Newsis reports that the Japanese community in the United States is conducting an organized promotional operation—using mass emails to American politicians and Youtube—to distort the history of the comfort women.
And this has got the Korean community in the United States on edge. Or so Newsis reports.
The Japanese community has gotten even more vehement since news broke that both houses of the New York legislature had introduced a resolution calling on Japan to apologize for the Comfort Women.
Japanese in the States have since been conducting through a website a campaign to write and call American politicians. The irony, notes Newsis, is that their grass roots approach seems to have benchmarked the successful decade-long lobbying efforts of Korean-American groups, with some observers wondering whether the campaign intends to “water down” the Korean-American effort.
The two New York lawmakers who sponsored the resolution—Queen’s Tony Avella and Long Island’s Charles Lavine–are reportedly getting flooded with protest emails from Japanese—Sen. Avella says he’s getting over 200 a day. He said most of the emails say the Comfort Women were prostitutes who did it for the money and that the lawmakers shouldn’t be fooled by the Korean community’s lies.
Even (or should we say, naturally) Assemblyman Ron Kim, New York’s first Korean politician, is getting hit with bulk emails. One his folk told Newsis that while emails campaigns like this pose no problem to the Korean community who know all too well the history between Korea and Japan, one cannot rule out that other American politicians might be swayed by the Japanese community’s organized emails.
According to the New York JoongAng Ilbo, the lawmakers are getting two emails, samples of both of which are posted at the ironically named website Japanese Women for Justice and Peace. As I fear that site might not be long for this world, I repost them here for your collective outrage:
To the senators and representatives of New York state legislature
I am writing this mail on behalf of all the Japanese who are concerned with the current U.S.-Japan relations.
On January 8, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) broadcast a news program in which they reported, under the topic title of “NY assembly to hear ‘Comfort Women’ resolution”, that State Senator Tony Avella and Assemblyman Charles Lavine demanded Japan’s government to apologize for the forced prostitution of women serving the Japanese military during World War II and that they were going to submit their demand in the form of a resolution to the New York legislature. And, according to Jan 17th edition of Sankei, one of the Japanese leading newspapers, they have submitted the concurrent resolution.
As you may know, so-called comfort women are the women who worked during World War II as prostitutes for the Japanese military. This fact might sound immoral by present-day standards, but prostitution was a legal business in those days in many countries. Even around U.S. military bases, prostitution agents must also have existed during the periods of Japan occupation, Korean War, and Vietnam War.
However, as many as fifty years after the War, a bogus story was suddenly spread in Korea and Japan — a story that Japanese military abducted many women and forced into prostitution during the War. Nowadays, many Koreans living in the U.S. propagate fabricated stories that more than 200 thousand Korean women were abducted and worked as “sex slaves” during the wartime and that it was equivalent to the Holocaust. These stories have been proven to be completely fictitious as a result of many researches by scholars and experts. In spite of their longstanding efforts, there has been absolutely no evidence of Japanese military’s coercing Korean women into prostitution against their will.
We cannot allow this kind of propaganda that insults Japan; their pretense hurts our pride and dishonors our ancestors. To protest this malicious gossip, we submitted two petitions to the White House, each with more than 30 thousand signatures, as follows:
“WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO: Remove the monument and not to support any international harassment related to this issue against the people of Japan”
“Repeal the House of Representatives Resolution 121 to stop aggravating int’l harassment by Korean propaganda & lies!”
U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace, security, and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Anti-Japan propaganda activities based on the fictitious ‘comfort women’ issue do nothing but deteriorate the relationship among U.S., Korea, and Japan. Such movement only alters the situation to the advantage of North Korea and China.
We Japanese, who place a high value on the importance of historical facts as well as U.S.-Japan relationship, therefore protest decisively against the resolution regarding comfort women that is to be submitted to the New York state legislature.
We know that American people cherish and esteem fairness, justice, and truth. We hope that you will make a truthful, fair, and objective judgment on this issue.
To the senators and representatives of New York state legislature
I am writing this message to you on behalf of many concerned Japanese.
I read a Korean internet news that “State Senator Tony Avella and Assemblyman Charles Lavine want Japanese government to apologize for the forced prostitution of women , or “comfort women”, serving the Japanese military during World War Ⅱ, and will submit their demand in a resolution to the New York legislature.” And, according to Jan 17th edition of Sankei, one of the Japanese leading newspapers, they have submitted the concurrent resolution.
The term “comfort women” refers simply to prostitutes in wartime. But Koreans have long been promoting a false version of history that Japan abducted hundreds of thousands of Korean women and coerced them into sexual services for Japanese soldiers outside of Japan during World War Ⅱ. This is, for practical and logical reasons, a fictitious version of history.
Japanese government conducted careful investigations and examination of the related documents and listened to the testimony of witnesses from both Japanese and Korean. Based on their careful research, Japanese government officially denied enforceability. And still, Japanese government made public apologies for former comfort women’s hard experiences.
Despite apologies taken places privately and by the Japanese government, the compensation for former comfort women, or other efforts such as Asian Women’s Fund, Koreans has no intention of forgiveness.
Koreans’ activities such as building comfort women memorials lead to unnecessary racial conflict and suffering of people of Japanese ancestry, and perpetrate the distorted truth to American citizens who are not familiar with this controversial issue between Japan and Korea.
I would like you to know these two petitions to the White House have reached more than 30,000 signatures and still getting more.
Remove the monument and not to support any international harassment related to this issue against the people of Japan.
Repeal the House of Representatives Resolution 121 to stop aggravating int’l harassment by Korean propaganda & lies!
To know more about the comfort women issue, please visit the following websites.
What is the “Comfort Women Issue?”
Mr. Komori of Japanese newspaper being interviewed on the comfort women issue for the PBS series
GEISHA, TONY BLAIR & COMFORT WOMEN
We Japanese are strongly against NY state comfort women resolution. We believe that the American people cherish and enthusiastically defend fairness, justice and the truth. We hope that you will make a truthful, fair and objective judgment in regards to this issue.
The Japanese have taken to Youtube, too. Newsis especially points out the videos by this guy, a one Yujiro Taniyama (I appreciated the Bruce Cumings quote—must have been Revisionist Solidarity Week at Youtube).
They also point to a video to this charming fellow, who calls the Comfort Women memorial in Long Island a desecration of the nearby Korean War memorial:
Treat others as you would like yourself to be treated, eh? Lead by example, eh?
Fine with me—who wants to start sending mass emails to American politicians condemning the Civil Liberties Act of 1988? Maybe hit up a National Assemblyman or two to see if we can get an ad into the New York Times claiming Japanese-Americans voluntarily moved to the desert during World War II, where they were encouraged to move by Japanese-American real estate agents.
Come on, as an American, my ancestors are being dishonored!
Anyway, Newsis suggests this is not entirely unrelated to the rightward shift in Japan, including the recent start of Shinzo Abe 2.0.
Korean groups in the United States are remaining calm—the head of one such group told Newsis that the Japanese were digging their own graves with this sort of stuff. Which is probably true.
Marmot’s Note: I’m not sure what the “Japanese community” in the United States thinks about all this, but I do know it was a Japanese-American, Mike Honda, who sponsored the House resolution calling on Japan to accept responsibility for the Comfort Women.