostitution. A brothel owner had to file a petition to the occupying Japanese army near the battle field. If the army commander saw no illegality, he gave license to the brothel owner. If the petition was so written that all the girls were 18 or older and all of them gave free-will consent, as we see in some of American movies today, how would anyone know what.
    Most of the brothel owners who employed Korean girls were Koreans. Kitamura Eibun is a Korean who took Japanese name after soshi kaimei.

  • jk641

    Comfort woman system was a licensed prostitution. A brothel owner had to file a petition to the occupying Japanese army near the battle field.

    It’s true that some comfort stations were managed by civilians, but many were directly managed by the Japanese military.
    Regardless of who managed them, all the comfort stations were strictly supervised and controlled by the Japanese military.
    And the orders to establish the comfort women system came from the highest levels of Japanese military.

    Your allegation that the comfort women system was just “licensed prostitution” managed exclusively by private brothel owners was the position of the Japanese govt before 1992.
    Before 1992, the Japanese govt also denied that the women had been coerced into becoming comfort women.

    But when Yoshiaki Yoshimi published comfort women documents in Asahi Shimbun in January 1992, the Japanese govt immediately acknowledged that the Japanese military was officially involved, and that many of the women were coerced into it.

    Most of the brothel owners who employed Korean girls were Koreans. /blockquote>

    Do you have evidence to prove this?

  • redwhitedude

    I find ridiculous that there are people who are dismissive of this issue of comfort women. Call them prostitutes. I mean you don’t Germans saying that concentration camp inmates are criminals that deserved to be locked up during WWII.

  • Hitokiri

    You don’t get Germans saying that because such statements would fall under “Holocaust denial” and result in a jail sentence for them.

  • Stereo

    >jk641 October 2, 2012 at 3:47 am
    >It’s true that some comfort stations were managed by civilians, but many were directly managed by the Japanese military.

    You must have taken the words from the Japanese government statement here, but why did you flip “some” and “many”?
    “(6) Operation and management of comfort stations
    Many comfort stations were run by private operators, although in some areas there were cases in which the then Japanese military directly operated comfort stations.”

    When they say “direct operation”, it has nothing to do with Korean girls. It means out right rapes by Japanese soldiers, who raided villages near the battle fields in China, the Philippines and Indonesia. The women are just rape victims who were not called “comfort women” and are not comfort women. In 1990s when Japanese government founded Asia women fund, it wanted to pay compensation to rape victims in addition to former comfort women. So, it extended the definition of “comfort station” to include the places where gang rape took place. What it did not expect was that Koreans, who stayed far away from the battle field and were not the target of “direct operation” started to say “Korean girls were victims of direct operation”.

    AWF site has a lot of good material. Have fun.

    >redwhitedude October 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

    You should face the history.

  • jk641

    Stereo @#64,

    Man, you are farther gone than I thought.
    I would recommend you to read Comfort Women by Yoshimi.
    I have nothing more to say to you.

  • jk641

    Wait, I do have one more thing to say.

    What it did not expect was that Koreans, who stayed far away from the battle field and were not the target of “direct operation” started to say “Korean girls were victims of direct operation”.

    You are seriously misinformed.
    During WWII, Korean comfort women were shipped far and wide.
    Many were sent to the battle fields of South Pacific.
    I have read many old Korean news articles where they say Korean comfort women were shipped to 南洋群島 (Islands of South Pacific).

    I have also read accounts of American military personnel who served in the Pacific during WWII. After the Japanese lost battles, Americans found huge piles of dead Korean slave laborers and comfort women who had been slaughtered when the Japanese retreated.

    You really need to do some objective research.